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Kulturlandschaftsforschung im regionalen und europäischen Kontext

Summer resort Schwarzatal

The Schwarzatal south of Bad Blankenburg is one of the most impressive regions in Thuringia. The canyon-like cut of the valley in the midst of extensive forests, the wild river character of the Schwarza and the many viewpoints and panoramic views are spectacular and well known. In this magnificent nature developed a popular summer resort for tourists in the 19th century.

The place was especially visited by the wealthier bourgeoisie, who often spent many months here during favorable seasons of the year in lavish villas commonly known as “Heimatstil”. This, in turn, gave them an opportunity to escape from the hustle and bustle of the big cities. Those who could not afford a summer residence could rent a lodge or inn as a cheaper option which leads to flourishing in tourism. Simultaneously with the emerging demand for accommodation in the designed summer resort, there was an uplift in providing other fascinating attractions for the summer visitors. Some of these included the hiking on developed trails and the outdoor swimming pool in the river were phenomenal experiences for the tourists.

In the first half of the 20th century, this success story continued with ever-increasing numbers of visitor’s overnight stays until the GDR times. However, since 1990, when the GDR system collapsed, the area has been affected by a slump in tourism. Many historic buildings are now unused, some sights have fallen into oblivion, and the tourist infrastructure no longer meets the modern requirements.

In the meantime, various organizations, such as the "Zukunftswerkstatt Schwarzatal Initiative" are trying within the framework of the International Building Exhibition (IBA) Thuringia to revive the ideas of the summer resort, in order to overcome the decline of the economy and give new impetus to tourism. The present project work is making a supportive contribution.

The aim of the student project is to develop viewpoints and hiking trails around the town of Schwarzburg in the Schwarzatal. In a first stage, the analysis of historical maps, hiking guides and pictures (postcards, etc.) from the time of the summer resort provided basic information subsequently, the Schwarzatal was visited, to get to know the area. Important viewpoints and hiking trails were explored. On the basis of the analysis, various theme trails were developed, which are oriented to the regionally and historically important topics. They revive historically significant places (especially viewpoints) and connect them with each other. The challenge in the mountainous area is the development of a barrier-free or barrier-poor hiking trail.

The project is less concerned with the identical restoration of the past, but rather with contemporary development. This made it necessary to relocate viewpoints or to increase them by platforms/lookout towers to adapt to the prevailing landscape conditions today.

Fachhochschule Erfurt - University of applied sciences KLEKs - KulturLandschaftsElementeKataster Heimatbund Thüringen