Erfurt is located near the geographic centre of Germany, and is called the “Rome of Thuringia” for the number of church steeples in the city. Even if being in the middle depends on how borders, especially post-reunification borders, are defined, there are five towns vying for the title “Mittelpunkt Deutschlands” (Germany’s centre), depending upon the technique used to determine where the centre might be.
But Erfurt’s been at the “centre of action” for centuries, in the midst of the “Via Regia” (royal road) dating centuries back to the heyday of the Holy Roman Empire, traditional woad (blue-dye) production, the movement of trade and people along the east-west transeuropean highway, religious pilgrims back and forth and beyond to Santiago de Compostela, Martin Luther stopping by to give an update on the Reformation, and even, Bach’s parents getting married here in town.
It’s easy to overlook Erfurt, but giving this city a chance allows it to sneak up on you. The following Instagram shots provide reasons why you should embrace the sneaky bits.
Built in 1248 as a Romanesque church and rebuilt and reconsecrated in the Gothic style in 1368, the Kaufmannskirche in Erfurt has had a decent share of history. A year after introducing to the city's citizenry principles of what would be the Reformation, defending himself against charges of heresy at the Diet of Worms, and hiding out in Eisenach, Martin Luther gave a sermon at this church in 1522; Luther is honoured with a memorial statue that's visible at the lower-centre of this picture. Also, the parents of Johann Sebastian Bach were married at this church in 1668. Anger, Erfurt, Germany – 26 Apr 2015.
The non-descript signs seem to follow me east-to-west in Erfurt: from Wenigemarkt across the Krämerbrücke to Benediktsplatz; to Fischmarkt, Marktstrasse, and onto Domplatz. The "Via Regia" (Royal Highway) represents one of the oldest and longest roads and trade routes linking western and eastern Europe. While origins go back to at least the 8th century, the "strata regia" got its first recorded mention in the 12th century. The Via Regia was a vital east-west trade route through the Holy Roman Empire, connecting Erfurt, a base for woad production, to the rest of Europe. Over time, historical and religious connections have helped define the road to a length of over 4000 km (2500 mi) across at least 8 present-day nations to places as far west as Santiago de Compostela in Spain; east to Wrocław and Kraków in Poland; and even out to Moskva. "Via Regia" became the Council of Europe's "European Culture Route" in 2005. Marktstrasse near Domplatz, Erfurt, Germany – 26 Apr 2015. #joingermantradition #erfurt #thueringen #thuringia #historicgermany #viaregia