After the German reunification, the residents of Ruhla had high hopes for Freedom, participation, a clean environment, a well-functioning economy and a prosperous future. These were shattered soon after the breakdown of the big industrial companies of the town.
People were torn between helplessness and shock. “Do you still have a job?”, “Yes, but only until the demolition of my company.” Such phrases were often heard on the streets after 1990. Many people left Ruhla. Others, who stayed, withdrew themselves into their houses. “Each man for himself” could have been the slogan of this time. But some people won’t sit back and watch the city go to the dogs.
With the huge, unsolvable appearing problems came the old courage of the people in Ruhla back to light. The Courage in seeking solutions and ways out of the crisis. The Courage for scavenging, tackling and dreaming. To come up with creative ideas for the future of Ruhla and implementing these.
The Route of Industry Ruhla wants to combine the former and new innovativeness of the people and their companies, products and services in Ruhla. Visualize what was, what is and imagine, what Ruhla become in the future.
Only who knows where he came from, what the past generations had thought and did, can look optimistic into the future.
We invite you to the search for traces of our great-grandparents, grandparents and parents. The Route of Industry Ruhla combines 20 of the many former industrial locations of Ruhla. On each location you’ll find a panel with old pictures and a brief history from the respective company. You can visit them by taking one of the three different routes.
- The starting point of the Central Route is at the tourist information Ruhla and features 8 former industrial sites, like “Metallwarenfabrik Erk” (Metal Goods Factory “Erk”), “Pfeifenfabrik Gebrüder Ziegler” (Pipe Factory “Brothers Ziegler”) and the well-known “Uhrenwerke Ruhla” (Watch Factory Ruhla). The latter can either be the turning point for the Central Route or a transition to the North Route.
- The North Route starts at “Uhrenmuseum Ruhla” (Watch Museum Ruhla), which is the location of “Uhrenwerke Ruhla” (Watch Factory Ruhla) as well. Passing the former Cardboard Factory Koch, the route leads to the village of Thal, one of the constituent communities of Ruhla. During a walk through the charming village, three industrial sites with information panels can be visited. In fact you can find a still working company on each of those locations. To shorten the way back, you can take the bus from the bus stop “Thal – Post” to “Ruhla – Bahnhof”.
- The “Orts- und Tabakpfeifenmuseum Ruhla” (Museum for Tobacco Pipes and local history of Ruhla) marks the starting point of the South Route. First stop of this route is the information panel of the former company “Thiel & Schuchardt”, a metal goods factory. After the breakdown of the company, the huge industrial buildings were completely demolished and a park was created in this place. The route leads through the “Karolinenpark”, passing further information panels, before entering a small trail, up to the “Liesenberg”, the residential area of Ruhla. There, at the edge of the town, was once the second biggest factory of Ruhla located. The “Fahrzeug Elektrik Ruhla” (Vehicle Electric Ruhla)