Pummpälz and his path Pummpälzweg...
Why is there the Pummpälzweg?
Fairy tales, formerly kept alive through telling stories, legends and myths, more and more fade into obscurity nowadays and are deposited in archives and libraries, respectively, because of new media. The underlying idea of the Pummpälzweg is to counteract that process. The project Pummpälzweg gives people the opportunity to read about and to experience the legends of the historical places of the area Wartburgkreis by means of handcrafted sculptures along a historico-cultural connection between Frankenstein and Wartburg and Bad Salzungen and Eisenach, respectively. On 7 June 2001, the official naming ceremony by the patron, District Administrator Dr. Martin Kaspari, themed "On a legendary path through the fairy forest of the Wartburg area - with Ludwig Bechstein and his friend Ch. Ludwig Wucke on the search for historical places between Frankenstein and Wartburg" took place. On 9 June 2002, the Prime Minister of the Free State of Thuringia, Dr. Bernhard Vogel, opened the path Pummpälzweg saying "...part of Thuringia has been newly developed.
What does the path Pummpälzweg stand for?
It leads over a distance of 27.3 kilometers from Frankenstein to Wartburg, having a balanced altitude difference, across the Rennsteig. Along the route there are 22 locations to be found. It is to be emphasised that, besides places for sitting down and having a rest, first of all wooden sculptures, created by wood-carver scholars of Schnitzschule Empfertshausen, and attached information panels refer to the legends. The information panels give English and dialect translations of the legends, further information and a detailed map of walks. In all locations you can find the little goblin "Pummpälz pointing to keeping trails clean.
He is described by Ch. Ludwig Wucke, a regional writer from Salzungen researching legends, as follows:
Pummpälz in Gumpelstadt In Gumpelstadt, coming from Waldfisch, the first alleyway to the left is called Hintergasse.On the corner where the same turns to the right flows the "Dorwich (Dorbach), here called Pom- or Pummwasser. Accordingly, the footbridge leading across it is called Pummsteg. Here a wire-haired goblin sits at night, similar to the Steinbacher Bieresel, jumping onto the night owls’ neck, slapping their face and making them bear him part of the way.He is called "Pummpälzche”(little Pummpälz).
With the help of "Pummpälz" as the central figure/character, the world of legends of the Wartburg area will be brought back to life, being newly read and interpreted. "Pummpälz" is simply lovely, because through his nature he reveals our smaller and our somewhat larger human weaknesses, and because he remains on our neck unless we will be back on the right way again. Thats why he is loved and also a bit feared by young and old people alike. Similar to the Norwegian trolls, "Pummpälz" in Thuringia is to be seen by all home and foreign tourists as a synonym for the country, its culture and its people. In a world flooded by stimuli and information people are looking for niches, in which they find a rest and harmony apart from daily stress. "Pummpälz with his charm on the path that was named after him makes all that possible.
What else does the path "Pummpälzweg offer?
As shown on the information boards there is an identical and very clear rambler’s map on the scale of 1:50000 with lots of details. You can buy it in many places along "Pummpälzweg" and it is not only a reliable guide, but you can also acquire conventional and digitalised stamps "Pummpälzstempel” in designated places shown on the map. These stamp places are often inns offering Thuringian hospitality, which will be certainly gratefully appreciated by hungry and thirsty ramblers. On the hike one should not only pay attention to the troll, there is also a puzzle on the path "Pummpälzweg”. All relevant information regarding the puzzle is on the map.
Troll mascots, the book about the Pummpälz legend "Von weißen Jungfrauen und feurigen Männern", Pummpälz spirit, cask-conditioned rambler’s beer "Pummpils”, the music CD "Hit für Hit im Pummpälzschritt", pepper sausages called "Pummpälzstöcke” and many more things are desired Pummpälz items willingly picked up by ramblers as presents.
Nature/environment, history/tradition, culture/arts and health/sports determine the annual major events on "Pummpälzweg”: at the beginning of June there is the running competition "Town&Country Pummpälzlauf”, in the middle of August a family contest reminding a bit of the "Iron Man” competition - "Asklepios Pummpälztritrekk”, in the middle of September the relay marathon "Wartburg Staffelmarathon” and on the last day of October, Reformation Day, the rambling "Wandern auf Luthers Spuren”.
Along the path Pummpälzweg there will be created a fairy castle in Witzelroda, a fairy grot at Sängerwiese and a Nordic Walking Land for students in Bad Salzungen. The creative realization of the most beautiful fairy tales of the world is to stimulate our children’s fantasy and their want to read books.
That way our visitors are well-equipped for exploring Thuringia’s legendary biking and rambling attraction - "Pummpälzweg”, for enjoying the wonderful scenery with its marvellous views, for crossing the "Rennsteig” in the land of Martin Luther and Holy Elisabeth, for experiencing traditional artisan craftwork in connection with a genuine treasure of sagas, for harmonising body and soul through sports activities.
... the path that unites us!