grotto, mithras, pilgrimage

Mithras' grotto

The reason, of course, that there are chained stone fungi in the middle of the woods is that they decorate the path in front of a Mithraic temple.

The explanatory plaque beside the above scene reads:
Mithrashöhle - Heidenkapelle
In dieser Höhle wurde in römischer Zeit der Kult des persischen Lichtergottes Mithras zelebriert.
Im Mittelalter diente sie als Wallfahrtsklause. Hier soll Bischof Arnualdus das Christentum gepredigt haben.
Unterhalb des Gewölbes bedfindet sich eine Inschrift. Sie stammt aus dem 19. Jahrhundert, als die Familie Stumm den Halberg bewohnte. Der Text spricht von heidnischen Priestern und dem legendären Missionar Arnualdus.
Mithras' Cave- Pagen Chapel
In this cave in Roman times, the cult of Mithras, the persian god of light, was celebrated.
In the middle ages it served as a hermitage and place of pilgrimage. Bishop Arnualdus is supposed to have preached here.
Underneath the vault there is an inscription. This is from the 19th century when the Stumm family lived on the Halberg hill. The text mentions the pagan priests and the legendary missionary Arnualdus.
The chained fungi were presumably put there by the Stumm family.


  1. Interesting place. Are te columns old or do they also come from the 19th century?

  2. Celebrating the god of light, but ligning the trail with shade-loving fungi - I think there could be more to this story. Great shots - and thanks for the history.

  3. Your blog has plenty of great photos composed with great stories... so, here i am to stay!

    Javier Echaiz (your newest Follower)

  4. Very cool indeed. Is there more to see? Do you have any more shots?

  5. Since this is a very interesting topic here is a link to more Mithreai (?) Mithreaum - hope you do not mind, AB - since it is your story, :-). The German article is much more detailed, but unfortunately in German ... .

  6. What an incredible place! Love it!

  7. joo: My guess is that they are from the 19th century. They are certainly not Roman.

    RogerB: With regard to the devotees of the God of light, the mediaeval hermit and the 19th century fans of pagan rituals, you are free to let your imagination run riot. We know so little about any of them.

    JaviZ: Bienvenido, Javi. Vos mismo tenés un blog muy elegante.

    Don and Krise: I only took two more photos: of the plaque and of the carvings in the rock to the right of the pillar.

    There is not a lot more to see, and a big fence keeps you from getting any good camera angles. The shot above was taken through the bars of the fence.

    Martina: Thanks for the link. The whole topic is interesting: the stream of religions coming from the East — Zoroastrianism, Judaism, Mithraism and Christianity, the links between them and how they competed with one another. The German version of the Wikipedia link is really gruesome. It descbribes how Christians went on the rampage after Theodosius' adopted Christianity as the state religion, smashing the Mithraic religious relics and burying the followers of Mithras alive.

    JM: Thanks.

  8. The area carved into the rock is fascinating but the pillars sortof detract from that. I guess they are necessary to stop the rock from collapsing in some way. Interesting story behind this one, AB.

  9. Julie: Currently, the pillars are only decoration. They do not even connect with the stone. I presume the Stumm family put them there, maybe recreating what they imagined to be there in Roman times.