Climate friendly travel
By train and without traffic jams comfortably to Weimar.
Weimar has a particularly large number of UNESCO World Heritage sites. We have put them all in the spotlight - and hope you enjoy discovering Weimar in this special way.
A fierce fate that befalls this Prussian girl far from home - at least from the perspective of the 21st century: Anna Amalia marries at 16, becomes a mother at 18 and is already a widow at 19. When the princess gives birth to her second son in the Weimar City Palace, her husband, Duke Ernst August II. Constantin of Saxony-Weimar-Eisenach, had been dead for a quarter of a year. She has to take her fate into her own hands.
Because he suffers from tuberculosis, Ernst August II. Constantin was hurriedly sent out to find a bride when he came of age. The choice fell on Anna Amalia from Brunswick, the niece of Frederick the Great. After all, she shared a love of art and culture with her husband. The two built a court theater and attended performances three times a week, sometimes in the Natural Theater and in the parks of Belvedere Palace. It is worthwhile to stroll through the extensive park of Belvedere with its Russian Garden and the Maze on nice days.
What does a 19-year-old suddenly find herself alone with two small children? How does she escape the threat of being deprived of her power? The young woman fights vehemently against the appointment of a foreign prince as guardian of her eldest son and persuades the emperor in Vienna to recognize her as duchess until her son Carl August is grown up. A woman at the head of the Duchy of Weimar-Saxony, a minor revolution at the time! Anna Amalia does her job well - and she does posterity a great favor when she hires Christoph Martin Wieland as a teacher for her sons - thus ushering in the classical age in Weimar.
Anna Amalia is 36 years young when she abdicates, as planned, and retires completely to the Wittumspalais, a spacious residence in the middle of the old town of Weimar. She had lived here in winter anyway since the great fire of the city palace in 1874, while she preferred to spend her summers at Tiefurt Palace or Ettersburg Palace. In the Wittumspalais, visitors can also see the large corner room where Anna Amalia held her dinner parties. A colorful society interested in literature, art and science met here - including prominent figures such as Wieland, Goethe and Herder and Schiller. She was not at all as strict as Anna Amalia looks in paintings: She snorted tobacco and loved gambling. At balls in the palace, Anna Amalia often danced until morning.
It is quite possible that he is not very enthusiastic about Weimar when he arrives on November 7, 1775. Johann Wolfgang Goethe, 26 years old, comes from the much larger Frankfurt and now lands in a nest that does not yet have much in common with today's Weimar. What's more, the castle is a burnt ruin. The reason for his journey: Anna Amalia's son Carl August, just crowned duke, needs an advisor. The two hike, ride and get drunk together. Goethe, who always dresses according to the latest fashions and who is probably also quite good-looking, becomes a Privy Councillor of the Legation, and Herder, at Goethe's suggestion, becomes Superintendent. His residence and the town church of St. Peter and Paul, today also called Herderkirche, are also part of the UNESCO ensemble "Classical Weimar".
The poet prince from Frankfurt took care of war and road matters as well as finance. As librarian, he expanded the Duchess Anna Amalia Library with its famous rococo hall, designed the park on the Ilm with the garden house, which he himself inhabited in the early years, and had the Roman House built.
Goethe had already been renting Goethe's house on Frauenplan for almost a decade when the duke bought it for him. The poet can now remodel the house and design the rooms according to his own color theory. In the very modern exhibition "Lebensfluten - Tatensturm" (Floods of Life - Storm of Deeds) in the Goethe House, one can view pages from the account books of the poet's household - and many other original documents. The show arranges Goethe's work according to themes and places it in context with the times. Afterwards, a tour of the great man's living and representation rooms is recommended.
Every morning, Johann Wolfgang von Goethe has his early morning coffee at 6 a.m. and writes letters and literary works until 2 p.m.. The afternoon is devoted to visits, and in the early evening Goethe takes walks and visits the theater. After dark, he sits at his desk until 10 pm. But don't worry: an extremely rich menu sweetens the strictly regimented daily routine for the man who can obviously also enjoy himself. The first glass of Madeira wine is served at 10 o'clock.
The coffins of the two late friends Schiller and Goethe stand side by side in the Fürstengruft, which is surrounded by a historic cemetery with old trees and gravestones that have sunk into the greenery. This final resting place of the Weimar dukes is north of the Goethe House. A visitor placed a red rose by the coffins of the poets. I wonder if he knew that Schiller's coffin was empty. In 2008, an international team of researchers determined that the remains in the coffin were not those of the poet.
Since the bones are missing, researchers can unfortunately no longer find out what Friedrich Schiller died of so young. Was it tuberculosis? Or was it heavy metal poisoning, which he may have contracted in his own home? The analysis of old wallpaper remains nourishes this assumption. Today, of course, there is no danger when visiting the Schiller House. Upstairs on the master's desk on the second floor of Schiller's residence are a candlestick, clock and globe. On the desk, the quill pen lies on a written sheet of paper - with a little imagination, one can think that the "Robbers" poet just went to get a coffee.
Even the young Goethe would have been amazed: In the summer of 1919, many young artists come to the city of classics. Some of them are dressed somewhat eccentrically, and almost all of them have new ideas about art and design in their heads. At night they celebrate lavish parties in the Ilmpark. Many Weimar citizens are outraged by these Bauhäusler, who have been flocking to Weimar since Walter Gropius became head of the School of Arts and Crafts.
So let's take one last leap back in time and travel briefly to the early 20th century: For the main building of the Bauhaus University and the former School of Arts and Crafts, which the Belgian Henry van de Velde had built in Weimar, as well as the House Am Horn, designed by Georg Muche in 1923, are also among Weimar's famous World Heritage treasures today. Unlike Goethe and Schiller, in the case of of the Bauhaus still almost half a century before people in Germany realize that the small, tranquil town of Weimar has once again made world history in terms of culture with the State Bauhaus Weimar.
By the way, you can find tips on how to travel comfortably and inexpensively on long-distance and local trains with Deutsche Bahn here.
Cover photo: Goethe-Schiller monument in front of the German National Theater in Weimar - Goethe holds a laurel wreath in his hand as a sign of success © Gregor Lengler
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