Dark Sky Reserve
Biosphärenreservat Rhön, Germany
The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization established the Rhön Biosphere Reserve, also known as Biosphärenreservat Rhön, in 1991. It comprises 1720 square kilometers of protected lands including the entire central region of the Rhön Mountains, where the German federal states of Hesse, Bavaria and Thuringia meet. Reaching elevations of up to 950 meters, the Rhön region is often referred to as the Land der offenen Fernen (“land of endless horizons”).
The darkest night skies of the reserve are in the core zone. The buffer zone, which includes more populated areas, protects the core’s dark skies through the enacting of responsible outdoor light policies by municipal councils. The Rhön Dark Sky Reserve is unique within the Dark Sky Places Program in that its “core” consists of three distinct, non-contiguous areas: Hohe Geba in the northeast, Lange Rhön in the center, and Schwarze Berge in the south.