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Stiftland, Egerland and the Fraisch

Von Jürgen Herda   auf Facebook posten  Auf Twitter posten  
Kaiser Barbarossa made Eger the seat of his Kingdom and the surrounding area was redesigned and refurbished, creating what was to be an example to all regions under the name of Provincia Egrensis. Later as Kaiser Ludwig of Bavaria had to give up the town to his rival and successor Charles IV the region retained its importance and its own parliament until 1806 when it became a part of Bohemia. The neighbouring Stiftland, or as it was known the ancient province of Tirschenreuth, was under the jurisdiction of Cistercian monks in Waldsassen during this time and they kept a very close contact with Egerland.
The two regions even agreed to share the power over the communities of Neualbenreuth, Altalbenreuth/Mythina, Gosel/Kozly and Querenbach and each year the authority over the four villages was passed back and forth.

A coordination of German and Czech culture. The Bärnauer Summer Festival.

The oldest town in the Stiftland region was handed over to the Waldsassen Abbey in 1296. Kaiser Charles IV awarded the town its charter in 1351. The town was famous for its button-making industry and houses today the Deutsche Knopfmuseum (German button museum). It suffered greatly during the Hussite revolution and the 30 Years War, but still managed to keep its market place with the surrounding buildings, the pointed-towered parish church of St Nikolaus and the Nepomuk Statue from 1722. The pilgrimage church (Wallfahrtskirche zum Gegeißelten Heiland, 1765-68) can be reached along a majestic tree-lined avenue. Every two years the Bärnauers build a gigantic open-air stage for the ‘Deutsch-tschechischen Festspiele’ (German-Czech Festival) and stories such as that of Jan Hus, or the Brave Soldier Schwejk are told, bringing the history of the two regions together once more.

The museum quarter in Tirschenreuth.

He seems to have been everywhere and commented on all he saw: “The cloth makers’ town of Tirschenreuth lies beautifully upon the landscape”. Johann Wolfgang von Goethe wrote during a stay here. And he is right. In the land of a thousand ponds the almost 10 thousand residents have a wide variety of sites and experiences to boast of. The renaissance town hall for instance on the Oberer Marktplatz, the baroque parish church Maria Himmelfahrt with its late gothic altar and the remains of the town walls. The Upper Palatinate fishing museum, Regensburger Straße shows the visitor what can be found in the local ponds and rivers, and every 5 years since 2000 the Tirschenreuther Passion (A religious play) has taken place. In 2013 the state garden show will be hosted by the town.


The baroque abbey church (Stiftsbasilika) was built by the most famous resident of the town and master builder Georg Dientzenhofer between 1685 and 1704. It houses Germany’s largest church catacombs and fabulous baroque treasures which include the some of the best examples north of the Alps. The town forms the cultural centre of the Stiftland with over 7000 residents.

Egerer Stadtwald: Near Neualbenreuth you will find the Egerer Stadtwald, a large forest that has shared by the towns Eger and Cheb since 1554. The 684 hectare forest has been part of the argument over the authority and rights of the land for a long time. The town of Cheb still has the right to draw water from the forests, and until the question of jurisdiction is settled it is maintained and serviced by an elected body.

At the world-class concerts in the basilica greats of the classical world such as Leonard Bernstein and Colin Davis have held the baton. In the Zisterzienserinnenkloster (Cistercian Abbey) the library (built between 1724-64 by Johann Karl Stilp, Karl Hochreiter and Andreas Witt) has become a popular meeting point for academics and scholars alike ( The region’s colourful history can be followed in the Stiftlandsmuseum, Museumstraße.


The onetime capital of Kaiser Friedrich Bararossa’s realm was the setting for the murder of Albrecht von Wallenstein, a popular and successful general who fell into disrepute and was killed by his own officers in 1634. The Kaiserburg, the seat of the Staufen family was built around 1150 and only the double chapel (Doppelkappelle), the black tower (Schwarzer Turm) and parts of the ramparts remain. The gothic Franciscan abbey with cloisters is a magnificent ensemble, and opposite Christoph Dientzenhofer demonstrated his talent in the St Klara church (1708-11).

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Große Kappl: Baroque pilgrimage church from Georg Dientzenhofer 6km to the north of Waldsassen.
Neualbenreuth: Beautiful marketplace with timber frame houses typical to the region, baroque Laurentiuskirche. Border tower (Grenzlandturm) has a restaurant.
Sibyllenbad: Therapy centre and baths on the edge of Neualbenreuth.
Schloss Hardeck: A stone’s throw from Sibyllenbad this onetime capital of the realm (c1238) used to be part of a ring of castles belonging to the Stauffen family.
Kleine Kappl: Baroque castle and pilgrimage church decorated in the Rococo style, 1km south of Neualbenreuth.
Wondreh: A worthy ensemble of parish church, churchyard and cemetery chapel with fantastic monochrome (grisaille technique) ceiling fresco. ‘Der Totentanz’ (The Dance of Death) dates from 1710. 6.5km north of Tirschenreuth
Marchaney: Small village on the Ahornberg with the large Jakobus Kirche, an unconventional round baroque construction by Philipp Muttone in 1733. 8km southwest of Tirschenreuth.
Hermannreuth: A large part of the hamlet was torn down in 1945 as house walls became borders and the outhouse in the garden was suddenly in Czechoslovakia! The visitors to the village can rest in the garden of the Köstler Bauernhof (farmhouse).

Many architectural styles were mixed in the three naves of the St Nikolaus Basilica. The west portal dates from the Romans, the main body of the church is gothic and after a bombing raid in 1945 the towers were rebuilt in a modern style.

The marketplace is home to a dollhouse-like mishmash of timber frame buildings woven and twisted together. The Spacilek, or the Egerer Stöckl is a fascinating and fun complex built by Jewish merchants in the Middle Ages. Goethe spent some time in the Green House (Grüner Haus) and in the Pachelbelhaus, where Wallenstein was murdered, the local museum can be found (Krajské muzeum).

Františkovy Lázně /Franzensbad

The small Franzensquelle (the mineral spring) with a pavilion from 1793 has been an important place for the wealthy town of Eger for a long time. It was named Franzensdorf when it was founded in 1793 and with increasing importance and fame it needed a facelift, and was crowned Franzensbad (Franz’ Bath). The 5000 residents of the town have kept the Kurbezirk (the district containing the mineral springs north of the town park) in yellow and white (called Kaiser yellow- the royal colour).


The importance of coal to this town on the Eger can be seen in the home of the Mining Union in the beautiful renaissance Rathaus (town hall) dating from 1540. Since then the change in the industrial climate has meant a change of colour for the town too, from ash grey to the colours of the rainbow. The church of St Jakob is a pale pink and has a green-roofed onion tower. The old abbey of the Capuchin Franciscans dating from the 17th Century is now a concert hall. The Dreifaltigkeitskapelle (Holy Trinity church) fulfills a more orthodox use, and was also renovated in the baroque style containing frescos by Elias Dollhopf. The local museum and the town library are housed in the Schloss (castle) that was redesigned and renovated in a classical style in the 19th Century.
Rothenburg od des Ellbogens in Bohemia: Locket with heraldic details.


Good Air

Hotel St Florian: Only a short walk from the castle this old town house offers rooms from €60 for a double. Evening meals and home-brewed beer are on offer in eth small restaurant of this family run establishment. Masaryka 70. Tel. (00420) 352 68 51 09
Penzion ve Skále: The inn in the cliff is a lovingly restored guesthouse with double rooms costing from €35. You can hire bikes here too. A café and a health spa are planned. Nádražní 232, Tel. (+420) 352 62 49 36.

The idyllic Loket, which lies high above the Eger, has been described as the Bohemian Rothenburg. Goethe wrote, “It is too beautiful to describe and can be viewed as a work of art from any angle”.

The first impression of the town is of course the castle, which can be seen from afar and which grew into a huge complex between 12th and the 15th Century. The path to the church is steep, through the old town, a protected cultural heritage site, over the marketplace, in front of the town hall (Rathaus) with its book-binding museum, beyond the Holy Trinity column (Dreifaltigkeitssäule) and past the red and white St Wenzel church.

This Article is part of the tour "The Golden Road"


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