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Weimar (vīˈmär), 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.
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The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.



a city in the Erfurt district of the German Democratic Republic on the Ilm River (Elbe basin), in the center of the Thuringian depression. Population, 65,000 (1969).

Weimar is a transportation center but has attained economic importance primarily in the years of the people’s government. Manufactures of farm combines and precision measuring instruments are among the city’s most important economic establishments. There are also publishing houses.

Weimar is known for its cultural traditions. Among its institutions are the National Research and Memorial Center of the Classical Writers of German Literature, the Franz Liszt Conservatory, and a teachers’ institute. Weimar is a tourist attraction.

The earliest reference to Weimar was made in 975. In 1573 it became the principal city of the duchy of Saxe-Weimar-Eisenach (which lasted until 1918, after 1815 as a grand duchy). J. S. Bach lived in Weimar in 1703 and also from 1708 to 1717. During the second half of the 18th century and the first part of the 19th, the city was a major center of the German Enlightenment. A number of famous men lived and worked in Weimar during this period: C. M. Wieland (who lived there in the period 1772-1813), J. W. Goethe (1775-1832), J. G. Herder (1776-1803), and J. F. Schiller (1799-1805). Franz Liszt, the leader of the Weimar School of music, lived there from 1848 to 1861. In 1919 in Weimar the German constitution was adopted.

During the years of fascist dictatorship the Buchenwald concentration camp was built in the vicinity of Weimar.

The visual characteristics of the city are largely determined by its lovely parks (the largest of which is Goethe Park) and its monuments of classical architecture from the 16th-18th centuries, including the Cranach House (built about 1526), the ducal palace (now an art museum; rebuilt from 1790 to 1803 in the classical style), and the Belvedere Castle (1726-32). There are various memorial museums in Weimar: the Goethe National Museum (1709-94), the Schiller House, Goethe’s Park House, the Liszt House, the Museum of German Literature, a Goethe and Schiller archive, the German National Theater (1906-08), and the Advanced School of Architecture and Building (1904-07; architect, H. C. van de Velde).


Beyer, G. Weimar. Weimar, 1929.
The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.


a city in E central Germany, in Thuringia: a cultural centre in the 18th and early 19th century; scene of the adoption (1919) of the constitution of the Weimar Republic. Pop.: 64 409 (2003 est.)
Collins Discovery Encyclopedia, 1st edition © HarperCollins Publishers 2005
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In an essay published in 2000, Elisabeth Krimmer, a contributor to the present volume, wrote: 'The idea of having to combine Cultural Studies and Goethe's Weimar is enough to make a scholar's hair stand on end [...].