Oberthulba — Find The Riemenschneider On The Salzstraße

Life here in the Franconian town of Oberthulba is quiet and unassuming. It’s a place where everyday is spent in the glorious countryside near both the Hessian and the Thuringian border, and it’s where you’ll find the work of a 15th century master wood sculptor.

As for the town itself, Oberthulba lies near (borders, actually) Bad Kissingen, comprised of eight districts and 52 square kilometers.

My guess is you don’t wanna hear about the geography, but rather about how the centuries-old pieta from Tilman Riemenschneider was stolen back in 1929. This master wood sculptor’s work is known all over the world (like his Holy Blood Altar in Rothenburg ob der Tauber), so it’s fantastic to find one of his earlier pieces.

Even older than Riemenschneider’s pieta is the St. Lambertus Church, which once belonged to the Kloster Thulba. While the 12th century Romanesque church still stands, only pieces of its cloister and walls remain of the medieval monastery. And to go back further in history, in the village of Frankenbrunn some burial mounds from the fifth century B.C. were found around these parts.

Frankenbrunn, by the way, is where you’ll find the Chapel of St. Michael, a tiny chapel from the early 18th century.

Forget about the past for a moment, let’s consider the present. Today’s Oberthulba is a great place to spend sometime outdoors. There’s an extensive network of hiking trails through the Lower Franconian countryside and Rhön Mountains, passing along pretty farms and through the Neuwirtshauser Forest. If you get tired, come rest by Thulba Lake, where you can even set up camp for a night or two.

Plus, if you’ve absolutely gotta see a castle, then you’re lucky enough to be close enough to Schloss Elfershausen (built 1562), and Schloss Saaleck, a proper medieval one with its own donjon. Ohh, and there’s nearby Schloss Waizenbach, a 16th century castle that’s run by a real-life Baron.

I guess they needed all these castles to protect the goods being transported along the Salzstraße way back in the day.

Too bad they couldn’t protect that Riemenschneider pieta. ;-)

 

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