Gera - Otto-Dix-Stadt
The places of special interest in the town which used to be the seat the former royal court of the Principality of Reuß are all located close to each other. The many prestigious mansions and lovingly refurbished villas adorn the old town center. The Gera theatre with its rich traditions, the Culture and Convention Center, and four museums give the visitor an insight into Gera’s colorful cultural life. The Gera art collection and the museum of Gera’s most famous artist, the painter Otto Dix, host a variety of Fine Art treasures. A further, very special attraction in Gera is the labyrinth of caves and tunnels under the city, the so-called "Geraer Höhler".
Highlights/Places of interest
Otto Dix House
To honor the 100th anniversary of the birth of the painter and graphic artist Otto Dix on December 2, 1991 the house where he was born opened its doors as a museum. An extensive collection of paintings from all phases of his work await the visitor in a home depicting life in a worker’s household around 1900.
“Geraer Höhler” – the Gera caves
The underground labyrinth of corridors and niches under the city were created between the 16th and 19th centuries for the storage of beer and go up to eleven meters below ground level. Every two years the light and art exhibition “Höhler Biennale” is held in the Gera “underworld”.
The magnificent Gera theatre in Art Nouveau architecture combines theatre and concert hall under one roof, offering performances in 5 categories. The unrivaled program of opera, operetta, concerts and plays, musicals, ballet and puppet shows provides something for every taste.
Today the “Haus Schulenburg” is probably the only completely preserved Art Nouveau villa by the Belgian architect Henry van de Velde. The mansion hosts a convention center, a cafeteria and a Henry van de Velde Museum showing the world's second largest collection of book designs, diagrams, textiles and furniture which belonged to the artist.
The large, attractive park of 43 hectares (106 acres) with its generous, open green areas provides recreation and relaxation on the banks of the river Weiße Elster. In 2007, the Hofwiesenpark was also the main show area for the German national garden exhibition (BUGA).
Orangery and kitchen garden
The semi-circular baroque complex located in the former “Küchengarten” (kitchen garden) of the Principality of Reuß houses the beautiful Gera art collection.
St. Mary’s Church
The late Gothic Church of St. Mary is situated on the banks of the river Weiße Elster and is a landmark in the district Gera Untermhaus. The church sanctuary was built in 1193, making St. Mary’s one of the oldest churches in eastern Thuringia.
The almost quadratic marketplace in the center of the town is surrounded by impressive buildings: the elegant “Stadtapotheke” housing a pharmacy with its magnificent bay window, the Simson Fountain and the Town Hall in Renaissance style with its octagonal tower and ornate portal.
St. Salvator Church
Built from 1717 to 1720, the St. Salvator church was destroyed during the devastating city fire in 1780. The Baroque style church was later reconstructed on its original site, the Nicolaiberg, the highest spot of the old town. In 1903, the interior design was changed to Art Nouveau architecture.
Museum of Applied Arts
The MAK includes a collection of handicrafts, photography, commercial art and design. The historically most valuable pieces of the art collection are the Bauhaus ceramics, which can be seen in the permanent exhibition "Art Deco and Functionalism - Applied Arts between the World Wars".
Opened in 1928 as the first public garden in Germany for dahlia flowers only, the Dahlia Garden was used by famous growers of dahlia in Gera and Bad Köstritz to show their plants to the public. The fountain sculpture "the Dahlia" in the center of the garden was created by Thilo Schoder in 1930.
The Gera zoo, situated in the city forest at the scenic “Martinsgrund”, is home to 80 species totaling about 500 animals. The little farm, “petting zoo” and a ride on the little train in the zoo are attractions especially liked by the younger visitors.