The city palace (Stadtschloss) is the most famous sight in Weimar. Over the centuries, a moated castle on the Ilm has become a palace with magnificent, classicist rooms. The current shape of the palace goes back to the Swiss architect Giovanni Bonalino, who rebuilt the palace in 1619 in baroque style. This created the rectangular basic shape of a courtyard enclosed by three-story buildings. The medieval castle tower was increased in 1728 by a baroque tip. In front of the tower is the gate building from 1439, which was perceived as a prison by the court ladies housed here. They therefore called their accommodation, slightly provocative, "Bastille".
A fire destroyed the baroque courtyard of Bonalino in 1774, only parts of the outer walls remained. Carl August of Sachsen-Weimar-Eisenach decided to rebuild the palace. From 1789 the reconstruction started according to the plans of Johann August Arens. The classicist interiors for which the city palace of Weimar is famous for today were designed by Nikolaus Friedrich von Thouret and Heinrich Gentz.
The city palace palace is now a museum and can be visited, the tours through the classicist rooms are highly recommended. Check the link for prices and opening times.
In front of the German National Theater is the Goethe Schiller Monument, which has become the landmark of Weimar. The two poets Johann Wolfgang von Goethe and Friedrich Schiller worked together in Weimar as advisors of the Duke Carl August. The two poets helped Weimar to achieve an international glory that still attracts millions of tourists from all over the world today.
The Weimar Court Theater was directed by Goethe until 1817. Today's neoclassical building was constructed in 1908 by architect Max Littmann, who also designed the Hofbräuhaus and the Prinzregententheater in Munich. The Weimar National Assembly, which drew up the constitution of the German Reich, met in the German National Theater in 1919. Hence the name Weimar Republic, although Berlin was the capital. Opposite the theater is the House of the Weimar Republic, in which the history of this era is explained.
The German National Theater is still a theater with performances. If you want, you can find out about current events on the website linked below.
Weimar City Hall is on the west side of the market square. The neo-Gothic building was erected in 1841 after the old town hall burned down in 1837. The market place is the center of Weimar and there has been a medieval town hall on the site of the town hall since 1396. What is special about the town hall in Weimar is the bell tower, with a carillon made of Meissen porcelain. The 35 bells were installed in the tower in 1987 and ring every day at 10, 12, 3 and 5 p.m., in summer also at 6 p.m.
The Weimar market square was built around 1300 and is square with 60 m long house fronts. To the west is the town hall and opposite is a row of Renaissance buildings. The green town house was built in the 15th century and now houses the Weimar tourist information center. It was destroyed in the Second World War and reconstructed in 1971. Next to it is the Cranach house, built in 1549, in which the two painters Lucas Cranach the Elder and Lucas Cranach the Younger lived. The Hotel Elephant is Weimar's most famous hotel it was a popular meeting place for Goethe and Schiller. However, the building is a new structure that was built by Hermann Giesler in 1938. Giesler was a Nazi architect who also designed the Gauforum in Weimar. Next to the elephant is the Gasthaus Zum schwarzen Bären built in 1540. The Neptune Fountain in front of the Hof pharmacy is also a sight of the market square.
On the Platz der Demokratie (square of democracy) there is an equestrian statue of Grand Duke Carl August von Sachsen-Weimar-Eisenach which was made by the sculptor Adolf von Donndorf in 1872. On the south side of the square is the Princely House built in 1774, which was planned as a tax office but became the residence because of a fire in the castle. Later it even became the seat of the Thuringian state parliament. Today it is used by the Franz Liszt University of Music. The famous Duchess Anna Amalia library is located on the eastern side of the square.
The house where Goethe lived is now the Goethe National Museum at Frauenplan square. Johann Wolfgang von Goethe previously lived in Frankfurt am Main and studied in Leipzig and Strasbourg. In 1775 he came to Weimar as a privy councilor. Goethe was 25 years old and had already achieved world fame with his works The Sorrows of Young Werther and Götz von Berlichingen. In the free imperial city of Frankfurt there were no princes or kings who could be considered as sponsor. Goethe had to earn his money as a lawyer, which he didn't enjoy much. The offer from Weimar was extremely tempting and Duke Carl August greatly valued Goethe and entrusted him with interesting tasks. Goethe initially lived in this house for rent, later the duke bought the building and gave it to the great poet.
The Goethe house in Weimar is now a museum and can be visited. You can see Goethe's study room, the Yellow Hall, the Juno room and other rooms from the time of the Privy Council. The beautiful garden behind the house is also worth seeing. Check the link for opening times and prices.
Schiller moved to near by Jena in 1789 and visited Goethe in Weimar in 1794. The two poets became friends and Schiller moved to Weimar with his family in 1799. He first lived at No. 8 Windische Strasse. In 1802 he moved to what is now the Schiller Haus, which was built in 1777 for a merchant on the Esplanade. Here he wrote The Bride of Messina and Wilhelm Tell. Friedrich Schiller died at his desk in 1805 of pneumonia from tuberculosis.
Schiller's home is now a museum where you can visit the study and other rooms. Check link below for opening times and prices.
Johann Gottfried Herder met Johann Wolfgang von Goethe while studying in Strasbourg in 1770. When a position in Weimar became vacant for a pastor, Goethe brought in his friend Johann Gottfried Herder. Herder got the post at the city church of Saint Peter and Paul in Weimar. He lived in a house at today's Herder Platz. A statue of the philosopher stand on that square today, in front of the church were he used to preach. Herder welcomed the French Revolution and did not believe in the division of people by races. Johann Gottfried Herder died in Weimar in 1803, he was one of the most influential writers of the Enlightenment.
The garden house in the Park an der Ilm was Goethe's first home in Weimar and later became his favorite place in town. Goethe bought the former winegrower's house in 1776 and redesigned it according to his wishes. Here Johann Wolfgang von Goethe worked on Iphigenie on Tauris and Egmont. However, the garden house was too small to house his collections and books. Therefore, he moved into the much larger house at frauenplan. But he still used the garden house as urban retreat. Goethe's garden house is now a museum and can be visited. The rooms were again furnished as they were at Goethe's time.
The stone of good luck is a sculpture in the garden. A ball resting on a cube. The ball symbolizes the fluctuating fate that the cube holds steadily. This sculpture symbolizes his relationship with Charlotte von Stein.
When Goethe came back from his trip to Italy in 1788, he was still enthusiastic about the classical culture of the Romans. He was able to infect his Duke Carl August and so construction of the Roman House began in 1791. The Roman garden house in Park an der Ilm was completed in 1798. It was designed by Johann August Arens and is considered one of the first classicist buildings in Germany. Classicism was introduced by Andrea Palladio in Veneto in 1550. After the French Revolution, this architectural style became established throughout Europe. The interior of the Roman House was designed by Christian Friedrich Schuricht. Today the Roman House is part of the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Classic Weimar and can be visited.
The Russian Orthodox Church is the most striking building on the historic cemetery in Weimar. The chapel was built for Maria Pavlovna, who died in 1859. The Grand Duchess of Weimar came from Russia and was buried here in Russian soil. The draft for the Russian Orthodox Church was made in Moscow and realized here. The Russian church is an annex to the prince's crypt, where the relatives of the prince found their final resting place. Goethe and Schiller also lie in the classicist tomb, even if Schiller was only buried here symbolically.
Also worth seeing is the tomb of the family von Stein and the memorial to the March dead by Walter Gropius, which the Nazis destroyed as degenerate art and which was rebuilt in a similar way after the war.
The Bauhaus was founded in 1919 by Walter Gropius in Weimar. The school combined art, handicraft and architecture and brought all disciplines to a new level. The main building was built in 1911 by Henry van de Velde, who designed it for the Weimar School of Applied Arts. The art school and the arts and crafts school in Weimar were merged by Gropius to form the Bauhaus. The architecture school developed the basis for classical modernism also known as international style. Bauhaus, de Stijl and Le Corbusier influenced each other. The Bauhaus gathered many artists in Weimar and made modern architecture known world wide. Bauhaus teachers included Paul Klee, Lyonel Feininger, Johannes Itten, Gerhard Marcks, Oskar Schlemmer, Wassily Kandinsky, László Moholy-Nagy, Adolf Meyer and many more.
The Bauhaus broke the imagination of conservative citizens; it was considered communist and anarchist. After the state election in 1924, the nationalists of the German People's Party came to power in Thuringia and radically cut funds for the Bauhaus. The Bauhaus moved to the more liberal Dessau and took everything with it, even the name Bauhaus was no longer allowed to be used in Weimar.
The Musterhaus model house on the Horn is the only modern building of the Bauhaus school in Weimar. It was built for the Bauhaus exhibition of 1923. The architect was the Bauhaus teacher Georg Muche, the interior was created in collaboration with the various craft classes of the innovative architecture and art school. Gropius wanted the factory-like production of houses that would only have to be assembled from individual parts on site. The architecture frees itself from the shackles of the past and does not use historical decorations anymore.
The House am Horn is part of the UNESCO World Heritage of the Bauhaus and can be visited (check the link below).
A Gau was one of 43 provinces in the German Empire. The NSDAP planned to build centers in the Gau capitals where the power of the party can be demonstrated. The Gauforum was planned as a large square with administrative buildings. The square served as a staging area for SS soldiers, the Hitler Youth and other brown shirts. The architecture was backward-looking, a mixture of ethnic and Roman architecture. If you consider that the Barcelona Pavilion was built in 1929, the intellectual backwardness of the Nazis can also be seen in architecture. The Gauforum Weimar was the only one built, three of the five structures were completed by 1945.
The site is located between the old town of Weimar and the train station, until then it was kept free of development as a green belt. The design by Hermann Giesler (member of the SA) was selected by Adolf Hitler. On the southwest corner of the "Platz Adolf Hitler" stands the bell tower (photo), which is about half as high today as it was back then.
After the war, the Russian military administration and technical college moved to the Gauforum. After the fall of the wall, the buildings were renovated and have been used by the Thuringian state administration. The Weimar Atrium shopping center was built by Josef Saller in 2005, at the site where the community hall should have been built. An underground car park was built below the square.
The Gauforum is one of the few surviving Nazi structures in Germany. Many cities find it difficult to deal with Nazi architecture correctly. Should you destroy the buildings, let them decay or preserve them as evidence of history.
Buchenwald was a Nazi concentration camp, it was not an extermination camp like Auschwitz. Buchenwald was a labor camp that produced armaments for the Wehrmacht. Over 1 million Jews were murdered in Auschwitz, and around 50,000 prisoners died in Buchenwald. The majority of the inmates were prisoners of war from Eastern Europe but also over 3,000 soldiers from Franc. Political opponents of the Hitler dictatorship, such as Ernst Thälmann and Rudolf Breitscheid, were also murdered in the Buchenwald concentration camp. Homosexuals, gypsies, Jews and degenerate artists also came to the labor camp. One of these artists was the Bauhaus architect Franz Ehrlich, who designed the sign Jedem das Seine on the Entrance. He had to design buildings for the prison camp in the SS construction office.
Russian prisoners of war were killed with a neck shot system disguised as a measuring station. Of the approximately 270,000 prisoners, 220,000 survived the Buchenwald concentration camp. On April 11, 1945, the US Army liberated the KZ-Buchenwald.
After the war, Buchenwald belonged to the Soviet zone. The Russians turned it into a camp for german prisoners of war, Nazis and opponents of communism. Around 7,000 German prisoners died in Buchenwald between 1945 and 1950.
The Buchenwald memorial commemorates the history of this place.
The Belvedere Palace is situated on a hill in the south of Weimar. Duke Ernst August had the palace built in the Baroque style in 1724. A Belvedere is a castle with a view. The axis of sight begins at the City Palace and ends at Belvedere Palace. In this way, both locks are connected to each other. It is a grand gesture that also shows the mastery over nature. In a baroque garden, plants are pressed into geometric shapes the show the controll of nature by mankind. However, Belvedere Palace is not in a baroque garden but in an English landscape garden, which was created by Prince Pückler in 1842. Maria Pavlovna created a Russian garden in the west of the park around 1815, which picks up on the tradition of the baroque gardens from her homeland. This part was not redesigned by Pückler.
Belvedere Palace is a fine example of "Weimar Classicism" and is part of the UNESCO World Heritage.