“The region is more than magnificent” – that’s how Goethe described the landscape surrounding Eisenach. Thanks to world-famous figures, both the city and Wartburg Castle have become famous. At Wartburg Castle – UNESCO World Heritage – Saint Elisabeth spent part of her life, Martin Luther translated the New Testament, and Richard Wagner was inspired to write his opera “Tannhäuser”. Eisenach is Johann Sebastian Bach’s birthplace, Martin Luther attended Latin school here for three years, and Fritz Reuter spent the last years of his life here. For the past 120 years, this is also where automobile manufacturing and development have become a tradition.
The castle, which has belonged to UNESCO World Heritage since 1999, has served as a protective fortress and a splendid residence for almost 1,000 years. Wartburg Castle bears witness to key moments of German history and culture: Medieval court artists, the life of Saint Elisabeth, Martin Luther’s translation of the New Testament, the Wartburg festival of the German Burschenschaften (student fraternities), and Wagner’s romantic opera Tannhäuser.
The Bach House in Eisenach – the “musical museum” in the composer’s city of birth – houses the largest exhibition in the world about the life and work of Johann Sebastian Bach. Live concerts on historical instruments every hour, over 250 objects on exhibit, historic residential rooms, and a “Walk-In Music Piece” await its visitors.
From 1498 until 1501, Martin Luther stayed with the Cotta’s, a highly regarded councilman’s family, in what is probably the oldest half-timber house in Thuringia, and attended the Latin school nearby. Visitors can newly discover Luther’s historic Bible translation in a contemporary exhibition that includes medieval art treasures, works by Cranach, and the baptism register showing Johann Sebastian Bach’s name – all in a unique historical atmosphere.
The church, built around 1182, is the nuptial church of Saint Elisabeth of Thuringia. Martin Luther sang from the gallery when he was a “Kurrende” (walking choir) singer, and later he preached here. Johann Sebastian Bach was baptized on 23 March 1685 in this church; for over 130 years, four generations of the Bach family occupied the organ bench
St. Georgs Church
The museum in the authentic factory building O2 dating from 1935, documents the over 120-year automobile manufacturing tradition in Eisenach. It began in 1898 at the Fahrzeugfabrik Eisenach AG and continued on to the Dixi, BMW, and Wartburg eras, up to the present with the Adam Opel AG since 1991.
The City Castle was built in the mid-18th century by Duke Ernst August according to the plans of the architect Gottfried Heinrich Krohne. Today it is used by the Thuringian Museum to present temporary exhibitions and the porcelain collection. The recently re-opened historic Rococo hall in the north wing illustrates the history of the City Castle as a ducal residence in the 18th century.
In 1902, the monument in the shape of a round temple was dedicated to the families of the members of the Burschenschaften (student fraternities) who were killed in the wars striving to achieve a united German nation. A monumental ceiling painting and a panoramic view from the top of the tower make it a worthwhile place to visit.
On 7th August, 1869, August Bebel and Wilhelm Liebknecht led the opening ceremony of the founding congress of the Social Democratic Workers’ Party here. Now it has become the venue for the exhibition “Social Democracy from Eisenach until Today” and “Eisenach at the Time of the Congress of 1869”.
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This neo-Renaissance mansion, built in 1868 by Ludwig Bohnstedt, was the home of the Mecklenburg writer Fritz Reuter and his wife Luise for the last years of their lives. After their deaths, the house was purchased by the city and now houses not only a museum about Fritz Reuter, but also the second largest Richard Wagner collection in the world, after Bayreuth.
This monastery, consecrated in honor of Saint Elisabeth in 1240, is one of the oldest buildings of the Prediger or “Preacher” monks in Thuringia. The Predigerkirche (“Preacher’s Church), which belongs to the Thuringian Museum, houses the collection “Medieval Carved Sculptures in Thuringia”.
Between 1862 and World War I, one of the largest coherent neighborhoods of mansions in Europe was built in Eisenach’s southern quarter, comprising houses in all variations of Historicism and Art Nouveau. The southern quarter includes the neighborhoods of Predigerhöhe, Marienhöhe, Karthäuserhöhe, Mariental, and areas near the Rhododendrongarten and the Waldschänke, the area below Wartburg Castle, and has therefore been named an area monument.
GRÜNDERZEIT MANSIONS – SOUTHERN QUARTER AREA MONUMENT
Südviertel - Karthäuser Höhe / Marienhöhe / Predigerberg
The “Old Malthouse” is a unique industrial-romantic monument dating from the year 1873. It now houses the international jazz archive of the Lippmann und Rau Stiftung. Nationally and internationally renowned musicians perform in the Jazzkeller.
The legendary Dragon Gorge is a delight for nature lovers and geologists alike: Hiking here becomes an unforgettable experience. Walking along non-slip footbridges over the rushing stream in the narrow gorge, hikers immediately experience the uniqueness of this extraordinary natural landscape.
The State Theater is a classical building and was given to the city in 1879 by the banker and manufacturer Julius von Eichel-Streiber.
With its Ballet and Young Theater categories, which collaborate with the Thüringen Philharmonie Gotha-Eisenach, the theater provides a significant cultural contribution to Eisenach and the surrounding region.
Opened in 1967 as an exhibition pavilion of the automobile manufacturing plant Eisenach AWE, the KUNSTPavillon is now a cultural monument and a rare example of GDR pavilion architecture, reflecting buildings by Gropius and Mies van der Rohe.
It is used for contemporary art and offers an open podium for artists and visitors alike.