Vogtland — a diverse region dominated by a cornucopia of castles
Located between Saxony, Thuringia, Bavaria and Bohemia, Vogtland is a diverse region dominated by a cornucopia of castles. Beautiful small towns from Auerbach to Zeulenroda as well as an idyllic landscape with parks, valleys, rivers and nature reserves are waiting to be discovered.
The name “Vogtland” stems from the administration and leadership of the Vögte, or advocates, of Weida, Gera, Plauen and Greiz. The principal Reuss family also originates in the Vogtland. Aiming to preserve and revive the historical sites a new initiative, the “Kulturweg der Vögte” started in September 2016.
Things to see and do
Hiking, walking, cycling
Vogtland is a place for lovers of nature as well as those of history and culture. You could either go hiking, cycling or just for a walk to one of the beautiful nature reserves like the Greiz-Werdauer Woods or the Elster valley and enjoy nature and discover charming spots and sights on foot or by bike. Or you can find out about the history of the Reuss family on the “Reußische Fürstenstraße” leading to small towns all through the Vogtland.
Greiz — pearl of the Vogtland
The Residence of the Reuss family and therefore of the smallest principality of Germany, Greiz is a town in the east of Thuringia. Three castles and an English landscape garden together with the Weiße Elster river shape the townscape.
The Upper and the Lower Castle are both museums with a permanent exhibition about the Vogtland becoming the principality of the Reuss family. A Romanesque chapel adorns the Upper Castle, and a textile workshop is open to the public in the Lower Castle.
Sommerpalais in Greiz
The third castle located in Greiz, the Sommerpalais (summer palace) with a collection of books, copperplate engravings and caricatures is connected to the British royal family. Princess Elizabeth, third daughter of King George III of Great Britain and Ireland became Landgravine of Hesse-Homburg in 1818. Today, the part of her inheritance bestowed upon Greiz is the most valuable part of the collection of copperplate engravings with prints, scientific works and, most noteworthy, mezzotint engravings. The Sommerpalais is surrounded by an English landscape garden with rare species of trees, various kinds of birds and a picturesque lake that invites to linger or stroll through nature.
Castles, castles, and more castles
Thuringia and Saxony are veritable “lands of castles and fortresses”, and the Vogtland is studded with them.
To name but a few, Leubnitz Castle and Mylau Castle are museums nowadays and one can still visit the rooms as they might have looked when they were inhabited.
The Royal Complex Bad Elster is especially noteworthy as it was the summer residence of the Saxon Royal Family and many buildings from that time still surround the city centre.
The Osterburg in Weida is also a must for any castle lover. Built in 1163 the castle is one of the highest and oldest preserved in Germany and offers an amazing views over the surrounding landscape.
Zeulenroda and the “Zeulenrodaer Meer”
The picturesque small town of Zeulenroda is located in the East of Thuringia. The cityscape is characterised by the classicist town hall and its iconic city mascot the “Karpfenpfeifer” (carp piper).
The town is surrounded by beautiful green landscape with many forests and the dam of Zeulenroda as the dream-come-true for any nature lover. Lake Zeulenroda or “Zeulenrodaer Meer” as the locals like to call it has become a place for relaxing, watersports and all kinds of outdoor activities.
The hiking trail is about 45km long and if you’re still not tired after that you can take a swim in the refreshing waters, go fishing or enjoy yourself in the climbing forest.
At 78 metres high and about half a kilometre long, Göltzschtalbrücke is the biggest bridge made of bricks in the world. It was finished in the mid-19th century after five years of kilning bricks and fitting them together. The bridge has served as a train connection between Leipzig and Nuremberg through the Göltzsch valley ever since and the impressive construction has become the landmark of the Vogtland.
Traditional arts and crafts workshops in Plauen
Handcrafting has played an important part of everyday life for many people in the Vogtland, who have kept up the tradition until today. Some workshops for instruments, textiles or blacksmithing are still in use and open to the public. Particularly the “Plauener Spitze” (Plauen lace embroidery) workshop with original machines and a museum is worth a visit for all ages. Plauen is also Vogtland’s largest city.