|Location:||From Bad Urach B465 towards Münsingen, after 2 km turn left to Wittlingen, from Wittlingen 30 min. walk to Ruine (Castle) Hohenwittlingen. Cave is located at the northern slope below the castle. (73,Kc58)|
16-APR to 14-NOV no restrictions.
15-NOV to 15-APR closed.
|Classification:||Karst cave horizontal cave, upper Jurassic limestone (Malm).|
|Dimension:||L=120 m, W=1-2 m, H=3-4m|
Dr. David Friedrich Weinland (1876):
See also Rulaman ()
|As far as we know this information was accurate when it was published (see years in brackets), but may have changed since then.
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|1341||the knight von Schilling has an accident near the cave.|
|1618-48||used as a hideout during the 30 Years War.|
|1833||excavation by von Mandelsloh from Urach.|
|1875||Weinland publishes the Rulaman.|
|1966-68||exploration and survey of the cave by the Arge Berg, Stuttgart.|
|MAY-2009||collapse of natural bridge at the entrance.|
A local legend tells us, in the year 1341 a knight Herr von Schilling had an accident in or at the cave. This sounds like a good explanation for the name Schillingshöhle (Schilling Cave), but there are no historic documents who proof this. Today often the name Schillerhöhle (Schiller Cave) is used. It resembles Friedrich Schiller, the famous German poet, but it is most likely just an erroneous spelling of the older name.
The Schillingshöhle plays an important role in the book Rulaman () by David Friedrich Weinland, it is called Tulkahöhle in the book and described as the cave shelter of a Stone Age tribe.
The book Rulamann is the first try, to publish scientific results in archaeology in a popular form. The result is an exciting adventure story about the boy Rulaman, which is still fun to read.
This cave was used by the author, when he described the fictional cave, because the whole area including cave and castle was owned by his family. He lived in a house right above the cave and knew the cave very well. So did his sons. And from some short stories he narrated his children about the far history of their property, he developed a novel, which was published with great success. At the end of the 19th century a local proverb explained: every farmer on the Swabian Jura has two books: the Bible and the Rulaman! The book was translated into other languages, at least into French and Russian. If you know of other editions, please drop us a line!
It was natural, to use this cave for the book. But that was very inaccurate, as no remains of Stone Age usage have ever been found at this cave, despite numerous important finds in other caves of the area. But the author was archaeologist, and many other details in his book were very accurate and represented the state of the art at the end of the 19th century. He filled some holes with fantasy and added some inaccuracies for the sake of suspense.
For many years the cave was lighted once a year by the local caving club. This is discontinued to reduce the number of visitors a little bit. But the cave is easy to visit for hikers and signposted trails go to the cave entrance, so it is still very frequented. There are no developed trails, but the path is rather wide and very high. The passage is straight and horizontal, until at the end a curve leads down to a sort of cave clay swamp. It is highly recommended to avoid this swamp.
The entrance of the cave is gated by a bat door for many years now. It is closed between mid November and mid April every year to protect hibernating bats. The rest of the year the door is open and the cave may be freely visited.
At the entrance there was a small natural bridge, a thin bow of limestone right in front of the entrance, which was actually a remains of the old cave passage. It had to be crossed to reach the real entrance of the cave. In May 2009 this natural bridge started to collapse and the cave was closed, as it was not possible to reach the entrance safely. The bridge was destroyed completely and more rocks fell from the newly created cliff face. The biggest blocks were removed and the cliff was stabilzed by removing all loose rocks during the summer. When the works were completed the cave was closed for bat conservation, but it was officialy reopened in spring 2010. The cave can reached again safely, but this collapse reminds us that cave formation is an on going process and happens all the time, even if we normally do not recognise it.