The richly structured neogothic St. Ulrich’s parish church rises up like a little cathedral with its 63 metre high tower: the pride of the parish, which is predominantly Catholic. The church which was built in 1904/05 does not face the east, as usual, but is oriented towards the north-east – as a result of the course of the river in the narrow valley. In the left aisle, the oldest piece of the church is found in the domed baptistery: the font from 1618, which comes from the old church. Six red sandstone pillars divide up the 40.8 metre long, 17.2 metre wide and 17 meter high room. The nine windows in the aisle and the eight windows in the upper part of the nave, let enough light in, although they are all stained glass. They show scenes from the life of the "14 holy helpers". In most of the windows, the name of the donors is also immortalised. The high alter, which was carved and painted in 1905, illustrates the work of salvation with the scenes of the “sorrowful rosary”. The pulpit with the depictions of the four evangelists and the teacher, Christ; the Alsatian Roethinger organ with 27 stops; the Pieta altar at the back of the church; and the twelve life size figures in the nave, which represent the apostles with their attributes, are also worth seeing. In 2005, the high altar, the pulpit and the two side altars were renovated. The church bells consist of six bells. At the north of the church is the “Käshammer Cross”, which was donated by a former inhabitant of the Nordrach hillside farms, Johannes Käshammer. The well-kept cemetery with the consecration hall is in the immediate vicinity of the church. On this well-kept “visiting card of the village", the upper draw well is also located, which is adorned with the arms of the parish, carved into a sandstone boulder.
In the spa gardens between the church and the Talbach, you can find the memorials for those who died in the war of 1870/71, as well as in both world wars. On the other side of the road, opposite the parish church, there are other buildings belonging to the parish. The older (sandstone) house is used as a rectory.
Alongside this, separated by only the Schanzbach and a meadow, St. Mary’s parish hall, which fits harmoniously into its surroundings, was built. Directly behind this and in the same style, the nursery school, which is also sponsored by the church, was built as a new building in 1983. Not far from this, also in the Schanzbach region, the village’s small protestant community built its church. The chapel that was consecrated in 1979 is largely built into the hillside. It gives the impression of a single storey building towards the valley, where it is dominated by the wood lap siding of the eaves in the entrance area, and by the belfry.
At the start of the 20th century, not only the Catholic parish church, but also both the Catholic chapels in the Nordrach Valley which are still preserved were built, or rebuilt in Nordrach. According to folklore, a heathen shrine is supposed to have stood on the Mühlstein, which was converted into a Lady chapel and destroyed in the Thirty Years’ War. The little glass church was erected from the remains in 1725 at the glassworks for the farmers and works settling far from the village. In 1904, the present chapel, which is dedicated to St. Nepomuk, was built in the colony. Whilst the foundation stone bears the year 1904, the lintel over the entrance of the new chapel shows the year 1776, as the glass church which was erected from the remains of the former Mühlstein chapel was moved into the valley in 1776 –with the factory -, i.e. rebuilt. The present chapel was built on the foundations of this chapel in 1904. The chapel which was thoroughly renovated in 1978/80 was given an impressive ceiling fresco on this occasion: the assumption of St. Mary into heaven. A little baroque church had grown from an insignificant chapel, partly as a result of the successful renovation of the altar. In fulfilment of a vow, the reeve Josef Erdrich built a new chapel near the Mühlstein farm, together with his wife, in honour of the patron saint of farmers, St. Wendelin, in 1902/03.
Since as early as 1930, Nordrach has had spa gardens in the heart of the town, which include a music pavilion and a mini golf course.
There is another relaxation facility at Schanzbach with a pavilion, a water walking basin and a pond, in which fish are kept.
At the entrance to the village, the welcome station attracts attention with its artistic cow fountain, which is supposed to point out the significance of agriculture in the Nordrach Valley, and was built for the town’s 850th anniversary.
Nordrach herb garden:
The Nordrach herb garden which was opened in 2009 invites visitors to investigate different kinds of herbs. It is located centrally at the entrance to the village, near the Maile-Gießler Mill and provides a special atmosphere there. An area for sitting and resting invites you to rest, and the bare foot area invites you to recover your senses. Flyers are available at the tourist information office free of charge; courses and guided tours for groups can also be arranged for a fee. You can also buy a description of the plants with contents and use.
At the entrance to the village, it is also worth having a closer look at the Maile-Gießler Mill which the local Black Forest Society has renovated to form a functional jewel for the village, after three years of independent work. Visits to the mill are conducted regularly at times that are published in advance.
From the mill, you can go past the Winkelwaldklinik to get to “Mailes Eckle”, from where you can enjoy the best view of the village.
Anyone who doesn’t want to climb too much can walk to the waterwheel system at Michelbach. Near to the waterwheel which was made in 1975 by the late master carpenter Arnold Fehrenbacher, there are also two trout ponds.
The Jewish cemetery is another feature of the community. In this cemetery, located outside the village, Jews have been buried since 1907, generally patients of the former Rothschild foundation, which purchased this property in order to establish a cemetery. During the Nazi terror in Germany, a few of the gravestones were destroyed or damaged, but the cemetery remained well-preserved and is still maintained on behalf of the Jewish community of Karlsruhe. The gravestones that have been preserved can still be easily read. They attract attention because they mostly bear Hebrew characters. Only the name, dates of birth and death and place of birth are engraved in the Latin alphabet. The last burial in this cemetery took place in 1977. The deceased was the daughter of the former caretaker of the Rothschild House. She had emigrated to India, but then returned and wanted to be buried “in her native soil”.
In 2002, a historic charcoal kiln was discovered at the south of Moosbach. It is a so-called tar kiln. Such kilns were formerly used to transform resin into tar. It was discovered that this was the smaller of two systems that the forestry worker and charcoal burner Wilhelm Bildstein from the Moosbach Valley operated in the 1940s and 1950s. The local tourist office restored the charcoal burner. Information boards provide us with information at the site.
The Mühlstein is also worth seeing. The densely wooded hill has, so to speak, something for everyone: the historian sees the seat of the reeve from days gone by, the hiker loves the wonderful hiking routes starting from here and the comfortable resting place in the inn inside the old reeve’s hall (with pictures of the reeve and his successors), the quiet prayerful person values the quiet of the old St. Wendelin’s chapel and the car-driver enjoys the opportunity to mix with the merry hikers for a hearty farmer’s platter, without having done anything for it himself (as you can drive almost to the door of the inn with the car!). Anyone who comes here is also interested in the famous reeve’s daughter Magdalene, whose fate is described in the famous Hansjakob novel "Der Vogt auf Mühlstein"(The Reeve on Mühlstein). She was forced to marry a rich, older farmer (who was already a widower) by her father, although she was in love with a young journeyman. Not even two months after her marriage, she died of grief about the suffering imposed upon her. You can still visit her grave at the Zeller cemetery today (200 years after her death!). This true story which inspires compassion quickly comes to life here on the Mühlstein.
If you walk north from the Mühlstein, you come to the “Heidenkirche” (pagan church) between the Nordrach Valley and the Harmersbach Valley, an impressive complex of sandstone blocks, which stand against the eastern slope in various sizes and have always inspired people’s imagination. Every large stone has its own name, such as, for example, “ship”, “chapel”, “pulpit”, “house” or “dance floor”. Whether this was really a pagan place for human and animal sacrifices, as the name suggests, has not been proven historically.
Other beautiful and large rock formations are the Rabenfelsen (raven rocks) in the Moosbach Valley, the Glasfelsen (glass rocks) at the back of Moosbach, the Katzenstein (cat stone) above the village and the Fuchsfelsen (fox rocks) in the Moos region.
A noteworthy natural phenomenon is the sand fountain in Bärhag: In a round spring, the water bubbles to the top and brings sand with it; as a result, little sand fountains form in the water. The “Queen of the Forest”, a large tree with a magnificent treetop in the upper Glasbach region, is also one of the natural monuments of the Nordrach Valley because of its uniqueness.
On the way to the former farms on the Schäfersfeld, you cross the well-known Moss region, which separates the Rench Valley and the Kinzig Valley from one another, in particular. This sandstone plateau is densely wooded, and a number of creeks flow three it. The Gengenbach monastery had farms established here, which are still recalled – e.g. at Schäfersfeld, on which there is evidence that three farms stood – by yard entries, cisterns, ponds and a stone wall, which probably served as an enclosure of a meadow.
On the way to the highest peaks in the Moos region, the 871 metre high Mooskopf (really called Geisschleifkopf) and the 878 metre high Siedigkopf, you must not meet the "Moospfaff", a figure of legend that tries to frighten passers-by or to drive them mad. Before you reach the Moosturm, however, which crowns the Mooskopf, you reach a monument that reminds you of the poet Grimmelshausen. The title character of his adventure novel “Simplizissimus” lived up here in the Moos region for a time during the Thirty Years War. The viewing tower on the Mooskopf which is popular with all hikers was opened in 1890, after only two months of construction.
Past the Hilseck recreation area (with a barbecue site, a fountain, a play area and a shelter), in the immediate vicinity of which the “Hilshof” once stood (you can still see clear foundation walls), you reach the area of the former farm near the Kornebene. At this very well-known pass level between the Haigerach and Nordrach Valleys, there are supposed to have been fields of waving corn in the past. The Kornebene is a popular meeting point for hikers who are coming here from all directions. A fountain, a play area and, above all, the Friends of Nature Hut are points of attraction for young and old.
"One man’s joy is another man’s sorrow ".
This saying best describes the effects of hurricane “Lothar”. The “Christmas storm” caused a lot of costs and additional work for our forestry offices and forest owners. The hiker, however, is given new, magnificent views into the Rhine Valley and up the Vosges mountains in several places. In extended walks through completely unaffected areas of forest, the visitor suddenly finds himself standing in a clearing that gives him a lasting impression of the forces of nature.
“Lothar” did not change the overall character of our Black Forest landscape. On the contrary, it was enriched by a number of interesting aspects.