Martin Luther spent his teenage years in Eisenach.
{Photograph}: Tais Policanti/Getty Photographs
Thuringia is the cultural coronary heart of Germany, a spot of inspiration for world-famous artists, writers, musicians and intellectuals. Remarkably, a lot of Thuringia’s cobbled streets and outdated stone structure has barely modified because the time of Bach et al, so in addition to touring the numerous museums devoted to those well-known inventive and mental figures, you could have the chance to actually stroll of their footsteps. Begin proper right here …

Arnstadt boasts the church organ that Bach performed. {Photograph}: anyaivanova/Getty Photographs/iStockphoto
Johann Sebastian Bach: baroque delivered to lifeGermany’s best baroque composer was a jobbing musician all through his life, and Thuringia is filled with traces of his industrious profession. Bach was an organist at Arnstadt, however his legacy is well known on the annual Thuringian Bach Pageant in spring, and Eisenach (the place he was born, in 1685) boasts the world’s largest Bach museum. Housed in a splendid medieval constructing, the Bach Home is dedicated to the Bach dynasty – not solely Johann Sebastian, but additionally his quite a few musical kinfolk. The home is filled with artefacts from Bach’s life and occasions, and every go to features a quick live performance, performed on unique baroque-period devices. For those who’re a fan of classical music, you’ll additionally wish to go to the Liszt Home in close by Weimar, the place the good Hungarian composer Franz Liszt lived and labored.
Martin Luther: the daddy of ReformationLuther spent his teenage years in Thuringia, first as a schoolboy in Eisenach, after which as a scholar on the College of Erfurt, graduating with an MA from its school of arts. Whereas he was a scholar, Luther lived in Erfurt’s Augustinian Monastery (open to guests – you may even keep the night time). Nevertheless, probably the most spectacular Luther web site is Wartburg Fort, close to Eisenach, the place Luther hid, in disguise, from 1521 to 1522, and translated the New Testomony into German – cementing the Reformation and establishing German as a nationwide language. You’ll be able to go to the room the place Luther wrote his meisterwerk, the place there was once an ink stain on the wall – now not seen – supposedly made when Luther threw an inkpot on the satan, who was making an attempt to distract him.
Johann Wolfgang von Goethe: the grasp of all tradesIt’s onerous to overstate fairly how necessary Goethe is to German tradition. Poet, playwright, novelist, thinker and scientist, his genius encompassed nearly each avenue of German mental life. Born in Frankfurt in 1749, he got here to Thuringia as a younger man, contemporary from the success of his sensational first novel, The Sorrows of Younger Werther, and frolicked in Erfurt, Jena and Gotha, earlier than settling in Weimar. The baroque home, the place he lived for 50 years, till his demise in 1832, is now the Goethe Nationwide Museum. There are many different websites related to Goethe throughout Thuringia, from the Liebhabertheatre in Kochberg Fort to the Botanical Backyard in Jena.

Goethe’s summer season cottage in Weimar. {Photograph}: Nikada/Getty Photographs
Lucas Cranach (Elder and Youthful): Renaissance father and sonLucas Cranach is one in all Germany’s most celebrated painters, and Thuringia is filled with work by this Renaissance grasp and his son. Lucas the Elder was the higher painter, however his son was virtually nearly as good, and their types are so related that it’s typically onerous to inform them aside. Born in 1472, Cranach the Elder settled in Weimar close to the tip of his life to reside together with his son’s household, and his adopted hometown is filled with mementoes of his life and work. There are many work by each Cranachs in Weimar’s Fort Museum, however the crowning glory is the magnificent altarpiece within the Church of St Peter & St Paul, began by Cranach the Elder and accomplished by his son. For those who’re travelling round Thuringia, don’t miss the Friedenstein Palace in Gotha and town’s artwork museum in Erfurt, which each have wonderful Cranach collections, and St John’s Church in Neustadt an der Orla, with its treasured altarpiece. Nevertheless, probably the most atmospheric setting for Cranach’s moody masterpieces is Wartburg Fort, the place Cranach’s good buddy Martin Luther hid away. The citadel comprises a number of acute portraits of Luther by Cranach the Elder, in addition to some intimate, perceptive research of Luther’s dad and mom and his spouse.

Walter Gropius: founding father of BauhausModernist architect Walter Gropius was born in Berlin in 1883, nevertheless it was in Thuringia that he made his title. In 1919 in Weimar, he based the Bauhaus – a revolutionary design faculty that reworked the best way we reside right now. Gropius taught his college students to work throughout a variety of disciplines – from pottery to printmaking, and carpentry to ceramics. He taught them to throw out the chintz, to see that much less is extra. His home type was stark, minimal and, above all, sensible. Every little thing he made was match for goal. His concepts have since grow to be commonplace, however within the 1920s they had been surprising. In 1925, native conservatives drove him out of Weimar, and when the Nazis got here to energy he was compelled to flee overseas. But, right here in Thuringia, his affect lives on. Subsequent 12 months, bauhaus museum weimar marks the centenary of the Bauhaus with a transfer to a sensible new constructing – a becoming discussion board for the world’s oldest Bauhaus assortment. There are many different Bauhaus websites elsewhere in Thuringia, together with the Haus Auerbach in Jena, constructed by Gropius, and a Bauhaus-era resort, the Haus des Volkes, in Probstzella.
Carl Zeiss: a brand new visionBorn in Weimar in 1816, Zeiss educated as a wonderful machinist in Thuringia, and in 1846 he opened a workshop in Jena, making telescopes, microscopes and different optical gadgets. By the point he died, in 1888, his little workshop had grown into a big manufacturing facility. By the start of the primary world battle, it was the biggest digital camera producer on this planet. After the second world battle, the Soviets stripped the manufacturing facility naked, and took a lot of the gear again to Russia, however though it ended up behind the iron curtain, Zeiss held its personal in opposition to western competitors – and when Germany was reunified it was one of many few East German companies to outlive and prosper as a viable concern. You’ll be able to be taught all about Zeiss on the German Optical Museum in Jena, then go to the close by Zeiss Planetarium, fitted with state-of-the-art Zeiss telescopes.