To understand the role and importance of Weimar for the history of Germany one has to know that it was home of some rather progressive ideas. There were a lot of tiny states on the territory of todays Germany, but in 1816 the State of Sachsen-Weimar-Eisenach was the first to give itself an constitution.
This was during the "Golden Age" of Weimar. In the second half of the 18th and the beginning of the 19th century Sachsen-Weimar-Eisenach was governed by the Duchess Anna Amalia and her son, Duke Charles August. Those two were open minded and friends of the arts, and a lot of philosophers, writers, composers found not only their home, but also their freedom in Weimar to explore their ideas. Some of the most important works of German culture have been created in Weimar in this time.
Now let's begin our tour of Weimar. We step out of the Central Station of Weimar, and we're greeted with cloudy weather and look along the Charles August Avenue towards downtown Weimar:
Since the weather gets even worse we'll wait a few hours, and after night has set in we will now have a short walk through downtown Weimar with some of the most famous buildings.
Let's start at the Frauenplan, a square where not only one of the oldest fountains of Weimar (right) can be found, but also a large house (left) where the German writer Goethe lived for almost 50 years, until his death in 1832. After his death his rooms remained untouched for another 50 years, and they were converted to a museum then:
Goethe had one great friend - even if the friendship needed some years to really start, they definitely didn't like themselves at first sight - and this friend was Friedrich Schiller, writer and playwright. Schiller resided for the last three years of his life in a smaller house in central Weimar, not far away from Goethe's house, in a street nowadays named Schiller Street; here he wrote some of his later plays, e.g. "Wilhelm Tell". He died there in 1805, and now it serves - of course - as a museum. You find his house on the left of this pano, and are invited to have a look into Schiller Street, a pedestrian zone:
Around the corner we'll find the old market. We see the Neptune Fountain in the middle foreground, to the right of it Cranach House,a Renaissance building and home to the painters Cranach the Elder and > the Younger. In the background center we can see a wider white building - that's the Hotel "Elephant", built completely new in 1938 as a rather modern house (and because of that it was Adolf Hitler's favorite place during his frequent visits to Weimar), but the history of this Hotel dates back to the end of 17th century: it was a house for travelers and at the same time a meeting place for people like Goethe, Herder, Schiller, Bach - to name only a few ... :-). On the far right finally the Town Hall, comparatively new - it was built 1841 in Neo-Gothic style:
After a good night's sleep we'll return to the market for some closer views of the Cranach house (transverse Mercator projection used for this pano) ...
... and of the Town Hall, taken from a side street:
We'll stroll from the market to the Theater Square, a large one with the National Theater on the right and the Bauhaus museum (formerly the storage house for backdrops and other theatrical scenery) on the left. In this theater the national assembly convened in 1919 to declare the first German republic, the so called "Weimar Republic" that endured until Hitler's rise to power in 1933:
In the front of the theater we see the statue of Goethe (left) and Schiller (right), built in 1857:
A short walk, and we arrive at Herder Square with the Herder church (Herder was another famous German writer, but also a priest and philosopher). The place in front of the church is full of cars, and for this viewpoint close to the church I had to revert to a special projection method - that's why the statue of Herder you can see on the right is a bit thinner than in reality ;-). BTW: In this church, built around 1500, Johann Sebastian Bach was organist 1708-1717, decades before Herder's time:
Alongside Herder Square one can find some nice houses, like these two:
Nearing the end of our tour we'll now walk towards the "Stadtschloss" or City Palace, residence of Duke Charles August, demolished in a big fire and rebuilt under the direction of the multi talented Goethe later on. Here a view from the central court of the Stadtschloss towards Weimar - in the background you see the Music Academy of Weimar, named after composer Franz Liszt, also a resident of Weimar in the 19th century:
And now we close with this view of the City Palace from the outside with it's 16th century tower, one of the few remains of the original structure (right). On the left in this pano we look towards the gardens on the river Ilm, and in the center we see the famous library of Anna Amalia with its splendid Rococo decoration (absolutely no photography allowed inside, metal detectors used ...) - not the pink building on the middle left, but the central one right to it behind the trees on the hill:
Hope you enjoyed the tour!