I know there are quite a few German towns known as Neustadt, this one being in Thuringia on the River Orla which gives it its name Neustadt an der Orla. But, no matter how many villages, hamlets, and shires call themselves Neustadt, this one is pretty fantastic so you’ll never confuse it with any other place.
One of the first things you’ll notice when you arrive in town is its Rathaus, or Town Hall. Built in the late Gothic style, for almost 700 years people have climbed its stone steps to conduct their business.
Also from the Middle Ages is the Fleischbänke. This is a meat market where butchers have hocked their trade for hundreds of years, only with better sanitation than what existed back then. ;-)
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Both the Fleischbänke and the Rathaus were here when Martin Luther lived here. His house, known as the Lutherhaus, is considered to be one of the most beautiful in town. You can’t miss it — it’s right on the Marktplatz.
Also from the days of Martin Luther is the St. John Church, built in 1528. Its Susanna Bell is the second largest in all of Thuringia. Plus, the Cranach (Lucas) Altar (commissioned in the Autumn of 1511) is one of the most visited sites in town.
I like the Klosterkirche & Schloss. I probably shouldn’t name the castle, as it was destroyed during the 17th century Thirty Years’ War, but the church still remains.
A lot of the town’s history is explained at the City Museum, located right at Kirchplatz 7. Now that I told you where to find it, you have no excuse for not visiting it. ;-)
Neustadt an der Orla is also a very cultural town. The annual Neustädter Musiksommer is quite popular with 5 concerts held in 5 different venues in 5 different music styles. You never know what you’re going to get each year — it could be anything from Choral concerts to Classical, to Irish Folk music and styles from the Renaissance.
Guided tours are also available in Neustadt. You can take a Nightwatchman Tour, one following the footsteps of Luther, and even one about the town’s medieval history. Guided hikes can also be done, which usually don’t miss taking you along the Nature & Adventure Trail over by the 32 meter high Bismarck Tower (built 1915).
If you want my opinion about about the best of Neustadt an der Orla, it’s the Brunnenfest or Fountain Festival known as BORNQUAS. Steeped in tradition dating back to the 15th century, this festival centers around the cleaning of the town’s fountain on the third weekend of June. It’s where residents dress in historical garb while the beer flows and everyone enjoys some mighty good eats.
Stick around — you never know who’ll get chosen to be the Brunnenmeister. I do hope they’ll pick you! :-)