Here’s a name that’s going to look kind of weird to you: Orden der Brüder vom Deutschen Haus St. Mariens in Jerusalem. The what? The who?
Stop harassing me and I’ll tell you. ;-)
Schleiz was a settlement site of this Catholic religious order. I mean crusading, heading off to the Holyland blokes. OK, they were both. Whatever you want to call them, this is a pretty interesting piece of history. Don’t ya think?
Schleiz’s Altstadt (Old Town) was built around the time of the Teutonic Knights, dating back to around 1200. The “Neustadt” or New City was blended with the old in 1482. So now they’re one and the same.
Quite a few old medieval and other sites (like the Rathaus and 15th century Bergkirche) somehow managed to survive the wars and elements for the last several centuries.
Sadly, Schleiz Castle didn’t survive World War II; and is now in ruins (though its two towers still stand). Another piece of interesting history, Napoleon stayed here in the castle in the autumn of 1806.
Also damaged heavily during World War II was the Old Mint, restored in 1946. It’s an absolutely beautiful burnt-orange building neatly decorated with flowerboxes. In the 1930’s, prior to the war years, the Nazis had used the Wisenta-Haus as some sort of administrative building.
Not all your time in Schleiz can be spent in town. This town is in the idyllic Vogtland, a nature area extending outwards as far as Bavaria, Saxony, and the Czech Republic. Oh, just think of how far you could go on any one of the many walking, hiking, and cycling trails.
Although the days of maidens fair and chivalry are long gone, Schleiz will always be worthy of a Knights Order.