History condenses in some places. Some places have more stories to tell than others. Eisenach - located pretty much in the middle of Germany - is one such place: Three ways to approach the city on the edge of the Thuringian Forest:
You have not yet been to the Wartburg? Then let's go there: A visit to the UNESCO World Heritage Site is an absolute must. Martin Luther once translated the New Testament into German in what is perhaps the most German of all castles. And much more important things happened up there, here only briefly in keywords: The later Saint Elisabeth lived there in her younger years. And around the same time, there is said to have been a legendary singers' war at Wartburg Castle. This, in turn, inspired Richard Wagner to write his opera "Tannhäuser", which is still an integral part of the cultural program today. Later came Goethe, Liszt and the German fraternity, among others... And while you're at it, the permanent multimedia exhibition "Luther and the Bible" in the recently renovated Luther House also deserves your attention. And the Bach House, the world's largest exhibition about the composer, is also fun: There you can dive deep into the life and music of Johann Sebastian Bach, who spent part of his childhood in Eisenach. Among other things, there's a "walk-through music exhibit," 250 exhibits and small live concerts on period instruments.
Did you know that cars have been built in Eisenach for over 120 years? The "automobile welt eisenach" takes a look under the hood of Dixi and Wartburg and exhibits many classic cars. The museum in the O2 factory building from 1935 documents the automobile building tradition in Eisenach from 1898 with the Fahrzeugfabrik Eisenach AG, through the Dixi, BMW and Wartburg eras, to the present with Adam-Opel AG since 1991. From the middle of the 19th century, the city was also considered chic among retirees and wealthy vacationers because of its central location, culture and surrounding nature. The desire to settle here, at least during the summer months, led to the creation of one of the largest villa districts in Germany in the south of the city between 1862 and the First World War. A guided walk through the relevant streets is therefore exciting - you will be amazed at what the design will of the gentry has produced everything - Art Nouveau ornaments in all variations, wrought-iron garden gate art and impressive oriel variations await you.
Or are you more in the mood for an adventure? Just drift through the cozy alleys around the market, eat a snack somewhere outdoors on a nice summer evening, and perhaps plan a hiking tour in the nearby Thuringian Forest as an alternative to Wartburg Castle, museums, and villas. Wandering through the beautiful Drachenschlucht gorge south of Eisenach, for example, is an extraordinary experience: you'll be balancing over gratings, with the rushing stream under your feet. At its narrowest point, the gorge is only 70 centimeters wide. Eisenach also offers the opportunity to get acquainted with Germany's oldest long-distance hiking trail, the 170-kilometer Rennsteig. The trail starts in the Eisenach district of Hörschel, the official beginning of the Rennsteig. You can start with a trial tour - and return to the cozy town of Eisenach in the evening.
Cover photo: Also a Wartburg: This sky-blue one is in the automobile welt eisenach © Thamm/filmwild/s.stolz
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