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. The Reuss dynasty is the only ruling German royal house whose ancestors rose from the status of unfree knights in the Middle Ages and became reigning princes. We have the multiple Reuss principalities to thank for the variety of historical sights that are tightly packed along the route. Even today there are towns and villages in the area whose architecture is exceptional, and castles, palaces and museums provide fascinating insights into its historical roots. The route, which remains within the Thuringian Vogtland area for the whole of its length, passes places of cultural interest such as Mildenfurth Abbey, Osterburg Castle in Weida, the Upper Castle and the Lower Castle in Greiz, the Duden Museum and St. Mary's Church on the Hill in Schleiz, the Van der Velde villa and the magnificent art deco collection in Gera, and Burgk Castle. It also opens up a diverse and charming landscape: from the Thuringian Slate Mountains across hills and mountains and the deep river valleys of the Saale, the Wisenta, the Weida and the White Elster rivers, not to mention their reservoirs.