Regional Overview

Märkisches Land

The Duchy of Mark was based in a truly uninhabited region. Aside from the city of Hagen and its Art Nouveau cityscape, the Sauerland is a region of dense forests and forgotten mines. The regional architecture is perhaps best characterized by its half-timbered homes and wood-shingle designs.

Regional Identity

What to Lookout For

  • Surviving monuments of the Art-Nouveau along the Ruhr in the North
  • The distinctive white and green half-timbered homes, often covered in wood or slate shingles.
  • Dense forests and hidden villages far off the beaten path




Justin Bunch | CityscapeTravel My suggested travel destinations with the top three destinations highlighted.

What is the Sauerland?

My version of the Sauerland refers to the northern highlands that run parallel to the Rhine. It covers the north-eastern edge of the Rhenish Massiv, a series of low mountain ranges that run across Germany and Belgium. The region was part of Westphalia from the beginning, being considered part of the earliest Saxon tribal lands. The region was sparsely inhabited and unlike its southern neighbor, the Westerwald almost missed out on the industrial revolution entirely.

This unpopulated woodland encompasses the territories of three ancient states, the Dukes of Mark, the Dukes of Westphalia, and the Lords of Nassau-Siegen. The lands of Nassau-Siegen are an odd addition since the Nassau family ruled from the Westerwald. Siegen was handed to the Prussian Sauerland during the post-Napoleonic map-drawing and missed out on much of the investment that the Nassau family would pour into their possessions.

The character of this region is set by its small half-timbered villages and mysterious castle ruins. Life moves slower here, so come and enjoy the late summer evenings lost in this beautiful landscape.

Cities of the Sauerland

Hiking in the Region

Hiking: Along the Schwerte Heights

Hiking: Along the Schwerte Heights

While I think the town of Schwerte doesn’t quite live up to its reputation as a “well-preserved old-town,” it sits above one of the prettier…

Hiking: The Ruins of Hohensyburg

Hiking: The Ruins of Hohensyburg

According to legend, Charlemagne built a fortress to challenge Saxon rule in Westphalia. Here, a Saxon army was defeated and chased to the North Sea,…

Hiking: Forests of the Upper Ruhr

Hiking: Forests of the Upper Ruhr

For a river as industrialized as the Ruhr, it still has its beautiful parts. As you follow the river into the Sauerland, it takes on…

Hiking: Castles of the Ruhr

Hiking: Castles of the Ruhr

This hike follows the heights along the Ruhr as the Rhineland transitions into Westphalia. The primary destination is the ruins of the castle Blankenstein, but…

My Subjective Travel Rankings

To understand where the categories come from, see this article here.

3.4 / 10

The score is based on the following:

  • Accommodation: 2
  • Transportation: 4
  • Volume/Capacity: 8
  • Infrastructure: 2
  • Interactivity: 1

2.7 / 10

The score is based on the following:

  • Context: 3
  • Monuments: 2
  • Quality: 3

8 / 10

The score is based on the following:

  • Abstraction: 8
  • Tradition: 8



Here you will find large and ancient cities rising from the plains sprinkled with timeless villages and moated castles.

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