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City Breaks: Online Travel Guide for Weimar
Enjoy a travel through time, while on a city tour in Weimar
Throughout the year, you can visit
festivals - markets, concerts, theater and exhibitions.
go for a walk through the parks and gardens, or
cycle along the Ilm Cycling Trail.
Weimar's history has a dark side: The
Buchenwald Concentration Camp near Ettersberg Palace.
The memorial is in memory of the victims of National Socialism.
Famous People in Weimar History
Martin Luther stayed repeatedly in Weimar: The Weimar princes and sovereigns promoted the Reformation.
In 1524, Thomas Muentzer, the Peasant's War leader, visited the Weimar Palace rather involuntarily: He was interrogated.
Weimar remained largely quiet during the Peasant's War: Elector Johann "der Bestaendige" - the Steadfast - could reorganize his troops near Weimar, in order to take part in the siege of Muehlhausen.
In the palace church, from 1708 to 1717 the Weimar court society had the pleasure to listen to the organist and conductor Johann Sebastian Bach.
In 1759, the 19 year old highly educated art enthusiast Dowager Duchess Anna Amalia began to set the course for Weimar: One of her first projects was the foundation of a library.
As a tutor for her son Carl August, Anna Amalia hired the philosopher, poet and Shakespeare translator Christoph Martin Wieland.
Wieland believed, that "the true enlightenment to moral improvement is the only reason to hope for better times, i.e. better people".
In 1775 Anna Amalia retired into private life, her son Carl August now being of age.
In the same year, Carl August invited his future Secretary of State Johann Wolfgang Goethe to Weimar.
One year later Goethe engaged the philosopher, theologian and poet Johann Gottfried von Herder as the pastor of the parish church.
The basis of Herder's philosophy was the awareness, language and cultural identity of man.
The writer Jean Paul Friedrich Richter felt close to Herder's thought. During his stay in Weimar, from 1798 to 1800, Jean Paul succeeded in keeping his eccentric satirical style free from classical principles.
In 1799 Friedrich Christoph von Schiller moved to Weimar. Thanks to him and to Goethe, the Weimar theater became one of the most renowned companies of the time.
From 1783 to 1793 the physician Christoph Wilhelm Hufeland from Langensalza recommended moderation to Weimar society: In Weimar, Hufeland laid the foundation for his book "Macrobiotics or the Art of Prolonging Life".
Napoleon passed through Weimar several times - victorious and beaten.
Carl August ensured his small dukedom's lasting fame by sponsoring literature, science and art - and even more so by breeding grey hunting dogs. From 1897 onwards these dogs were called Weimaraner.
From 1848 to 1858 the court conductor Franz Liszt guaranteed for first class music at the Weimar court. Franz Liszt and his friend, Princess Carolyne von Sayn-Wittgenstein, had been invited by Duchess Maria Paulowna, daughter of the Russian Tsar. The Duchess financed Liszt's stay and projects like the Weimar first performance of Richard Wagner's Lohengrin
From 1889 to 1894 young Richard Strauss motivated the musicians of the court orchestra to high performance.
From 1890 to 1897, the collaborator of the Goethe and Schiller Archive Rudolf Steiner edited Goethe's writings on natural science and promoted anthroposophy through his own work "Philosophy of Freedom".
Friedrich Wilhelm Nietzsche spent his last years in ill health before his death, in Weimar, with his sister.
From 1902 to 1915 Henry van de Velde was the director of the Weimar School of Arts and Crafts.
In the summer of 1912 Franz Kafka and Max Brod went on pilgrimage to Weimar. According to his diary, upon his arrival, in the Goethe house at Frauenplan, Franz Kafka fell in love with the 16 year old daughter of the guardian.
From 1919 onwards, the Weimar School of Arts and Crafts and the Academy of Fine Arts were part of the Bauhaus School - with the architect Walter Gropius as director.
In the beginning of the twenties of the last century, Weimar students had teachers like Johannes Itten, Laszlo Moholy-Nagy, Lyonel Feininger, Wassily Kandinsky and Paul Klee, and on the streets and in the cafes they could meet the young violin student Marlene Dietrich.
In 1924 the political and financial pressure of right wing forces became so strong, that the Bauhaus School decided to move to Dessau.
Weimar did not sufficiently stand up against the Nationalist Socialists: Here, Hitler could speak at a time, when he was still banned by other German towns.
When the National Socialists came to power, the cultural elite was taken into custody at the nearby Buchenwald concentration camp:
The winner of the Nobel Peace Prize Elie Wiesel survived the camp, along with the winner of the Nobel Prize in Literature Imre Kertesz, the writer and Spanish Minister of Culture Jorge Semprun, The Roman Catholic publicist Eugen Kogon, the writer Jean Amery, the child psychologist Bruno Bettelheim.
The Protestant theologian Dietrich Bonhoeffer did not survive.
Published in exile in 1939, Thomas Mann's novel 'Lotte in Weimar. The Beloved Returns' is a lovingly satirical portrait of the artist as an old man: Johann Wolfgang Goethe seen and encountered by an aged Charlotte Buff, real person and youthful character of his famous first novel 'The sorrows of young Werther'.
In Thomas Mann's 'Dr Faustus. The life of the German Composer Adrian Leverkuhn as told by a Friend' published in 1947, the fictitious composer Adrian Leverkuhn is driven by a mix of German culture, music, devil's pact, madness and crime.
At the bicentennary of Goethe's birthday, in 1949, Thomas Mann returned from exile for a speaking tour: In Weimar he received honorary citizenship and the Goethe National Award. In 1955, shortly before he died, Thomas Mann delivered the address for the 150th anniversary of Schiller's death.
You can reach all sights on foot within the few miles of the small Weimar town center.
From the train station, you walk along the Carl-August alley, cross Buchenwaldplatz and Ernst-Thaelmann street to Karl-Liebknecht street.
The Neue Museum opposite to the house of the publisher Bertuch shows the Paul Maenz collection: American conceptional and minimalist artists, German and Italian artist, including Giulio Paolini and Anselm Kiefer.
The building of the "Neue Museum" dates from the 19th century. Nearby, in 1937, the National Socialists started to erect a monumental "Gauforum", they could not complete their construction plans.
You further follow Karl-Liebknecht street to Heinrich-Heine street. At Goetheplatz you find the Kunsthalle, displaying changing art exhibitions. Nearby, the Hotel Russischer Hof was the venue for meetings of Franz Liszt with his son-in-law Richard Wagner, with Robert and Clara Schumann. The Russian writer Iwan Turgenjew was also one of the famous guests.
Go from Goetheplatz across Wieland street to Theaterplatz. Here, the Dowager Duchess Anna Amalia lived in the Wittums-Palais, after her son Carl August was old enough, to take over the regency. At that time, the Wittums-Palais was the scene of regular social gatherings of the Weimar society. The rooms give a good impression of the life-style of the leading persons in the time of Goethe.
Next to the Wittums-Palais, there was a Franziscan cloister prior to the Reformation. Martin Luther stayed here in 1518. Today, the remaining building of the former Franciscan church is used by the Franz Liszt College of Music.
On the site of the former cloister you find the Bauhaus Museum. The museum displays Art Nouveau and Bauhaus works of art by the masters and students of the Weimar School of Arts and Crafts, and the Bauhaus School, amongst others Henry van de Velde, Lionel Feininger und Wassili Kandinsky.
Opposite to the Wittums-Palais, the German National Theater traces its tradition back to the court theater that was directed by Goethe. The Neo-Classical Building dates from the year 1907, it was rebuilt after its almost complete destruction in 1945.
In 1919 the first constituent assembly of the first German republic met in the German National Theater. The name remained for the Weimar Constitution and the Weimar Republic, the Members of Parliament soon moved on from the peace and quiet of Weimar to the unrest of Berlin.
From Theaterplatz walk along Schuetzen alley to Humboldt street. 400 000 year old findings from Homo Erectus at Bilzingsleben near Soemmerda and 200 000 year old findings from Homo Sapiens at the quarries of Weimar-Ehringsdorf are on display at the Museum for the Pre- and Early History of Thuringia at Humboldt street.
You also see in the museum fossile rhinoceri and elephants from the quarries and gravel-pits of the Ilm valley, bronze age findings from the prince's grave at Leubingen near Soemmerda, wooden gods and utensils from the Celtic and Germanic place of worship at Niederdorla near Muehlhausen, golden ornaments from the graves of Germanic noblemen at Hassleben near Soemmerda und Ossmannstedt near Weimar.
Follow the Humboldt street to the south and turn left into the street "Am Poseckschen Garten". You reach the Main Cemetery and the Historic Cemetery with the graves of Goethe and Schiller in the Grand Duchal Vault.
In the Main Cemetery, you find the Monument of the Victims of March by Walter Gropius commemorating the workers killed during the Kapp Putsch in 1920. The monument was destroyed by National Socialists in 1935 and reconstructed in 1945.
Walk along Geschwister-Scholl street east of the cemetery, and you will come to one of the buildings Henry van de Velde designed in the tradition of Art Nouveau: the Academy of Fine Arts and the School of Arts and Crafts. Today, this is the Bauhaus University.
Further down to the south, at Humboldt street no. 36, you find Nietzsche's residence and the Nietzsche memorial designed by Henry van de Velde.
From the cemetery, walk along Amalien street, in the direction of the old part of town. At Wieland square turn right into Marien street. At the building Marien street no. 9 a plaque commemorates Theodor Neubauer's resistance against fascim "murdered on February 5, 1945, Member of the Parliaments of the Federal State and the Reichstag for the Communist Party of Germany, Councillor of the State of Thuringia and Doctor of Philosophy".
Go back to Wieland square, next to Marien street you find Ackerwand. This road leads to the residence of Goethe's beloved friend Frau von Stein.
If you cross Wieland square, you find Frauenplan. This road takes you to Goethe's residence.
Goethe moved into the house in 1782, and lived there with interruptions until his death in 1832. Goethe formed the rooms according to his ideas. You can still see the interior decoration and the furniture from that time.
In the Museum of the Goethe House, you see collections of the poet with a display of his life and works. The inn Weisser Schwan at Frauentor street no. 23 was first mentioned in 1569. Here, Goethe accommodated his guests.
Follow the Frauentor street, and turn left along Schiller street. You will arrive at Schiller Haus. Schiller lived here from 1802 until his death in 1805. Here, you may view Schiller's and his family's work and living space with a display of the life and work of the poet.
In the Schiller street 16-18, the Weimar House shows the town history with multimedia.
Return to the Schiller street and follow the Frauentor street to the market place. Here, you find the Cranach House. The impressive Renaissance residential building was owned by the son in law of Lucas Cranach the Elder. The painter spent his last year of life here.
The Hotel Elephant is the oldest existing inn in Weimar. The building next to it, the Schwarze Baer, dates from 1540, the repeatedly modified and restaurated building of the Elephant inn dates from 1696.
The Hotel Elephant is proud of a illustrious guest list: Jakob Michael Reinhold Lenz, Ludwig Boerne, Felix Mendelsohn-Bartholdy, Franz Liszt, Richard Wagner, Artur Rubinstein.
The Hotel Elephant is the location for a scene of the novel Vanity Fair by William Makepiece Thackeray, and for several chapters of the novel "Lotte in Weimar" by Thomas Mann. Adolf Hitler tried to participate in the luster: He stayed in the hotel repeatedly.
In the nearly 70 historical rooms of the Weimar town palace you find an extensive art collection: The Weimar dukes continuously expanded the collection starting in the 16th century.
Following Goethe's itinerary Anna Amalia went on a shopping tour as far as Italy. There she became acquainted with Angelica Kauffmann.
Today, in the Town Palace you can see pictures by Lucas Cranach the Elder and the Younger, Duerer and Rembrandt, by Angelica Kauffmann and Caspar David Friedrich, Max Liebermann and Claude Monet.
From the palace, cross the Ilm river via the Stern bridge and follow Leibnitz avenue. In the Jewish Cemetery at the corner to Musäus street you find the grave of the court banker Julius Elkan. Johann Wolfgang von Goethe and Christoph Wilhelm Hufeland were amongst his clients.
From the Town Palace cross the Burg square and walk along the Park to the "Platz der Demokratie". Here is the Anna-Amalia Library. The Baroque building dates originally from the 16th century. The library is the center for German research on the Classical period.
From the Town Palace continue along the Vorwerk alley. You will reach the Herder square and the Gothic Parish Church St. Peter and Paul. Here, Johann Gottfried von Herder was pastor, he is buried in the cemetery of the Parish Church.
In the Parish Church cemetery you also find the tombstone of the Duchess Anna Amalia.
In the Parish Church you can see the altar, which Lucas Cranach the Elder started to work on in the year of his death 1552/1553. His son Lucas Cranach the Younger completed the altar in 1555. In the chancel, you find the original tombstone of Lucas Cranach the Elder from the Jakobs church.
North of the Parish Church you arrive at Herder's residence, next to the house you see the Baroque Old Grammar School, of 1716.
At the Rittergasse, west of Herder square you pass the Saechsische Hof, a building from the 15th century. Goethe lived here in his first year in Weimar. The Deutschritter House east of Herder square is a well preserved Renaissance building, of 1566.
From the Herder square turn into Jakob's street. You arrive at the Kirms-Krackow House, one of the oldest houses in the town.
The Renaissance house, built in 1520, was owned by the court officials' family Kirms. In Goethe's times the house was inhabited by Karl Kirms, Secretary to the Secret Chancellery of Duke Carl August, and his younger brother Franz Kirms, court official and theater managing director.
The Kirms-Krackow House was a meeting place of the Weimar society. The last member of the family, niece Charlotte Krackow lived in the house until her death in 1915. She has preserved the house in its Classical condition. The municipal authorities then bought the house and opened it for the public.
With a tour of the Kirms-Krackow house, you receive a genuine impression of the life style during Goethe's time. The exhibition recalls the famous Weimar visitors of the house, Goethe, Schiller, Anna Amalia, Carl August, Wieland, Herder and Franz Liszt. There were out-of-town guests, too: Alexander von Humboldt and Madame de Stael stayed in the house. In later years, the Danish poet and writer of fairy tales Hans Christian Andersen lived here repeatedly.
Follow the Jakob's street to the Jakob's church. The Baroque church stands on the site of a previous medieval builing. Lucas Cranach the Elder was buried here in 1553: In the south wall of the church you can see a replica of his tombstone.
In the Jakob's church, Goethe married Christiane Vulpius: You can visit her grave in the cemetery. Here Friedrich von Schiller was buried at first, until his grave was transferred to the Grand Ducal Vaults in the Historical Cemetery.
Across the Roll square in front of the Jakob's church, following Karl-Liebknecht street you return to the station. Do you still have time before your train leaves?
Right at the train station, at Friedrich-Ebert street no. 8, you find the People's House, the first trade union building in Thuringia. Here, Karl Liebknecht, Rosa Luxemburg, Clara Zetkin and Rudolf Breitscheid spoke. In 1990, the People's House was reopened after its reconstruction.
Henry van de Velde worked in Weimar from 1902 to 1915. He designed a number of apartment houses, including his own house, the Haus Hohe Pappeln in the Belvedere avenue no. 58. Most notably, he was the architect of the former Academy of Fine Arts and of the School of Arts and Crafts in Geschwister-Scholl street. Today, the building houses the Bauhaus University.
From 1919 onwards, the Weimar School of Arts and Crafts and the Academy of Fine Arts were part of the Bauhaus School - with the architect Walter Gropius as director.
In 1924 the political and financial pressure of right wing political forces forced the Bauhaus School to move to Dessau.
Across the Ilm river, on the opposite east side of the park, you can see the Experimental Housing at the address Am Horn no. 61. The apartment was built for an exhibition in 1923, in order to demonstrate Bauhaus principles.
The Experimental Housing "Am Horn" and the Buildings of the Academy of Fine Arts and the School of Arts and Crafts are part of the Unesco World Heritage.
You can see pictures and works of the masters and students of the School of Arts and Crafts and the Bauhaus School in the Bauhaus Museum at Theater square. Johannes Itten, Laszlo Moholy-Nagy, Lyonel Feininger, Wassily Kandinsky and Paul Klee taught in Weimar.
Take the motorway exit to Weimar, and you pass Gelmeroda. The church of Gelmeroda has been the motif of innumerable drawings and pictures by Lyonel Feininger.
In the Main Cemetery, you see the reconstructed Monument of the Victims of March by Walter Gropius. The Nietzsche Memorial by Henry van der Velde at Humboldt street no. 36 has been reconstructed to the condition of 1903.
The German National Theater and the Weimar State Orchestra offer stage plays, dances and musicals, children's theater. DAS Youth Theater addresses teenagers. In the Youth and Cultural Center Mon Ami concerts and parties take place. The ACC Cultural Center shows exhibitions and puts on concerts.
The festive season continues with dance, theater, concerts and readings at the Weimar Art Festival from the August to September, it centers on Franz Liszt "Nostalgia - Pelerinages" - the festival is organised by Franz Liszt great great grand daughter Nike Wagner.
Weimar celebrates Goethe's birthday on August 28 with a museums' night, performances in the courtyard of the Town Palace and a wine festival.
Beginning of September, potters from all over Thuringia meet for the Pottery Market at the Weimar market square. And in October 2005 for the 352th time, the traditional Onion Market will take place in the historic town center of Weimar.
Throughout December there is a large Christmas Market at the Weimar Markt square.
The Park on the Ilm river, reaching from the Town Palace Ilm upstream to the south, was mainly designed by Johann Wolfgang von Goethe. Goethe's Garden House and the Roman House are part of the park. Both houses are open to the public, the Roman House displays an exhibition on the history of the park.
Streamon the river Ilm, through the meadowlands, you can walk the 1.2 miles to the Baroque Palace and Orangery Belvedere with its Postclassical Romantic gardens. Downstream 1.2 miles from the Town Palace you can view the mainly Classical landscape gardens of the Baroque Tiefurt Palace. Both palaces were summer seats of the Weimar Dukes, both palaces are open to the public.
On the road you reach Belvedere Palace via Belvedere avenue to the south of Weimar. The Tiefurter avenue takes you to Tiefurt Palace in the north of the town.
Further down the Ilm River, 5.6 miles northeast of Weimar, you may visit the Ossmannstedt Estate. The Estate and the Estate Park were owned by the philosopher, poet and Shakespeare translator Christoph Martin Wieland. You can visit an exhibition on Wieland's life and works. Christoph Martin Wieland and his wife are buried on the Ossmannstedt Estate.
Ettersburg Palace is another Baroque summer and hunting seat of the Weimar Dukes about 5.6 miles northwest of Weimar. In 1808, Carl August invited the participants of the Erfurt convention to Ettersburg Palace for the hunt, on this occasion Napoleon was also present.
In 1844, the Palace Gardens of Ettersburg Palace were laid out as a landscape garden by Eduard Petzold under the direction of Prince Pueckler-Muskau. As designed by Prince Pueckler-Muskau the avenue leading to the palace was widened into a long forest glade, the so-called Pueckler Glade.
Ettersburg Palace is delapidated, but you can visit the Palace Gardens.
In 1999 a glade that was designed 250 years ago was re-cut as a "Time Aisle": The aisle takes you from Ettersburg Palace to the nearby Buchenwald Concentration Camp.
You find the Buchenwald Memorial 5 miles northeast of Weimar.
In the memorial building you can visit exhibitions on the history of the concentration camp from 1937 to 1945, on the history of the memorial from the times of the East German Democratic Republic until today, on the history of the Soviet Special Camp no. 2 from 1945 to 1950, and you can see art works by prisoners, survivors and those born later.
There is a visitors information booth at the parking lot. Guided tours have to be booked in advance.
On the Ilm Cycling Trail you ride from Weimar to the Saale river via Tiefurt and Ossmannstedt, or - towards the springs near the Rennsteig Trail - you ride via Bad Berka, Kranichfeld and Stadtilm to Ilmenau and Stuetzerbach.
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