The green heart of Europe, Thuringia was for thousands of years at the crossroads of trade routes. About a quarter of the land has been preserved and developed as natural landscape, nature parks and biospheres.
Forts were built above fords of strategic importance. Settlements developed and markets thrived to meet the needs of merchants and monks bringing luxury goods and new ideas to the diverse communities linked by these transcontinental roads. Churches, synagogues and monasteries were built. Royal charters granted towns autonomy from local secular or religious rulers and privileges related to trade; marketplaces, storing of goods, and the establishment of guilds.
Messengers travelled in every season and month, foreign traders and merchants developed a unique dialect spoken from Hesse to Silesia.