Culture lovers identify the German city of Weimar as one of the highest exponents of European culture. Small and accessible, it sits on the banks of the Ilm River, right at the base of the imposing Ettersberg Mountain and near the Thuringian Forest. The city boasts a rich historical and cultural legacy that earned it the title of World Heritage Site by Unesco.
Its streets, squares, and cafes have witnessed the evolution of prodigiously talented personalities. The list includes brilliant writers such as Goethe and Schiller, the philosophers Nietzsche and Schopenhauer, musicians like Liszt, Bach or Cornelius, and painters such as Paul Klee. We should not forget it was also the home of Walter Gropiusthe—architect, urban planner and designer—founder of the famous Bauhaus School, which revolutionized the course of art history with new ideas of change and modernity. A trip to Weimar becomes a journey to a glorious past, but also a sojourn through the avant-garde art movements that changed the world in the early 20th century.
Our first destination is the Marktplatz, which although not as big and reputed as its neighbor Theaterplatz, is quite a beautiful place with its Neptune Fountain and beautiful old buildings. Travelers will find here the Rathaus with a carillon clock that strikes the hours and enchants the visitors.
1. Herder Church with Cranach Altar.
2. Goethes’s Summer house.
3. Haus am Horn.
4. Interior Bauhaus Museum.
5. Duchess Anna Amalia Library.
6. Monument to Goethe and Schiller in front of Bauhaus Museum.
Next on our stroll through the city is the home of the famous painter Lucas Cranach, the Elder. Near the Marktplatz is Theaterplatz, where you will find the monument to Goethe and Schiller and the Deutsches National Theater (German National Theatre). The traveler can enjoy the most select shops, as well as the finest restaurants and cafes overlooking the square.
When you visit Weimar for the first time, one of its most striking features is the size of Park an der IIm—also known as Goethe Park— which is larger than the city itself. It was built over two hundred years ago and continues to be the favorite relaxation space for both locals and visitors. Along the city’s elegant boulevards—shrouded in beautiful greenery—you will encounter a large statue of Weimar-born Franz Liszt. Also worth a visit is a small house that Duke Carl August gave to Goethe, which has been turned into a small museum and a place of pilgrimage for literature enthusiasts.
1. Belveder Park and Palace.
2. Residential Palace.
3. Open Air concerts.
4. Street scene.
5. Belvedere Palace.
Another monument located inside the park is the Soviet Memorial, a resting place for the soldiers who died in Weimar during World War II. Nearby is the house of Schiller located in the pedestrian Schillerstrasse Street.
But if what you want is to see modernity at its best, direct your steps to the Am Horn house, built for the Weimar Bauhaus exhibition of 1923 by Georg Muche, a renowned painter and teacher of the Bauhaus School. The Bauhaus Museum–in the Theaterplatz–is an exceptional place to explore a vast collection of pieces from the early years of this incomparable artistic movement.
The best hotel in Weimar is the Elephant, opened in 1696. Its decor is inspired by the Art Deco and Bauhaus styles. Within walking distance is Anna Amalia restaurant, awarded a Michelin star for its original Mediterranean cuisine prepared by the Italian Chef Marcello Fabbri. Read about other luxury destinations in Germany: Berlin, Baden-Baden, Munich. ■
PHOTOS: Courtesy of Weimar AG.