Three’s a lucky number, wouldn’t you say? It is if you’re talking about the town of Drei Gleichen, nestled ever so nicely between the cities of Gotha, Erfurt, and Arnstadt.
Hmm, I’m starting to see a pattern here with this number three business. ;-)
The number three comes up yet again, this time in the form of castles. Also known as Drei Gleichen (meaning Three of a Kind), the Wachsenburg; Mühlburg; and Burg Gleichen are an impressive trio of medieval castle building. The youngest of them is Burg Gleichen, built way back in 1034. It’s sad the castle’s former glory is gone, but the ruin that’s left is still a testament to Romanesque architecture.
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It’s believed the Mühlburg is the oldest of the three, whose original castle goes all the way back to the 8th century. I shudder to think what the original owner would say at the thought of his magnificent castle being used as a museum.
While I know it’s hard to choose a favorite, mine would be the Veste Wachsenburg; and not just because I’m able to spend a night at the castle’s hotel, either. OK, that’s part of it — who wouldn’t like to spend their nights in a 10th century castle pretending to be royalty? What, like I’m the only one?
Even if you don’t spend the night, the Veste Wachsenburg is a popular stop for hikers through the region, and houses a Military History Museum.
As for the rest of Drei Gleichen (the town), be prepared to visit some outstanding old churches, too. Grabsleben’s St. Magdalena Church is just a good place to start as any, so long as you remember to see the squat, square tower of the St. Gotthard Church in Großrettbach. Actually it’s the inside of St. Gotthard’s you need to see, its woodwork is nothing short of gorgeous — even for all its simplicity.
From the looks of it, you’d never guess for a minute that two of Drei Gleichen’s hamlets had been totally decimated during the Thirty Years’ War — so much, in fact, the village of Großrettbach sat totally uninhabited for a number of years.
Amazing how the Gut Ringhofen managed to survive.
Today’s Drei Gleichen is much different from all those centuries ago. These days people are flocking to the place — especially for the Thüringer Burgenfahrt (Thuringian Castle Ride) every July, hike through the nature reserve areas, or enjoy all of Wandersleben’s half-timbered houses — yet another three things to love about Drei Gleichen. :-)