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State Development Corporation of Thuringia (LEG Thüringen)

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Red gold attracts tourists to Thuringia

It strengthens the heart and circulation, gives cosmetics their color, adds just the right seasoning in the kitchen – and is becoming a tourist magnet for Thuringia and Central Germany. It’s saffron, a versatile all-rounder extracted from crocus plants – including in the region in and around Thuringia. Experts from Thuringia and neighboring Saxony and Saxony-Anhalt now want to establish a “Saffron Road” by 2025, which will attract guests with a variety of events and programs.

In Thuringia, it’s Altenburg, located on the border with Saxony, that has the largest concentration of saffron farmers who collect bright purple crocus flowers and harvest the intense red saffron threads by hand – hence the name “red gold”. Saffron gardens were found in the former principality of Altenburg centuries ago. Stations on the new Saffron Road will include not only Altenburg but also the towns of Torgau in North Saxony and Annaburg in Saxony-Anhalt. The idea for the project was born at the Torgau Saffron Day – a day when the community comes together to plant saffron bulbs in the Rose Garden – an event first held there in 2022 as part of the State Garden Show. The project is due to start in 2025 – which is the 500th anniversary of the death of the famous Elector Frederick the Wise, who was a key patron of Martin Luther and helped the Reformation achieve its breakthrough in Europe. (hw)

A field of crocus flowers containing the valuable saffron threads.

A field of crocus flowers containing the valuable saffron threads. Photo: ©Wandel-Werte-Wege gGmbH, Katja Kipping