Sights in Ruhla, Thal, Kittelsthal & Seebach
Museum for Tobacco Pipes and Local History of Ruhla
Opening hours: April till October
The Museum is located in one of the oldest and most beautiful half-timbered houses of Ruhla. The house, located in the centre of Ruhla, was built in 1614 and is a museum since 1906. The exhibition leads through several centuries of local history and shows the artisanal and industrial development of Ruhla.
A focus is the craft of armourers with an intact cutler’s workplace. Other topics of the exhibition are the geology around Ruhla, important personalities who lived and worked in Ruhla and the living conditions of the people from the 18th to the 20th century. The main focus of the exhibition is the tobacco pipe industry, which Ruhla was famous for in the 18th and 19th century. Many beautifully crafted pipes, which were sold all over the world, are displayed in the museum. For example pipes made of wood, porcelain, clay or the famous sepiolite, also known as “meerschaum” which means “sea foam”. The rise of the cigarettes meant the end for the pipe industry. Based on this the metal goods industry, especially the watch industry, became the main source of income for the inhabitants of Ruhla.
Discover the history of Ruhla by a stroll through this unique museum – we are looking forward to your visit. During to winter break it is possible for groups to visit the museum by appointment. Please contact tourist information Ruhla, Tel.: +49 (0) 36929 89013.
Take a 360 degree virtual tour through the Museum for Tobacco Pipes and Local History of Ruhla. For a full-screen view of the tour please click here. (Opens a new window)
The origin for the watch industry in Ruhla was the foundation of a metal goods factory by brothers Christian and Georg Thiel in 1862. They laid the cornerstone for one of the most important national watch industry by inventing and producing the pocket watch “Fearless”.
Over many decades the watch industry was the largest employer in Ruhla and surround. In good years up to 50,000 pieces were produced and shipped every day.
The “Watch and Clock Museum Ruhla” provides an insight in the history of the watch industry Ruhla, from its origins in 1862 to the present day. It presents over 1,300 watches, 35 machines and 50 information boards. The Museum looks forward to your visit!
Take a 360 degree virtual tour through the Watch and Clock Museum Ruhla. For a full-screen view of the tour please click here. (Opens a new window)
The clockwork of the former tower clock of church St. Concordia can be viewed in a transparent Cube next to the Kulturhaus Ruhla. The 160 year old clockwork has been perfectly restored by three former watchmakers in their spare time. A panel in front of the cube provides further information about the history and mechanics of the clock. The Clock Cube is supervised by the association “Uhrentradition Ruhla e.V.”.
The Clock demonstration workshop was opened in September 2012 on the occasion of the 150th anniversary of the clock company “Thiel”. It´s located in one of the oldest half-timbered houses of Ruhla. In this listed building it´s possible to witness a watchmaker at work and ask questions about the functioning of watches and his profession. There is a small exhibition and a factory sale located as well.
Seasonal opening hours (26th March - 31st October 2022):
Discover the variety of Thuringian sights as accurate built miniatures in the park “mini-a-thür”. More than 130 models of well-known Thuringian sights can be seen during a stroll through the beautiful park, which is 18,900 m² in seize and located in a quiet side valley of Ruhla. With its little ponds, a small waterfall, green meadows and surrounded by dense woods, the park invites to sit on one of the benches and relax, while looking at the miniature houses. All models are in scale 1/25 and displayed with information boards about the original buildings. In addition, the park offers many activities for children, like a playground, a small open-air enclosure, model railways and model boats. Take a stop at the small restaurant and enjoy local foods and drinks.
Right next to the park “mini-a-thür” the steepest summer toboggan slide of Germany provides a thrilling fun. The park is also a great starting point for a hike to the viewing tower “Carl-Alexander-Turm” on top of Ringberg Mountain or the Rennsteig trail.
Naturpark-, Geopark- und Tourist information Ruhla
The tourist information Ruhla is located in an old, beautifully restored half-timbered house on the marketplace of Ruhla. A family friendly and free exhibition takes place in the first floor of the tourist information. Flora, fauna and the geology around Ruhla are some of the topics of the exhibition. Kids can explore the replica of a cave, a rock puzzle, a miniature model of an old grinding mill and many more.
Kittelsthal Dripstone Cave
- +49 (0) 160 94450973 (cave)
- +49 (0) 36929 89013 (tourist information)
Explore the fascination of the Kittelsthal Dripstone Cave during a guided tour. The cave was discovered by mining in 1888 and opened to the public in 1896. You can visit stalagmites and stalactites and explore the great grotto with the 3.5 metres high pyramid. Further attractions in the cave are massive, coarse crystalline sintering surfaces and numerous small sinter formations hidden in wall niches.
- Depth of the cave: 48 metres
- several thousand-year-old stalactite formations
- overcoming 228 steps within a 45 minute long guided tour
- The air temperature in the cave is about 11° C
- Please wear sturdy footwear and a jacket.
- Minimum age for visitors: 3 years
- guided tours for groups of visitors from 2 people to 30 people possible
Opening hours: May till September
The museum is located in the former forester’s house in the centre of Thal. You can explore the history, geology, fauna and flora of the region and learn more about castle ruins Scharfenburg, the monastery “Weißenborn” and witch trials in Thal as well.
Apartment building in Bauhaus style
The apartment building in Bauhaus style was built between 1926 and 1928 according to the plans of the architect Thilo Schoder (1888-1979). The building combined social housing, a city café and a shop. Each apartment used to have two rooms, a kitchen and a toilet. The shared bathroom was located in the attic. From 1998 to 2002 the complex was extensively renovated and the original condition of the exterior restored. Sanitary facilities were installed in the modernized apartments too. Today this unique building is a listed building and still partly inhabited.
Do you want to get a first-hand look at different birds of prey and watch them fly through the air? Are you brave enough to let them land on your arm? Let’s find it out during the daily air show in the Falconry “Falknerei am Rennsteig” next to Ruhla.
You will learn interesting facts about the fascinating world of birds, about the oldest way to hunt and the 4,000 year old tradition of falconry. Get the chance to become a bit of a falconer yourself! The falconry is located near the hotel “Rennsteighof” and the tourist restaurant “Ruhlaer Skihütte” between Ruhla and the village Winterstein.
About the air show:
Duration: 1 hour
There is no air show possible during heavy rain, severe storm or high snow. Please consider wearing warm clothes, because the falconry is located at an altitude of 640 m above sea level.
Take a 360 degree virtual tour through the Falconry "Greifenwarte am Rennsteig". For a full-screen view of the tour please click here. (Opens a new window)
Opening hours of the keep:
The former fortress is located on a towering mountain and was first mentioned in 1137. Over many centuries was it a place of exchange and dispute for various noble families. Today the keep of the castle ruins is open for visitors. The top of the keep is a viewing platform from where you can enjoy a magnificent view of the Thuringian Forest, surrounding towns, the Wartburg castle and the Hörselberg Mountains. In the entrance of the keep are information boards displayed, with details about the history of the fortress. Ruins of the former castle walls, parts of the gate system and the moats are worth seeing as well. The castle ruins Scharfenburg can be reached by easy hiking trails or the “Scharfenberg Promenade”.
The Dichterhain (literally poetry grove) is a memorial to famous inhabitant of Ruhla, who are known for cultural matters.
- Dr. Carl Alexander Ziegler (1822-1887)
Court counsellor, world traveller, travel writer
- Ludwig Storch (1803-1881)
Local poet and writer
- Arno Schlothauer (1872-1942)
- Otto Böttinger (1867-1942)
- Johann Andreas Stumpff (1768-1846)
Royal British harp manufacturer
- Hartmann Schenk (1634-1681)
Writer and pastor
- Friedrich Lux (1820-1895)
Musician and composer
The Köhlergasse is stepped in history as it is the oldest alley of Ruhla. Initially the street was settled by coal miners. It was home and workplace of many famous personalities, like the composer Friedrich Lux. During the urban development concept the ally was restored.
Sights in the vicinity of Ruhla
The Local Museum Seebach is located in a beautifully reconstructed half-timbered house, which was built over 200 years ago. The exhibition shows on three floors the agricultural and industrial history of Seebach. On the top floor 5 rooms are set up to show the living conditions of a family in 1900.
Opening hours: May till October
Learn about the origin of the Hörselberg Mountains and its mythology, unique fossil records and its divers Fauna and Flora, especially as a habitat for rare orchids. Connected to Hörselberg Mountains are famous personalities, like the fairy tale collector Ludwig Bechstein or Richard Wagner, who composed the Tannhäuser opera. Their works are honoured within the exhibition. The gallery under the barn roof is used for temporary exhibitions with alternating topics.
Focus of the permanent exhibition:
- Geology & Mineralogy of Hörselberg Mountains
- Flora & Fauna of Hörselberg Mountains
- Caves and mythology of Hörselberg Mountains
- Local craft of baking
Großer Inselsberg Mountain with its altitude of 916 metres above sea level is one of the best known excursion destinations in Thuringia. Along the mountains peak run the European long-distance hiking trail E3, the long distance mountain hiking trail Eisenach-Budapest (EB) and the long-distance hiking trail Rennsteig. Enjoy the beautiful 360 degree view from the tower on top of Großer Inselsberg Mountain or try the local cuisine in one of the restaurants.
More family activities are located on the nearby smaller Kleiner Inselsberg Mountain: the high ropes course “Rennsteig-Fox”, the fun ride “Wie-Flyer”, a summer toboggan run, an Adventure Playground with trampolines and many other rides.
The Altenstein Palace was built between 1888 and 1890 as summer residence of the Duke Georg II of Saxe-Meiningen. It is surrounded by a uniquely designed landscape garden, inspired by English landscape gardens. In 1982 the castle was destroyed by fire. The reconstruction of the palace continues today.
- +49 (0) 3691 79230
The Dragon Gorge is a fascinating nature sight, located in the southern outskirts of Eisenach, at the foot of the Wartburg Castle. Over millions of years the Marienbach, which flows through the Dragon Gorge, has carved out a narrow valley. Highlight is a 200 metres long gorge, which is in some places only 70 cm wide. You can walk through the gorge on a plank path over a river surrounded by rock walls, which are up to 10 metres high. Starting in the valley Mariental, the path leads up to the Rennsteig hiking trail. The gorge can be entered freely and in each direction. Depending on the weather conditions, the gorge may be closed in the wintertime.
The castle was built in the second half of the 11th century and is located in the beautiful city of Eisenach. In the late middle age it was one of the most important princely courts in Europe. The castle was the residence of St. Elisabeth of Hungary, offered exile to the reformer Martin Luther and was a centre of high-medieval poetry and minnesang. If you pass the steep ascent to the Wartburg Castle, you´ll be rewarded with a fantastic view over Eisenach, the surrounding city forest and up to the Thuringian Forest Nature Park.
The monument is located in the south of Eisenach on top of the Göpelskuppe. It commemorates the founding of the fraternity in 1815 during the Wartburg festival. The 33 meters high monument was built according to the plans of the architect Wilhelm Kreis and inaugurated in 1902.
The Luther House is one of the oldest half-timbered houses in Eisenach and formerly owned by the family Cotta. Martin Luther, the great reformer of Germany, spent his school years in Eisenach from 1498 to 1501. In the exhibition you can explore the career and work of the great German reformer. The focus of the museum is the translation of the Bible from Luther into a standardized German written language and its influence on the education and upbringing of the German people.
The world’s largest museum for Johann Sebastian Bach is located in Eisenach in the original birthplace of the great composer. The house itself is more than 600 years old and inhabited the Bach museum since 1907. The exhibition provides information about the life and work of Bach, displays many historical instruments and features audio stations, to listen to Bach’s music.
The castle ruins Brandenburg is the biggest double castle in Central Germany. An exhibition about the history of the castle and the craft of blade smiths can be seen in the castle museum. During the division of East and West Germany the castle wasn’t accessible, because of its location close to the inner-German border.
The castle ruins can be visited all year round.
In the late 18th century the mine was discovered during a search for minable ores. From 1778 to 1903 the deposits of gypsum were mined. After this, the Marienglas Mine was open for public. In 1967/68 the Marienglas Show Mine was restored. During a guided tour through the mine visitors can experience the fascinating underground world with beautiful deposits of gypsum crystals, called Marienglas.
The Creuzburg Castle was built between 1165 and 1170 and has had its bloom in the 12th and 13th century. The castle is considered as one of the landgrave castles of the Ludovingian dynasty and was residence of St. Elisabeth of Hungary.
With a length of 540 metres the path guides though the treetops of Hainich National Park to the top of 44 metre high observation tower. Enjoy the magnificent panoramic view over the Hainich National Park.