The German Fairy Tale Route (German: Deutsche Märchenstraße) is a tourist attraction in Germany originally established in 1975. With a length of 600 kilometres (370 mi), the route runs from Hanau in central Germany to Bremen in the north. Tourist attractions along the route are focussed around the brothers Wilhelm and Jacob Grimm, including locations where they lived and worked at various stages in their life, as well as regions which are linked to the fairy tales found in the Grimm collection, such as The Town Musicians of Bremen. The Verein Deutsche Märchenstraße society, headquartered in the city of Kassel, is responsible for the route, which travellers can recognize with the help of road signs depicting the heart-shaped head of a pretty, fairylike creature.
The German Fairy Tale Route passes through various scenic regions, which include eight nature parks including the Hessian Spessart Nature Park, Hoher Vogelsberg Nature Park, Kellerwald-Edersee Nature Park, Meißner-Kaufungen Forest Nature Park, Habichtswald Nature Park and the Weser Uplands Nature Park. The towns and cities associated with the Grimm brothers and located along the route are Hanau, Steinau, Marburg and Kassel. The original Children's and Household Tales (German: Kinder- und Hausmärchen), edited and published by Jacob and Wilhelm Grimm in 1812 and known today as Grimm's Fairy Tales (German: Grimms Märchen), can be found in Kassel. In 2005, this collection was added to the UNESCO World Document Heritage List. Several places along the Fairy Tale Route are connected with the fairy tales themselves. In the town of Alsfeld, visitors can see what is known as the House of Little Red Riding Hood (Rotkäppchenhaus); the spa Bad Wildungen offers a Snow White Museum (Schneewittchen Museum); and Dorothea Viehmann, from whom the Grimms learned about many of the fairy tales found in their collection, was born in what today is the community of Baunatal. According to legend, the hill Hoher Meissner is where Mother Hulda is said to have resided; Sababurg Castle, located in Reinhardswald Park, is referred to as the Sleeping Beauty Castle. Further attractions include the town of Hamelin, of Pied Piper fame; the spa of Bad Oeynhausen, which has a museum devoted to fairy tales and local legends (Deutsches Märchen- und Wesersagenmuseum); and the city of Bremen, which is famous for the tale of the Town Musicians of Bremen.
Numerous picturesque medieval towns can be found among the Route's attractions as well. In 1975, the Council of Europe awarded Alsfeld the status of a model European community for the conservation of historic buildings. The old centre of the town of Hann. Münden comprises roughly 700 half-timbered houses; the 1300-year-old town of Fritzlar is famous for its imperial cathedral; and Hamelin contains beautiful examples of Weser Renaissance architecture.
The baroque grounds of Philippsruhe Castle in Hanau, the fountain displays in the Hillside Park of Kassel-Wilhelmshöhe, as well as the Bremen Town Hall with the adjacent statue of Roland (both of which are on the UNESCO World Heritage List) are also of particular interest. The 200th anniversary of the first publication of Children's and Household Tales by the Grimm brothers was observed in 2012-2013 with a series of events. Many other events, open-air festivals, exhibits, and performances dealing with the topic of fairy tales are held annually.
Between Kassel and Fürstenberg, the Route offers two alternatives:
To the north of Fürstenberg, the Route's two forks rejoin:
Hamelin 2011. ISBN 978-3-8271-9136-6
Places along the route:
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