The J.S. Bach Tourist

3. Ohrdruf

Ohrdruf is the smallest of the Bach towns and has only 6,200 inhabitants. The drive from Eisenach to Ohrdruf, along the edge of the Thuringian Forrest, is a real pleasure. Ohrdruf itself is located at a somewhat flatter section of this area and is a not very remarkable town. In fact, its greatest charm, in my opinion, is its old-fashioned character, as if one enters the Europe of 40 years ago (there are a few places like that in the USA, like Salem, Massachusetts). For Dutch tourists, it is also interesting to know that Ohrdruf's history goes back to a Benedictine monastery, founded in AD 724 by Anglo-Saxon monks under the direction of Bonifatius, one of the main Christianizers of The Netherlands, who was killed by the courageous Frisians in 754 at Dokkum, West of Groningen.

Like in many other towns of the former German Democratic Republic, the whole downtown section was under reconstruction at the time of our visit, with many newly opened shops as signs of the recently acquired blessings of capitalism.

Bach sites are not easy to find in this town. Sebastian's brother Johann Christoph was organist at the Michaeliskirche, but only a fragment of its tower has been preserved (with a library at the second floor) at the Michaelisplatz (picture on the left). The church burnt down in 1753, was rebuilt several times, but was finally destroyed by a bombardment at the end of the Second World War (1945). It is at the corner of the Johann Sebastian Bach Strasse (see picture on the right, above), where Johann Christoph's house used to be. The house has disappeared and only a memorial tablet reminds the tourist of the site's glorious role in the history of music.

Apparently, Ohrdruf is not used to tourism at all because it was very hard to find post cards (if you are desperate, the best places to look for cards are bookstores and the like).

Table of Contents

1. Introduction 2. Eisenach 3. Ohrdruf
4. Lüneburg Heath 5. Lüneburg 6. Lübeck 7. Arnstadt
8. Dornheim 9. Mühlhausen 10. Weimar
11. Köthen 12. Leipzig

Further information:

Go to the map or to Bach's biography (Ohrdruf).

Go to the J.S. Bach Home Page