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Travel guide for Thuringia, Germany

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Thuringia, Germany
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A visit to the Wartburg in Eisenach, Thuringia, Germany

One of the major attractions of Thuringia and especially of Eisenach is the "Wartburg", a medieval castle.
Please plan sufficient time for a visit when you come during the summer. Thousands of people want to join a tour and you may have to wait for approximately 1 1/1 hours.
Guided tours in English are available during the high season. Please ask for details.

Wartburg Foundation, at the Wartburg
99817 Eisenach
Phone: 011 49 36 91 25 00
Fax: 011 49 36 91 20 33 42

Information and Ticket Reservations:
Wartburg Information Centre
Schlossberg 2
99817 Eisenach
Phone: 011 49 36 91 770 72 or
011 49 36 770 73
Fax: 011 49 36 91 770 72

The Wartburg, Eisenach, Thuringia, tourism, travel guide
The "Wartburg" a landmark not only for Eisenach

I arrived on a cold winter day in Eisenach. When I entered the city I saw many parking lots for visitors. Signs said that a shuttle service is provided.
Because most of these parking lots were deserted I kept driving. Please be aware driving through the narrow cobble stone streets of the medieval town is an adventure. Fortunately a speed limit of 30 km/h applies in most of them.
Despite that, I had impatient local drivers behind me when I tried to figure out my way or to find a parking spot for lunch in front of a restaurant.
Not finding a convenient parking spot, I canceled lunch and followed the signs to the Wartburg. Climbing up the mountain with my little yellow Opel (GM) I ended at a parking lot.
I was told that it will take me about an other 15 minuted to walk to the castle and that on request a shuttle service can be provided. I recommend that to elderly people or people who have walking problems. Otherwise they me be too exhausted to participate the guided tour through the castle.
Slowly, I made it to the top and the castle. I was proud of myself because I already had skipped lunch and now did a healthy exercise instead.
I was excited and looked forward to visit the castle where Martin Luther translated the New Testament into German and where he got mad with the devil and threw a glass full of ink at him.

The Wartburg, Eisenach, Thuringia, tourism, travel guide
This transportation was not offered during my first visit in January!

I purchased my ticket and a permission to take pictures and lined up to join a guided tour. Only one woman was waiting with me. Finally, a few people left the "entrance" and we were told that we have to use "entrance #2". Naturally, I told the person that they should provide this information on the ticket - but I have little hope that the suggestion will be passed on.
I forgot my anger immediately after our guide greeted us. Now wew were a large group. I hope he does also guide tours in the English language. He never became boring and caught the attention of everybody. Many people, including myself, gave him a tip at the end of the tour for his excellent presentation of the Wartburg.
With our web site, we do not want to replace an actual visit to the Wartburg - we want to show you what to expect and to convince you that you should not miss to spend half a day here.

The Wartburg, Eisenach, Thuringia, tourism, travel guide
You can stay in this hotel

The Wartburg, Eisenach, Thuringia, tourism, travel guide
Don't miss the outside of thr castle

The Wartburg, Eisenach, Thuringia, tourism, travel guide
Even in January Thuringia is an attraction for sightseeing

The Wartburg, Eisenach, Thuringia, tourism, travel guide

I am not interested any longer in winter sport, but I gladly confirm that Thuringia is worth to be visited in any season.
Almost all attractions are open and I was every day active experiencing something new.
I always was on a budget and stayed most of the time at my son. If i was traveling I preferred B&B which is called here a "Pension" or in a "Gasthaus". A "Gasthaus" is normally preferred by local people to enjoy good home cooked food. They all serve alcohol and offer also accommodation for much less money than the well known international chain hotels.
If you are not shy get in contact with other guests if the language barrier is not preventing this. That is much more exciting than watching TV! Elizabeth did this all the time in Germany.
Elizabeth had always lots of fun doing this when traveling in Germany and Austria. We even got invited several times into the homes from people we had met.

The Wartburg, Eisenach, Thuringia, tourism, travel guide

The Wartburg, Eisenach, Thuringia, tourism, travel guide

The tour started in the basement of the castle.
The founders of the castle which dates back to around 1067 were shown on replicas of grave slabs. At first it was only a wooden fortification which was built by count "Ludwig the Springer".

The Wartburg, Eisenach, Thuringia, tourism, travel guide
In the basement the founders of the castle are shown

On the left the original foundrt on his right side his successor. This castle was not good enough for the successor. He started to rebuilt the castle with solid stone.
Our guide told us many details in a very humorous way and caught the attention of our complete group. He also knew answers to all the questions.
It was a pleasure to follow his detailed explanations in the following rooms where we learned many details about the politics and living conditions of the inhabitants of the castle which have never been attacked by anybody.

The Wartburg, Eisenach, Thuringia, tourism, travel guide
Get the permission to catch everything on a video

A special highlight was the visit of a room which was dedicated to the holy Elizabeth. I do not want to tell you the complete story - you should experience that by yourself and my picture of the glass mosaic can only give you a little impression of what you have to expect.
This mosaic in this room has been added at the beginning of last century.
The marriage of Elizabeth was planned when she was four years old. The picture on the right shows the two children in a cradle.
Soon after her marriage at the age of 14 Elizabeth cared about the poor and the sick. She is considered to be the founder of hospitals. Naturally, not all family members supported these activities.
I recommend that you use a hand held camera (tripods are not allowed) to record the complete sad story. You can also check the souvenir shop for written material. It is a story for a movie without happy end.
We had also visited the so called "Knight's Hall". It was very comfortable for its time because it could be heated and had adjacent washrooms. I believe they were indoor variants of an outhouses. In this room the knights spend most of their time.

The Wartburg, Eisenach, Thuringia, tourism, travel guide
You must climb these stairs to the upper floor

A room which could have been a dining hall has a wooden ceiling which dates back to the 12th century.
Check for details such as stone ornaments, pillars etc.

The Wartburg, Eisenach, Thuringia, tourism, travel guide

Most of the rooms did not contain any furnishing. I believe this is done on purpose, because our small tour group needed already most of the available space.
Please be prepared for lots of walking and standing.
The Wartburg contains also a chapel which was added around 1320. We were told that the original one was located opposite to the castle and burnt down.
This chapel is still used for services by both confessions - Catholic and Lutheran. The Catholic services are mostly dedicated to Saint Elizabeth while the Protestants do it in memory of Martin Luther and all his doing.
During the summer months occasionally organ concerts take place here. If you are interested, please use the contact information which we have provided - but please do not ask us. We are not a travel agency and we do not have the actual information available.
The wall paintings in the chapel date also back to the time when it was added to the castle.
On your way through the castle you will find many more reminders to Saint Elizabeth and Martin Luther.

The Wartburg, Eisenach, Thuringia, tourism, travel guide

Entertainment is not a new invention. There was always a need for it. Especially by the nobles. Story tellers and singers, minstrels, made their tours through the country.
Some of them are still known today, but mostly only by name and not by their art. This may change because medieval music is gaining slowly on popularity.
The legend of the so called "Sängerkrieg" (Contest of Minstrels) inspired Richard Wagner to his opera "Tannhäuser". A large mural, created by Moritz von Schwind is the attraction in the "Hall of Minstrels".

The Wartburg, Eisenach, Thuringia, tourism, travel guide
The "Contest of the Minstrels" - sorry for the poor quality of this image

If you are interested and lucky you may be able to get tickets for the opera "Tannhäuser" from Richard Wagner which will be performed in the "Banquet Halls" of the Wartburg occasionally.
I do not want to tell you the interesting story about the "Contest of the Minstrels". You should visit the Wartburg to learn more about it.
I did not realize how fast the time went. I could have spent much more time, but obviously our guide had to stick to a given time schedule and I had to follow the crowd.
I was impressed by many details. The rich people of the past also knew what makes life nice and comfortable.

The Wartburg, Eisenach, Thuringia, tourism, travel guide
Without any doubt, a nice place to study

The so called "Banquet Hall" is very impressive. But it was also very cold, because it can not be heated. We were also not allowed to enter it.
It inspired the famous ferry tale king "Ludwig II" from Bavaria to copy it when he build "Neuschwanstein".
Because of the excellent acoustic this hall is used during the summer months for concerts and other high class events.
On October 18, 1817 this hall was the assembly point of around 500 students to celebrate the 300 th anniversary of the Reformation and the 4 th anniversary of the defeat of Napoleon;s army near Leipzig. During this event they demanded one united German state with democratic rights. Their flag showed the colors black-red-yellow which are still used today.
In December of 1999, the Wartburg was placed on the UNESCO World Cultural Heritage list.

The Wartburg, Eisenach, Thuringia, tourism, travel guide
An impressive, historical hall which is stilled used toady

I was not the only one who was asking: "Where is the famous "Lutherstube" which means we were asking to see the room where Martin Luther translated the New Testament into German and had his encounter with the devil.
The legend says that he fired a glass full of ink against the devil and that the marks can still be seen on the wall. It is a legend. The dark spots found on the wall turned out to be caused by the smoke of the stove. They have been "touched up" several times over the years because collectors took pieces out of the wall.
However, Martin Luther was really fighting the devil with ink. He did it with the written word and not by throwing a glass full of ink.
Luther's translation of the New Testament into simple German together with the new book printing technology created by Gutenberg was obviously also a major step towards one common German language.

The Wartburg, Eisenach, Thuringia, tourism, travel guide
Martin Luther's famous work room (Lutherstube)

Our Visit to The Castle Wartburg In Eisenach Thuringia English Video

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Watch the slideshow: Eisenach impressions, Impressionen

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Watch the slideshow: Wartburgkreis impressions Impressionen

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