There’s a T-shirt out there on the Internet saying, I (love) Heringen — with pictures of a pretzel, a flag, a beer, and a dirndl and lederhosen.
Yes, that’s stereotypical German stuff, but for the most part it does express the truth. I do love the Thuringian town of Heringen (Helme) (so named because of the Helme River). Which isn’t to be confused with the Hessian town of Heringen (Werra), by the way.
This Heringen was the hometown of Hermann Hendrich, a late 19th/early 20th century painter, who was famous for his twelve paintings of Der Ring des Nibelungen. Maybe his artistic genius was inspired by the natural beauty of the area — the Bronze Age grave hills, the gentle hills of the Goldene Aue (which stretch over to Saxony-Anhalt), and the nearby Kyffhäusergebirge.
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Who’s to say, but I know I’m inspired to tell you about Schloss Heringen, a pretty white castle with round towers — which is quite the contrast to what it looked like at the turn of the new millennium. The former owner, Countess Clara von Schwarzburg, would certainly approve of it these days. And you’re more than welcome to visit, since the Countess’ former abode is now a museum.
The castle isn’t the only thing worth seeing in Heringen, the old church in Hamma is quite lovely — surrounded by open fields and tall trees. And in Uthleben, you should see its 16th century frescoes at the village church of St. Peter. It is, however, the 700 year old Pieta at the Church of St. Giles in Windehausen that does it for me. The church might look rundown, but that’s only part of its charm, ya know.
Something else that’s part of Heringen’s charm are its festivals. There aren’t many of them, but I really think you’d enjoy yourself at the Sport- und Heimatfest in July, which just so happens to be the same month of the Church Festival. Great, wonderful summertime opportunities for dancing and making new friends.
I’m down for that — and why I’m glad to sport my I (love) Heringen T-shirt any chance I get. ;-)