If towns had celebrity status, Eisenach would be on top of that list. Once home to great historical figures such as St. Elizabeth of Hungary, Martin Luther, and Johann Sebastian Bach, this Thuringian capital seems to produce world-movers and shakers. But don’t be intimidated by its impressive history. The town is charming as it is grand, mixing great fortresses with small cobble-stoned streets, gothic buildings with colorful market squares, historic tours with outdoor activities.
Location: The Urban Center of Thuringia
The historical significance of Eisenach goes way back to the Middle Ages. This town in Thuringia, Germany, has been the urban center of Western Thuringia ever since it was made the state’s capital in the 12th century. Located west of Erfurt, southeast of Kassel and northeast of Frankfurt, it was once the seat of the Thuringian Landgraves until 1440.
Business: The Town that Cars Built
Bordered by the Thuringian Forest in the south, the Hainich Mountains in the north, and surrounded by three major towns, Eisenach has always been prime location in terms of trade and industry. The then booming merchant town has now evolved into one of the strongest economic bases in Thuringia. Its main industry is car production. Companies like Automobilwerk Eisenach, BMW, Opel, and Bosch have made the city home as far back as 1896.
Culture: In Eisenach, There is Something for Everyone
Though Eisenach is known for its great history, this charming German town is not only for the history buff. If you love cars, head to the Automobile Welt Eisenach, a museum where you can see exhibits of cars from the late 1800s to today. Into music? Step in to the Bachhaus, the home of legendary musician Johann Sebastian Bach. If you are the active type, the Aquaplex offers outdoor swimming pools.
Activities: Wartburg Castle is the Place to go!
The most popular tourist attraction in Eisenach is, hands down, the Wartburg Castle. Built in 1067, this massive fortress was the home of the Thuringian Landgraves until 1440. In 1999, the castle was listed as a UNESCO World Heritage site. So what makes it so special? Besides its imposing location on a top of a hill bordering the Thuringian Forest, it is also the best-preserved Romanesque buildings north of the Alps. The Wartburg was also home to St. Elizabeth of Hungary from 1211-1228, as well as the escape to which Martin Luther fled after exile. It is also where he translated the Bible from Greek to German. Today, you can tour around Wartburg Castle on the back of a donkey, watch an opera in its concert hall, or book a hotel room right next to it. Talk about a royal experience!