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The dams of the Upper Harz lakes are some of the oldest dams in Germany that are still in operation.
→ See List of dams in the Harz The largest rivers in the Harz are the Innerste, the Oker and the Bode in the north; the Wipper in the east; and the Oder in the south.
Approximately 600,000 people live in towns and villages of the Harz Mountains.
Because of the heavy rainfall in the region the rivers of the Harz Mountains were dammed from an early date.
Only on the southeastern perimeter of the Upper Harz, which is also called the High Harz (Hochharz) (Goslar, Osterode and Harz districts), does the mountain range exceed on the Brocken massif.
Its highest peak is the Brocken (1,141 m), its subsidiary peaks are the Heinrichshöhe (1,044 m) to the southeast and the Königsberg (1,023 m) to the southwest.
The landscapes of the Harz are characterised by steep mountain ridges, stone runs, relatively flat plateaus with many raised bogs and long, narrow V-shaped valleys, of which the Bode Gorge, the Oker and Selke valleys are the best known.
Today the dams are primarily used to generate electricity, to provide drinking water, to prevent flooding and to supply water in times of scarcity.
Modern dam-building began in the Harz with the construction of the Söse Valley Dam, which was built between 19.
Examples of such masonry dams are the two largest: the Oker Dam and the Rappbode Dam.
The clear, cool water of the mountain streams was also dammed by early mountain folk to form the various mountain ponds of the Upper Harz waterways, such as the Oderteich.
A representative cross-section of all the Harz rocks is displayed on the Jordanshöhe near Sankt Andreasberg near the car park (see photo).