A romantic village? An idyllic lake? This would have been unimaginable 45,000 years ago! Violent explosions blasted a huge crater in the landscape, vast quantities of volcanic ash built up a rim measuring 1.7 kilometres in diameter, and masses of rocks were thrown out as far as several kilometres. But the volcano calmed down eventually.
And as time went on, rainwater and groundwater collected inside the funnel-shaped crater to form a circular lake. After a while a small stream managed to break through the rim of the basin. It washed stones and sediment into the lake and thereby confined it to the northern part of the basin. Many thousands of years later, around 1200 AD, the village of Meerfeld was built on the alluvial fan which the stream had created.
The small village community lived from ore mining, fishing in the maar lake, and farming, which was very successful. Where at first it seemed that nothing could grow, plants later found ideal conditions: Volcanic soils can hold moisture for a very long time and are exceptionally rich in nutrients. In order to extend the area of arable land, the villagers even went so far as to lower the level of the lake in the 19th century!
Our tip: There is a circular walk around the lake, about three kilometres long, which gives you the opportunity to enjoy the luxuriant vegetation along the banks and the impressive carpet of water lilies.