On the move with Johann Sebastian Bach

Forest glades, rolling hills, lush valleys, legendary castles and sleepy little towns are all part of Thuringia’s charm. And it was in this varied landscape that Johann Sebastian Bach spent the first 30 years of his life. The 60-km Bach cycling route passes through the places that shaped Bach’s childhood and adolescence.

Some more route tips.

Highlights

You can start the route in the historic centre of Arnstadt, by the Bach monument in the market square. Also worth a visit are the Bach exhibition at the Palace Museum and the fully reconstructed Wender organ in Arnstadt’s Bach Church, where Bach’s music career began. The route continues into the romantic surrounds, initially passing by Espenfeld and Gossel, before heading to Crawinkel, where Konik horses can be seen grazing in the vast meadows. In Ohrdruf, the smallest of all the Bach towns, cyclists can visit the site of the former St Michael’s Church, where Bach’s brother Johann Christoph Bach (14 years his senior) worked as an organist and taught Bach how to play the organ. The route then passes through Schwabhausen before arriving at the home of the largest branch of the Bach family in the idyllic town of Wechmar. It was here that Veit Bach, Johann Sebastian’s great-great-grandfather, settled at the end of the 16th century. Those who are not yet out of breath can cycle the six kilometres from Arnstadt to Dornheim, following in the footsteps of Bach’s wedding party when he married his second cousin Maria Barbara Bach.