German Town Tuesday: Eschwege

Despite being relatively small Eschwege can be found easily – you just have to put your finger in the middle of a Germany map. This region is often referred to as the green heart of Germany. Eschwege is surrounded by an impressive State Park. Wooded hills roll as far as one can see. In summer Germany’s largest fields of pink poppies add a splash of color. Unsurprisingly, Eschwege is a hotspot for outdoor activities such as watersports on the lakes just outside the town and the river that flows through it. Walking and (mountain) biking are other popular activities in the summer. In the cold season Eschwege’s backyard mountain turns into a winter sports destination. It is quite fitting that this mountain is said to be the home of the Brothers Grimm’s fairytale character Mother Hulda who can let it snow. Also the impressive Hainich National Park with its ancient beech forest, a UNESCO world heritage site, is on Eschwege’s doorstep.

However, there is more to Eschwege than just a fantastic landscape and outdoor activities. Eschwege is steeped in history. It was founded over 1000 years ago. After it was burned down in the 17th century it was rebuild with half-timbered houses. Many of these are richly ornamented. Today the small town boasts over 1000 half-timbered houses. A castle towers over the river. Eschwege caters for music lovers as well. Every summer Eschwege hosts a big music festival with internationally renowned bands and welcomes thousands of fans.

Eschwege is also a great basis for discovering the many historic places in Germany’s center. For example the birthplace of the world-famous composer Johann Sebastian Bach. Even closer is the former inner-German border. Nowadays, the horror of the deadly border installations can be seen in a museum, which is located right on the former death strip that separated East and West Germany for several decades.