Embedded in a lovely, hilly landscape on the banks of the Weiße Elster river lies the birthplace of the famous 20th century painter, Otto Dix. The former residence city still displays the impressive architecture of its bourgeois houses dating from the 16th and 17th centuries, as well as mansions remaining from the flourishing eras of the textile industry and machine manufacturing. Discover the rich tradition of the Gera Theater with its five categories, the diverse museum landscape that includes Gera’s special attraction, the underground labyrinth below the historic center known as the Gera Höhler, a system of artificial caves underneath almost all the buildings in the Old Town, originally used to store beer.
The birthplace of the painter and graphic artist Otto Dix was opened as a museum on the occasion of his 100th birthday. Visitors can explore a gallery with paintings representing all of Otto Dix’ creative periods within the atmosphere of a worker’s household around 1900.
This underground labyrinth of corridors and niches situated five to eleven meters underground, was built in the 17th/18th centuries as a storage cellar for beer. Every two years, during the Höhler Biennale, lights and art shows make the Gera underworld come alive.
Gera’s splendid Art Nouveau theater combines theater and the concert hall under one roof and, with its five categories, offers an extraordinary program. From opera, operetta and symphony concerts to theater plays, music, ballet and puppet theater – there is always something for everyone.
Schulenburg Mansion is probably the only completely preserved Art Nouveau mansion by the Belgian architect Henry van de Velde existing today. It now houses an event center, a cafeteria, and a Henry van de Velde Museum with the world’s second-largest collection of Van de Velde’s book designs, as well as plans, textiles and furniture by the artist.
The popular Hofwiesenpark is the largest park in the city of Gera. Vast green meadows, beautiful views of the City Forest and Osterstein Castle, and a cozy Park Café make this a wonderful place to relax.
The semi-circle shaped baroque area in the former Kitchen Garden of the Reuß Junior Line princes was built in the 18th century and now houses the art collection, which comprises impressive holdings of paintings, prints and sculptures.
The late-gothic Marienkirche lies on bank of the Weiße Elster river, and is the landmark of the Gera district Untermhaus (“Under the House”). The choir was probably built as early as 1193, which makes the Marienkirche one of the oldest churches in East Thuringia.
The nearly square-shaped market place is located in the middle of the historic city center. Impressive structures within sight are: The Stadtapotheke (City Pharmacy) with its richly ornamented bay window, the Simsonbrunnen, and the Renaissance Town Hall with its walk-up tower and decorative portal entrance.
Historical Market Square
The Salvatorkirche was built in baroque style between 1717 and 1720 on top of Nicolai Hill, the highest point in the Old Town. After the great city fire, it was authentically reconstructed, and the interior was redecorated in Art Nouveau style in 1903.
St. Salvador Church
The Museum für Angewandte Kunst, or MAK, houses a collection of applied arts, photography, and commercial art. The most valuable part of the collection from an art-historical point of view are the Bauhaus ceramics, which can be seen in the permanent exhibition Art déco & Funktionalismus – Angewandte Kunst zwischen den Weltkriegen (Art Deco & Functionalism – Applied Arts between the World Wars).
Opened in 1928, it was the first public garden in Germany to be dedicated exclusively to dahlias, and it served to present the plants of the renowned dahlia breeders in Gera and Bad Köstritz. In the center of the garden stands a sculptured fountain created by Thilo Schoder in 1930, called “The Dahlia”.
East Thuringia’s Forest Zoo is located in the middle of the Stadtwald in the attractive landscape of the “Martinsgrund” and is home for some 500 animals representing about 80 different species. The youngest visitors especially appreciate the petting zoo, the farm, and a ride on the park’s miniature train.
In the 18th century, this baroque building was erected to serve as a jail and an orphanage. Since 1914, the building has been the home of the Stadtmuseum. Interesting exhibitions about the city of Gera occupy its rooms today.