One nice thing about Weimar is the absence of long distances, which enables visiting the city churches almost as an aside.
The oldest and largest church in Weimar is the Stadtkirche (city church) St. Peter und Paul or Herderkirche on the Herderplatz. This late-Gothic church was built in the 15th century. In it there is a triptych of 1552 by Lucas Cranach the Elder, which was completed by his son. It also contains the “Lutherschrein“, a triptych of 1572 with scenes from the life of Martin Luther who preached in this church. The court preacher and renowned intellectual, Johann Gottfried Herder, held office here from 1776 to 1808. His grave is in the church.
The Jakobskirche (Church of St. James) had its beginnings in the 12th Century as a pilgrim church. The current building was built in 1713 in Baroque style. The interior is classically designed by the architect Clemens Wenceslaus Coudray. Goethe and Christiane Vulpius married here. Christiane's tomb and that of Lucas Cranach the Elder are located in the cemetery of the Jakobskirche. The church yard with its cemetery and many large trees and is contained by an old stone wall, and allows us to experience an oasis of tranquility the heart of the city.
On the historic cemetery, which is located next door to the HOTEL FÜRSTENHOF AM BAUHAUS WEIMAR, the Russian Orthodox chapel (St. Mary Magdalene) was built on Russian soil in honor of the Russian Czar's daughter Maria Pavlovna. The chapel was inaugurated in 1862. Maria Pavlovna was the wife of the Grand Duke Carl Friedrich von Sachsen-Weimar (Saxe-Weimar). She lived and worked in Weimar from 1804 to 1859. Her tomb is in the Russian Orthodox chapel, next to the royal crypt.
Younger but still impressive is the Herz-Jesu-Kirche (Catholic Sacred Heart Church). It was built in 1889 in Italian Renaissance style.
The village churches around Weimar possess a charm of their own. The Bauhaus artist Lyonel Feininger devoted himself particularly to these churches. A tour in his footsteps through for example Gelmeroda, Mellingen, Niedergrunstedt, Tiefurt is also recommended due to the beautiful spots around Weimar.
For the friends of more modern churches, there are two examples on the outskirts of Weimar, in Schoendorf. These are the St. Bonifatius-Kirche, built in 1957, and the St. Stephanus-Kirche built in 1964. Both churches remember the Nazi period in Weimar, especially the atrocities committed in the nearby Buchenwald concentration camp. At the same time they are reflections of their own time.
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