Thuringia

Regional Overview

A Fractured Land

Like the Saxons and the Bavarians, the Thuringians were among the original Germanic tribes. Unlike them, however, the Thuringian state collapsed in the 14th century and became part of Saxony. Over the following centuries, it would continuously split into ever smaller states, each with its own capital city and ruling family. Today, the legacy of the Saxon duchies means a landscape of castles and palaces.

Regional Identity

What to Lookout For

  • The “Imperial Cities” of the Thuringian Basin, even when not officially independent, were able assert tremendous cultural influence due to their wealth.
  • Thuringian Classicism as reflected by the legacy of Saxe-Weimar and the dominance of the Biedermeyer style in the region’s cities.
  • The capital cities of the Saxon Duchies, each with their own traditions and styles, e.g. Weimar, Coburg, Rudolstadt and etc.

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Justin Bunch | CityscapeTravel My suggested travel destinations with the top three destinations highlighted.

What is Thuringia?

There are two Thuringias, one refers to the ethnolinguistic region associated with the Thuringian tribe. This region was once rather large, but it encompassed a much different area than today. Originally focused on the Thuringian Basin near the ancient capital of Eisenach, it also included all of Northern Hessen. Today this relationship can still be seen in the coat of arms for the two states. With the collapse of the Thuringian state in the 14th century, Hessen went its own way, and the Saxon Wettin dynasty took control.

The second region refers to the more modern, but political region of Thuringia. The Wettin family would, over the course of several centuries, face various phases of unity and disunity, war and conflict. During this period the, capital of Electoral Saxony moved to Leipzig and the Saxon Thuringian holdings fell to a cadet branch, which splintered multiple times. Many of these smaller dynasties added new lands to the Saxon realm, including the largely Franconian bits of southern Thuringia. This is why the city of Coburg today belongs to the state of Bavaria, which voted to rejoin Franconia in the 1920s.

Hiking in the Region

Hike: The Gleichen Castles

Hike: The Gleichen Castles

The three Gleichen castles were the seat of the County Gleichen, in addition to fortresses belonging to the Abbot of Hersfeld and the Margraves of…

Hike: Views of the Wartburg Castle

Hike: Views of the Wartburg Castle

The Wartburg castle sits on an ancient road from Frankfurt to Erfurt. However, while the trade caravans would have traveled along the lowland route, a…

Hiking: Along the Iron Curtain

Hiking: Along the Iron Curtain

Germany has preserved several portions of the old Iron Curtain, which separated the country during the Cold War. For much of the old border, you…

Hiking: The Primeval Yew Forest

Hiking: The Primeval Yew Forest

This route takes you along a panorama tour through the edge of ancient Fuldaer Land. The monastery of Zella was a major administrative center for…

Hiking: Shiller’s Retreat

Hiking: Shiller’s Retreat

This hike offers an interesting panorama of central Germany. Along this route, you will visit the ruins Henneburg castle, a stronghold of the County of…

My Subjective Travel Rankings

To understand where the categories come from, see this article here.

8.8 / 10

The score is based on the following:

  • Accommodation: 8
  • Transportation: 10
  • Volume/Capacity: 10
  • Infrastructure: 8
  • Interactivity: 8

9 / 10

The score is based on the following:

  • Context: 8
  • Monuments: 10
  • Quality: 9

8 / 10

The score is based on the following:

  • Abstraction: 8
  • Tradition: 8

Navigation

Saxony

Saxony today is a diverse land focused on the families that emerged from the collapse of the Saxon tribal duchy in the early Middle Ages.

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