The high artistic quality of the public and private buildings and parks in and around the town testify to the remarkable cultural flowering of the Weimar classical period. Enlightened ducal patronage attracted many of the leading writers and thinkers in Germany, such as Goethe, Schiller and Herder, to Weimar in the late 18th and early 19th centuries, making it the cultural centre of the Europe of the day. Weimar became the capital of the Duchy of Sachsen-Weimar-Eisenach in 1572. For many years the painter Lucas Cranach the Elder worked in Weimar, where he died in 1553. This marked the start of a long period of growing cultural importance in which many painters, writers, poets, and philosopher lived in the city - Johann Sebastian Bach, Christoph Martin Wieland, Johann Wolfgang Goethe, Johann Gottfried Herder, Friedrich Schiller, Franz Liszt, Henry van de Velde, and Walter Gropius.
Classical Weimar's Eleven Separate BuildingsGoethe's House: A Baroque town house was built in 1707-9 and underwent a number of alterations during Goethe's occupancy. The original interior furnishings are preserved in a number of rooms. Schiller's House: A simple late Baroque house built in 1777 incorporating part of a 16th-century outbuilding (the Mint). Most of the rooms are furnished as they were during the lifetime of the poet.
City Church, Herder House and Old High School: A three-aisled hall church with five bays and a pentagonal chancel and a west tower surmounted by an octagonal spire, containing an altar triptych by Lucas Cranach the Elder. The three-storey Herder House was built in the mid-16th century on the foundations of an earlier Renaissance structure. The Old High School, commissioned by Duke Wilhelm Ernst, was built in simple Baroque style.
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City Castle: The present ensemble is an imposing slightly irregular four-winged building round a large courtyard. The decorations and furnishings of the interior are in classical style.
The Dowager's Palace: The centre of intellectual life at the height of classical Weimar consists of a group of relatively plain Baroque two- and three-storey buildings round a courtyard. The Duchess Anna Amalia Library: in 1761 Duchess Anna Amalia commissioned the State Architect to convert the Renaissance 'Little French Castle' into a library. The main central section is a three-storey building on a rectangular plan in Baroque style. The Princes' Tomb and the Historic Cemetery: Grand Duke Carl August commissioned the construction of a family tomb from Clemens Wenzeslaus Coundray in 1823. In addition to members of the family, Schiller and Goethe were also buried in this mausoleum.
Park on the Ilm with the Roman House, Goethe's Garden, and Garden House: South of the town in the valley through which the Ilm flows. It is dominated in the north by Goethe's Garden House and in the south by the Roman House.
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Belvedere Castle, Orangery and Park: The castle is a two-storey Baroque structure; the central section is square in plan and has a small tower surmounted by a cupola. On either side there are connecting buildings leading to oval-plan pavilions with pointed cupolas. The orangery is U-shaped in plan, with the house of the head gardener in the centre.
Tiefurt Castle and Park: A modest two-storey Baroque building linked by a wooden-framed to the former farm building, with buildings and memorials within the park.
Ettersburg Castle and Park: the Old Castle consists of three wings round a spacious courtyard. The shorter east wing abuts the castle church. The New Castle is a more compact four-storey structure. The park is relatively small and abuts the surrounding forest.