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The castle "Bertholdsburg" which dominates Schleusingen is one of the major attractions of the Hildburghausen Region. It was erected in medieval times between 1223 and 1232.
I had no problem finding a free parking spot very close to the entrance and compared to the "Wartburg", no mountain climbing was necessary.
The picture on the right side was not taken by me. I did not have the time and money to wait for a weather change. But the castle always looks great - even when it is raining or snowing. I can confirm that!
The medieval castle "Bertholdsburg" is conveniently located in downtown Schleusingen
The castle got its name from Earl Bertold VII von Henneberg. His successors made many changes in order to suit their needs.
Finally, after WW II, the castle little by little became an attraction for the public. Hard work from many volunteers was needed to accomplish this task.
Also an attraction in winter
Today, the castle represents its condition in around 1550.
I visited it twice during my trip in January 2004 and I could not see many other visitors then. This certainly will change in high season or on weekends.
The castle is not only an attraction by itself. It is also a museum and it hosts several exhibitions.
The most attractive one is certainly the part which is called "the Museum of Natural History" which was established in 1984. It includes many collections and displays.
Whoever is interested in the geological and biological history of our earth, and especially of this region, should reserve enough time just for a visit of this section. Don't hesitate to come when you have your children with you. I am sure they will enjoy the scenes of dinosaurs and other creatures who dominated life on earth many, many years ago.
Experience together with them a journey through 300 million years of the past. Learn how lakes, rivers, forests and swamps changed over the years.
You also can spend days in the speciality libraries which contain many books printed centuries ago.
Thuringia is so rich on hidden treasures. We can only give you a little overview. Our web site can never replace an actual visit. There is always something to do and to see and you do not have to depend on perfect weather conditions.
I enjoyed my trip in the "nasty" season.
Easy access compared to most other castles
Imagine to see the surroundings in summer! But bad weather and low temperatures are no excuse for not spending hours in the castle and browsing through all the exhibitions.
Unfortunately, all explanations are written only in German. I already, pointed out that this must be changed, and at least English text should be added. I hope that my advise is being considered by the responsible people. I believe that visitors from all over the world will enjoy the "Bertholdsburg".
The museum also organizes interesting events all year long. They include special guided tours, presentations, concerts and special exhibitions. If you are interested, please use the above contact information. Please use preferably e-mail or fax, because not everybody who picks up the phone speaks English.
You can easily spend a whole day in the museum, but plan at least a few hours for the visit.
Because it is an old building, use the washrooms close to the entrance before you start your tour. There are none on the upper floors, not even those which were used in medieval times.
The picture below is from a temporary exhibition in which local children were allowed to show their artwork.
Paintings and sculptures from local children
I think this is a much better way than the graffiti which you find everywhere and which is, in most cases, nothing more than damage of property.
However, the German government is obviously not able to recognize this fact and is discussing the creation of a new law to do something about this. So far, these discussions are nothing more than a lousy excuse for not achieving anything.
The permanent exhibitions in the Bertholdsburg are:
Minerals - fascination in form and colors. Minerals and precious stones mainly found during the mining activities in Thuringia.
300 million years Thuringia. A time travel through prehistoric landscapes with ferns, dinosaurs, sharks and much more.
History of the Noble House of Henneberg in Schleusingen. Details about live and trade in a small town. Information about medieval paper making and book printing.
Lookout tower. Allows a great view. Was closed during my visit.
There is so much to see, and the idea of the self-guided tours where everything is explained on boards is great - as long as you understand German.
But even without that, the visual impressions are unforgettable. It is amazing to see how the landscape and climate changed over millions of years, and I believe it is still changing.
I saw animals which were completely unknown to me. Have you ever heard about giant centipedes which were around 2.5 meter (over 8 feet) long?
This section alone is worth a visit.
A boar, they are still living in the forests
You must visit the museum yourself. We do not want to replace the excitement of an actual tour with all these treasures with our web site.
If you have children with you, explain to them what you see and eventually they become interested.
Check for some brochures in English and take many pictures - but get the permission first! Every museum needs funding badly.
There is even the replica of a prehistoric forest
Forests like that existed about 300 million years ago in the area of today's Thuringia.
They were located at shallow lakes and bogs.
Some of those trees reached a height of 30 meters or 100 feet. All these trees and the other plants were the basis for hard coal.
Hard coal was mined in certain areas of Thuringia between the middle of the 18th century until the end of WWII.
Naturally the museum displays also many fossils.
You can see minerals and crystals found in Thuringia. The museum has an extensive collection and many helpful information - but only in German. A self guided tour with English information would certainly help to attract an international clientele.
The proposed idea to do that with fancy hotels and higher prices may not work. Thuringia is still not known too well at all.
I had spent 2 days in this great museum. There is so much to discover and even children would be excited to see all the animals.
It is a shame that the state of Thuringia misses to promote all this cultural treasures. This can be done without spending a fortune!
I wish the people who do all the terrible advertising in Germany using a sometimes strange English, would volunteer to translate all these great explanations instead of destroying the German language and insulting ours!!
We had visited the ":Johnson Geo Centre" in St. John's in Newfoundland. Whoever liked that, should also come to the Bertholdsburg in Schleusingen, Thuringia. Both places are great and unique.
For many years mining was big business in Thuringia. It started in medieval times and ended when it was not any longer economical to do. You will be reminded in many places of Thuringia to this time. The museum gives you an excellent overview about these activities and displays many samples of goods made out of precious metals.
Some kind of different "mining" was done during WWII in the "Jonastal". Huge assembly plants for hight tech weapons were built underground into mountains. I want to explore that during my next visit.
An important section of the museum is the part which shows many details about the live and the work in the past. An essential part is dedicated to the paper and printing industry.
Lots of printing equipment is shown
Book printing started in Schleusingen already in 1555. Beneficial was the availability of paper through local paper mills and the central location of the town.
Learn how water signs were made. The paper mills used them often as a sign for quality and to make it easy to identify their products.
Learn about the rebellion which stated end of the 15th century. Many farmers lived like slaves and obviously the Catholic church supported such a system at this time.
Civil war was the answer. Martin Luther initiated the reformation. It was the time of big changes and an almost endless war to come.
An old print from 1608
A newer print from 1910
Numerous printed samples can be found in the museum. I was really proud of myself when I was able to read and understand old prints which dated back hundreds of years.
Study the process of paper making and printing and compare it with the results.
It was the beginning of a new age. I believe that the translation of the New Testament by Martin Luther in simple German and the new printing industry had an big influence on the future of Germany.
You have three guesses to find out for what that device was used.
Just keep your eyes open, don't rush through the museum and you will discover many things which you can take home as pictures or on a video. You can surprise your friends by showing them something which they never have seen before - not even on TV.
Much work by many people was invested into the museum in the "Bertholdsburg" in Schleusingen to show you something about Thuringia that you should honor it by spending an adequate time here.
Don't forget to walk through today's Schleusingen. See how renovations of the old town are still going on. Not everything has been done yet.
Check the restaurants and please be not afraid to try some of the delicious Thuringian specialities - you will not find them at home.
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The Bertholdsburg in Schleusingen host of an interesting museum, Thuringia
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