Mödlareuth is a small, unincorporated German village divided between the towns of Töpen, Upper Franconia, Bavaria and Gefell, Thuringia. Historically, Mödlareuth was split Berlin-style by the East German border wall as part of the front line of Cold War Europe.
A "Modelotenreut" is mentioned in parish church records as early as 1374. The tiny (one foot wide) Tannbach stream through Mödlareuth hamlet became Bavaria's northern border in 1810, in the Napoleonic Wars era after Bavaria annexed most of historical Franconia.
To the north, Reuss had been part of Thuringia since 1920; it became part of the Soviet occupation zone in 1945, splitting the village between what became West Germany and East Germany. A pass was required to cross between the two parts of town. A series of border fences were constructed after 1952, with residents close to the border forced to relocate. The wall separating the two halves of Mödlareuth was built in 1966, with the East German part of the village strictly monitored and subject to access restrictions. Americans nicknamed the town "Little Berlin"; US Vice President George HW Bush and West German defence minister Manfred Wörner visited in 1983, with Bush exclaiming "Ich bin ein Mödlareuther!" in allusion to John F. Kennedy's "Ich bin ein Berliner."
The crossing was re-opened to pedestrian traffic in December 1989 and most of the wall was bulldozed in June 1990, with a portion retained as a memorial. An open-air museum, established in 1994, includes a portion of the original wall as well as a rebuilt barrier typical of those on the border at the time.
Mödlareuth is 13 km (8.1 mi) north of Hof on the B2 highway.
Kombus route 710 stops in the village.
- 1 German-German Museum Mödlareuth (Deutsch-Deutsches Museum Mödlareuth), Mödlareuth 13, 95183 Töpen, ☏ +49 9295 1334. A museum in the village recalls the border and the division of Germany. Preserved border installations (700 metres of the original wall with two observation towers, border columns and warning signs, floodlights and other relics) lie along a 4-km (2.5-mile) instructional path.
- Zum Grenzgänger, Mödlareuth 17, 07926 Gefell, ☏ +49 36649 79256. F-Su 11:00-18:00, M-Th 10:00-18:00. Small guest house on the Dorfteich, near the museum. Restaurant with beer garden, hot food and homemade cakes. A few cozy rooms available year-round. Elenore Müller, the landlady, has organised a Christmas market directly in front of the hotel in past years with local entertainment and vendors, baked goods and a Santa Claus.
There is just the one small guest house within the Mödlareuth hamlet. Hotels are available elsewhere in Töpen and Hirschberg.
- Hotel Ambiente, Moosanger 4, 95183 Töpen, ☏ +49 9295 9730.
- Hotel Kleeblatt (Hotel Cloverleaf), Gartenstraße 1, 07927 Hirschberg, ☏ +49 36644 434870. 13 rooms with wi-fi, parking, satellite TV. Restaurant for breakfast (06:15-10:00) and dinner (18:00-20:00), evening barbecue €12.50/person. €60-75.
- Hotel Garni, Bahnhofstraße 13, 07927 Hirschberg, ☏ +49 36644 24945.
- Hof, Bavaria
- Saale-Orla-Kreis, Thuringia