First mentioned in writing in the year 1119, the city developed into a manufacturing and trading hub during the 18th century, in particular with its renowned bell foundry and flourishing textile industry. Even today, knitwear made in Apolda is synonymous with fashion and quality.
More than 20,000 bells from Apolda all around the world, including the large bell of the Cologne Cathedral, stand for the skilled craftsmanship of the past bell founders. Nowadays, numerous public buildings, mansions and bourgeois houses lend the city a unique flair of Gründerzeit and Art Nouveau.
In two permanent exhibitions, the museum documents the development of the primary employment sectors that particularly influenced Apolda - bell-founding and textiles.
Bells from three centuries: The focal point of the exhibition on the cultural history of bells is a musical and warning apparatus that is usually audible but seldom visible – the tower bell. Most bells can also be played by visitors.
From stockings to sweaters: The exhibition illustrates the historical development of the local knitting craft, including old textile machines that amaze visitors. In the whole region, textiles were the main source of income for more than 400 years. The two permanent exhibitions are always supplemented by a temporary exhibition.
Since the beginning of 2019, a restored city clock from Apolda with four clearly visible bells welcomes the visitors to the GlockenStadtMuseum and, at the push of a button, plays an excerpt of the composition “The Erfurt Glockenspiel”.
Every year, internationally renowned modernist art exhibitions draw thousands of visitors to the Apolda Kunsthaus. Up until today exhibitions of artists like Henri Matisse, Wilhelm Lehmbruck, Camille Claudel and Helmut Newton were among the most popular. At the “Kabinett im Kunsthaus”, young artists have an opportunity to present their works. Last year, 19,000 visitors came to see the Andy Warhol exhibition with works especially brought from New York to Apolda.
In this building, erected for the Karl Köcher Woll- und Strickwaren (wool and knitwear) Company in 1921, ateliers and large halls provide spaces for exhibitions. Along with planned events, an active art scene has evolved here.
Without a trace of melancholy, this exhibition shows over 12,000 objects that were part of normal everyday life for citizens of the former German Democratic Republic. The shack that once housed the district administration offers an original, authentic atmosphere.
This park evolved in the 19th century under the supervision of Otto Ludwig Sckell (1861-1948), who was the Grand Ducal Saxe-Weimar court gardener and garden inspector at the time. In 2017, the Fourth Thuringian State Garden Show took place here, after the area monument had been carefully refurbished. In 2021, the Herressener Promenade will be a satellite venue of the Federal Garden Show (Bundesgartenschau, or BUGA) in Erfurt.
Erected between 1890 and 1894 in neo-Gothic style, the Luther Church is Apolda’s most impressive structure. From May to October, its colorful lead-glass windows, stately interior, and the sound of the Sauer organ invite visitors to come and linger in this, for Thuringia unusual, brick church.
The last Apolda bell-founding master, Peter Schilling, crafted the bells for a 40-part glockenspiel for his hometown. In 1999, 18 bells were selected for a smaller glockenspiel that can be heard every day at 9:55 a.m., 11:55 a.m. and 4:55 p.m.
Glockenspiel at the Stadthaus
Stadthaus am Brauhof
In 1999, on the occasion of the 100th anniversary of the founding of the “National Dobermann Pinscher Club” based in Apolda, the first Dobermann monument in Europe was unveiled here. In fact, the Dobermann dog was named after the Apolda dog breeder Karl Friedrich Louis Dobermann, and is the only dog to be named after its breeder.
In the 12th century, the most dominating structure in the city’s „skyline” was the fortress, the later castle, which could be seen from miles away. Its current appearance was influenced by remodeling during the 16th and 17th centuries. Today, the building houses a music school, the county clerk’s office, as well as the Department of Culture and Festivals of the city of Apolda.
Am Schloss 1
The former “Warehouse, Administration, and Factory Building” of the firm Christian Zimmermann & Sohn, the largest knitwear producer around 1890, is now the seat of the administrative district office “Weimar Land”, the region surrounding Weimar. The terra cotta frieze mounted on the exterior of the building at eye-level is worth examination, as it illustrates the “Wool’s Journey”, i.e. the production of knitted goods.
The monument was dedicated to the founder of Apolda’s first business for knitwear in 1892. During the GDR period, the monument was moved away from its original site, today’s Alexander-Puschkin-Platz, only to experience an odyssey throughout Apolda before it was finally allowed to returned to its original place in 1997.
Christian Zimmermann monument
The residential and industrial buildings designed by Egon Eiermann illustrate the trend of building in the spirit of modernism. This industry monument was originally purpose-built as a weaving mill. Since 2018, the IBA (Internationale Bauausstellung or International Building Exhibition) Thuringia is developing an Open Factory here.