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|Bundesland: Freistaat Thüringen||Thuringia|
Weimar is situated at an altitude of 207 m at a bend of the river Ilm southeast of the Etterberg, the highest mountain (478 m) in the Thuringian Basin. Weimar has a population of about 64,700 (2007) and thus is Thuringia's fourth largest city after Erfurt, Jena and Gera.
A fossilised skeleton dating from probably 200,000 years ago was unearthed in Ehringsdorf, a city borough of Weimar, in 1925. Further archelogical finds demonstrate the presence of humans between the 4th and 1st century BC. The oldest documents refering to Weimar (Wimares) date back until the year AD 899. The name is most likely derived from the Proto-Germanic wih ('holy') and the Old High German mar ('lake' or 'swamp'). Between 946 and 1346 Weimar was the centre of the county of Weimar (later known as Weimar-Orlemünde). In 1365 Weimar had to be ceded to the Wettin dynasty. Since the Leipzig Partition of the Wetting territories in 1485 Weimar belonged to the Ernestine line of the dynasty. Following the Capitulation of Wittenberg (1547), which ended the War of Schmalkalden and resulted in the loss of Wittenberg to the Albertine line, Weimar became the capital of the Ernestine territory. After the partition of 1552, Weimar became the residence of Duke Johann Friedrich I ('the Magnanimous', formerly Elector of Saxony) and capital of the duchy of Saxe-Weimar and remained its capital until 1918. In 1741 Saxe-Weimar inherited Saxe-Eisenach. The combined territory was named Saxe-Weimar and Eisenach until 1809 when it became formally united as Saxe-Weimar-Eisenach. After the Congress of Vienna (1815) the duchy was elevated to a grand duchy. In 1816 Grand Duke Carl August of Saxe-Weimar-Eisenach was the first German monarch to give his country a constitution. His mother, Duchess Anna Amalia, Princess of Braunschweig-Wolfenbüttel, had ruled the country from 1758, when her husband Duke Ernst August II had died, and 1775, when Carl August came of age. The reign of Anna Amalia and Carl August is commonly known as the 'Golden Age' of Weimar, as it was during this period that men like Christoph Martin Wieland, Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, Johann Gottfried von Herder and Friedrich Schiller lived in Weimar. The 'Silver Age' followed under Grand Duchess Maria Pawlowna, wife of Grand Duke Carl Friedrich (r.18281853) and her son Carl Alexander (r.18531901). The period is best known for the presence of the composers Franz Liszt and Richard Wagner, and of the painters Arnold Böcklin, Franz Lenbach or Reinhold Begas. The monarchy ended in 1918 with the adication of Grand Duke Wilhelm Ernst. In 1919 Weimar was the meeting place of the constituent national assembly of Germany. The period between 1919 and 1933 hence is known as the 'Weimar Republic'. During the Nazi period, the concentration camp Buchenwald, located on the Ettersberg, was set up in 1937. Until 1945, more than 56,000 prisoners lost their lives here. After the liberation of the camp in 1945 it was used for another five years as a detention centre by the Soviet Army. After the reunification of Germany in 1990, the EU in 1993 selected Weimar to become the European Capital of Culture for 1999. In 1998, 'Classical Weimar', the foundation of the Bauhaus academy and the estate of handwritten documents of Goethe were listed as UNESCO World Cultural Heritage. The famous Anna Amalie Library was destroyed by a devastating fire in 2004. The restored building was reopened in 2007 with many restored books, but about 50,000 volumes, most of which invaluable, were lost for good.
Goethe's Garden House [left] in the Ilm Park one of Goethe's work places and domiciles.
When Goethe arrived in Weimar in 1775 he became interested in the building, a former winegrower's house of the 16th century. Goethe officially purchased the
house and garden in 1776, but in reality Duke Carl August paid the purchase price of 600 thalers. Goethe restored both house and garden and lived there
for several years. However, Goethe's official duties soon demanded a more prestigious place of residence and in addition the garden house became to small
to house Goethe's library and collections, so that Goethe moved to a new house in the old city (am Frauenplan). Nevertheless, the garden house remained
one of Goethe's favourite domiciles which he visited numerous times and used it to work on many of his famous works such as the plays 'Egmont' or 'Torquato Tasso'
of the poems "An den Mond", "Rastlose Liebe" and "Jägers Abendlied". Goethe last visited the garden house in February 1832, one month before his death.
Today the garden house is open to the public as a museum. A copy of the garden house was constructed for Weimar's activities as Cultural Capital of Europe in 1999.
The copy was also shown during the EXPO 2000 in Hannover. Since 2001, the copy is set up at Bad Sulza.