The cultural and historical Princes of Reuss Route runs for approximately 110 km from Bad Köstritz to Bad Lobenstein via the Thuringian Vogtland which has been the seat of the House of Reuss and their predecessors, the Vogts of Weida, Gera and Plauen, since 1778. The Reuss dynasty is the only ruling German royal house whose ancestors rose from the status of unfree knights in the Middle Ages to become reigning princes.
The route runs through the territory governed by the imperial princes of Reuss for around 800 years and showcases the history of the stately House of Reuss. The first traceable ancestors of the House of Reuss arrived in the White Elster river region in the 12th century when they were given the fiefdom by Emperor Frederick Barbarossa (1152-1190). Erkenbert I was the patriarch of the House of Reuss.
The princely dynasty of Reuss
The House of Reuss was a multi-branched dynasty that ruled the Vogtland in Thuringia. Its members were originally imperial vogts (reeves) and later lords, then counts and, as far as the elder line is concerned, imperial princes after 1778, succeeded at various times by the younger lines. Although most of the dynasty's branches have now died out, the House of Reuss still exists today. Up to the First World War, principalities belonging to the younger line and elder line of the dynasty still existed.
History and legend
The Reuss dynasty were responsible for a number of the historic and cultural attractions found along the Princes of Reuss Route and even today, some exceptional architecture can be seen in the area's towns and villages. Well-fortified castles, fairytale castles, venerable abbeys and museums offer a fascinating insight into the historic roots of the region.
A princely land
The foothills of the Franconian Forest and the Rhenish-Westphalian Slate Mountains dominate the landscape whilst the valleys formed by the Saale, Wisenta, Weida and White Elster rivers lend it its unique appeal. The region is richly forested with countless reservoirs such as the Bleichlochtalsperre, one of the largest reservoirs in Germany.
A complex dynasty
Wander through a land as varied as life itself and discover more about the Reuss dynasty and how it was linked to Emperor Frederick Barbarossa.
Length: approximately 110 km
Theme: the Reuss dynasty, culture
Bad Köstritz: sarcophagus of Henry II of Reuss, black beer brewery (Schwarzbierbrauerei)
Bad Lobenstein: park, castle
Gera: Van de Velde Villa
Schleiz: mountain church (Bergkirche), Duden Museum
Weida: Osterburg Castle
Wünschendorf: Mildenfurth Monastery
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