On a site of former border crossings and political divide between east and west Germany, today the finest glass art from four millennia can be experienced.

It glitters and sparkles, light often refracts in crystal. No, it isn’t winter in the Thuringian Forest, this is how it looks all year round in the European Flakonglasmuseum (Bottle Glass Museum). In Kleintettau, the Rennsteig trail crosses the border between Thuringia (formerly in the GDR or east Germany) and Bavaria (formerly in the FRG or West Germany) several times. The ’Kleintettauer Zipfel’ is considered one of the many absurdities of German history: three houses on the outskirts of the village once belonged to Kleinlichtenhain in Thuringia and, although technically considered GDR territory, were located far from the border fortifications. The Upper Franconian village is a center of the glass industry. Because the local herbalists traded in oils and ointments throughout Europe, the glassmakers in the Thuringian Forest and Franconian Forest produced not only drinking vessels and flat glass, but also sturdy as well as aesthetically pleasing bottles. The museum shows how the manufacture and appearance of these fine bottles have changed throughout the centuries. The journey through time begins in the ancient Mediterranean, but the highlights of the collection are certainly the iconic perfume bottles of the 20th century. Whether it’s ’Chanel No. 5’ or 4711, there is a revival of the great classics. A new permanent exhibition also revisits the perfume industry of the GDR. And those who have had their fill of history can simply walk one door further, where visitors can admire the work on display in affiliation with the Heinz-glas company who today produce bottles for international brands, and enjoy the craftsmanship behind the delicate shimmering glass.

More Routes