Thuringia (German: Thüringen) is one of the least known German states amongst foreign travellers but enjoys a good reputation with local holidaymakers. A predominantly mountainous and forested region, Thuringia is also known for a quartet of beautiful ancient cities and the Wartburg Castle - a UNESCO world heritage site and erstwhile refuge of Martin Luther that is regarded by Germans as one of the most important castles in the country.
Thuringia as an entity has existed only since 1920. Before that it was a patchwork of small and miniature duchies, margraviates and other petty territories in ever shifting alliance. Both of its "big power" neighbors, Saxony and Brandenburg/Prussia at various times controlled several pieces of what is now Thuringia and in fact many of the reigning houses were branch lines of the reigning house of Saxony and consequently named Saxe-something. While this situation, that is fittingly described by the German term Kleinstaaterei was severely impending progress and made live for the people of the time harder, as they had to cross several borders in a day's march and the rulers could force them to change religion along with them (cuius regio eius religio), it is serendipitous for today's visitors, as one of the ways rulers tried to one-up one another was by investing in palaces, residences and culture. The theater in Weimar and in fact the presence of Goethe (who was born in Frankfurt) and Schiller (who hails from Württemberg) is due mostly to the search for prestige of the rulers of Saxe-Weimar and both got high paying government sinecure jobs that left them free to pursue their various interests, including literature.