When you stand in Eisenach's ancient market square it's difficult to imagine this half-timber town as an important center of the East German automobile industry. Yet this is where Wartburgs (very tiny, noisy, and cheaply produced cars, which are now collector's items) were made. The cars were named after the Wartburg, the famous castle that broods over Eisenach from atop one of the foothills of the Thuringian Forest. Today
West German automaker Opel continues the tradition by building one of Europe's most modern car-assembly lines on the outskirts of town. Eisenach will be one of the focal points of the 500th anniversary celebrations of the Reformation in 2017.