Wednesday, 30 May 2018

ostheim vor der rhön

Taking advantage of the fine weather, H and I spent the afternoon enjoying the atmosphere of nearby Ostheim vor der Rhön (previously, here and here), first scrambling up and down the alleyways of the town’s landmark fortified church (Kirchenburg, previously here and here).
The complex’s maze of multiple warehouses and root-cellars for provisions plus a munitions dump and a powder tower made it a bastion for the people of the area to retreat to in times of strife and hopefully outlast a siege.
Historically, Ostheim was not aligned with the Catholic church that was the predominant influence in Bavaria and in fact existed as an exclave of the Protestant dukes of Henneberg, formally from 1920 to 1947 an outcropping of the state of Thüringen not geographically connected.
For simplicity’s sake, as was done for the Palatine territories on the Hessen side of the Rhein, Ostheim and the surrounding villages were made part of Bavaria as the American zone of occupation.
In order to maintain this island of independence throughout turbulent times is testament to the fortress’ imperviousness. Afterwards we took a stroll along the promenade of the river Streu, punctuated with footbridges and water-wheels that were once upon a time engines to drive various sorts of mills.
Finally, we ascended into the foothills of the Rhön to the Lichtenburg, the picturesque ruins of a high castle, a defensive garrison for a contingent of knights, from the eleventh century before returning home.