Weimar, Germany: a Cultural Gem in the Middle of Germany – UNESCO World Heritage City Weimar
The city of Weimar in the German state of Thuringia, about 2 hours southwest of Berlin, is a cultural gem and one of the places in this world with the highest density of UNESCO World Heritage Sites. Home to cultural giants from Goethe to Bach and the founding place of the Bauhaus movement, it boasts in total 13 UNESCO World Heritage buildings as well as several palaces and great gardens.
Weimar is home to original sites from the first few years of the Bauhaus movement: the buildings of what is now Bauhaus University, including the Gropius room, which are inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage list, along with Georg Muche’s Haus am Horn, the first house that illustrated the key Bauhaus concepts. The permanent exhibition at the Bauhaus Museum provides an overview of early Bauhaus work in Weimar.
Beyond Bauhaus and modernism there is much more to explore in Weimar. In fact, the city is the home of German classicism, as well as being the place where the German National Assembly passed the constitution of the Weimar Republic. Franz Liszt was the musical director in Weimar for ten years, Henry van de Velde enjoyed a highly productive period here, Bach wrote three quarters of his organ works and Luther had trusted allies in the town during the Reformation.
Weimar’s importance in world history can be gauged by its entries on the UNESCO World Heritage list.
However, Weimar is not a museum, but a cosmopolitan town that gives a courteous, friendly welcome to all its guests. The listed old quarter with its outstanding restaurants, cafés and pretty little shops is a must on the itinerary of any visit to Weimar, as are the parks and palaces and the houses of Goethe and Schiller and the library of Anna Amalia.
The Weimar Card gives tourists access to all these sights for one and a half day for a discounted price.
Your first stop in Weimar should be the visitor information center in downtown, see Weimar, Germany, Visitor Info & Getting Around for more info.
Weimar, Germany, Visitor Info & Getting Around
Ca. 65.000(Source: Thüringer Amt für Statistik / https://statistik.thueringen.de/)
Weimar has only a small airport for planes up to 2 tons. The closest commercial airports are:
- Erfurt Bindersleben Airport (25km /16 miles)
- Leipzig Airport (120 km/75 miles away)
- Frankfurt/Main Airport (300 km/185 miles away)
Please visit their websites for further details. See official link list below or directly at: Germany’s Airports.
The WeimarCard allows reduced or even free admission to museums, exhibitions, the German National Theatre and the Arts Festival in September. And as well as giving the holder discount on guided tours organised by Weimar Tourist Information, it’s also your passport to free travel on local public transport – the convenient way to reach Weimar’s sights and attractions.
Visitor Center (in German: ‘Fremdenverkehrsamt’)
Weimar Tourist Information is also the place to go to see representatives of the Weimar Classic Foundation, the Buchenwald Memorial Society and Weimar District Council.
‘Must-see’, top attractions
- UNESCO World Heritage ‘Bauhaus Sites’ & UNESCO World Heritage ‘Classical Weimar’
- National Goethe Museum and Goethe House
Typical Classical Weimar. Johann Wolfgang von Goethe lived in this baroque home from ca. 1782 – 1832.
Address: Goethes Wohnhaus, Frauenplan 1, 99423 Weimar
- Schiller Museum
Address: Schillerstraße 12 (entrance Neugasse), 99423 Weimar
- Bauhaus Museum
Address: Am Theaterplatz, 99423 Weimar
- Buchenwald Memorial
The Buchenwald Memorial is located approximately ten kilometres north of the Weimar city centre. Bus line 6 goes from Goetheplatz or the main train station to Buchenwald (take direction Buchenwald not Ettersburg).
Address: Buchenwald 1-2, Weimar
- Duchess Anna Amalia Library
Anna Amalia had the ‘Green Palace’ turned into a library comprising a unique combination of books, an art collection and architecture.
Address: Platz der Demokratie 1, 99423 Weimar
- Am Horn House
This model house by Georg Muche is the only example of Bauhaus architecture in Weimar and was built in connection with the first major Bauhaus exhibition in 1923.
Address: Am Horn 61, Weimar
- Weimar Town Museum
Weimar Town Museum is located in the Bertuch House and shows the history of Weimar in the time from 1919.
Address: Karl-Liebknecht-Straße 5-9, Weimar
Many of the major attractions in Weimar are connected to the Bauhaus era and the Classical Weimar period. The official website for Classical Weimar is the ‘Klassik Stiftung Weimar’ and you can find the web addresses of the Weimar attractions below.
Wartburg Castle is an attraction closeby to Weimar, just 50 min drive in western direction.
‘Near’ Weimar attractions
- German National Theatre (town center)
Formerly the Weimar Court Theatre where Goethe was the director. The neoclassical structure was completed in 1908.
- Duke’s Palace (town center)
- Town Hall (town center / market square)
- Cranach House (town center)
Cranach House bears witness to the early Renaissance period.
- Town House (town center)
The Renaissance-style building was destroyed during World War II and restored with a modern interior between 1968–71. However, the historical façade restored according to its original appearance.
- House of Charlotte von Stein (town center near Park on the river Ilm)
The friend and close confidante of Goethe, Charlotte von Stein lived here for 50 years until her death in 1827.
- Royal Stables (town center / town castle)
The building complex was designed by Ferdinand von Streichhan in neo-Renaissance style.
- Bauhaus University (town center)
Designed by Henry van de Velde, this is one of the most important art school buildings from the turn of the century and is the place where the Bauhaus was founded in 1919.
- Goethe-Schiller Archives (near town center)
Modelled on the Petit Trianon in the Park of Versailles, Grand Duchess Sophie had the oldest literatur archive in Germany built to preserve handwritten manuscripts by Goethe and Schiller.
- School of Arts and Crafts (Geschwister-Scholl-Strasse, Weimar)
- Franz Liszt School of Music (Platz der Demokratie 2 + 3, Weimar)
See also Franz Liszt in Weimar
Annual major events
Weimar hosts several annual festivals, highlights are:
- Thuringian Bach Festival (March and April)
- Yiddish Summer Festival (July and August)
- Weimar Arts Festival (mid August – mid September)
- Wine Festival Weimar (August)
- Onion Market (October)