Harboring over 1,300 years of history, Arnstadt is the oldest town in Thuringia. Even today, you can discover many traces left by the past centuries on a walk through the historic center. For example, the Liebfrauenkirche is considered the most significant building representing the transition from Romanesque to Gothic styles in Thuringia. Arnstadt is also closely connected to the great composer Johann Sebastian Bach, who found his first employment as an organist here. It is pure enjoyment to listen to Bach’s music being played on the Wender organ that dates back to 1703.
The Arnstadt Castle Museum is known for its baroque doll village “Mon Plaisir” that dates back to the mid-18th century. The “Belle Etage” of the former princely palace makes a lasting impression with its East Asian porcelain, Flemish tapestries, finely crafted glass goblets and festival hall. In addition, the Castle Museum houses the exhibition “Hörbarer Glaube (Audible Faith) – Bach in Arnstadt” featuring the original organ console played by Johann Sebastian Bach from the year 1703.
After its reconstruction following the city fire of 1582, the church was furnished with a new organ in 1703. Johann Sebastian Bach, who was 18 years old at the time, was responsible for the inspection. A short time later, he was awarded the position of organist there and stayed in Arnstadt until 1707. Even today, his original instrument is played regularly for worship services and concerts.
The Liebfrauenkirche in Arnstadt belongs to the most beautiful Romanesque-Gothic buildings in central Germany. Today, its towers still dominate the city’s silhouette. Its winged altarpiece, the “Schöne Madonna” (Beautiful Madonna) carved out of linden-wood, and the epitaph for Prince Günther XLI von Schwarzburg – called “the militant” – and Katharina von Nassau are impressive treasures of art.
Up until the present day, the Neideck tower displays the magnificence and grandeur of days past. With a height of 65 meters, it is the highest castle tower in Thuringia and offers a wonderful, panoramic view of Arnstadt and the surrounding countryside. Nearby, the oldest gardener’s home in Thuringia still stands. It houses the model city “Arnstadt around 1740”.
Neideck Ruin and Gardener´s House
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Railroad fans have reason to rave when they visit the historic engine house of the Arnstadt railway works. Nostalgic steam engines, diesel engines and switchers paint a lively picture of a past age of technology. The members of the Friends of the “Lokschuppen” are just as proud of their functioning workshop with a blacksmith’s fire, air hammers and lathes. The premises also house a permanent exhibition about the history of the concentration camp Sill Ohrdruf and the extensive construction work in the Jonastal up until 1945.
With the house at Kohlgasse 7, Arnstadt possesses one of the most important former residences of the musical Bach family. In no other “Bach city” in Germany does a house still exist where Johann Sebastian Bach was a regular visitor, and in which he probably also resided, as is the case with Arnstadt Bach House. The Bach family owned it for 45 years, and it was a meeting place for Bach relatives from all over Thuringia.
+49 (0) 3628 - 5897370
Das nach dem großen Stadtbrand von 1581 im Stil der Renaissance erbaute Rathaus beherrscht mit seinen Ziergiebeln und zahlreichen Schmuckelementen die Nordseite des Marktplatzes. Für die beispielhafte Sanierung und die gelungene Einbidnung eines modernen Glasverbinders erhielt die Stadt den Thüringer Denkmalschutzpreis 2012
The Oberkirche (Upper Church) was built in the 13th century as a Franciscan monastery. Later, the tower was added to help stabilize the building. When entering the church, visitors are surprised by splendid early baroque furnishings from the 17th century. Numerous paintings illustrating Bible scenes decorate the balustrades of the galleries.
The Jacob’s Tower is the former bell tower of the Church of St. James the Greater. The church’s nave was removed in 1676, and the tower was repaired several times. In 1996, a glockenspiel on the tower was consecrated. It plays every day between 11 a.m. and 7:00 p.m. every odd hour at the full hour.
The Milchhof on Quenselstrasse is a monument of Modernist architecture. Built by Martin Schwarz in 1928, the Milchhof illustrates how Modernist industrial building combined functionality and social responsibility in one architectural structure. The building monument is being refurbished and will serve as a venue for events in the future. Visits can be arranged in advance by telephone.
Once a princely riding arena, the Theater in the Castle Park is now used regularly for cultural events. Along with theater plays, there are also operettas, operas, musicals, concerts, cabaret, and ballet performances here. The small artistic ensemble regularly presents their own productions, which are always popular with their audiences.
The Kunsthalle Arnstadt, once an industrial building, has maintained its original flair. In the hands of the Arnstädter Kunstverein, temporary exhibitions featuring internationally recognized artists regularly take place in an area of 350 m². The focus is on young artists and their modern works.
Angelhäuser Str. 1
+49 (0) 3628 - 58 88 000
With about 25,000 visitors each year, the native-animal zoo in the southern part of Arnstadt belongs to the most popular destinations for outings in the region. About 50 primarily native animal species live in an area of 2.5 hectares. The grounds are very well-maintained and for the most part barrier-free and accessible by wheelchair. Children especially enjoy the large playground with jungle gym, swings and carousels. Parents can keep an eye on their little ones while sitting at the snack bar, which is open from Tuesday to Sunday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.