Guide to Medieval Castle Leuchtenburg in Kahla – Knights & Porcelain
There are many castles around Thuringia in central Germany but the Leuchtenburg can be seen from way far and has a pretty unique attraction: How about throwing porcelain down medieval castle walls for good luck? Read on to find out how and why you can do it too.
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Where is Castle Leuchtenburg and how do I get there?
The Castle Leuchtenburg is in Seitenroda near Kahla, a town in central Germany. From Jena, it’s only a half hour drive. From Weimar, it’s 45 minutes and Erfurt it’s an hour.
There is a train station (the stop name is “Kahla (Thür)“) and central bus station in the town of Kahla in case you rely on public transport.
From there, you can take the taxi for 9 minutes or walk up to the mountain for at least an hour. Note that there are hiking trails up to the castle and you can visit the peak Dohlenstein on the way too.
(But Google doesn’t necessarily show them. I use the free app maps.me for hiking.) The elevation difference on this hike is 234 meters, so pack your hiking boots and water bottle.
Let’s start by saying “Oi!” but with an L at the start. Add a shhh and the number ten. Say the German word Burg (which means castle) like you would berk. (Pronounce the vowel more like you do in boo and you’re pretty close).
Is a visit free?
You can get to the restaurant and some of the ramparts and the smaller herb garden for free. There’s also the option to walk around the outer walls.
To enter the museum, you need to pay a small fee. If you have the Thüringen Card admission is included. You can order yours here.
There are many castles all over Thuringia. Two more free ones are Castle Kochberg and Lobdeburg.
What makes Castle Leuchtenburg special?
Leuchtenburg Castle can be easily reached and is close to important central German towns. It features a restaurant and museum and offers stunning views over the valleys below. After all, it sits at 400 meters high and it’s nearly 1000 years old!
What is there to see?
The Leuchtenburg dates all the way back to the 13th century and has been kept in pretty good shape with the walls and tower still standing. Inside, you can find a traditional German restaurant with good food and excellent views over the area as well as a museum.
The museum has two main focuses, namely the history of the castle and region, which is intertwined with the second topic: porcelain.
Kahla was well known for its excellent porcelain production and design and had a factory in town, which sadly had to close down as a result of the pandemic and economic impact. If you can get your hands on Kahla porcelain, you should. It’s very good.
Don’t forget to check out the many other castles around the region as well. Many have been turned into museums you can visit but the castle grounds and parks are typically free, as is the case with Castle Kochberg.
The Castle Museum
Up in the museum, you can see what goes into producing high quality porcelain, how it changed over time and you have some hands on exhibition items. Such as the B ware porcelain that didn’t end up in the stores. You can write a secret wish on it and then make it crash down the castle.
There’s a huge pile with the shattered white plates, which is said to bring good luck. Don’t worry about pollution, it’s being carted off regularly and adequately disposed. And there’s a 20 meter long platform called Skywalk of Wishes (“Steg der Wünsche“), so you won’t accidentally hit the historic castle walls either.
Apart from this, the porcelain exhibition itself is quite special as artists from all over the world have created seven worlds of discovery and there’s also the largest vase in the world. It’s possible to book a guided tour in English. It’s called Porcelain Worlds and Castle Stories.
If you’re flexible, check out the event calendar for special events, such as concerts, performances and lectures. You could even get married here if you want.
Summer opening hours (Apr-Oct): museum daily from 9AM to 7PM, castle tavern open daily from 11AM to 2.30PM
Winter opening hours (Nov.-March): museum daily from 10AM to 5PM, castle tavern only open on weekend from 11AM to 2.30PM
Kahla’s Leuchtenburg Castle was first documented in 1221 as the family seat of the Lobdeburg-Leuchtenburg family. Yes, those are the same guys who planted three more castles in Jena, which are all called Lobdeburg. (You can see me here talk about its history while dressed up as Hermione Granger – because she’s a smartypants and I thought it would be fun. It was.)
Around 1460, four fortification towers were added and in the 18th century it was used as a prison, workhouse and lunatic asylum. In the 20th century, it houses a youth hostel for a while and the museum was opened. This century, historic vinyards were replanted and the castle completely renovated.
Need more inspiration? Check out these Germany travel tips
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