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Tiefurt was once the “place of the Muses” for Weimar’s court society. Duchess Anna Amalia of Saxony-Weimar and Eisenach made the rural estate her summer residence in 1781. Far from the constraints of ceremonial life, she passed the time with art and music and received numerous guests, most prominently Goethe, Herder, Wieland and Schiller. The spacious park, which together with the mansion is part of the UNESCO World Heritage Site “Classical Weimar”, is an important example of an early sentimental landscaped garden, complete with picturesque niches, sculptures and memorial stones.
The rooms contain numerous pieces of historical furniture and decorations which highlight the mansion’s phases of usage. Sculptures and busts by the court sculptor Martin Gottlieb Klauer and porcelain works from China, Meissen and Vienna are just some of the handcrafted highlights on display. There are also several artworks that recall Anna Amalia’s journey to Italy from 1788 to 1790. From the courtyard, one can enter the so-called “Cold Kitchen” containing remarkably realistic-looking items of food made of porcelain, wax and papier-mâché from the ducal collections.
Originally built as a tenant’s house for a ducal estate in 1765, Prince Constantin, the younger brother of Carl August of Saxony-Weimar and Eisenach, took up residence here in 1776. It was subsequently refurbished and expanded into a mansion. In 1781 Duchess Anna Amalia moved her summer residence to Tiefurt which soon became a popular meeting place for poets, philosophers and artists of the Weimar Classical period. After French troops plundered the estate in 1806 and Anna Amalia passed away in 1807, life at Tiefurt Mansion quieted down. In 1820 Anna Amalia’s grandson Carl Friedrich had the mansion renovated and completely refurnished. Grand Duke Wilhelm Ernst converted the mansion into a museum in 1907 in commemoration of the 100th anniversary of Anna Amalia’s death.
The 21-hectare park surrounding Tiefurt Mansion extends along both sides of the Ilm River. The sweeping meadows with beautiful clusters of shade trees gently descend to the edge of the water. On the opposite side of the Ilm, a densely wooded slope rises steeply to a high plateau from which one can get a good view of the surrounding landscape and park grounds.
Prince Friedrich Ferdinand Constantin started building the English landscaped park in 1776 together with his tutor Karl Ludwig von Knebel. The winding paths were laid between the first park structures and benches, and hedged by various decorative shrubs. Following Constantin’s departure from Weimar in 1781, Duchess Anna Amalia made Tiefurt Mansion her summer residence. She continued expanding the park and gradually created a sentimental garden along the Ilm valley with romantic park structures, Vergil’s Tomb, the Temple of the Muses and the Tea Salon.
After French troops plundered the mansion in 1806 and Anna Amalia died the following year, the focus shifted away from Tiefurt. It wasn’t until the park was re-landscaped by the court gardener Eduard Petzold between 1846 and 1850 that Tiefurt regained its former status. Many of the old groups of trees growing today in and around the park were planted during that time.