The tower of the Market Church of St Bonifacii provides a fantastic view over the town. At 83 metres high, it is the second highest church tower in Thuringia. The market church was first mentioned in 1272. The interior of the nave contains many historical treasures including late medieval altars, a coffered ceiling above the choir stalls dating from 1561, a pulpit from the year 1734 as well as painted panels, epitaphs and gravestones. The late gothic murals in the nuns’ choir are of particular value.
The Rose Town & Health Resort of Bad Langensalza is also home to the Augustinian Hermits’ Monastery, which was founded in 1280. After founding monasteries in Erfurt and Gotha, monks in Salza founded the third Augustinian Monastery in Thuringia. It remained intact until the Reformation was introduced in 1539. Martin Luther visited the monastery on 29 May 1516, and a memorial plaque on the wall commemorates the famous guest.
The ruins of the late gothic cloister, a replica chapel, remains of the walls of the refectory and the nave as well as a second courtyard are evidence of the former monastery. The former Augustinian Hermits’ Monastery is over 800 years old and now houses the Bad Langensalza Town Museum, which features temporary exhibitions. The cloister and the second courtyard also provide a beautiful backdrop for open-air events.
From Bad Langensalza, the Luther Trail leads to Nägelstedt, at the entrance to the Unstrut Valley. In the former lower village is the Church of St George. It was the place of worship for the Order of Teutonic Knights and was built in the 13th century. The Order consolidated its position in the region by extending their estate to include Nägelstedt as its ‘Komturhof’ (Commander’s Manor). During the Peasants’ War the upper village, inhabited by free, well-off farmers, and the Village Church of St Michael were destroyed.
The central church in Gräfentonna is dedicated to St Peter and Paul and houses a wonderful, carved wooden alter from the Renaissance era. It used to belong to the Gotha court church and was moved at the end of the war to Gräfentonna. The church crypt is the final resting place of the Counts of Tonna and Gleichen, who played an important part in the development of the region up until the 16th century.
Between the federal capital of Erfurt, the sovereign town of Gotha and the Rose Town & Health Resort of Bad Langensalza is Gierstädt, which is the centre of fruit cultivation in the Fahner Höhe peaks. The tradition of fruit growing goes back many centuries. Priest Johann Volkmar Sickler, also known as the ‘fruit priest’, contributed significantly to the development of the area into a fruit-growing region. Together with the lords of Seebach, he planted the first 15 cherries trees. Today, the cultivation of cherries and apples is a significant source of income for Gierstädt and the neighbouring places.
The Church of St Boniface in Gierstädt is one of the most beautiful churches of the 19th century. Legend has it that in around the year 800, St Boniface planted a lime tree on the site. The previous medieval church, which was located close to the current building, became dilapidated and had to be closed in 1843. From 1844 to 1846, the current church was built by the Gotha architect Gustav Eberhard. The high tower with its crenellations and spire has a gothic character while the church itself was constructed in a Renaissance style.