The Thuringian cities can boast a diverse and internationally known art and museum landscape. Famous painters, graphic artists and sculptors have left inimitable traces through their work. Be it Lucas Cranach as one of the most important Renaissance painters, Lyonel Feininger, the renowned Bauhaus artist, or Otto Dix with his incomparable graphics and paintings. With 180 works, the Lindenau Museum in Altenburg has the largest special collection of early Italian panel paintings outside of Italy. Changing exhibitions of international standing can be visited in the Kunsthaus Apolda: paintings by Picasso and Cocteau, sculptures by Camille Claudel or works by Karl Lagerfeld and Helmut Newton are just some of the rarities shown so far. The Nordhausen "Kunsthaus Meyenburg" established itself as an art center in the north of Thuringia with exhibitions by Barlach, Hundertwasser and Dalí. From the baroque universe in Gotha to the birthplace of the Skat game in Altenburg, the poets and musicians' houses to the Bauhaus and the Modernism, there is something for everyone in the museum landscape of the Thuringian cities.
This specialized museum is unique throughout Europe, illustrating hunting and sporting gun history from seven centuries, especially handguns made in Suhl, local history, and crafting traditions. There is also a special area with temporary exhibitions.
Like a contemporary artistic gem, the KunstForum is nestled into the middle of the Old Town flair in a modern, renovated building. On a total of 400 m², temporary exhibitions give regional artists a special platform. Here, the encounter between art connoisseurs and artists can take place first-hand, and an imaginative accompanying program rounds off the exhibition experience.
On the occasion of the 100th anniversary of the founding of the Bauhaus School in Weimar, the new Bauhaus Museum Weimar opened in 2019 and presents the treasures of the world's oldest Bauhaus collection. As a place for open encounters and discussions, it recalls the early phase of the most important design and art school of the 20th century and links its history with questions about our present and future lifestyles.
Ernst Hüther had the mansion built on a hill in Saalfeld between 1922 and 1924 by the renowned Dresden architects Lossow & Kühne. It is located above the chocolate factory. Today, you are free to leisurely stroll through the large public park.
Villa und Park Bergfried
In approximately 2,400 square meters of exhibition space, you will discover a lot of interesting facts about court culture, the history of Sondershausen and its music, and the history of the region. The highlight is the Golden Carriage – a splendid French carriage of the early 18th century, unique in Germany.
The building, which was constructed as a school and bazaar for Jewish merchants from 1831 to 1833, was completely renovated and rebuilt in 2008. Today it houses the Meiningen Theater's smaller venue, the municipal galerie ada and the bistro-café "La Musica". The galerie ada shows art exhibitions with works from classical modernism to the present.
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.
Exhibition on the history of the city and the German national colors black, red and gold as well as the Seven Wonders of Jena. The temporary exhibitions on classical modern art and contemporary art have proven to be crowd pullers time and again.
The only medieval monastery complex in Eastern Thuringia that has been so extensively preserved, founded around 1250. The double-span church was erected around 1300, and the cloister and chapels followed around 1500. Since 1904, it has been a museum with an extensive art and cultural-historical collection.
The neo-Renaissance building, built in 1868 as a grammar school, is the main building of the Mühlhaus Museums. The permanent exhibitions show the most important pieces from the collection on the prehistoric and early period of the Unstrut-Hainich region, the history of the town of Mühlhausen, and 20th century Thuringian art. For young visitors there are listening stations and interactive modules throughout the museum to discover and enjoy.
The oldest gate tower of the medieval town fortifications dates from the 14th century, and is equipped with a crenellated wreath and conical helmet. From the top of the tower there is a magnificent panoramic view over the town on the Saale. Three other well-preserved town gates can be visited.
Just south of the castle lies the Ducal Museum with its multi-faceted collections. The most important art museum in Thuringia presents art treasures from all over the world, extending through all epochs. Next to the oldest Egyptian collection in Europe, there are artworks from antiquity up to the modern era, a sumptuous painting collection, rare graphic art, sculptures by Houdon and de Vries among others, along with precious Japanese lacquerware and Meissen porcelain, all waiting to be discovered.
+49 (0) 3621 - 823 40
The former residence of the Dukes of Saxe-Meiningen was built as a baroque three-winged complex between 1682 and 1692 and is today the domicile of the Meiningen Museums, among other institutions. You can visit the magnificent ducal apartments, permanent exhibitions and various temporary exhibitions. In the 19th century, the "Court of Muses between Weimar and Bayreuth" was a catalyst for numerous artistic impulses connected with the names of Brahms, Strauss, Reger, Wagner and Ibsen, but above all with that of the art-loving Duke Georg II of Saxe-Meiningen.
The exhibition brings the history of optical instruments to life – from the historic Zeiss workshop from 1866 to the camera tested in outer space. The museum is currently being remodeled and conceptually updated. The reopening is planned for 2023.
The former monastery church of St. Crucis (Holy Cross) now houses an exhibition that provides information about the course, highlights and aftermath of the German Peasant War in the historical context. An insider tip is the monastery garden, a green gem in the middle of the historic center.
The international importance of the Lindenau Museum is based on 180 precious panels with early Italian paintings. They are augmented by other collections, such as paintings of the 16th-19th centuries, antique plaster casts, and the graphic art collection. In 2001, the museum was added to the Blaubuch of the federal government, meaning that it now belongs to the most significant cultural institutions in Eastern Germany.
Franz Liszt lived in the former court gardening department at the entrance to the Ilm Park during the summer months between 1869 and 1886 and received his international students for piano lessons here. The historic upper floor is supplemented by a contemporary permanent exhibition on the ground floor.
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.
"Van de Velde, Nietzsche and Modernism around 1900" – the new exhibition presents outstanding international works of Realism, Impressionism and Art Nouveau. They reflect an epoch that is both brilliant and contradictory, with references to the present day. Starting with Friedrich Nietzsche as a mastermind and cult figure, important positions of early modernism in Weimar are presented. These include the works of the Weimar School of Painting and the avant-garde, from Claude Monet to Max Beckmann, all promoted by Harry Graf Kessler. The wealth of exhibits presents the functional and elegant designs of Henry van de Velde.
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.
Natural History Museum Mauritianum is situated in the Castle Park like a languorous painting. It holds a historical bird collection, fossils found in lignite mining sites, and an interactive area about local flora and fauna. The series “Natural History for Kids” invites young visitors to join an exploratory expedition through nature.
This Jewish house of assembly is the oldest synagogue in central Europe (ca. 1100) that has been preserved up to the roof and is a testimony to one of the most important Jewish communities of the Middle Ages. In its vaulted cellar, the so-called Erfurt Treasure (14th century) is displayed, comprising coins, Gothic jewelry, and a Jewish wedding ring. This treasure is the only one of its kind in the world. The medieval mikveh, a ritual immersion bath, also belongs to the Old Synagogue.
The museum features temporary exhibitions of superior works of classical modernism. In the heart of the Old Town, the 15th century Gothic half-timbered house with original barrel vaulting provides an architecturally charming setting.
The building also houses the art bookstore "Bookmarks" and offers a small but tempting selection of food and drinks.
In one of the oldest half-timbered houses in town, the “Rosenthal” House, there is an exhibition about the history of pharmacy between the 18th and the 20th century. The only collection of its kind in Thuringia, it comprises valuable vessels, pharmaceutical tools – such as those used to make pills, salves, and powders – as well as mortars and scales. The adjacent Apothecary Garden belongs to the museum. Courses about herbs are held there, where more than 100 different medicinal herbs are cultivated
The Romanesque towers of the former Augustinian Monastery, Rote Spitzen, or Red Tips, are the last remnants of the once spacious monastery complex. Consecrated in 1172 in the presence of Emperor Friedrich I Barbarossa, it is one of the first large brick structures to be built north of the Alps. An exhibition explores the monastery’s history, beginning with Barbarossa and ending in the period of the Reformation.
One of the last testimonies of its kind in Europe to the extraction of charcoal-based iron ore, with an exhibition on the history and technology of the ironworks, mining, smelting and iron craftsmanship, as well as a working wood drill and nail forge, the reconstruction of the water supply, water wheel and turbine system.
Technisches Museum und „Neue Hütte“
Neue Hütte 1
+49 (0) 3683 / 40 30 18
In the late 19th century, the Meiningen theater performers during the reign of Duke George II were exemplary for stages all over Europe. The former ducal riding hall (1797) was converted into a theater museum in 1999. The presentation of one of the illusionist stage-sets from the unique collection of the Theater Museum offers an inkling of how early Hollywood cinema was inspired by the Meiningen theater practice. Every day, the unusual museum presents four showings: at 10 a.m., 12 p.m., 2 p.m. and 4 p.m. with a program of film and scenic lighting on a historical stage set, illustrating how Meiningen wrote European theater history.
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”.
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”.
Find out more about Suhl traditions in vehicle construction, motor sports and vehicle history since 1896. The museum offers over 300 objects on 1,400 square meters of exhibition space. Simson, AWO, Schwalbe & Co. as well as the noble "Supra" car bodies, and racing cars by Paul Greifzu.
Built between 1585 and 1590 as a secondary residence of the Hessian landgraves, the castle is considered a unique jewel among the Renaissance castles in Germany due to its almost completely preserved exterior, its original room layout inside, and its magnificent wall paintings and stucco work.
The former tobacco warehouse dating from the 18th century now houses exhibitions on crafts, trade, industry and archaeology in Nordhausen. Interactive areas about telecommunications technology, for example, or the historical cinema hall are places where visitors can actively participate.