Saturday, 6 June 2015

The Saar Loop at Mettlach



The natural beautiful Saar River rises in the Vosges mountains on the border of Alsace and Lorraine, in France, then river flows northward through western Germany to its confluence with Mosel river, near Trier. Thus, inside Germany the Saar River pursues a winding course until it reaches a barrier in the form of Hunsr├╝ck, a low mountain range made of hard quartzite rock. Quartzite is a hard, metamorphic rock which was originally sandstone. Moreover, sandstone is converted into quartzite through heating and pressure frequently related to tectonic compression. The river, impotent to carve a way through the rocks, creates a full 180-degree turn and cuts a deep U-shaped gorge through the densely wooded mountains. Furthermore, this astonishing hairpin bend situated above Mettlach is called the Saar Loop or Saarschleife in German, and is one of the most famous sights of Saarland. The river flows comparable for a long stretch in the opposite direction before turning left and ongoing its northward journey towards Mosel River. The superlative views of Saarschleife are to be had from Cloef, a rocky viewpoint at the apex of the Saar loop about 180 meters above the river. An eye-catching panoramic viewpoint has been built here for the sake of sightseers.

Therefore, on the wooded ridge within the Saar loop, lie the Church of St. Gangolf and the ruins of the 12th century Montclair Castle. The castle is located about 290 metres above sea level on the high ridge of the Saar loop, the so-called Castle Hill. Hence it can be reached by boat. Both on the inside as well as on the outside loop, runs a continuous walking and bike path. The Saar Loop is also recognized as the Great Saar loop at Mettlach, for further downstream in the municipality of Taben-Rodt, the Saar river makes another loop called the Small Saar loop, though not as remarkable as it’s bigger brethren.