On my list of states in Germany that I haven’t visited so far there are a few left, one of them was Thuringia. This state in the middle of Germany didn’t see me so far since it is pretty far away from Berlin. Almost summerlike weather was announced for thursday so I took my chance to go there. Thuringia has a lot of interesting sights, the practical thing about them is that if you take the Autobahn 4 many of those are just right at it with just a few miles distance in between them. I started at the furthest point away and stopped at the closer cities afterwards.
Eisenach – Wartburg: In the hitlist of old castles in Germany, the Wartburg surely will take its place in the Top 3. Not only because this building is situated in a nice landscape but also because of its historical meaning. Martin Luther translated the new testament into German here, students demonstrated for a united german country at the Wartburgfest in the 19th century etc. etc.
Before arriving at the castle the visitor has some obstacles to overcome. When I came to the parking lot I first thought I am paying the entrance fee to the castle already since they demanded 4 euros just for my car to be parked here. What followed was a long and steep walk upstairs to the Wartburg. I would have thought, that, once we drove up on a narrow street including some serpentines the castle was in reach but that was wrong. The view of the building and the magnificent overview of the Thuringia landscape around it was worth all the climbing though.
Baumkronenpfad: Nationalpark Hainlich
My wife saw a documentary about this place a while ago. In a natural preserve, meaning a big forest not man made, a few hundred meter long walkway was created high up at the level of the treetops finishing at an observation deck in a tower. Again, we had to climb a lot of stairs. But the effort was worth it, this turned out to be one of the highlights of our trip. If there was an ideal time to go to this place then it was the fall. Magnificent views of different colored leaves as far as the eye can see – spectacular.
Gotha: Originally not on our list of towns being visited in Thuringia money and gas was running out so on our way to Erfurt we stopped by here. Originally we were interested in the paintings section of a museum but the museum was already closed when we arrived. Gotha delivered a nice view of its historical center by, yes, climbing up again. The local castle was situated on a hill from where you were able to get this view.
Erfurt: The capitol of Thuringia presents some highlights. First of all it’s cathedral is one of the most impressive ones in Germany. It can be compared with other famous churches like the cathedral in Cologne or the one in Berlin. The bonus is that it is illuminated very nice at night and that you have a very good overview over downtown Erfurt once you, right, climbed up its big stairway nearby. Beside this the city has a lot of nicely restaurated old buildings.
Weimar: Once you come to this city you have the highest expectations. I think many tourists visiting Germany have a priority list of important german town, I bet Weimar is often mentioned there. Now, this might be justified because it is the city of Goethe and Schiller, it has the worldfamous library and so on and so on. But when we arrived there, the prior impression was that this city was pretty deserted – it wasn’t that late at night to be as empty as that – and that many of the important buildings where just not illuminated enough (almost the whole downtown area was extremly dark). A building like the Goethe house did not have a note saying that it actually is the Goethe house so we had to search around a long time until we found it. Overall it is certainly an interesting city but probably it is a good idea to visit it while it is still light outside.
Jena: Last stop on the Thuringia trip was Jena. Jena profits from its decision to have the big and important technical university right in the center of the city. Through this you get to see an architectural mix of modern and old historical buildings and even when it is late at night, there is a lot of young people walking around downtown. This fact created an interesting mixture of pubs and restaurants right in the center.
More pictures of the Thuringia trip can be looked at here.