Fortresses and fortifications – the Thuringia Castle Road

Whether romantic or imposing, castles have always been a source of fascination. The approx. 900-kilometre Thuringia Castle Road with its magnificent views explores historically important castles between Coburg and the Kyffhäuser hills, providing an exciting journey back in time.

The Thuringia countryside is dotted with numerous preserved castles representing every era, from the age of Germanic migrations to more recent times. Prehistoric and early historical ramparts, high medieval castles and imperial palaces, plus dynastic seats from the late Middle Ages characterise the landscape. These monuments – some of which date back more than 1,000 years – have borne witness to historic events and the lives of notable figures. Idealised by Goethe, the mightiest of them all is Wartburg Castle, which was built in 1067 on a plateau overlooking Eisenach. This UNESCO World Heritage site is where Martin Luther translated the New Testament from Greek into German in 1521/22. The castle also hosted the German student fraternities' festival in 1817. As the route continues, it visits remarkable reminders of the Middle Ages, including the Bastille in Weimar, Coburg Fortress, Castle Creuzburg in the Werra valley and the trio of castles at Drei Gleichen. Kapellendorf moated castle dates from the 12th century and is now a branch of Erfurt Municipal Museum, while the Castle of the Order of St. John in Kühndorf is the only one remaining in Germany. The ruins of mighty Kyffhausen Castle, once a 600-metre-long imperial stronghold near Bad Frankenhausen, lie in the eastern foothills of the Kyffhäuser hills. Leuchtenburg Castle is situated near Kahla, where the Wettin dynasty was once a significant power. In Liebstedt, the former castle of the Teutonic Order of Knights is Europe's last surviving example of a castle traversed by a thoroughfare, having been built on the 'copper road', an old long-distance trading and pilgrimage route. Runneburg Castle can be found in Weissensee.

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