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Hiking trail

Luther Trail: Section 21 – From Lehesten to Saalfeld

Hiking trail · Thüringer Wald
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  • St. Johannis - Saalfeld
    / St. Johannis - Saalfeld
    Photo: Wolfgang Seifarth, CC BY-SA, By Wolfgang Seifarth (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons
m 900 800 700 600 500 400 300 200 100 30 25 20 15 10 5 km
Pass former border posts and the largest Bauhaus building in Thuringia as you make your way into the Saale Valley to the Fairy Grottoes and then back to Luther.
31.6 km
11:00 h
597 m
1,003 m
The former Thuringian mining sites are concentrated around Lehesten and make up one of 70 geotopes in Germany. From the ‘blue gold’ region, this section of the Luther Trail continues to Probstzella, a place that was directly affected by the partition of Germany. From 1949 until 1990, the railway station was a GDR border station. An exhibition at the DDR-Grenzbahnhof-Museum (GDR Border Station Museum) in the old station building tells of both successful and failed escape attempts via the Probstzella border station and illustrates the history of the station from 1945 to 1990. Original exhibits include documents and photos as well as films and recordings.

During the 1920s, the industrial pioneer Franz Itting planed a magnificent building for Probstzella that was to provide the underdeveloped region around the town with new developmental perspectives. The Saalfeld-based architect Klapprodt designed a building with traditional, classic shapes. Itting’s son Gotthard introduced him to the Bauhaus student and Master Alfred Arndt, who managed to convince Franz Itting of the benefits of the modern Bauhaus style. Alfred Arndt was commissioned to redesign the building – on which work had already begun – in the Bauhaus style and to continue with its construction. Ferroconcrete and steel constructions combine with new external building materials to create the shapes that were characteristic of Bauhaus from 1928 to 1932. The ‘Haus des Volkes’ (People’s House) in Probstzella was the largest Bauhaus building in Thuringia and housed a cultural centre with a cinema, ballrooms, a theatre, restaurant, café, carpark and sports facilities. The former ‘Haus des Volkes’ is now a Bauhaus hotel where guests can experience the imposing Bauhaus ensemble of coloured interiors, Bauhaus furniture and wonderful views from the restaurant in the ‘Blaue Saal’ (Blue Hall) and the Arndt Terrace.

One of the most important people of the Reformation was the wood carver Hans Gottwalt von Lohr. In Saalfeld, Gottwalt discovered a large number of carving workshops and the Saalfelder Schnitzer- und Malerschule (Saalfeld Carving & Art School) where he began working as a student of the famous Tilman Riemenschneider. This can be seen in the unique handwriting on numerous creations from 1503 from the Lendenstreich workshop. In around 1518, reformatory influences began to be felt in Saalfeld. In 1524, the town council abolished Catholic mass. Documents state that around this time the Catholic Abbot Georg von Thüna was striving to obtain a Protestant priest from Martin Luther to fill a vacancy in Gorndorf.

Before arriving in Saalfeld – also known as the ‘Stone Chronicle of Thuringia’ – it is worth stopping at the Saalfeld Fairy Grottoes, the most colourful show caves in the world and be enchanted by this magical underground world.

Luther’s host and companion in Saalfeld was Caspar Aquila, one of the most important Reformers in Thuringia. Luther himself came to Saalfeld a few times and preached in the Church of St John, which features a painting of ‘Heaven’s Meadow’ on the vaulted ceiling above the choir stalls.

Author’s recommendation

Take a break on your hike at the former border town of Probstzella and visit the historic station that today houses a museum.
Profile picture of Paul Hentschel
Paul Hentschel
Updated: April 17, 2018
Highest point
676 m
Lowest point
235 m
Best time of year

Rest Stop

Schlosshotel Eyba
Gasthaus "Zum Egon" - Eyba
Stempelstelle Gasthaus "Zum Egon" - Eyba

Safety information

Parts of the route follow the railway lines. Please be aware of trains.


Lehesten (639 m)
50.475819, 11.448721
50°28'32.9"N 11°26'55.4"E
32U 673744 5594401


St John's Church Saalfeld

Turn-by-turn directions

Lehesten (St Aegidien's Church) – Lichtentanne – Border tower – Friedrichshoffnung – Probstzella - Gabe Gottes – Oberloquitz – Schadertal – Lositz – Eyba – Fairy Grottoes – Saalfeld (St John's Church)


all notes on protected areas

Public transport

Public transport friendly

Use the Kom-Bus busses to get to Lehesten from Probstzella (TIMETABLE) or Bad Lobenstein (TIMETABLE).

Getting there

Coming from the A73, take exit 8 (Neustadt bei Coburg) then continue on the B4 towards Neustadt bei Coburg. Continue east on the B89 towards Malmerz and Haßlach bei Kronach, then take the B85 towards Steinbach am Wald and turn right towards Lehesten.


Please use the parking spaces in town.


50.475819, 11.448721
50°28'32.9"N 11°26'55.4"E
32U 673744 5594401
Arrival by train, car, foot or bike

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Sturdy shoes and hiking sticks

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31.6 km
597 m
1,003 m
Public transport friendly Point-to-point Multi-stage route Scenic Refreshment stops available Cultural/historical value


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