Arnstadt – where is that actually located?
Arnstadt is the perfect starting point to explore the cultural landscape of Thuringia. It is centrally located between the foothills of the Thuringian Forest and the state capital Erfurt (18 km). Weimar is 36 km away, Gotha 25 km. All Thuringian cities are easy to reach, by train especially Eisenach, Meiningen, Saalfeld, Ilmenau, Bad Langensalza, Mühlhausen or Jena.
Photo: View over the “Gateway to the Thuringian Forest”, the Neutorturm, which is located in the neighborhood of the hotel, in southern direction.
Thuringian Residence Culture
The churches, castles, archives and museums in Thuringia bear witness to the pronounced passion for collecting of the many princes and lords and allow one to discover many beautiful and unknown things. In addition to the Arnstadt Castle Museum, Friedenstein Castle and its collections with the completely preserved baroque Ekhof Theater or the Herzoegliches Museum are also worth mentioning.
For further excursions from Arnstadt we recommend, among others, the Heidecksburg in Rudolstadt, the historic city center of Erfurt with the outstanding buildings Krämerbrücke and Predigerkirche and of course Weimar and its numerous museums.
The diversity of the Thuringian cultural landscape can hardly be captured, let alone presented here. It owes its existence to the density of the residences and a competitive petty statehood that was nowhere else in Germany so pronounced. The fact that Thuringia is still off the beaten tourist track is a boon for the educated traveler and the trained eye.
Photo: The Gotha Lovers is a double portrait by an unknown master from 1480 and shows two lovers promising fidelity to each other in the form of the presentation and acceptance of a golden band. It can be seen in Gotha in the Herzöglichen Museum, opposite Friedenstein Palace.
Hiking and cycling
The state of Thuringia has about 2.1 million inhabitants, and urban sprawl has hardly taken place to date, or is concentrated in the countryside near the autobahns. Thus, not only the cultural landscape, but also the cultural landscape is unusual. To experience natural tranquility and solitude in the immediate vicinity is wonderfully possible.
Around Arnstadt are grouped the castle group Drei Gleichen, the Thüringeti (a karstic highland with unusual flora & fauna), the sleepy villages of the Riechheimer Berg, the untouched and unsettled Jonastal and the Plauesche Grund with the floodplains of the Gera, the Reinsberge and the Gera cycle path.
We will be happy to provide you with route and turn-in recommendations. For cyclists, Jan Kobel has explored every meter of asphalt in the area on a racing bike.
Photo: Lonely bike path on the hills of Thüringeti near Gossel
Johann Sebastian Bach and his family
Thuringia is Bachland, and Arnstadt is also full of traces of this incredible family that has produced dozens of musicians. Johann Sebastian Bach himself had his first job here, from 1703 to 1707 he lived in Arnstadt, where he played the organ in the church later named after him.
In addition to the Bach Church, the wedding church in Dornheim, the Bach House of Ambrosius Bach, the Bach exhibition in the Schlossmuseum, the Oberkirche opposite the hotel and the wonderful Bach Monument at the market are fixed points for every Bach aficionado.
The unusual density of high-quality baroque concerts continues to be remarkable, as playing in the original settings of Bach’s life is a special event for all musicians. Several festivals make it possible to hear HIS cantatas, passions, oratorios and instrumental pieces in all these places throughout the year, first and foremost the Thüringer Bachwochen.
Photo: The vocal ensemble Vox Luminis and the direction of Joshua Rifkin in St. Petri in Wandersleben as part of the Bach:Summer 2013.
The Arnstadt Schlosspalais also has a princely cabinet of curiosities, mostly still in original room furnishings. Worthy of note is the Mon Plaisir collection, which, contrary to the museum’s self-portrayal, does not feature “dolls” but a waxwork cabinet en miniature, lovingly handcrafted by aristocratic ladies at the beginning of the 18th century.
The figures were never played with. The Mon Plaisir collection reflects life in the High Baroque period with great attention to detail, making it a worthwhile destination also for visitors following in the footsteps of Johann Sebastian Bach. Bach’s four years of work in Arnstadt are the subject of a separate exhibition, also in the castle museum.
Photo: Magnificent also the two monkey carpets from 1560, which the most powerful of the Arnstadt lords, Gunter the Streitbare, had made on the occasion of his marriage to Katarina of Nassau, a sister of William of Orange.
Arnstadt’s Lokschuppen, a railroad depot fully equipped with a turntable and numerous historic locomotives, bears witness to the town’s former importance as a transport hub for the Reichsbahn. It is maintained by a busy association and is open to the public on a regular basis.
The Milchhof Arnstadt is an impressive monument of modern architecture and as such listed in the Grand Tour of Modernism, a compilation of the most important monuments of modern architecture since 1900 in Germany. The architect was Martin Schwarz (1885-1945), who studied in Darmstadt but worked mainly in Arnstadt. Like hundreds of good architects in Germany, Schwarz did not need a Bauhaus to construct an industrial building according to the ideas of functionalism and the Neue Sachlichkeit.
We acquired the decaying ruin in 2014 and have since been able to restore the shell with the help of the federal government, the state, the German Foundation for Monument Protection and the Ilm district’s administration. We would be happy – by appointment – to guide you through the building and explain what makes it special.
Further information on the website https://milchhof-arnstadt.de/