Sondernhausen - Music and mining tradition
Sondershausen, the former seat of the Princes of Schwarzburg-Sondershausen, is strongly defined by its music and its mining tradition. The town has a great deal of character and offers the opportunity to combine culture, leisure and sport. The Kyffhäuser hills, which also have rich historical associations, are close by. Sondershausen has a vibrant music scene with events taking place in historical venues and even below ground. The densely wooded surrounding countryside is ideal for walking, touring and exploring. The cultural highlight will be the summer festival in the castle grounds of Sondershausen. The castle court will be excellent stage for operas, sung by young soloists accompanied by the well known orchestra of Sondershausen (Loh-Orchester). They will perform famous operas and these summer evenings will be events you will never forget. Population: 22,000. In the Kyffhäuser holiday region.
Highlights/Places of interest
Palace ensemble (13th – 20th century)
The former residence of the Princes of Schwarzburg-Sondershausen is considered to be one of the most beautiful palaces in Thuringia. The extensive grounds include an octagonal baroque lodge, parkland and former stables which house the Sondershausen State Music Academy. A tour of the palace takes visitors on a journey through different centuries and period styles ranging from Romanesque to Historicism.
Palace museum with modern exhibition areas
The large exhibition space houses many fascinating exhibits and displays on the subject of life at the royal court and Sondershausen's musical heritage and local history. The jewel in the museum's crown is the golden coach – a French early-18th century ceremonial carriage. Tue–Sun 10am–5pm
Glückauf visitor mine
The world's oldest accessible potash mine is a popular site of interest. In addition to a museum documenting 100 years of potash mining, visitors are treated to unique experiences 700 metres below ground, including punting, rides on a salt slide with 40-degree inclines, sports and other subterranean events, such as concerts in the world's deepest concert hall. Mon–Sun by prior arrangement.
Church of the Holy Trinity
Consecrated in 1691, the Church of the Holy Trinity still serves the local parish, as well as being a venue for concerts. The Church's restored Hey organ with its baroque front, the Electoral box, pulpit and royal mausoleum (added between 1890 and 1891) all merit a visit. Guided tours by arrangement.
Historical buildings around the market square
The historical buildings surrounding the modern market square reflect Sondershausen's past. They include the old royal guard house, the Prince's Palace, the Zum Schwan inn, the town hall and the old post station.
Possen leisure and recreation park with viewing tower
The recreation park with its former royal hunting lodge (now a restaurant), animal enclosures, horse riding, leisure pursuits and bungalow village is located just six kilometres outside Sondershausen in the Hainleite hills. The park is surrounded by open meadows and beech forests. Its octagonal half-timbered tower, built in 1781, is the tallest of its kind in Germany (44.8m) and is a popular viewing point.
Mikveh Jewish bath
The Jewish ritual bath was discovered during archaeological excavations in 1999. It dates from around 1300, making it the oldest surviving evidence of Jewish culture in Sondershausen. The archaeological site has been preserved as a museum with guided tours available on request.
The oldest part of the cemetery contains gravestones from the first half of the 18th until the middle of the 19th century. The cemetery was extended in 1884 and the last burial took place here in 1939. The graves in both sections of the cemetery reflect the changes in Jewish burial culture. Guided tours are available on request.
Ruins of the Crucis Church
The Crucis Church ruins are the oldest structural remains (1392) in Sondershausen. Through the Förderverein Cruciskirche e. V., a society which endeavours to preserve the church, the ruins are being converted into a civic centre, combining historical parts of the original structure with modern elements. As part of a guided tour, visitors are already able to ascend the church tower, which has been renovated and furnished with a modern spire made from glass and steel.
Petersenschacht mine shaft tower
The headframe of the disused Petersenschacht mine shaft is visible from the B4 bypass. This impressive steel construction, which straddles the shaft building, is 44 metres high and is a listed site of historical interest. It was built in 1909-1910 and modelled on the Eifel Tower in Paris.
Formerly the castle of the Landgraves of Thuringia (around 1322), and later owned by the von Wurmb family (around 1719), Grossfurra Castle has returned into private hands once again. Most areas of the building have already been lovingly restored and it now contains holiday apartments and the Junkerschänke restaurant.
Immenrode Tower Windmill
The windmill, also known as the 'stony Dutchman', was built in 1859. Its interior comprises three storeys: the ground floor, meal floor and stone floor. The windmill's machinery is located directly underneath the rotating, cone-shaped cap. This historical monument is being restored and preserved by the Immenrode local heritage and mills society.