Review: The city of Weimar (Thuringia, Germany) is a charming city with a terrible, horrifying past.
Weimar (or “Weimar” – for those who can read German) is a charming little town located in Thuringia. There are many nice little towns in Europe, and Weimar was the first one that captivated me and struck me to the core (even after Italian Sienna, which was officially on the list of the most charming little towns in Europe, while Weimar was never on any of those lists!)
Weimar is one of the oldest cities in Germany. However, there is not much to see here. So,
WHAT IS KNOWN FOR WEIMAR:
1. Goethe. The most famous resident of Weimar is the German poet Johann Wolfgang von Goethe! The Goethe House Museum is the most famous building in the city. This baroque house was a gift to the writer by the German Duke Carl August. And in this house Goethe lived almost half a century and died at an advanced age.
Unfortunately, the house as a whole does not fit into the frame. Constantly crowds of tourists at any time of year and, it seems, even during the day. Here is 15 minutes before the museum opening. Already tourists. And it is not just our tour group.
The house has preserved the interior, as in the life of the writer: furniture, dishes, household items. In general, a very small museum, which if you want you can walk around in 20 minutes. I do not know how it is now, but when we were in this museum, we got a plan of the museum (probably in English, or maybe in German, I do not remember), so it is quite clear what room is in it, what is located and where to go next.
2. Schiller. Lived in Weimar and the second greatest German poet – Friedrich Schiller. His house-museum is located not far from the house-museum of Goethe on the street with a surprisingly logical name Schillerstrasse. In this building the poet, being already seriously and terminally ill, spent the last years of his life. He continued to write here in spite of his illness!
Some of the furniture, crockery, furniture, and clothing have been saved. In the 1980s, the exposition was expanded, and in the annex you can visit the expanded museum and learn more about the poet’s work.
Walking from the Schiller House Museum along Schillerstrasse, we arrive at Theaterplatz. There are several noteworthy objects here:
3. A monument to Schiller and Goethe. My niece says they look like Anna and Elsa from “The Cold Heart,” no respect for the great poets))))
4. Next to the poets’ monument is the Bauhaus-Museum The Bauhaus (or Bauhaus) art and architecture school of design was founded in the first half of the 19th century in Weimar. The collection of this museum contains more than 200 unique objects of industrial and artistic design. And the building of the museum itself is very remarkable:
5. From other significant places in the city you can note the town hall building. I have no idea in what style it is made, but it looks powerful and spectacular, especially against the background of other low-rise buildings in the historic city center.
Next to the town hall is the Neptune Fountain (doesn’t look particularly spectacular with a cap of snow on its head). Not as beautiful as the fountain of the same name in Berlin, but I think it does not claim to be the best, after all Weimar is not the capital.
In the summertime in Weimar it is nice to walk also in the park on the Ilm. In this park there is a charming little house of the Hungarian composer Franz Liszt.
THE SPIRIT OF THE CITY: I loved the small, cozy streets of the town. In winter, even after the holidays, it’s a real Christmas fairy tale. The alleys are decorated with “stars” that are illuminated at night.
As for SHOPPING, I liked it in Weimar just to walk around the local little shops and stores. There may be chain stores here, but I deliberately went deeper into the courtyards, into the little streets. In Weimar, I spoke German for the first time to a live person in a store (and bought a wooden toy from a local shop). The windows are beautifully and thoughtfully decorated (this is also because we were in town during the Christmas holidays). Here’s a toy store, for example.
By the way, my girlfriends went to big city stores and flea markets like “everything for 1 euro”, so shopping in Weimar they were not so impressed. Conclusion: will shop, choose unhiked paths and small stores. The spirit of the real Germany lives there! Even the tourist office looks like some kind of fairy tale gingerbread house.
PEOPLE: There are almost no people (not counting the crowds at the Goethe Museum). We arrived in town in the evening on Christian Christmas Eve. Then it turned out that everyone was sitting in restaurants, because all the places in town were empty, except for the Turkish café. But it was also very funny to be sitting in a Turkish restaurant in a German town on Christmas Eve. What struck me most at the time were the bicycles that stood right outside in the snow. And no one takes them. There are no people on the streets, only their bikes.
THE RETURN TO WEIMAR – CONCENTRATION COAMP BUCKHENWALD: The city is also famous for its nearby Buchenwald Memorial. Each year Weimar attracts a large number of tourists from all over the world who travel to this truly terrifying place to get up close and personal with history and learn more about the terrible times of World War II. What is striking is that the forests around Buchenwald are fantastically beautiful.
The road goes along the most picturesque places, and the more frightening is what you see when you arrive: one of the largest concentration camps in Germany in those days.
On the gate is the scary inscription “To Each his Own”, which many people are familiar with. It is frightening to imagine that the prisoners, being in that terrible place, saw that inscription every day, saw their overseers on the other side of the fence. To each his own – to some power and permissiveness, to others suffering and death.
It’s a scary place! I was deeply impressed by these paper birds. They are symbols of the preservation of peace. Once upon a time the prisoners made them for each other. The ones on the photo were made by relatives of the people who died in the camps.
And in this most horrific picture is a gas chamber. Again, the horror of this place does not tie in with the stunning scenery around it.
The next picture is of the barracks doors. Some barracks were built before the war, some were built after 1945, but regardless of when they were built, horrific things happened behind these doors.
A map of the concentration camp. A relatively small area, which was guarded around the clock and controlled by four guards, so that not a single person managed to escape from here during the entire history of the camp. However about a quarter of all the prisoners found their death here.
With a heavy heart we return to the bus, casting a parting glance at the monstrous death camp. It was so strange that some of my group didn’t want to go on this tour, saying it was too hard and difficult for them. They preferred to spend an hour taking pictures in front of the snow-white trees and not think about the bad things. In my opinion, this is wrong. You have to know history, no matter how horrible it is.
To summarize: In Weimar, of course, the most profound impression left me the terrible concentration camp Buchenwald. Against the backdrop of beautiful nature this place looked even more monstrous. After reading the second half of the review, you forget about the good that was in the first half. But this, of course, should not be forgotten: Weimar as a city, as a small cozy town, or rather, I was also very impressed. It is charming and peculiar. It was for me the best European small town until I met Linz. The city is nice, and it’s worth coming here.
Weimar (Germany) – the most detailed information about the city with photos. The main sights of Weimar with descriptions, travel guides and maps.
City of Weimar (Germany).
Weimar is a city in central Germany in the federal state of Thuringia. It is known as a center of classical German literature, music and philosophy. Weimar was home to Goethe and Schiller, Bach and Nietzsche. It is also a magnificent historical city, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Weimar is famous for its high concentration of cultural sites and historical monuments, and its connection with prominent German poets attracts many tourists.
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Geography and climate
Weimar is situated in central Germany in the Ilm valley, a tributary of the River Saale, on the southern border of the fertile agricultural region between the Harz and the Thuringian Forest. The city has a moderate maritime climate characterized by cool winters and warm summers.
Weimar is between Erfurt and Jena, 80 km southwest of Leipzig, 170 km north of Nuremberg and at the same distance (but west of) Dresden.
- Population – 64,000 people.
- Area – 84.48 km2 .
- Language: German.
- Currency is euro.
- Visa – Schengen.
- Time – Central European UTC +1.
- The main shopping area of the city is around Marktplatz.
- In Weimar, we recommend to try fried sausages (Thueringer Bratwurst) and cakes Zupfkuchen.
The first mention of Weimar dates back to the 10th century. Until the 14th century, the city was part of the county of Weimar-Orlamunde. In the 16th century, Weimar became the capital of the Duchy of Sachsen-Weimar, which became a grand duchy in 1815 and was actually a separate state.
Weimar had its heyday in the 18th and 19th centuries. During this period, the city became the center of the German Enlightenment and home to the great German literary geniuses – Goethe and Schiller. In 1918 the first democratic constitution of Germany was signed in Weimar, which remained in force until 1933. Until 1946 the city was the capital of Thuringia.
How to get there
The nearest international airports are in Erfurt and Leipzig. The easiest and fastest way to get to Weimar is by German Railways (Deutsche Bahn).
Goethe House is a simple baroque building built in the early 18th century that was the place of the great German writer’s life. Goethe lived in this house from 1782 until his death in 1832. The house has now been converted into a museum that, in addition to its original historical setting, displays a wide range of materials about his life and work, including his art collection and a personal library containing some 5,400 volumes.
Goethe’s Garden House
Goethe’s Garden House is a small cottage in a park by the River Ilm in which the German classicist worked in seclusion.
Connoisseurs of modernism in art should not miss the New Museum, which displays magnificent works of realism and impressionism inspired by the ideas and writings of Friedrich Nietzsche, including paintings by Claude Monet and Henri van de Velde
Schiller House Museum
The Schiller House Museum is a historic building, built in 1777, in which one of the most important German poets lived from 1802 until his death in 1805. In addition to the richly furnished interiors in historical authenticity, the house contains many authentic artifacts that once belonged to Friedrich Schiller.
Library of Duchess Anna Amalia
The Library of Princess Anna Amalia is one of the most important collections of classical literature in Germany, comprising more than a million books (including medieval signatures and some of the earliest printed books in Europe). The library is located in the Green Palace, a huge Renaissance building built in 1563. Its main highlight is the exquisite Rococo hall.
Herder’s Church (Herder Church) is a magnificent medieval structure in the late Gothic style, dating from the beginning of the 16th century.
The main cemetery in Weimar is known as the final resting place of Goethe and Schiller. Their tombs are housed in a domed neoclassical chapel, built in 1827.
The castle is one of the symbols of Weimar. It is a three-story neoclassical palace with a colonnade and an imposing round tower, facing the Ilm River. The building was constructed at the end of the 18th century. It now contains extensive art collections, including an excellent collection of German Medieval and Renaissance art and paintings by Italian and Dutch masters from the 16th and 17th centuries.
The Belvedere is an elegant palace surrounded by a beautifully landscaped park (later converted into a Botanical Garden). It is located on a hilltop on the southern outskirts of Weimar. The Belvedere was originally built as a hunting lodge in the early 18th century and later rebuilt into the sumptuous summer residence of Princess Anne Amalia. The palace is full of interesting artifacts, including works of art and weapons from the 18th and 19th centuries.
The town hall is a 19th-century neo-Gothic building located on the west side of Marktplatz.
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