The special charm of Erfurt is partly due to the advantages of its location. The fertility of Erfurt’s soil, the numerous courses of the river Gera and the mild climate provided favourable conditions for the early development of agriculture and horticulture in the region and these industries became the main source of wealth for the city. In the Middle Ages, woad made Erfurt into one of the most prosperous cities in Europe and Luther referred to the people of Erfurt as "the gardeners of the Holy Roman Empire".
Alderman Christian Reichart established commercial horticulture in Erfurt in the 18th century. Watercress, "puff" or broad beans and the Erfurt cauliflower became known outside Erfurt. Numerous ornamental and commercial gardens had already made Erfurt world famous by the 19th century as the "city of flowers".
Erfurt is still a city of flowers and horticulture. A large seed culture enterprise, the oldest cactus cultivation centre in Europe, the numerous horticultural companies, a teaching and empirical research establishment, a university of applied sciences and the German horticultural museum are all based in Erfurt. The spacious area of land known as the Ega Cyriaksburg (also called the "garden of Thuringia" by native Thuringians) attracts many visitors throughout the year on account of its splendid displays of flowers and plants.
The ornamental park gardens, Europe’s biggest designer flower bed, the rose garden and tropical plant greenhouses at the Ega, all bear witness to Erfurt’s great gardening tradition. The television programme “You and Your Garden” is also broadcast directly from the Ega’s own television garden. You will be struck by the green-fingered passion of the people in this city of flowers as you wander past the window-boxes, beautifully decorated balconies and well-kept front gardens.