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.
The 48-hectare Park on the Ilm is a marvellously landscaped garden situated on the edge of Weimar’s historic downtown. It was here that Duke Carl August and Johann Wolfgang von Goethe made their gardening ideas a reality. They created a walkable work of art with diverse views of the landscape, park structures and numerous places to sit down and contemplate. Today, the Park on the Ilm continues to offer visitors a place to relax, learn and enjoy nature’s beauty.
„Weimar is actually a park wherein a city lies.“
author Adolf Stahr, 1871
The creation of the Park on the Ilm is closely tied to Goethe’s life and work in Weimar. In 1776 Duke Carl August gave the poet a cottage with a garden in what would later become the Park on the Ilm. In the following years, Goethe and Carl August started landscaping the first section of the park between the town, the castle and Goethe’s Gartenhaus in the new English style. In 1778 they began cultivating the western slope of the Ilm valley with its wooded backdrops, winding paths and park sculptures. After extensively expanding the park to the south and integrating several older castle gardens, the completion of the Roman House in 1797 marked the culmination of the park’s development.
Following the death of Carl August, who had played an integral role in developing the park, most of the landscaping projects were completed by 1828. Although the park was faithfully tended in the following decades, a number of new buildings in the vicinity detracted from the visual impressions of the surrounding landscape. Furthermore, the wooded areas had received little attention and its overgrowth threatened the original appearance of the park. It wasn’t until the National Research and Memorial Sites of Classic German Literature in Weimar (NFG) took over the management of the park in 1970 that extensive restoration, preservation and cultivation work was carried out on the wooded areas, paths and park structures.