Where is the real German heartland?

Thuringia - a heartland of the Reformation

by Ursula A. Kolbe

When Thuringia's Prime Minister Bodo Ramelow met participants of the TourismusDialog.Berlin for a fireside chat in the Berlin Representation of the Free State on the subject of travel in history, culture and nature, he provided them with some information material in the course of the conversation with a view to the 500th anniversary of the Reformation in 2017 especially in Thuringia.

Here in the heart of the Reformation, there are interesting points of contact that attract cultural tourists from near and far. In the foreword of the brochure "Memory of the Reformation / Luther's Early Writings: World Document Heritage in Thuringia", the Prime Minister writes that the works of the reformer Luther left traces in so many places in Thuringia and are now part of human memory.

"At the same time, with the inclusion of Luther's writings in the world document heritage, the Free State of Thuringia is not only presenting itself as one of the core countries of the Reformation in Europe, but especially in the field of the written tradition of our cultural heritage as a 'memory of the Reformation'".
In his government declaration as Prime Minister in December 2014, Bodo Ramelow described Thuringia as the green heart of Germany. Now it should also be the "colorful heart".

At that time he could not have known how topical this was today. Thuringia, in the middle of Germany, can only prosper in Europe if it is open to the world and does not allow racism and hatred to grow. “We need more bridges, not walls,” he would have said, among other things. also expressed at his Pope audience in the Vatican.
It was a pleasure to listen to Bodo Ramelow, an eloquent speaker who impressed with his knowledge of history and his knowledge of the state of Thuringia “as a newcomer”.

He put three names in front: Martin Luther, Johann Sebastian Bach, Lucas Cranach. As Junker Jörg on the Wartburg, Luther translated the New Testament into German. In doing so, he laid the foundation for a uniform German language. Bach set Luther's Reformation thoughts and ideas to music. His oratorios, cantatas and chorales introduced new tones into the music world. And Cranach the Elder Ä. gave the world of images a new form with his painting.

"In the beginning was the Word."

Everyone knows this quote from the Bible. Words from the Gospel of John in the New Testament that are understood worldwide. They are the motto of the Reformation Decade "Luther 2017", which began in 2008 and will lead to the celebrations of "500 Years of the Reformation" next year.

The beginning of the Reformation, which spread across Europe, was marked by Martin Luther's 95 theses against indulgences, which he brought to the public with his attack on the Wittenberg Castle Church on October 31, 1517. In July 2011, the Bundestag unanimously stated that this anniversary was a world-class ecclesiastical and cultural-historical event.

Yes, an event of socio-political and economic relevance, with a view to the development of new resources and potential, research and educational tasks as well as cultural and tourist attractions. Which the Prime Minister moved into focus during the conversation with regard to today.

Even the exterior of the above-mentioned carrier bag with the imprint "Free State of Thuringia - Here has a tradition of the future" arouses curiosity. Headlines such as “The Brooklyn Bridge was designed by the Thuringian architect Johann Röbling”; "The Fraunhofer Institute Jena developed a camera that takes three-dimensional images"; “The engines of the A 380 are serviced exclusively by N3 in Arnstadt in Europe”; "Thuringia offers relaxation in intact nature - in the middle of Germany".

Insider tips on the doorstep

At this year's Berlin International Tourism Exchange, Thuringian Tourismus GmbH presented the way and work of Luther in an interactive and multimedia way and presented their current focus. So the Thuringian state exhibition “The Ernestiner. A dynasty shapes Europe ”(until August 28).

The focus is on the once glorious and fascinating ruling dynasty in Weimar and Gotha. With top-class exhibits from more than four centuries of Thuringian and European cultural history. The motto of the theme year 2016 is “This is my nature” with the diversity of the national natural landscapes.

Thuringia is becoming more and more attractive as a land of diversity, cultural treasures and natural beauties. Whether the state capital Erfurt, medieval Eisenach, the baroque royal seat of Gotha or the classical and modern architecture in Weimar - these historical places are lined up like pearls on a chain.

Names such as Wieland, Cranach, Herder, Dix, Feininger and Gropius have given the country its unmistakable identity to this day. Goethe's Faust, Schiller's famous ballads and Bach's Toccata in D minor made the country famous. And: The love for Thuringia also goes through the stomach here - real Thuringian dumplings, real bratwurst, idyllic beer gardens, top restaurants.

The once so numerous Thuringian principalities produced residences with splendid palaces and fortified castles. Then as now, it was a magnet for visitors from all over the world. Their enormous density is almost unmatched in Europe.

It has long been an integral part of the picture today, active relaxation on a bike or on shoemaker's pony. Over 19,000 km of hiking trails and more than 1,700 km of long-distance cycle paths await extensive exploration.

Whether along the 168 km long famous Rennsteig, on the plateaus of the slate mountains or through the numerous romantic, enchanted river valleys. On the way from the Werra near Hörschel to the Saale near Blankenstein, historical, geological and botanical experiences are waiting to be explored.

Not to forget the over 1,000 km long Luther Trail through Thuringia, Saxony-Anhalt, Saxony, Hesse and Bavaria. Which hike is right for me here? Experience what, spend the night where? “Luther to go” is the perfect platform for planning and getting information on site. With maps, tours, sights, accommodations, events, weather and more. Also as an app! lutherland-thueringen.de

The eight National Natural Landscapes take up around a third of the country's area. The Hainich National Park, the "primeval forest in the middle of Germany", offers a special visitor attraction with its adventurous treetop path at a height of 44 meters.

Many discounts with the ThüringenCard

For explorers of Thuringia, the Thuringia Card is worthwhile, with which visitors receive free entry to over 200 excursion destinations and sights. New: Free travel by bus and train in (almost) all of Thuringia as a 24-hour card, 3-day and 6-day card, thueringencard.info.
The ThüringenCard is so far the only electronic guest card for an entire federal state.

Available at the Thuringia Tourist Information on Tel .: 0361/37420 or at the office at Willy-Brandt-Platz in Erfurt, from almost all of the service providers involved and from many tourist information centers in Thuringia.
Email: [email protected]; www.thueringen-enthaben.de; lutherland-thueringen-de; luther2017.de
Thuringia invites you, or as Goethe asked briefly: "Where else in Germany can you find so much good in such a small spot?"