Down in the next valley to the east of Bad Orb and the Wegscheide is the town of Burgjoss.
This building is a water castle, so called because there was once a moat around it for defense. According to a plaque at the entrance, the oldest parts of the walls date from the 9th century. The house in something like its present form was built in 1573.
Like every other town and village in this area, Burgjoss changed hands numerous times over the centuries. At one time or another it has been ruled by the principalities of Mainz, Aschaffenburg and Frankfurt, and by the kingdoms of Bavaria and Prussia.
The castle has been used since 1875 by the Forest Service, first of Prussia and then, since 1945, by the Forest Service of the Land Hessen.
Burgjoss is in the Jossa Valley, which after some winding around flows into the Sinn River, which in turn flows into the Main at Gemünden. So from here it's downstream all the way to Frankfurt and Mainz.
Opera and cycling in Bad Orb
Bad Orb is a nice little town in the Spessart hills in the German state of Hessen, about 60 km to the east of Frankfurt.
Since it only had 9,779 inhabitants at last count (down 208 from five years ago), you will not be shocked to learn that there is no opera house in Bad Orb. But what is does have is the Bad Orb Opera Academy under the direction of retired opera singer Carlos Krause.
Opera performances have been held in Bad Orb every summer since 1987, but I only started coming in 2001, after getting to know Carlos Krause in Frankfurt. The operas I have seen in Bad Orb so far are:
Bedrich Smetana, Die verkaufte Braut (The Bartered Bride) in 2001
Georges Bizet, Carmen in 2002
Albert Lortzing, Zar und Zimmermann (The Tsar and the Carpenter) in 2003
Eugen D’Albert, Tiefland in 2004
Peter I. Tschaikowsky, Eugen Onegin in 2005
Ludwig van Beethoven, Fidelio in 2006
Gaetano Donizetti, Don Pasquale in 2007
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, Così fan tutte in 2008
Johann Strauss Jr., Die Fledermaus (The Bat) in 2009
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, Don Giovanni in 2010
Their 2011 production will be the opera The Barber of Seville by Giacomo Rossini. It will be performed on Friday, August 12 and Sunday, August 14, 2011. (In German, not the original Italian.)
Bad Orb is in the Orb Valley on a creek or small river which is also called the Orb. To cycle here from Frankfurt, just follow the regional cycling route R3 up the Main and Kinzig Valleys, then turn right into the Orb Valley. The town is five kilometers upstream from the Kinzig.
My "Off the Beaten Path" cycling tips begin at the Wegscheide up on a pass four kilometers to the east of Bad Orb, and continue down the Jossa and Sinn Valleys to Gemünden, where the Sinn flows into the Main River. The tour is continued beyond there on my Germany page.