Towers, battlements and metre-thick walls – the Reeves (Vögte) nobility, after which the Vogtland is named, were responsible for many of the stately castles and palaces, churches and monasteries in south-east Germany. The Vogtland Reeves’ Culture Trail takes you to many of these magnificent buildings that originate from the Middle Ages. Whereas the Reeves would probably have travelled on horseback or in carriages in their times, you follow in their footsteps on foot or by bike today.
The German emperor employed the Reeves to administer and lead his dominion. In the 12th century, they built secular and spiritual centres in the towns of Weida and Wünschendorf such as the Osterburg Castle and the Mildenfurth Monastery. The surrounding area around these two historic places is considered to be the cradle of the Vogtland. The Reeves continued to expand their territory and power until the 14th century when they lost the Vogtland War and a large part of their lands. As the family lines were split with each generation, their power decreased even more. One of the family lines later took the name Reuß, hence there were also the Reußen as well as the Vögten.
However, the loss of their territories didn’t spell the end for the Reeves. Although they had to sell more of their land in the 14th and 15th centuries, the Reeves and Lords of Reuß kept estates around Greiz, Schleiz and Lobenstein. The Reußen oversaw their principality up until the end of the First World War. Over the centuries, the Reeves built more than 200 fortifications, some of which you can still visit today. Their historical influence is still easily visible in the region.
In this Collection, we guide you along the Vogtland Reeves’ Culture Trail by bike and foot. The route offers the perfect combination of historical sites and exercise in the fresh air. You dive deep into the beautiful landscapes and the exciting history of the Vogtland. Along the way, you get a glimpse of different centuries as you visit the Romanesque double chapel discovered in Greiz's Upper Castle, the mystical ruins of the Widenkirche in Weiden and the medieval Mylau Castle, which was used as a factory in the 19th century.
There are also three great museums en route. Each of them is located at a historic castle or palace: the Upper Castle in Greiz, the Osterburg in Weida and the Voigtsberg Castle in Oelsnitz. Between the old walls, you discover exciting architecture and visit interesting exhibitions. As the castles are all perched atop hillsides, you get a beautiful view of the surrounding countryside.
Have we whet your appetite? There is lots more to discover. The main route of the Vogtland Reeves’ Culture Trail consists of a total of 14 stages and takes you through the entire Vogtland region with sections in Thuringia, Saxony, Bavaria and Bohemia.
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Greiz's landmark is located on an elevation in the middle of the city. A museum is housed in the south wing of the palace. It is particularly interesting that you can admire components from the beginnings of the building in the 12th century as well as the architecture of the 19th century and the time in between. The castle was expanded several times. But you can not only observe here, you can also get active and, for example, ride a skateboard through the building history of the castle. Also worth the climb is of course the beautiful view from the walls.
Bike Touring Highlight
The medieval Osterburg towers high above Weida. The past comes alive in its historic walls: in the stately keep, the history of the Vogtland is projected onto the walls with images. In various exhibitions you will learn exciting things about the city and the region.
There is a lot to see at Voigtsberg Castle: The building probably originated around 1200 and has since been expanded several times and used for various purposes. So you can not only take a look at the history of a medieval castle, but also learn more about the mining authority, the prison and the school that were later housed here.
Today you will find three museums in the walls in addition to the historical costume collection and the historical district archive: the carpet museum, the mineral vault and the illusory. You can also enjoy the view and stop off at the restaurant.