On the A–4 between Dresden and Erfurt lies the picture-perfect, lost-in-time Thuringian village of Schmölln. The town became famous at the end of the 19th century as the center of Europe's button trade. Schmölln's industrial ambitions ended with the confiscation of the button industry as war reparations by the Red Army.
Schmölln's medieval Marktplatz, which the city rebuilt after a fire destroyed many of the buildings in 1772, is the largest in central Germany and a protected monument.
Schmölln is also famous for Schmöllner Mutzbraten, a fist-size piece of marinated pork-shoulder, spiced with marjoram and spit-roasted over birch.
Climb the 30-meter-high Ernst-Agnes-Turm, the Eiffel Tower of East Thuringia, for incredible views of the rolling hills surrounding the Sprotte Valley.
Regional and Button Museum. This museum explores Schmölln's history and culture, while providing a charming insight into the history of the button. Sprotter/Ronneburger
Str., D–04626. 034491/7692. www.schmoelln.de. €3. Wed. and Fri. 10–5, weekends 12:30–6.
Hotel Reussischer Hof. The best place to sample Schmölln's local delicacy is the beer garden of this hotel, which is also a good place to spend the night. Gössnitzer Str. 14. 034491/23108. www.hotel-reussischer-hof.de. No credit cards.
Schmölln, Thuringia, Germany