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I visited Ohrdruf on a Monday and was very pleased that I could get a guided tour through one of the main attractions on this day - the "Tobiashammer".
Even the castle "Ehrenstein" was open.
If Elizabeth, my wife would not have left already for Canada, she certainly would have visited the castle while I spend hours in the technical museum which was even for me as an engineer an eye opener about the industrial capabilities of our ancestors. Please check our special web site which is not intended to replace an actual visit. We only show you what to expect.
Ohrdruf has only a population of about 6000.
You will not miss the sign which directs you to the museum
It is assumed that Ohrdruf dates back to the year 725 when Saint Bonifatius came to Thuringia to keep the Christianization alive. For Rome the mission in this area was already completed. That was wrong because many none Christian customs found their way back. Bonifatius became later in 747 Bishop of Mainz. He died as a martyr. Please check the Internet for more available details of the life and work of Saint Bonifatius.
Already in 1348 Ohrdruf became a town. For protection of the town a defense system was started in 1576. It consisted of a town wall with mighty gates and trenches. Unfortunately the town gates have been torn down but the town wall can still be seen.
Getting ready for an event at the castle
Elizabeth certainly would have loved to visit this renaissance castle. It was built between 1550 and 1570 and was the residence of nobles.
Some major alterations took place in 1760.
Today it hosts in a part of the building a museum with interesting exhibitions about the history of local trades and Johann Sebastian Bach. Thuringia was always famous for toys and you will find many information about this once booming business.
Reserve about half a day if you do not want to have stressful vacations.
As is already said "Schloss Ehrenstein is open Mondays - but unfortunately closed Saturdays and Sundays.
The "Kupferschloss" is now dedicated to youth education. It is located in a former military training area. I was told the castle was built in the last century by a rich entrepreneur. I will do more research during my next visit which I will dedicate mostly to the "secrets of the Jonastal".
The "St. Michaelis" church
Between 1412 and 1434 the "Michaeliskirche" was erected at the place where Saint Bonifatius began his missionary work.
The church lasted until 1945 when it was destroyed by a senseless bomb raid. Only in 1999 the tower of the church was rebuilt according to old plans.
However, the time before WWII was also not always pleasant for Ohrdruf.
The Thirty Years' War brought lots of misery including the plague. Over half of the population was killed.
Several fires over the period of time caused also harm and damage.
The plaque is not forgotten - even when some of the actors are smiling for the picture
When traveling through Thuringia you will find in many places traces of "famous Germans". Johann Sebastian Bach is one of them. Ohrdruf was for over one hundred years the home town of Christoph Bach and his descendants. For five years the town was also the domicile of Johann Sebastian Bach. Certainly you can get more detailed information if you spend some time in the museum which is part off castle "Ehrenstein".
In 2006 I came back to Ohrdruf. The reason was to make the first contacts with somebody who is involved in the association who does serious research about the "Jonastal".
Too many speculations and false stories about the activities of the Nazis in this area have been published.
For that reason the myth about hidden treasures, Hitler's nuclear bomb and many secret weapons are spreading.
Treasure hunters break into heavy sealed tunnels which had been built in the last years of WWII by slave workers from concentration camps. Many lost their lives.
The "Jonastalverein" is doing serious research to find the truth and stop the speculations. But it is a fact that many people lost their live for the weapon production in underground tunnels.
Please do not blame the people from Ohrdruf for all that. Everybody lived under a merciless dictatorship. Nobody was save!
I think this is a good task and it is a shame when we know more about the Egyptian pharaohs than about our latest history. A problem is not to support and attract by all these activities the so called Neo Nazis which are much more present in former East Germany than in the western part of this country.
Castle "Ehrenstein" seen from the rear
I don't think that the activities of the right wing party are so attractive - I believe that the other established parties do not reach the people and convince them from what has been achieved after the fall of the wall and accuse falsely many people to be Neonazis only because they also point out war crimes against Germany. We all should commit our wrong doings to create a better and more peaceful world! Naturally, the law shall be enforced against everybody who preaches hatred or is violent. No excuses must be accepted!
I wanted to combine the meeting with the association with another event on "Schloss Ehrenstein". Unfortunately, this event did not take place on Saturday when I came it was planned for Sunday. I only could see the preparations for it.
Watch the video "Tobiashammer bei Ohrdruf ":
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Watch the slide show "Heinrichser Maifest in Suhl, Thuringia, Thüringen ":