Streets of Nördlingen

Nördlingen: The Town Built of 72,000 Tons of Diamonds

By Stephen Fuchs on Email @StephenWFuchs

The southern German town of Nördlingen may not have the same popularity as some of its other Bavarian cousins, but when it comes to the price of the land it is built upon and its early structures, this quiet village might just have them beat. That is because scientists conclude that the town is embedded with millions of microscopic diamonds — an estimated 72,000 tons.

Around 15 million years ago, an asteroid crashed into Earth, leaving a nine-mile impact zone that would eventually become the town of Nördlingen. The immense pressure of the impact against the regions graphite-bearing gneiss rocks turned the land into suevite, a rocky material made of glass, crystal and diamonds.

As the first settlers broke ground in Nördlingen around 898 A.D., they used the land itself — the diamond-laced suevite — for building materials. Many of these original buildings and structures remain to this day, including the protective walls and church, which is said to be made of 5,000 carats of diamonds on its own.

Nördlingen doesn’t have to post guards on every corner of the street to fend of thieves in the night looking to make off with a truck full of diamonds though. Even the largest of the diamonds can only be seen under a microscope and have no real monetary value. If you spend the night in Nördlingen though, no-one is going to stop you from bragging that you spent the night in a room encased in diamonds.

Sources: Smithsonian

Photo: ilovebutter [Flickr]

Stephen Fuchs
Stephen founded German Pulse and LGBT Germany out of a passion to introduce Americans to a Germany that goes beyond beer and polka (although with enough beer he has been known to polka it up a bit). He's a coffee addict, lover of wine and good times, a hit in the kitchen and editor of TV commercials. You can follow him on Twitter (@StephenWFuchs) to find out a lot more.
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