Projects of the Klassik Stiftung Weimar are funded by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) and the Free State of Thuringia, represented by the State Chancellery of Thuringia, Department of Culture and the Arts.
Inside the former livery stables of Auerstedt Castle one will find an impressive collection of original carriages used by the ducal family of Saxony-Weimar-Eisenach between ca. 1775 and 1890. These include luxurious vehicles which were used during visits of state, royal weddings, hunting expeditions and travelling. Visitors can also see a children’s carriage which had belonged to the Hereditary Grand Duke Carl Alexander, and a “walking machine” developed by the inventor of the bicycle principle Karl Baron von Drais.
The historically significant collection presents various types of carriages and documents the technical stages of carriage development. The chassis were manufactured in Thuringia, Vienna, Amsterdam and St. Petersburg. The core of the collection comprises carriages which were sent as dowries to the Weimar court, for example, the touring carriage in which Grand Duchess Maria Pavlovna (1786-1859) and Hereditary Prince Carl Friedrich (1783-1853) travelled from St. Petersburg back to Weimar in 1804.
A highlight of the collection is a two-wheeled “walking machine” which Grand Duke Carl August ordered from Karl Baron von Drais of Mannheim as a gift to his son Carl Friedrich. The “Draisine”, as it was called, is the second-oldest specimen known to have been constructed in Drais’s workshop.
The fleet of carriages was originally kept and serviced near the Weimar City Castle. After the abdication of the last grand duke Wilhelm Ernst of Saxony-Weimar-Eisenach, ownership of the collection fell to the newly established Weimar State Art Collections in 1919. The vehicles, which are so closely tied to the history of the ducal dynasty, were parked inside the Belvedere Orangery for decades until the building was extensively renovated.
The historical carriage collection has been on display in the refurbished livery stables at Auerstedt Castle since 2004.