Weimar

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Weimar
Weimar - Blick zu Herderkirche & Stadtschloss.jpg
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Location of Weimar within Thuringia
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Weimar
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Weimar
Coordinates: 50°59′0″N11°19′0″E / 50.98333°N 11.31667°E / 50.98333; 11.31667 Coordinates: 50°59′0″N11°19′0″E / 50.98333°N 11.31667°E / 50.98333; 11.31667
Country Germany
State Thuringia
District Urban district
Government
   Lord Mayor Peter Kleine (Ind.)
Area
  Total84.48 km2 (32.62 sq mi)
Elevation
208 m (682 ft)
Population
(2017-12-31) [1]
  Total64,426
  Density760/km2 (2,000/sq mi)
Time zone CET/CEST (UTC+1/+2)
Postal codes
99423, 99425, 99427, 99428
Dialling codes 03643, 036453
Vehicle registration WE
Website www.weimar.de

Weimar (German pronunciation: [ˈvaɪmaɐ̯] ; Latin : Vimaria or Vinaria) is a city in the federal state of Thuringia, Germany. It is located in Central Germany between Erfurt in the west and Jena in the east, approximately 80 kilometres (50 miles) southwest of Leipzig, 170 kilometres (106 miles) north of Nuremberg and 170 kilometres (106 miles) west of Dresden. Together with the neighbour-cities Erfurt and Jena it forms the central metropolitan area of Thuringia with approximately 500,000 inhabitants, whereas the city itself counts a population of 65,000. Weimar is well known because of its large cultural heritage and its importance in German history.

Thuringia State in Germany

Thuringia, officially the Free State of Thuringia, is a state of Germany.

Germany Federal parliamentary republic in central-western Europe

Germany, officially the Federal Republic of Germany, is a country in Central and Western Europe, lying between the Baltic and North Seas to the north, and the Alps to the south. It borders Denmark to the north, Poland and the Czech Republic to the east, Austria and Switzerland to the south, France to the southwest, and Luxembourg, Belgium and the Netherlands to the west.

Central Germany is an economic and cultural region in Germany. Its exact borders depend on context, but it is often defined as being a region within the federal states of Saxony, Thuringia and Saxony-Anhalt, or a smaller part of this region, such as the metropolitan area of Leipzig and Halle plus the surrounding counties.

Contents

The city was a focal point of the German Enlightenment and home of the leading personalities of the literary genre of Weimar Classicism, the writers Johann Wolfgang von Goethe and Friedrich Schiller. In the 19th century, famous composers like Franz Liszt made Weimar a music centre and later, artists and architects like Henry van de Velde, Wassily Kandinsky, Paul Klee, Lyonel Feininger and Walter Gropius came to the city and founded the Bauhaus movement, the most important German design school of the interwar period. However, the political history of 20th-century Weimar was inconsistent: it was the place where Germany's first democratic constitution was signed after the First World War, giving its name to the Weimar Republic period in German politics (1918–33), as well as one of the cities mythologized by the National Socialist propaganda.

Weimar Classicism

Weimar Classicism was a German literary and cultural movement, whose practitioners established a new humanism, from the synthesis of ideas from Romanticism, Classicism, and the Age of Enlightenment.

Johann Wolfgang von Goethe 18th/19th-century German writer, artist, and politician

Johann Wolfgang (von) Goethe was a German writer and statesman. His works include four novels; epic and lyric poetry; prose and verse dramas; memoirs; an autobiography; literary and aesthetic criticism; and treatises on botany, anatomy, and colour. In addition, there are numerous literary and scientific fragments, more than 10,000 letters, and nearly 3,000 drawings by him extant.

Friedrich Schiller German poet, philosopher, historian, and playwright

Johann Christoph Friedrich von Schiller was a German poet, philosopher, physician, historian, and playwright. During the last seventeen years of his life (1788–1805), Schiller struck up a productive, if complicated, friendship with the already famous and influential Johann Wolfgang von Goethe. They frequently discussed issues concerning aesthetics, and Schiller encouraged Goethe to finish works he left as sketches. This relationship and these discussions led to a period now referred to as Weimar Classicism. They also worked together on Xenien, a collection of short satirical poems in which both Schiller and Goethe challenge opponents of their philosophical vision.

Until 1948, Weimar was the capital of Thuringia. Today, many places in the city centre have been designated as UNESCO World Heritage sites (either as part of the Weimar Classicism complex or as part of the Bauhaus complex) and tourism is one of the leading economic sectors of Weimar. Relevant institutions in Weimar are the Bauhaus University, the Liszt School of Music, the Duchess Anna Amalia Library and two leading courts of Thuringia (the Supreme Administrative Court and Constitutional Court). In 1999, Weimar was the European Capital of Culture.

Bauhaus University, Weimar university

The Bauhaus-Universität Weimar is a university located in Weimar, Germany, and specializes in the artistic and technical fields. Established in 1860 as the Great Ducal Saxon Art School, it gained collegiate status on 3 June 1910. In 1919 the school was renamed Bauhaus by its new director Walter Gropius and it received its present name in 1996. Approximately 4,000 students are enrolled at the university today. In 2010 the Bauhaus-Universität commemorated its 150th anniversary as an art school and college in Weimar.

Duchess Anna Amalia Library library in Germany

The Duchess Anna Amalia Library in Weimar, Germany, houses a major collection of German literature and historical documents and is part of the UNO designated Classical Weimar. In 2004 a fire destroyed the main wing and a substantial part of the collection; restoration of salvaged volumes lasted until 2015.

European Capital of Culture cities recognized by the European Union as culturally significant for Europe

The European Capital of Culture is a city designated by the European Union (EU) for a period of one calendar year during which it organises a series of cultural events with a strong pan-European dimension.

History

Prehistoric times

Archaeological finds dating back to the Thuringii epoch (3rd to 6th centuries) show that the Weimar part of the Ilm valley was settled early, with a tight network of settlements where the city is today.

The Thuringii, or Toringi, were a Germanic tribe that appeared during the late Migration Period in the Harz Mountains of central Germania, a regon still known today as Thuringia. It became a kingdom, which came into conflict with the Merovingian Franks, and it later came under their influence and Frankish control. The name is still used for one of modern Germany's federal states (Bundesländer).

Ilm (Thuringia) river in Thuringia, Germany

The Ilm is a 128.7 kilometers (80.0 mi) long river in Thuringia, Germany. It is a left tributary of the Saale, into which it flows in Großheringen near Bad Kösen.

Middle Ages

The Kasseturm is a relic of the former city wall at Goetheplatz Kasseturm in Weimar.jpg
The Kasseturm is a relic of the former city wall at Goetheplatz

The oldest records regarding Weimar date to 899. Its name changed over the centuries from Wimares through Wimari to Wimar and finally Weimar; it is derived from Old High German wīh- (holy) and -mari (standing water, swamp). [2] Another theory derives the first element from OHG win (meadow, pasture). [3] The place was the seat of the County of Weimar, first mentioned in 949, which was one of the mightiest actors in early-Middle Ages Thuringia. In 1062 it was united with the County of Orlamünde to the new County of Weimar-Orlamünde, which existed until the Thuringian Counts' War in 1346 and fell to the Wettins afterwards.

Old High German is the earliest stage of the German language, conventionally covering the period from around 700 to 1050. Coherent written texts do not appear until the second half of the 8th century, and some treat the period before 750 as "prehistoric" and date the start of Old High German proper to 750 for this reason. There are, however, a number of Elder Futhark inscriptions dating to the 6th century, as well as single words and many names found in Latin texts predating the 8th century.

The Thuringian Counts' War, or Thuringian Counts' Feud was a conflict between several ancient aristocratic families and the House of Wettin for supremacy in Thuringia. The war lasted from 1342 to 1346. The conflict is also called by various other names in English sources including War of the Thuringian Counts and Thuringian Comital War.

House of Wettin noble family

The House of Wettin is a dynasty of German counts, dukes, prince-electors and kings that once ruled territories in the present-day German states of Saxony, Saxony-Anhalt and Thuringia. The dynasty is one of the oldest in Europe, and its origins can be traced back to the town of Wettin, Saxony-Anhalt. The Wettins gradually rose to power within the Holy Roman Empire. Members of the family became the rulers of several medieval states, starting with the Saxon Eastern March in 1030. Other states they gained were Meissen in 1089, Thuringia in 1263, and Saxony in 1423. These areas cover large parts of Central Germany as a cultural area of Germany.

The Weimar settlement emerged around the count's wooden castle and two small churches dedicated to St Peter (which became later the main church), and to St James. In 1240, the count founded the dynasty's monastery in Oberweimar, which ran under Cistercian nuns. Soon after, the counts of Weimar founded the town, which was an independent parish since 1249 and called civitas in 1254. From 1262 the citizens used their own seal. Nevertheless, the regional influence of the Weimar counts was declining as the influence of the Wettins in Thuringia increased. Hence, the new small town was relatively marginal in a regional context, also due to the fact that it was situated far away from relevant trade routes like the Via Regia. The settlement around St James Church developed into a suburb during the 13th century.

Via Regia medieval road in the Holy Roman Empire

The Via Regia, running from the Rhine river through Frankfurt am Main and Leipzig is a European Cultural Route following the route of the historic road of the Middle Ages.

After becoming part of the Wettin's territory in 1346, urban development improved. The Wettins fostered Weimar by abolishing socage and granting privileges to the citizens. Now Weimar became equal to other Wettinian cities like Weißensee and grew during the 15th century, with the establishment of a town hall and the current main church. Weimar acquired woad trade privileges in 1438. The castle and the walls were finished in the 16th century, making Weimar into a full city.

Early Modern Period

Market Square with some 16th-century Renaissance patricians' houses We-marktplatz01.jpg
Market Square with some 16th-century Renaissance patricians' houses
Weimar in 1650 Weimar 1 (Merian).jpg
Weimar in 1650

After the Treaty of Leipzig (1485) Weimar became part of the electorate of the Ernestine branch of Wettins with Wittenberg as capital. The Protestant Reformation was introduced in Weimar in 1525; Martin Luther stayed several times in the city. As the Ernestines lost the Schmalkaldic War in 1547, their capital Wittenberg went also to the Albertines, so that they needed a new residence. As the ruler returned from captivity, Weimar became his residence in 1552 and remained as such until the end of the monarchy in 1918. The first Ernestine territorial partition in 1572 was followed by various ones, nevertheless Weimar stayed the capital of different Saxe-Weimar states. The court and its staff brought some wealth to the city, so that it saw a first construction boom in the 16th century. The 17th century brought decline to Weimar, because of changing trade conditions (as in nearby Erfurt). Besides, the territorial partitions led to the loss of political importance of the dukes of Saxe-Weimar and their finances shrunk. The city's polity weakened more and more and lost its privileges, leading to the absolutist reign of the dukes in the early 18th century. On the other hand, this time brought another construction boom to Weimar, and the city got its present appearance, marked by various ducal representation buildings. The city walls were demolished in 1757 and during the following decades, Weimar expanded in all directions. The biggest building constructed in this period was the Schloss as the residence of the dukes (north and east wing: 1789–1803, west wing 1832–1835, south wing: 1913–1914). Between 1708 and 1717 Johann Sebastian Bach worked as the court's organist in Weimar.

Golden or Classical Age (1758–1832)

The Grand-Ducal Palace. The Grand-Ducal Palace, Weimar.jpg
The Grand-Ducal Palace.
The Goethe-Schiller Monument in front of the Deutsches Nationaltheater and Staatskapelle Weimar. Goethe Schiller Weimar.jpg
The Goethe-Schiller Monument in front of the Deutsches Nationaltheater and Staatskapelle Weimar.

The period from the start of the regencies of Anna Amalia (1758–1775) and her son Carl August (1775–1828) through to Goethe's death in 1832 is denoted as the "golden" or the "classical" age because of the high level of cultural activity in Weimar. The city became an important cultural centre of Europe, having been home to such luminaries as Goethe, Schiller, Herder, Wieland and Bertuch; and in music the piano virtuoso Hummel. It has been a site of pilgrimage for the German intelligentsia since Goethe first moved to Weimar in 1775. Goethe was also active in civic duties while living there. He served as Privy Councilor to the Grand Duke of Saxe-Weimar-Eisenach for an extended period. The tombs of Goethe and Schiller, as well as their archives, may be found in the city. Goethe's Elective Affinities (1809) is set around the city of Weimar. In comparison to many major German states, the dukes' policy was liberal and tolerant in this period. The liberal Saxe-Weimar constitution was brought into effect in 1816.

Silver Ages and The New Weimar (1832–1918)

The time after Goethe's death is denoted as the "silver" age because Weimar remained an influential cultural centre. The first emphasis was fostering music. In 1842, Franz Liszt moved to Weimar to become the Grand Ducal court conductor. Liszt organized the premiere of Richard Wagner's Lohengrin (1850) in the city. The Weimar School of Music was founded in 1872 as Germany's first orchestra school. Richard Strauss worked in Weimar between 1889 and 1894 as second conductor in the acclaimed Staatskapelle Weimar (the court orchestra founded in 1491). Several of his encores for works such as Don Juan and Macbeth were performed by the Staatskapelle Weimar. Friedrich Nietzsche moved to Weimar in 1897, and died there three years later.

In 1860 the Weimar Saxon-Grand Ducal Art School, the precursor of today's Bauhaus University, was founded. This was the beginning of academic arts education in Weimar. The institution created its own painting style, the "Weimar School" of painting with representatives such as Max Liebermann and Arnold Böcklin. The Kunstgewerbeschule Weimar was found by Henry van de Velde with the support of Grand Duke William Ernest in 1902 and represents the other root of the Bauhaus, known as "Das Neue Weimar" ("The New Weimar") around Harry Graf Kessler. It was a foundation against Prussia's restrictive arts policy favouring Historicism instead of international Arts and Crafts and Art Nouveau.

As early as the 19th century, the curation of Weimar and its heritage started. Many archives, societies and museums were founded to present and conserve the cultural sights and goods. In 1846, Weimar was connected by the Thuringian Railway. In the following decades, the city saw a construction and population boom (like most late-19th century cities in Germany). Nevertheless, Weimar did not become industrialised, and remained a city of clerks, artists and rentiers. During the German Revolution of 1918–19 the last reigning grand duke of Saxe-Weimar-Eisenach, William Ernest, had to abdicate and went in exile to Heinrichau in Silesia.

Weimar Republic

The period in German history from 1919 to 1933 is commonly referred to as the Weimar Republic, as the Republic's constitution was drafted here. Berlin as the capital was considered too dangerous for the National Assembly to use as a meeting place, because of its street rioting after the 1918 German Revolution. The calm and centrally-located Weimar had a suitable place of assembly (the theatre), hotels and infrastructure, so it was chosen as the capital.

In 1920, the federal state of Thuringia was founded by an association of eight former microstates (Saxe-Weimar-Eisenach, Saxe-Gotha, Saxe-Altenburg, Saxe-Meiningen, Schwarzburg-Rudolstadt, Schwarzburg-Sondershausen, Reuss-Gera and Reuss-Greiz) and Weimar became its capital. Due to that fact, the city experienced another period of growth.

In 1919, Walter Gropius founded the Bauhaus School by a merger of the Weimar Saxon-Grand Ducal Art School with the Kunstgewerbeschule Weimar. The Bauhaus in Weimar lasted from 1919 to 1925, when it moved to Dessau, after the newly elected right-wing Thuringian council put pressure on the School by withdrawing funding and forcing its teachers to quit. Many buildings in Weimar today have influences from the Bauhaus period. However, only one original Bauhaus building was constructed during 1919–1925, the Haus am Horn, now used for exhibitions and events on Bauhaus culture.

The Weimar Republic era was marked by a constant conflict between "progressive" forces and right wing forces, the former represented by Harry Graf Kessler and the latter Adolf Bartels in Weimar. After 1929, the right wing forces prevailed and Weimar became an early centre of Nazism.

Nazi Germany and World War II

Buchenwald's main gate, with the slogan Jedem das Seine ("to each his own") Jedemdasseine.jpg
Buchenwald's main gate, with the slogan Jedem das Seine ("to each his own")

Weimar was important to the Nazis for two reasons: first, it was where the hated Weimar Republic was founded, and second, it had been a centre of German high culture during recent centuries. In 1926, the NSDAP held its party convention in Weimar. Adolf Hitler visited Weimar more than forty times prior to 1933. In 1930, Wilhelm Frick became minister for internal affairs and education in Thuringia, the first NSDAP minister in Germany. In 1932, the NSDAP came to power in Thuringia under Fritz Sauckel. In 1933, the first Nazi concentration camps were established around Weimar in Nohra (the first one in Germany) and Bad Sulza. Most prisoners at this time were communists and social democrats. After Kristallnacht in 1938, harassment of Jews became more intense, so that many of them emigrated or were arrested. The Weimar Synagogue was destroyed in 1938.

During the 1930s, the barracks in Weimar was greatly extended. One famous person serving as a soldier in Weimar was Wolfgang Borchert, later a well known poet and playwright. As it was the capital of Thuringia, the Nazis built a new Roman-fascist-style administrative centre between the city centre and the main station. This Gauforum, designed by Hermann Giesler, was the only Nazi governmental building completed outside Berlin (though there were plans for all German state capitals). Today it hosts the Thuringian State Administration. Other Giesler buildings are the "Villa Sauckel", the Governor's palace and the "Hotel Elephant" in the city centre.

In 1937, the Nazis established Buchenwald concentration camp only eight kilometres from Weimar city centre. The slogan Jedem das Seine ("to each his own") was placed over the camp's main entrance gate. Between July 1938 and April 1945, some 240,000 people were incarcerated in the camp by the Nazi regime, including 168 Western Allied POWs. [4] The number of deaths in Buchenwald is estimated at 56,545. [5] The Buchenwald concentration camp provided slave labour for local industry (arms manufacturer Wilhelm-Gustloff-Werk). [6]

The city centre was partially damaged by US Air Force bombing in 1945 with some 1,800 people killed and many historic buildings destroyed. Nevertheless, most of the destroyed buildings were restored soon after the war because of their importance in German cultural history. The Allied ground advance into Germany reached Weimar in April 1945, and the city surrendered to the US 80th Infantry Division on April 12, 1945. [7] The residents of Weimar were ordered to walk through Buchenwald, to see what had been happening so close to the city, as documented in Billy Wilder's film Death Mills . The city ended up in the Soviet zone of occupation, so US troops were soon replaced by Soviet forces.

Since 1945

From 1945 to 1950, the Soviet Union used the occupied Buchenwald concentration camp as a NKVD special camp to imprison defeated Nazis and other Germans. The camp slogan remained Jedem das Seine. On 6 January 1950, the Soviets handed over Buchenwald to the East German Ministry of Internal Affairs.

In 1948, the East German government declared Erfurt as Thuringia's new capital, and Weimar lost its influence on German contemporary culture and politics. (The state of Thuringia itself was dissolved in 1952 and replaced by three Bezirke (districts) in a local government reform; Weimar belonged to the Bezirk of Erfurt.) The city was the headquarters of the Soviet Union's 8th Guards Army as part of the Group of Soviet Forces in Germany. Due to its fame and importance for tourism, Weimar received more financial subsidies from the GDR government and remained in better condition than most East German cities.

The destroyed Anna Amalia Library in 2004 Anna amalia bibliothek weimar brandschaden 03092004 nachmittag.jpg
The destroyed Anna Amalia Library in 2004

After German reunification in 1990, Weimar experienced significant economic hardship, but funding restored much that had deteriorated, and it was designated as a UNESCO World Heritage site in 1996 (Bauhaus) and 1998 (Classical Weimar). The European Council of Ministers selected the city as European Capital of Culture for 1999. Tourism has become an important economic factor over the decades. Weimar is now a popular residence of people working in Erfurt and Jena, both less than 20 minutes away.

In 2004, a fire broke out at the Duchess Anna Amalia Library. The library contains a 13,000-volume collection including Goethe's masterpiece Faust , in addition to a music collection of the Duchess. An authentic Lutheran Bible from 1534 was saved from the fire. The library is one of the oldest in Europe, dating back to 1691, and is listed as a UNESCO world heritage site. Over one million volumes were housed in the library, of which forty to fifty thousand were damaged beyond repair. A number of books were shock-frozen in Leipzig to save them from rotting. The library was reopened in 2007. [8]

Geography and demographics

Topography

Weimar is situated within the valley of Ilm river, a tributary of Saale river on the southern border of the Thuringian Basin, a fertile agricultural area between the Harz mountains 70 km (43 mi) in the north and the Thuringian Forest 50 km (31 mi) in the southwest. The municipal terrain is hilly; the height of the city centre in Ilm valley is approximately 200 m of elevation. To the north, the terrain rises to Ettersberg, the city's backyard mountain, 482 m in height. The range of hills in the south of Weimar rises up to 370 m and is part of the Ilm Saale Plate Muschelkalk formation. The eastern, central and western parts of the municipal territory are in agricultural use, whereas the Ettersberg and some southern areas are wooded.

Climate

Weimar has a humid continental climate (Dfb) or an oceanic climate (Cfb) according to the Köppen climate classification system. [9] [10] Summers are warm and sometimes humid with average high temperatures of 23 °C (73 °F) and lows of 12 °C (54 °F). Winters are relatively cold with average high temperatures of 2 °C (36 °F) and lows of −3 °C (27 °F). The city's topography creates a microclimate caused through the basin position with sometimes inversion in winter (quite cold nights under −20 °C (−4 °F)). Annual precipitation is only 574 millimeters (22.6 in) with moderate rainfall throughout the year. Light snowfall occurs, mainly from December through February, but snow cover does not usually remain for long.

Administrative division

Districts of Weimar Weimar Stadtgliederung.png
Districts of Weimar

Weimar abuts the district of Weimarer Land with the municipalities Berlstedt, Ettersburg, Kleinobringen, Großobringen and Wohlsborn in the north, Kromsdorf, Umpferstedt and Mellingen in the east, Vollersroda, Buchfart, Hetschburg, Bad Berka and Troistedt in the south and Nohra, Daasdorf am Berge, Hopfgarten and Ottstedt am Berge in the west.

The city itself is divided into 10 inner urban and 11 suburban districts. The centre is formed by the district Altstadt (old town) and the Gründerzeit districts Nordvorstadt in the north, Parkvorstadt in the east and Westvorstadt in the south and west. Later additions are Südstadt in the south and Schönblick in the southwest. Finally, there are the Plattenbau settlements, constructed during the GDR period, Weststadt and Nordstadt as well as two industrial areas in the north and west.

The 11 suburban districts are villages which became incorporated during the 20th century; however, they have mostly stayed rural to date:

Demographics

History of population until 2010 Weimar Einwohner.svg
History of population until 2010

Over the centuries, Weimar remained a small town of less than 5,000 inhabitants. When it became the capital of Saxe-Weimar in 1572, population growth was stimulated and population increased from 3,000 in 1650 to 6,000 in 1750. Around the year 1800, Weimar had 7,000 inhabitants. Their number grew constantly over the years to 13,000 in 1850, 28,000 in 1900 and 35,000 at the beginning of World War I. During the interwar period, the new capital of Thuringia saw a population boom, which led to 65,000 inhabitants in 1940. Since that time, the population levels have stagnated. The years 2009 to 2012 brought a moderate growth of approximately 0.35% p. a., whereas the population in bordering rural regions is shrinking with accelerating tendency. Suburbanization played only a small role in Weimar. It occurred after the reunification for a short time in the 1990s, but most of the suburban areas were situated within the administrative city borders.

The birth surplus was +3 in 2012, this is +0.0 per 1,000 inhabitants (Thuringian average: −4.5; national average: −2.4). The net migration rate was +4.5 per 1,000 inhabitants in 2012 (Thuringian average: -0.8; national average: +4.6). [11] The most important regions of origin of Weimar migrants are rural areas of Thuringia, Saxony-Anhalt and Saxony as well as foreign countries like Poland, Russia, Ukraine, Hungary, Serbia, Romania and Bulgaria.

Like other eastern German cities, Weimar has only a small amount of foreign population: circa 4.0% are non-Germans by citizenship and overall 7.3% are migrants (according to 2011 EU census). Differing from the national average, the biggest groups of migrants in Weimar are Vietnamese people, Russians and Ukrainians. During recent years, the economic situation of the city improved: the unemployment rate declined from 20% in 2005 to 8% in 2013. Due to the official atheism in former GDR, most of the population is non-religious. 20.3% are members of the Evangelical Church in Central Germany and 6.1% are Catholics (according to 2011 EU census).

Culture, sights and cityscape

Classical Weimar
UNESCO World Heritage Site
Park an der Ilm, Romisches Haus, Weimar.JPG
Park an der Ilm
Criteria Cultural: iii, vi
Reference 846
Inscription1998 (22nd Session)

World Heritage Sites

Two World Heritage Sites converge in Weimar:

Museums

Weimar has a great variety of museums:

Cityscape

The historic city centre of Weimar is situated between the Ilm river in the east, Grabenstraße in the north, Goetheplatz and Theaterplatz in the west and Schillerstraße in the south. Its two central squares are the Marktplatz in the south (with the town hall) and the Herderplatz in the north (with the main church). Despite its medieval origin, there are only a few medieval buildings, many being destroyed by frequent fires throughout the city's history. Most buildings in this area date back to the 17th and 18th century. Furthermore, Weimar has two old suburbs: in the north, the Jakobsvorstadt around St. James' Church (medieval origin) and another one in the south around Frauenplan square. The majority of buildings in these areas are also of 17th- and 18th-century origin. During the late 19th and early 20th century, Weimar grew in all directions. Because of its function as an "officials' city", the houses in this areas are more extensive than in many comparable Gründerzeit quarters in Germany. The most uptown areas are those right and left of the Park an der Ilm in the southeast, whereas the western and northern quarters are more basic and mixed with industrial areas in their outer parts. During the GDR period, two new Plattenbau settlements were developed in the west and the north of the city. After 1990, suburbanization occurred for a short time and the rural districts of Weimar saw significant growth is a big city.

Sights and architectural heritage

Religious buildings

The city's main church is the evangelical St. Peter and Paul at Herderplatz (also known as Herderkirche). It was rebuilt in late-Gothic style after a fire around 1500. Between 1726 and 1735, the interior got a Baroque renewal by Johann Adolf Richter. Johann Gottfried Herder was the dean of the church between 1766 and 1803. The second old evangelical church of Weimar is St. James at Rollplatz, rebuilt in 1712 in Baroque style. The catholic parish church of Weimar is devoted to Sacred Heart and was built between 1888 and 1891 in historicist forms imitating Florence Cathedral. Another church is the Russian-Orthodox Chapel within the historic cemetery. It was built in 1862 as the funerary chapel of Grand Duchess Maria Pavlovna and was one of the first Russian-styled buildings in Germany.

Interesting churches in the suburban districts are the Lutheran parish church of Gelmeroda, which was the inspiration for many paintings of Lyonel Feininger, and the Lutheran parish church of Oberweimar, which was a former monastery, and is a good example of Gothic architecture in Weimar.

Castles and palaces

Due to its function as a ducal residence, Weimar is rich in early-modern castles and palaces. The biggest one is the Stadtschloss at Burgplatz in the city centre. Today's four-wing building was started after a great fire in 1774. The tower and the Bastille building at its south-western edge are relics of older castles in this place.

The Fürstenhaus at Platz der Demokratie was the first parliament building in Weimar, established in the 1770s. Today it is in use by the Weimar School of Music. The Green Castle next to the Fürstenhaus was built in the 1560s in Renaissance style and hosts today the Duchess Anna Amalia Library. The Yellow Castle at Grüner Markt was built in 1703 and is the municipal library today. The neighbouring Red Castle is also part of the library and was built in the 1570s. The Wittumspalais is a smaller widow mansion near Theaterplatz, established in 1768. Outbildings of the ducal residence are the Husarenstall (1770), the later residence of Charlotte von Stein at Ackerwand street, the Marstall (1870s) at Kegelplatz, today used as Thuringian State Archive and the Reithaus (1710s) within the Park an der Ilm.

Furthermore, there are some impressive ducal country residences around Weimar. They are marked by their beautiful parks and gardens. Schloss Belvedere, south-east of Weimar was built between 1724 and 1732 in Baroque style with an orangery near to a ducal hunting forest. North-east of Weimar, at Ettersburg lies another ducal hunting lodge next to the Ettersberg mountain and its forest. It was established between 1706 and 1711 also in Baroque style. The third summer residence, Schloss Tiefurt, is located in Tiefurt, north-east of Weimar. The small lodge in a wide park in Ilm valley was rebuilt in 1775 in late-Baroque forms.

Other sights

  • The town hall at Marktplatz was built between 1837 and 1841 in Neo-Gothic style by Heinrich Heß after the former one (15th-century) burnt down.
  • The two main buildings of Bauhaus University at Marienstraße are icons of 20th-century early-modern architecture. Both were built by Henry van de Velde between 1904 and 1911. They mark the transition from older Historicism and Art Nouveau to the new international modern style in Germany by their functional forms (e. g. skylights for better working conditions inside).
  • The German National Theatre at Theaterplatz was built in 1906/07 in neo-classicist forms. Two predecessors were in use after 1779 and 1825 as ducal court theatres during Weimar's golden age. In 1919, the Weimar National Assembly developed the Weimar Constitution in this theatre.
  • The Gauforum at Weimarplatz is a Roman-fascist style representative government district between the city centre and the main station. This Gauforum, designed by Hermann Giesler, was the only realized Nazi government district outside Berlin (whereas there were plans for all German state capitals). Today it hosts the Thuringian Administration State Department.
  • The Park an der Ilm is the city's largest park along Ilm river between the ducal palace and the district of Oberweimar. It was established between 1778 and 1833 and is an English landscape garden today, part of UNESCO world heritage. Sights inside the park are Goethe's garden house (1690s) and Römisches Haus (in the style of a Roman temple, 1790s).
  • The Historic Cemetery at Karl-Haußknecht-Straße was opened in 1818 and hosts the graves of Goethe, Schiller and many other famous people from Weimar.
  • The Goethe-Schiller-Denkmal at Theaterplatz is the most famous memorial in Weimar. It was made by Ernst Rietschel between 1852 and 1857 and is dedicated to Goethe and Schiller, the most important poets of German classical literature.

Events

The Onion Market (Weimarer Zwiebelmarkt) is an annual festival held in October in Weimar and it is Thuringia's largest festival. The festival is held over 3 days and approximately 500 stalls and more than 100 stage performances are put up across the city. [14]

Weimar first celebrated the Onion Market in 1653. Stalls typically offer onion plaits, themed arts and crafts and numerous onion-based foods, including onion cakes, onion soups and onion breads. The festival also hosts numerous beer gardens, live music, fairground attractions and a Ferris wheel.

There are several clubs with live music once or twice a week. There is also a student club in the city centre which also features disco and live music events on Friday- and Saturday nights (Kasseturm). There are several smaller theatre and cabaret venues other than the large "DNT" (Deutsches National Theater). There are four cinemas including a 3-D cinema, [15] and a Bowling Alley [16] in the Weimar Atrium, the local mall.

Economy and infrastructure

Agriculture, industry and services

The area around Weimar is relatively fertile and 48% of the municipal surface are used for agricultural production. Most common agricultures are cereals, maize and rapeseed, while famous agricultural products from the Weimar region are potatoes (especially from Heichelheim, 7 km (4 mi) to the north) for dishes with Thüringer Klöße (Knödel from potatoes), onions (from Heldrungen and Oldisleben, 45 km (28 mi) to the north), which are sold on the Weimar Onion Market in October, and Saale-Unstrut wine from Bad Sulza, 25 km (16 mi) to the north-east.

Industry has never been dominant in Weimar, nevertheless there were several big factories from different sectors until 1990. After reunification, nearly all factories got closed, either because they failed the adoption of free market economy or because the German government sold them to west German businessmen who closed them to avoid competition to their own enterprises. On the other hand, the federal government started early in the 1990s to subsidize the foundation of new companies, but it took long time before the economic situation got stabilized around 2006. Since this time, unemployment decreased and overall, new jobs develop. Today, there are many small and medium-sized companies in Weimar with electro-technics and engineering in focus. Nevertheless, settlement of new factories isn't much in focus of the local government, because it concentrates itself on developing tourism and services. The biggest companies with production in Weimar are Bayer (pharmaceutical factory), Coca Cola (beverages) and Hydrema (dump truck factory). A new big commercial zone was established in the 1990s in the neighbouring municipality of Nohra with focus on logistics and distribution.

Due to its tradition as a capital, Weimar is a centre of governmental services to date. Furthermore, creative branches like media, advertising, architecture and design are important for Weimar's economy. The most important sector is tourism with 3,500 hotel beds, 350,000 visitors and 650,000 overnight stays in hotels in 2012 and a large number of German one-day visitors. Other services like retail, trade fairs and specialized hospitals are more brought by the near neighbour cities Erfurt and Jena with their infrastructure.

Transport

By rail

Weimar Railway Station Weimar Bahnhof.jpg
Weimar Railway Station

Weimar is connected by the Thuringian Railway to Leipzig in the east and to Frankfurt/Kassel in the west. Furthermore, there are some regional railways to Gera via Jena and to Kranichfeld via Bad Berka. Today, there are long-distance trains to Frankfurt via Erfurt and Fulda and to Dresden via Leipzig and regional trains to Göttingen and Eisenach via Erfurt, to Halle via Naumburg, to Altenburg, Glauchau, Zwickau and Greiz via Jena and Gera and to Kranichfeld. When the new Erfurt–Leipzig/Halle high-speed railway will open (in 2015), Weimar will be disconnected from the German long-distance train network. However the regional train service will be augmented to connect Weimar with ICE-stops in Erfurt, Halle and Leipzig.

In freight transport exists an intermodal terminal in Vieselbach (Güterverkehrszentrum/GVZ) with connection to rail and Autobahn, 15 km (9 mi) west of Weimar.

By road

Weimar is located at the Bundesautobahn 4 (FrankfurtDresden). Furthermore, there are two federal roads to Erfurt and Jena (Bundesstraße 7) and to Rudolstadt and Kölleda (Bundesstraße 85) as well as some regional roads to Sömmerda, Oßmannstedt and Magdala. A bypass road around Weimar was built in the 2000s in the north and west; the eastern and southern continuation are in discussion, but not in definite planning because of some difficulties in routing.

By aviation

The Erfurt-Weimar Airport lies approximately 30 km (19 mi) west of Weimar. It was largely extended in the 1990s, but the anticipated rise in passengers did not occur so that there is only rare air traffic, mostly to Mediterranean holiday regions. Other flights are carried out via Frankfurt Airport, which can be reached in 3 hours, and prospective via Berlin Brandenburg Airport, which is scheduled to open in 2017 and is accessible within 3 hours.

By bike

Biking is getting more and more popular since the construction of quality cycle tracks began in the 1990s. For tourism serve the Ilm track and the Thuringian city string track (Radweg Thüringer Städtekette). Both connect points of tourist interest, the first along the Ilm valley from Thuringian Forest to Saale river and second near to medieval Via Regia from Eisenach via Gotha, Erfurt, Weimar and Jena to Altenburg. Additionally, there are some theme routes like the Goethe cycle track and the Feininger cycle track. For inner city every-day traffic exist some cycle lanes along several main streets. Bike renting is offered in city centre.

Bus service

For a small city, Weimar is well served by city bus routes, which also serve all of the annex towns and villages. An hourly bus route serves the Buchenwald Memorial and oldtimer buses go in city's historical centre. All bus routes are connected at Goethe Square in city centre, most run furthermore to the main station. Between 1899 and 1937 were trams in operation. Trolleybus service started in 1948 and was ceased in 1993.

Education

University's main building Bauhaus University Weimar 03.JPG
University's main building

After the reunification, the educational system was realigned. Some academies were combined into the new Bauhaus University, founded in 1996 with approximately 4,200 students and focus on architecture, design and media. The Liszt School of Music is a university focussed on music and music education founded in 1872 with 850 students today. Furthermore, there are three regular Gymnasiums, the Musikgymnasium Schloss Belvedere, an elite boarding school with focus on music, and the Thuringia International School with an international (and foreign language) curriculum.

The most important archives in Weimar are the Goethe- und Schiller-Archiv (member of UNESCO Memory of the World Programme) with focus on German literary history and the Thuringia Main State Archive with governmental documents from last 500 years. The Duchess Anna Amalia Library hosts books and documents of German literary and cultural history.

Politics

Mayor and city council

The current mayor Peter Kleine, (independent) is in office since 2006.

The last municipal election was held in 2009 with the result:

PartyPercentageSeats in council
CDU (conservative)23.210
The Left (post-socialistic left)19.96
Weimarwerk Bürgerbündnis (citizen-oriented/populist)18.48
Greens (green)15.46
SPD (social democratic)13.68
FDP (classical liberal)6.43
NPD (far-right)3.11

Two members of council switched from The Left to SPD in 2012.

Twin towns

Weimar is twinned with:

Famous residents of Weimar

Related Research Articles

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Schloss Weimar palace in Weimar, Germany

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Heldburg Fortress

Heldburg Fortress is a high medieval hilltop castle in the 16th Century was rebuilt into a renaissance castle. It rises on a former volcanic region to 'Heldburger Gangschar' counted, 405-metre-high volcanic cone, 113 metres above the town of Heldburg in the Heldburger Land, the southern tip of the district Hildburghausen in Thuringia. The Veste Heldburg, once a secondary residence and hunting lodge of the Dukes of Coburg, dominates the little town of Heldburg on the Thuringian border with Bavaria. From it can be seen across the Thuringian border the sister-castle Veste Coburg,, once the residence of the Dukes of Coburg, now located in Bavaria.

Park an der Ilm Park in Weimar, Germany

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References

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  13. UNESCO: Bauhaus and its Sites in Weimar, Dessau and Bernau. Retrieved 3 January 2019
  14. Festivals & Concerts, Leisure (Aug 2011). "October 7th to 9th: the Onion Festival in Weimar". AroundGermany.
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Further reading