[vahy-mahr, wahy-]
Weimar, city (1994 pop. 58,807), E Thuringia, central Germany, on the Ilm River. It is an industrial, transportation, and cultural center. Manufactures include agricultural machinery, chemicals, pharmaceuticals, and furniture. Known in the 10th cent., Weimar became important only in the 16th cent. when it was made the capital of the duchy (after 1815 the grand duchy) of Saxe-Weimar. It developed as a cultural center of international importance. Under Elector John Frederick I, the painter Lucas Cranach, the elder, worked there (16th cent.), and from 1708 to 1717 Johann Sebastian Bach was court organist and concertmaster at Weimar. Under Dowager Duchess Amalia (1739-1807) and her son, Charles Augustus (1775-1828), Weimar reached the peak of its fame as a cultural center. After the arrival (1775) of Goethe at the court, Weimar and Goethe became virtually synonymous. Goethe not only made Weimar the literary capital of Europe during his lifetime, but he also attracted such men as Herder and Schiller, established and directed the Weimar theater, and as chief minister of Charles Augustus was active in the physical improvement of the city. The Weimar state theater was the site of the first performances of most of Goethe's and many of Schiller's plays. After Goethe's death (1832) Weimar lived mainly on its past reputation, but its active cultural life continued. Franz Liszt was musical director there in the mid-19th cent., and Richard Wagner's opera Lohengrin was first performed (1850) in Weimar. The fact that Friedrich Nietzsche lived and died at Weimar resulted in the foundation there of the important Nietzsche Archives by his sister. In 1919, Weimar was the scene of the German national assembly that established the republican government known as the "Weimar Republic." The Bauhaus art school was first established (1919) in Weimar. Among the landmarks of the city are the parish church, with the graves of Lucas Cranach and Herder and with an altarpiece by Cranach; the former grand ducal palace (built 1789-1803) and the ducal crypt with the graves of Goethe and Schiller; Belvedere castle (1724-32); the residences of Goethe, Schiller, and Liszt; Goethe's garden cottage; the state theater; the Goethe National Museum; and the nearby ducal castle of Tiefurt. The city has a state college of music and an academy of art and architecture, and it is the seat of the Goethe and Schiller archives. Buchenwald, the Nazi concentration camp (1937-45), was located nearby; it is now the site of a memorial to the 56,000 who died there.

Weimar (ˈvaɪmaʁ) is a city in Germany. It is located in the Bundesland of Thuringia (Thüringen), north of the Thüringer Wald, east of Erfurt, and southwest of Halle and Leipzig. Its current population is approximately 64,000. The oldest record of the city dates from the year 899. Weimar was the capital of the Duchy (after 1815 the Grand Duchy) of Saxe-Weimar (German Sachsen-Weimar). In the 20th century, the city gave its name to the Weimar Republic.


18th and 19th centuries

Weimar is one of the great cultural sites of Europe, Having been home to such luminaries as Bach, Goethe, Schiller, and Herder; and in music the piano virtuosi Hummel (a pupil of Mozart) and Liszt. It has been a site of pilgrimage for the German intelligentsia since Goethe first moved to Weimar in the late 18th century. The tombs of Goethe and Schiller as well as their archives, may be found in the city. It is around the city of Weimar that Goethe's famous 1809 Elective Affinities is based.

Weimar Republic

The period in German history from 1919 to 1933 is commonly referred to as the Weimar Republic, as the Republic's constitution was drafted here because the capital, Berlin, with its street rioting after the 1918 German Revolution, was considered too dangerous for the National Assembly to convene there. Weimar was, beside Dessau, the center of the Bauhaus movement. The city houses art galleries, museums and the German national theatre. The Bauhaus University and the Liszt School of Music Weimar attracted many students, specializing in media and design, architecture, civil engineering and music, to Weimar.

World War II

During World War II, there was a concentration camp near Weimar, at Buchenwald, only 8 kilometers from the city center. More than 55,000 prisoners entered the gates bearing the mottos "Jedem das Seine" ("to each his due") and "Recht oder Unrecht—Mein Vaterland" ("right or wrong—my fatherland"). The Buchenwald concentration camp provided slave labour for local industry.

German Democratic Republic

Weimar was part of the German Democratic Republic from 1949 to 1990.

Recent years

The European Council of Ministers selected the city as a European Capital of Culture for 1999.

On September 3, 2004, a fire broke out at the Duchess Anna Amalia Library. The library contains a 13,000-volume collection including Goethe's masterpiece Faust, in addition to a music collection of the Duchess. An authentic Lutheran Bible from 1534 was saved from the fire. The damage stretched into the millions of dollars. The number of books in this historic library exceeded 1,000,000, of which 40,000 to 50,000 were destroyed past recovery. The library, which dates back to 1691, belongs to UNESCO world heritage, and is one of the oldest public libraries in Europe. The fire, with its destruction of much historical literature, amounts to a huge cultural loss for Germany, Europe, and indeed the world. A number of books were shock-frozen in the city of Leipzig to save them from rotting.

Famous residents of Weimar




It is connected by one motorway and two routes:

Sister cities

External links


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