Incomparable architectural and cultural diversity, jewels of historic towns, a fantastic number of castles and palaces, varied landscapes and a very good cuisine – Thuringia has all this to offer.
Although the holiday venue at the heart of Germany is one of the country’s smaller states, only a few names need to be mentioned to recognise its true greatness, such as the Wartburg Castle UNESCO World Heritage Site, the Classicist town of Weimar with its 16 UNESCO sites, cities like Erfurt, Eisenach and Jena or the Rennsteig Trail, Germany’s longest and oldest hiking route.
Thuringia is one of the centres of European cultural and intellectual history, closely associated with the work of great and clever minds. Bach, Goethe, Schiller, Liszt, Cranach, Dix, Feininger, Gropius, Fröbel, Nietzsche, Zeiss and many others have left their mark here and lend the state its distinctive character up to the present day. There are also numerous monasteries and churches which bear authentic witness to Martin Luther, the Great Reformer, and his work. He studied and lived as a monk in Erfurt, preached i.e. in Schmalkalden and last but not least translated the New Testament into German at Wartburg Castle Eisenach. Thuringia will be a central venue for the 500th anniversary of the Reformation in 2017.
Cultural diversity set in beautiful surroundings – this is what Thuringia represents. A total of 16,000 kilometres of well-developed hiking trails and 1,700 kilometres of long-distance cycle trails make it a paradise for hikers and cyclists.
Natural remedies, such as brine, healing mud, minerals and a beneficial climate, have for centuries provided an ideal environment for health and spa treatment at the Thuringian health resorts and spas.
The culinary highlights must always include the EU protected Thuringian grilled sausage (“Rostbratwurst”) and the Thuringian potato dumpling. And what would Christmas be without coloured glass Christmas tree baubles, which were invented in Thuringia?
Thüringer Tourismus GmbH
Willy-Brandt-Platz 1, 99084 Erfurt
Telefon: +49 (0) 3 61 / 37 42 0
Telefax: +49 (0) 3 61 / 37 42 299
Erfurt, the 1,270-year-old capital of the Thuringia region, is located in the heart of Germany. Its heritage-listed old quarter is one of the largest in the country and contains an abundance of medieval houses, churches and abbeys, as well as the splendid ensemble of Erfurt Cathedral St Mary and the Church of St. Severus. At 120 metres, the Merchants' Bridge is the longest bridge in Europe with houses along its entire span. Petersberg Citadel is the only extensively preserved baroque town fortress in central Europe, and towers over the old quarter. The oldest fully intact synagogue in Central Europe and the Erfurt Treasure were recently rediscovered in the city, and an application has been made for them to be given UNESCO World Heritage status. Granted its charter in 1379, Erfurt University is the oldest university in modern-day Germany.
As the economic, cultural and political centre of Thuringia, Erfurt has always attracted great individuals, including the church reformer Martin Luther, the poets Goethe and Schiller, the Bach family and even Napoleon. Among the buildings associated with these figures are the Augustinian Monastery and the Imperial Hall. Erfurt opera house is one of the most modern concert halls in Europe and one of the city's most spectacular new buildings. Traditional cultural events in Erfurt include the Cathedral Steps open-air theatre festival, the Merchants' Bridge medieval festival and the 170-year-old Christmas market – one of the prettiest in Germany, set against the delightful backdrop of the Cathedral and the Church of St. Severus. Erfurt also enjoys international fame as a city of horticulture, thanks to egapark, and of trade fairs, thanks to the Messe Erfurt exhibition centre. It is also a leading destination for barrier-free tourism.
Goethe and Schiller, Bach and Liszt, Bauhaus and Buchenwald – that is Weimar. A small residence town in the middle of Europe. From this place, ideas and artworks took their path into the world. The fascination of this pretty city captured many great spirits who dreamed of an arcadia for humanity but were unable to prevent totalitarian horror.
Goethe is still the most important name on the long list of famous Weimar figures that founded Weimar’s international reputation. Johann Sebastian Bach, Friedrich Schiller, Franz Liszt and the Bauhaus Masters – they all wrote important chapters in history. The places where they lived and worked in Weimar give a great impression of the cultural city’s cosmopolitan flair. The UNESCO awarded Weimar’s poets’ homes as well as the parks and palaces the title of world heritage. The Bauhaus is also eternalised in this world-memory, so that altogether there are 16 ensembles in Weimar alone that have earned this title. Millions of visitors come to Weimar year after year in order to discover them.
Weimar’s reputation is also forged by the gruesome events of National Socialism: The memory of these crimes is preserved at the former concentration camp of Buchenwald. But these traces are not only found on Ettersberg hill, located only ten kilometres from town. Special tours within Weimar’s city limits explain the town’s importance during the national socialist’s regime that put an end to the democratic boom of the Weimar Republic, which had ratified its constitution in Weimar only 15 years before.
In spite of the abundance of sights, Weimar’s guests are not only found on their way to and from the museums. Many of them enjoy the charm of the small town with its many cafés, cosy bars and chic restaurants topped off by a well-filled calendar of events.