The projects of Open Houses are based on sustainable principles. Therefore the activities at Lohra Castle combine aspects of cultural heritage preservation and aspects of natural heritage preservation. The participants of the Workcamps carry out works in the green areas and the forests around the castle, restoration work and collaboration in renovation works.
Because around the outer walls of the castle trees had been grown up during the last two decades, actually the castle is partly not seen from the valley. So, besides taking care of green areas the volunteers will help to cut the trees around the walls in order to expose the view to the castle and will transport the wood to the storage place as well as splitting and stacking the wood. Besides that the volunteers will take care of the nearby natural protected area, a huge meadow with old scattered fruit trees, which was for a long time out of maintenance. The participants will collect stones and branches covered under the grass to enable to mow and collect the grass and afterwards level the ground. Additionally there will be involvement in some small renovation works.
Accomodation and food
In Lohra castle: Shared rooms with 2 - 5 beds in 3 guest houses, warm shower (limited hot water), 1 camp kitchen (cold water), coal-burning stoves.
The meals will be prepared together as they are part of the community life, what means that every participant will be responsible for the meal at least once during its stay. So it would be very nice if the participants could bring typical recipes from home in order to introduce each other to the preparation of food from all over the world.
Location and leisure
Lohra Castle is situated in the heart of Germany in Northern Thuringia. The castle, which is surrounded by a scenic hilly landscape, is located on the edge of a nature reserve area. Being one of the largest castles in Thuringia, the history of the castle Lohra begins in the Middle Age. The castle is more than 1,000 years old. Today, it includes twenty buildings from different times: medieval fortifications, remnants of a tower from the 11th century, a Romanesque chapel, a manor house from the Renaissance period as well as stables and granaries from the 19th and the early 20th centuries.
The ensemble is situated in the centre of a beautiful forest. For years Lohra Castle was vacant. In the 1990s Open Houses started to restore the castle and to revive it by cultural activities. Since that time, a large number of Workcamps, Building Weeks, exhibitions, concerts and other activities with international participants took place in the castle.
The camp place is situated near a small village in rural Thuringia, so the participants should not expect busy places and normal city activities for the leisure time during the working days. Small trips in walking distance are possible in the afternoon. On the weekends it is possible to organise an excursion to nearby cities or to have other leisure activities.
Usually average temperatures in Germany during the summer time are about 20º C to 30º C; during the night it will get colder. It is possible that there may be three weeks of non-stop sunshine, but every day rain is not impossible either. In September and October it's about 8º C to 18º C.
Project hosted by
The history of Open Houses Network dates back to the mid-1980s, when a group of young people began to restore village churches in East Germany in voluntary work to protect them from decay. The initiative to save these buildings brought together people who enjoyed the freedom these activities provided, bringing life again to these places in ways which by far exceed the craftsmen's work done – through exhibitions, concerts, making music together or just sitting by a camp fire.
Today, spaces free of political and ideological pressure are no longer urgently required; nonetheless, it is now rare to find places where people can meet without commercial pressure, free of bureaucracy and institutionalism, free of prejudice and the exclusion which it produces. What should be easy – to go somewhere in order to meet people and to work together – has become difficult. The tightrope walk between, on the one hand, public activities in a monetary and functional sense, and the retreat into private life on the other, is very difficult, and it requires a lot of power and permanent efforts to tackle red tape and financial restrictions.
Free spaces are less and less understood as common property, and are permanently being cut back. The idea of public property seems to have gone out of fashion, and places of common responsible work have become rare.
Open Houses Network tries to create and protect such spaces. In this process, we do not want to be the do-ers. We want to be those who propose vision of initiating a new change in perspective while still being aware of the need to rely in the co-operation of others. We understand our projects and events as offers – as offers to create space for commitment, for changes, for meetings.
Detailed information will be provided on the infosheet to be sent to the selected volunteers.
Volunteers should bring:
-stable work boots, really appropriate for practical work
-appropriate clothes, waterproof coat
-mosquito protection lotion
-typical recipes, sweets, music, instruments and games from the participants' home country for group activities
-More detailed information will be sent later on the infosheet
-EU-members should bring their European Health Insurance Card; those which have an individual travel insurance should bring the certificate