Georg Wunder Höhle - Wunderhöhle - Witzenhöhle

Useful Information

Witzenhöhle from Friedrich Wilhelm Ferdinand von Brandenstein (1810): XXX Prospekte der merkwürdigsten Muggendorfer Gebirgsgegenden und Höhlen. Public Domain.
Location: Dooser Berg, 91346 Wiesenttal-Muggendorf.
B470 turn-off to Muggendorf, then right to Doos. First bend Dooser Berg, hikers' car park. On the hiking trail Höhlenweg.
Kataster-Nummer: C08
(49.7994115, 11.2721469)
Open: no restrictions.
Fee: free.
Classification: SpeleologyKarst cave
Light: bring torch
Dimension: L=70 m, A=465 m asl.
Guided tours: self guided
Photography: allowed
Accessibility: no
Address: Touristinformation Wiesenttal, Forchheimer Str. 8, 91346 Wiesenttal-Muggendorf, Tel: +49-9196-929931, Fax: +49-9196-929930. E-mail:
As far as we know this information was accurate when it was published (see years in brackets), but may have changed since then.
Please check rates and details directly with the companies in question if you need more recent info.


07-NOV-1772 Wundershöhle discovered by the Höhleninspektor (cave representative) Johann Georg Wunder and named after him.
1774 Witzenhöhle explored and described by Johann Friedrich Esper.
1969 M. Geyer and Manfred Moser discover a charcoal layer in the Wundershöhle with some metal-age shards.


Wundershöhle, Germany. Public Domain.
Wundershöhle, Germany. Public Domain.

The Wundershöhle (Wunder's Cave) and Witzenhöhle are connected, but this connection is a narrow crawl. It was discovered when the caves were already named separately and both were given different cadastre numbers. But actually they are different entrances of the same cave. In the dolomite reef, which forms eccentric rocks and cliffs, are numerous caves, the reason why this mountain was called Hohler Berg (Hollow Mountain). This is only one of several hollow mountains in the area. A word of warning right at the beginning: both caves have some halls, but these are connected by narrow and dirty crawls and some small shafts. Caving equipment is required to enter them. Since they are on the hiking trail, they are often visited by hikers, but only the entrance area.

The most impressive cave for tourists is the Oswaldhöhle (Oswald Cave). A single winded passage, most of the time rather big, a through-cave and is crossed by the walking trail. The Wundershöhle (Wunder's Cave) is located only 20 m from the upper exit of the Oswaldhöhle, at the foot of a dolomite cliff. A look at the cave map shows that the three caves Oswaldhöhle, Wundershöhle and Witzenhöhle actually belong to the same cave system. The Oswaldhöhle was separated from the other two by the deepening of the Wiesent valley.

A rather huge entrance portal lowers and then opens into a small chamber, still lighted by daylight. Here the cave seems to end, but at the floor a narrow passage starts and leads to further chambers. It's necessary to crawl in and definitely only for (slender) speleologists. The cave is named after its discoverer, Johann Georg Wunder, who was at that time installed as cave caretaker and cave guide by the local sovereign. One day he rested in the nice overhanging cliff, when he was disturbed by a flow of cold air. According to another version of the story, he was looking for shelter from a thunderstorm and found a rusted key. This version is unlikely because the Oswald Cave 20 m away would have offered much better protection, and why a rusted key should give him the idea to look for a cave is also unclear. In any case, after some digging, he discovered the cave.

The Witzenhöhle is connected with the Wundershöhle, but the connection is a narrow crawl and requires caving gear. The surface path to the other entrance is also a little tricky, as it is overlooked by most visitors. After an ascend on a long staircase built of local limestone, towards the plateau, there is a turnoff at the right back downhill at the far end of the cliff.

Witzenhöhle has a strange name, where the first interpretation would be something with Witz, the German term for joke, but that's not the case. Witzen is a dialect transformation of the name of the Slavic goddess called Svantewit. Of course this cave has nothing to do with Svantewit, as this is not an area which was inhabited by the Slavs. It is more or less a cave guide joke, which was enlarged over decades.

The Witzenhöhle was first explored by Johann Friedrich Esper, who was annoyed by the narrow and low passages with a lot of dirt inside, including stinking bat guano. So he said in the last sentence of his description, that he finds this ugly cave would be a good place to worship the (bad) goddess Swantevit. This statement was easy to understand, but the cave guide of those caves at this time, Johann Georg Wunder either misunderstood it, or simply thought it was a good story for his visitors. He told the visitors that this cave once contained a temple of the goddess Swantevit, and a big statue of the goddess had been found here. Now he was not able to show this statue, so he told it was removed by scientists to a museum. To better hide his lie he told them the name of a museum, which he guessed the visitors did not know. The locals abbreviated the exotic name Svantewit to Witz and called the cave Witzenhöhle (Witz's Cave).