nUntil recently, no one thought of it Hess for declaring it a “Celtic country”. However, that year did include the announced theme for 2022 with several exhibitions and special excursions. The most striking legacy in the form of giant walls, with which the Celts moved entire mountains such as the Altkönig in Taunus or the Dünsberg near Gießen from the 6th century BC, has always fascinated. Admittedly, the Celtic world did not begin to form an identity until after the “Prince of the Mountain of Faith” was discovered in the mid-1990s and photographed in the specially created museum.
A close-up view revealed what the spacious fortifications only hinted at: great craft (artistic) skills of the highest order of culture. The Celts were unfamiliar with writing and numbers, although they traded as far away as the Mediterranean region and from there, in its final form in the second and first centuries BC, controlled the monetary system.
Not suitable for cultivation and settlement
Coins with stylized drawings have also been found in Dünsberg, which may have been a center for iron processing. At least the artefacts and several settlement sites document the expansion of the elevation of 500 meters in a city (“opidum”) of several thousand inhabitants. Its ending must have been violent. The most recent excavations since 1999 have brought surprising light to Roman spearheads, shield fittings and catapults. After the evacuation, all trace was lost, as were almost all the Celts east of the Rhine and Danube decades before the advent of the Romans.
However, after the devastating defeat in the Battle of Pharos, they did not occupy the conical mountain. The nearby civic foundation near Waldgirmes, where the horse head was recovered from the equestrian statue of Emperor Augustus in 2009, is also abandoned.
The mountain was deserted. Since it was not suitable for farming or settlement, the three ring walls were preserved, one on top of the other, for a total length of ten kilometers. Sheltered by airy beech, the stepped ramparts are walkable for long distances and several of the 14 gates pass through.
Its location and construction proved so recognizable that one dared to rebuild one of the gates of the pincer bridge at the eastern mountain base in Hesse’s first Celtic year, announced in 2002, complete with a farm, store and gardens of useful plants typical of the time. Modernity only took the top in the form of a communication tower and a cool restaurant with an observation tower. Its panorama includes half of Hesse, from Lahnhöhen through Knüllwald and Vogelsberg to Taunus. Or through the eyes of the Celts: they had 20 walled mountains in view.
If you don’t ascend from the car park at Celtic’s home on the east side, Rodheim Bieber in Biebertal municipality traditionally makes up the base camp for ascents to Donsberg Peak. However, the small Celtic Museum in the Town Hall is not currently accessible. It’s easy to park in the community center and you can take Mühlbergstrasse, Fellingshäuser Strasse and Gießener Strasse to the Pfarrgasse bus stop in the city centre.