TOP 5 FOR WEIMAR
- A visit to Goethe’s house and museum
- A visit to the Bauhaus museum
- Stroll through the beautiful city parks
- Catch a classical music concert
- Check out the eclectic mixture of architecture in the city
If you ever feel that you need a good dose of culture and history, come to Weimar. Former East Germany, home of the Bauhaus art movement, the famous writer/philosophers Goethe and Schiller, the composer Franz Liszt, and the location of the signing of Germany’s first democratic constitution after World War I (hence the term Weimar Republic). It’s also next door to the Buchenwald concentration camp, where roughly 240 000 people were imprisoned during World War II. So. . . .there’s a lot going on here. However, the city has a totally chilled out vibe to it. A friend and I made a weekend visit to Weimar in the spring, and thoroughly enjoyed ourselves. We arrived on a Friday evening, and after checking in went out to find some grub. We got lucky when we happened upon La Tarte, a little French bistro with one tiny table left. La Tarte cooks up traditional Alsatian food, and we had the Flammkuchen degustation – 4 assorted Flammkuchen (a variety of thin pizza) with salad and a bottle of Cidre for 29 euros. Huge, delicious, and cheap. We went to bed early, anticipating a full site-seeing day on Saturday.
Saturday morning, we wandered through the Park an der Ilm (at the Ilm River), and saw Goethe’s garden house, the Liszt house, and the Russian War Cemetary, where 640 Soviet soldiers died in 1945. As I mentioned the Buchenwald concentration camp is very close to Weimar, and the Russians used this camp post-war to imprison captured Nazis.
Next up – the Bauhaus Museum. As I am a big fan of the Bauhaus movement, I was pretty excited for this. The museum turns out to be pretty tiny, but has a good description and many representations of the different outputs of the movement.
Upon exiting the museum, we were met with a lovely outdoor orchestra playing what I can only assume was a Lizst composition. A crowd was gathered listening to the amazing performance and we joined them. That evening after dinner, we checked out the Weimar “Havana Club”, a smokey Cuban bar with strong cocktails and good music.
On Sunday, we visited another must-see – The Goethe House. Goethe, for those unaware, was one of the most famous German writers, scientists, artists, and philosophers. His interests included writing, poetry, drawing, botany, anatomy, law, and philosophy. A tour through the Museum and his house make evident that huge expanse of knowledge which Goethe had and used towards various topics. His library is an astronomical collection of books and literature. I highly recommend getting the Audio guide – you learn a lot more as you wander around the museum, house, and garden. The garden was really interesting – a completely ordinary looking thing, yet somehow you can picture yourself back in the time of Goethe, taking a turn around the garden and formulating new theories and ideas. How lovely. After our museum visit we took another stroll through the gorgeous city park by the river, and also walked on the ruins of a former Nazi administrative building. The building was torn down but the remains were purposely on the ground where the building stood. It’s a bit eerie making your way over timbers and rubble which was once such a significant symbol.
Weimar made for a very cultural weekend excursion – I highly recommend it!