In the corner of Thuringia State, and on the border of Lower Saxony and Hesse is the “Holy City” of Heilbad Heiligenstadt. This large spa town is the capital of the Eichsfeld District and sits on the edge of the elevated Eichsfeld-Hainich-Werratal nature park (looong name, I know… I guess they couldn’t agree on one name for that park).
However, at the center of this city is a pristine medieval heart waiting to be explored. Oval in shape and filled with historic buildings, so if you love photography, you won’t get bored around these picturesque streets.
And you will certainly need your camera here! With Baroque gardens and brightly painted half-timbered buildings around almost every corner — it would be worth making it a full day trip to tour just this part.
Make sure that you visit every store, cafe and public building as the architecture is just as inspiring on the inside of many of these buildings as you can see on the outside! And with some of the oldest buildings, you can see how the whole thing is still standing from all the wonky beams criss-crossing the walls and ceilings.
The acclaimed writer Theodor Storm is commemorated in Heilbad Heiligenstadt where he lived and worked as a district judge. There is a museum in his name — half-timbered, of course! — where you can get a storyteller himself to escort you around the exhibit.
The town’s skyline (see the webcams!) is dotted with 3 great spires — 2 from the church of St Marian and the other from St Martin.
And Heilbad Heiligenstadt is surrounded by beautiful mountains — with peaks up to 467m or 1500ft high. Making the effort to get up high can be most rewarding with panoramic views of the area and beyond. If you are lucky and arrive on a clear day you will also see the gallant Harz mountains in the distance!
As with many other places in this part of Germany (and it depends on how you measure it, of course) the local people are trying to claim Heilbad Heiligenstadt as the very geographical center of Germany.
However, if you wanted to visit every town that claimed this title; it could take you a whole other vacation to get round them all! ;-)