At the foot of the Thuringian Forest lies the Goethe and university town of Ilmenau. Around 40,000 people are at home here. Located in the "Green Heart" of Germany, the city, bordering on the mountains of the Thuringian Forest in the south, offers an ideal starting point for hiking tours. This is also the beginning of the 20 km-long Goethe-Wanderweg - the first "quality hiking trail of WanderbaresDeutschland" (Hikeable Germany) in Thuringia.
Ilmenau has a lot to offer the culture and nature lover, the active sportsperson and hiker.
Built in 1616 and rebuilt after the town fire in 1752 according to the plans of the baroque master builder Krohne with offices for the magistrate and living quarters for the ducal family. Today it houses the Ilmenau Information Center and the GoetheStadtMuseum with a permanent exhibition on Goethe as a poet, civil servant and naturalist, as well as temporary exhibitions. Goethe’s originally preserved offices can also be seen.
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The late-baroque functional building on Goethe's hiking trail to the Kickelhahn presents the hunting habits and social life of the Weimar court as well as Goethe's scientific studies. On the ground floor, the exhibition "Der Kickelhahn - Goethes Wald im Wandel" (“The Kickelhahn – Goethe’s Changing Forest”) documents the topics of hunting, nature and the environment from a contemporary perspective.
Museum Jagdhaus Gabelbach
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In 1780, J. W. v. Goethe wrote "Wandrers Nachtlied" (“Wanderer’s Nightsong”) on the inside wall of the hunting lodge of that time...Über allen Gipfeln ist Ruh (O’er all the hilltops is quiet now). The small hut is located on the Kickelhahn (861m) on the Goethewanderweg.
The church presents itself in late baroque form and houses the Walcker organ. It was built in 1911 and has more than 4,000 organ pipes, 65 stops on 3 manuals, and pedals.
St. Jakobus Church
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Built around 1740, it is one of the oldest buildings in the city center and part of the castle complex destroyed in the great city fire of 1752.
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Numerous personalities, known far beyond Ilmenau's borders, found their last resting place here – as elaborate and ornate tombs bear witness. The most famous is probably that of Goethe's first Iphigenia actress, Corona Schröter. The beautiful Kreuzkirche and the Kolumbarium, a former festival hall, are especially impressive.
The monument is located on the market place in front of the Amtshaus, where Goethe usually spent the night when he was in town on official business. It is made of bronze and was created by the sculptor Klaus Glutting from Homburg, one of the twin towns of Ilmenau. This has become a popular tourist photo motif, and on Goethe's birthday the figure is colorfully wreathed for the press.
Ilmenau has a great and long tradition in sledding and bobsleighing. Ilmenau has developed into a stronghold of sledding and bobsleighing through numerous national and international titles in all age groups. With this presentation of Ilmenau's history of sledding and bobsleighing as well as the exhibition of an extensive private collection of sleds, the museum endeavors to make the multifaceted development from simple children's and farmers' sleds to various steering sleds and today's racing sleds and bobsleds come alive.
Since 1998, the "Ziegenbrunnen" by the sculptor Volkmar Kühn has stood in front of the former "Löwen" building. It depicts two dancing goats. Engraved on its pedestal is the well-known German verse "In Ilmenau, da ist der Himmel blau, da tanzt der Ziegenbock mit seiner Frau" ("In Ilmenau, where the sky is blue, the Billy goat and his wife dance too").
Ilmenau's local Kickelhahn mountain is 861 m high and with its 24-meter-high observation tower is one of the city's landmarks. The tower is located on the 20-kilometer-long Goethe hiking trail and also marks its highest point. The Kickelhahnturm offers a magnificent panoramic view of the Thuringian Forest and its foothills.
The show mine "Volle Rose" is an attraction located in the Schortetal valley near Ilmenau in Thuringia and is open daily between April and November. Guided tours take place every hour. Machines and mining techniques that were used in the past are explained, and the entrance to the mine with the lorry train belong to the attractions.