Culture. Nature, Tradition.
Our tips on intangible cultural heritage and UNESCO World Heritage in Thuringia
Here's a selection under the motto: What belongs together, comes together.
Surrounded by a sea of green, a man fights to maintain his balance. As calming as the colour might be, harvesting watercress from narrow wooden planks is hard work. For Ralf Fischer, harvest time is a balancing act and, depending on the season, part of his everyday business. When he enters his old watercress beds, he is like an acrobat on the slippery and wobbly planks. And it gets no better once he reaches his destination. Harvesting the plants peeking out of the water requires a sharp knife and plenty of practice as he inches along the planks on his knees. He leans over this green superfood for minutes on end filling up his small basket.
Schon vor Jahren hat man das Flößen auf der Saale als touristisches Highlight im Flößerort Uhlstädt wieder entdeckt. Alljährlich von Mai bis Oktober haben Gäste aus nah und fern die Möglichkeit, auf zwei verschieden langen Fahrtstrecken, von Kirchhasel bis Uhlstädt mit Touristenflößen die Saale hinunter zu fahren. Auf einem der schönsten landschaftlichen Abschnitte der Saale ist diese Fahrt ein Erlebnis für Jung und Alt. Auf einer Strecke von ca. 6 km geht es flussabwärts vorbei an der auf einem 40 m hohen Felssporn über der Saale märchenhaft thronenden Weißenburg und dem Ort Weißen. Hier kann ein Zwischenstopp mit Verpflegung eingelegt werden. Am Ziel angekommen, ist der Besuch des Flößereimuseums im Flößerort Uhlstädt, unmittelbar an der Floßanlegestelle gelegen, sehr empfehlenswert.
In the small village of Kaatschen, one timber-framed house follows another. The Saale river flows along one side, while on the other the hills are covered in vines. The entrance to the village is a glorious sight as you cross the Saale river on a stone bridge into the district of Grossheringen. This idyllic spot is home to the Zahn winegrowing estate, and behind its wooden gates lies the restaurant with its inviting terrace. Here, vines grow above the heads of the guests to create a natural green roof.
Since 1991, the Rhön has been a UNESCO biosphere reserve that extends across the borders of the states of Bavaria, Hesse and Thuringia. It is an ancient cultivated landscape of volcanic origins. The landscape is characterised by orchards, grassland, near-natural beech forests and unwooded mountaintops. In large calcareous low-nutrient meadows, the typical Rhön sheep graze and rare species of plants thrive . No wind turbines or power cables break through the landscape. At night, a natural darkness offers an unimpeded view of a sky full of stars.
A truly historical location: the legendary Luther Room at the mighty Wartburg Castle, which has towered majestically above the Thuringian town of Eisenach for nearly a thousand years and attracts almost half a million visitors every year. This is where Martin Luther produced his translation of the New Testament in only eleven weeks, while he was in hiding under the alias of Squire George after being arrested 500 years ago.
Where today orchids bloom and whinchats perform their courtship display, a border once divided Germany into East and West for decades. The former “death strip” has become a lifeline, an important retreat for endangered plants and animals. However a trip along the Green Belt is not a hike like any other.
The small towns along the Rennsteig Trail – Lauscha, Steinheid and Neuhaus – have always been closely associated with the art of glassblowing. Almost everyone who lived there used to have some connection with the glassblowing trade. Helmut Bartholmes’ family, which has been producing glass Christmas tree ornaments for five generations, is no exception. His story illustrates the importance and the value of this heritage, and shows how it is being preserved and passed on in the 21st century.