On a journey of discovery through the Thuringian Forest, the Thuringian Slate Mountains and the Franconian Forest, you can follow the tracks of different crafts which have marked the mentality of the population in part for centuries, and which even today are still being maintained. For the special delight of the visitor: Some traditional trade activities you can try out on the spot.
Gold of all colours
Between Stockheim in the Franconian Forest and Neuhaus-Schierschnitz in Thuringia, the mining nature trail points out the several hundred-year-old hard coal tradition. Close to Stockheim, a seam of the black gold lies exposed in the open. The Thuringian Lauscha, not far from the Rennsteig scenic trail, is considered to be the birthplace of blown glass. Lauscha has kept up this tradition for over 400 years, and presents this handicraft in the Museum for Glass Art, as well as in numerous demonstration workshops. Equally connected with glass is Kleintettau in Franconia, which explores glass art in the new European Flacon Glass Museum. Not far from here, Tettau and Schauberg are home to important companies in Franconian porcelain manufacturing. One of the factories is embellished with the royal stamp of approval, and is the oldest porcelain factory in Bavaria. It is possible to buy the "white gold" in a factory shop here and there.
Trying things out can be addictive
A bit of a spending spree is unavoidable once you have tasted the seductive filled chocolates from Lauenstein. Two confectionery shops try and outdo each other in the art of chocolate delights. In some chocolate cream seminars you can even try out making them yourself. From chocolate delicacies to "blue gold": In the Technical Memorial of the slate town of Lehesten - as well as in the Ludwigsstadt slate museum - you can get a good idea of the effort involved in extracting slate that is more than 400 million years old. If you want, you can also try and split slate yourself, under expert guidance.
Finger exercises for fine lace
More filigree dexterity is required in Nordhalben. In the lace school you can learn how fine lace is made. It takes quite a lot of practice to guide the bobbins properly. Not far away is Wurzbach, where you can experience the history of iron founding in the "Heinrichshütte" Technical Memorial. Twice a month, an impressive smelting show takes place. The museum for tannery and municipal history in Hirschberg demonstrates the over 500-year-old tradition of leather making in the city.