The German state of Thuringia is known for its glorious countryside, beautiful cities and historic castles. Situated in the heart of the country, it is home to many different destinations that can be visited separately or as part of a multi-centre tour of Thuringia.
The state can also boast a number of big names that have passed through its towns and cities over the years and left a big impression. Here are four such figures that have left their mark in this part of Germany.
Johann Wolfgang von Goethe
Famous poet and playwright Johann Wolfgang von Goethe lived in the city of Weimar from the age of 26 until his death in 1832. After being invited by the Duke of Saxe-Weimar-Eisenach, he wrote some of his most famous works here (including Faust) and also served as military observer to the Duke during various invasions from the French.
Visitors to Weimar can visit his burial place at the Ducal Vault, where he is laid to rest alongside Carl August who he spent much of his time with. Goethe’s house has also been turned into a tourist attraction and national museum, featuring original furnishings, items used during his writing and his own private art collection. There is also a monument depicting Goethe and Schiller (another man on our list) outside the national theatre.
Johann Sebastian Bach
One of the world’s most famous composers spent much of his life in Thuringia and is celebrated in various towns and cities. Born in Eisenach in 1685, he later worked in Weimar, Arnstadt and Mühlhausen before he died in Leipzig in 1750.
All of the places in which he spent time have attractions and monuments dedicated to this musical genius. The house in which he spent the first ten years of his life, in Eisenach, has now been transformed into the interesting Bach House, complete with documents he wrote and instruments he once used. There are also hourly concert performances during which you can enjoy some of Bach’s music for yourself.
Elsewhere, Arnstadt is home to another Bach Museum, as well as a church dedicated to the composer after he once inspected an organ there. Finally, the Thuringian Bach Weeks is a music festival held every year which sees some of Bach’s pieces played in places where he worked or lived all across Thuringia.
Another influential poet, Schiller’s life intertwined with Goethe’s during their time in Weimar. The two became close friends until Schiller’s untimely death at the age of 45 and letters the two wrote to each other can be found in Weimar’s Goethe and Schiller archive.
As well as the monument featuring the two outside the national theatre, the city of Weimar is also home to the Schiller Residence. The house, which nearly bankrupted the poet, is home to authentic items that include wedding presents from his mother-in-law, drawings by his children and an antique coffee pot.
In the nearby city of Jena, where Schiller spent ten years, the university at which he became a professor has been renamed in his honour. There is also the Schiller Gartenhaus, which once lay at the bottom of his garden and is where he wrote Wallenstein – a trio of plays.
2017 celebrates 500 years since Luther nailed his theses to the church door in Wittenberg, hailing the beginning of Reformation across Europe. Whilst this historic action took place outside of Thuringia, Luther spent a lot of his time in cities such as Erfurt and Schmalkalden, where signs of his work can still be seen today.
Erfurt City Museum displays a number of the essays he wrote during four years of study in this part of Thuringia. Plus, the Luther Cellar gives visitors the chance to enjoy a banquet that features food that would have been served during the time he was alive. Meanwhile, in Schmalkalden, you can enjoy the Martin Luther Walking Trail and a visit to the Luther House. The former takes in many of the sights around the city that are related to Luther (including the Luther Fountain), whilst the latter is the place where the man himself lived whilst discussing the important Schmalkaldic Articles.
Finally, if you want to know more about the Lutheran events happening in Thuringia during 2017 and beyond, you can download the Luther To Go app. It features information on over 20 ‘Luther Towns’ and the sights within them.
If you would like to follow in the footsteps of these great men, we can help you plan a tailor-made holiday in Thuringia. Call us on 0800 988 3369 to tell us when and where you would like to go and we can put everything together for you.