Natur- und Geopark TERRA.vita
The origin of the Association for “Megalithic Routes” is the “Straße der Megalithkultur”, a tourist holiday route in northwest Germany. It was launched in 2006 by a group of tourism experts, archaeologists, astronomers, and historians with the aim of introducing the 5000 year-old “Hünengräber” (megalithic graves) as a new trademark of the regions Osnabrück Land, Emsland, and Wildeshausen Geest. In each of these regions there are centres with an accumulation of megalithic burials.
The monuments consist mostly of so-called passage graves. In terms of construction, they differ markedly from their namesakes in Denmark and southern Scandinavia, but they show great similarity to the “Hunebedden” in Drenthe province in the Netherlands.
In northwest Germany, numerous historical documents, stories and legends are evidence of the great significance that megalithic graves have had for the imaginative world and popular beliefs of the local population since the Middle Ages. Many burials have been given unusual names which are reminiscent of the devil, of creatures with supernatural powers, and legendary popular heroes. The “Straße der Megalithkultur” connects the towns of Osnabrück, Meppen, and Oldenburg, is 330 km long, and combines the historically most interesting, most attractive, and most well-preserved megalithic graves. Since 27 April 2014, the Europe-wide “Day of Megalithic Culture”, a fully signposted cycle path complements the holiday route for road traffic which was opened in 2009. In addition, there is a supraregional hiking trail, the “Hünenweg”, which connects the regions Osnabrück Land, Emsland, and Drenthe province in the Netherlands and was opened in 2005.