Goethe and university town in the country

Welcome to a university town with Johann Wolfgang von Goethe associations. Many things distinguish Ilmenau with its population of almost 30,000 - the natural beauty of the Thüringer Wald (Thuringian Forest) an old town centre, the campus of Ilmenau University of Technology, renowned for research, and the associations with the town's most famous visitor, Goethe. The minors room in the GoetheStadtMuseum gives an insight into Ilmenau's copper and silver mining and Goethes efforts to keep the mining trade alive.



Highlights/Places of interest


The Amtshaus was built by the Dowager Countess Sophie von Henneberg as her home on widowhood. It was burnt in 1752 but soon reconstructed, so that from 1756 there were courtrooms for the local justice on the ground floor and living accommodation for members of the ducal family above. When Goethe came to Ilmenau on their behalf he used to stay in the room at the south-east corner. Today, the Amtshaus is home to the Ilmenau Tourist Information Office and the GoetheStadtMuseum. Here Goethe the poet, the public servant and the natural scientist is presented.

Museum Hunting Lodge

This building is in late baroque style though relatively plain. It is now set out as a museum offering fascinating insights into hunting as a pastime, into the social life of the Court of Weimar, and into the scientific pursuits of Goethe.


The little wooden hunting lodge called the Goethehäuschen is situated on the Goethe Path. On its inside wall, 1780 Goethe inscribed one of his loveliest poems, reflecting on nightfall and old age: “The Wandrers Nachtlied”. In 1870 the original hut went up in flames because of the carelessness of people picking berries. It was restored four years later.

Parish Church

The Jakobuskirche was rebuilt in 1760/61 in the late Baroque style. The organ was built by Walcker's of Ludwigsburg in 1911. It is the largest of its kind in Thüringen and has more than 4,000 pipes and 65 stops controlled by 3 manuals and pedals.

part of the university

The Thüringische Technikum was formally opened in 1894. Both the "old" and the "new" buildings are today part of Ilmenau's Technical University.

The Miner's Champel

Few records remain to tell of this little chapel. It was probably attached to the wheelhouse below the head of the Gottes Gabe (Gift of God) shaft. The wheelhouse was home to the waterwheels driving the pumps in the shaft.

Alte Försterei

The Alte Försterei is a remnant of the rococo castle erected in the mid-18th century by the Duke Herzog Ernst August von Sachsen-Weimar on the site where today the old post office stands. Not many years after it was built, the fire of 1752 destroyed this summer residence of the Count. All that remained was the wing known today as the Alte Försterei.

The Weather Column

The column represents the glass industry located in and around Ilmenau. The animals depicted round the top of the column symbolise the times of the day, and thus also the compass direction – the cockerel for the morning, the swarm of bees for noon, the bat for the evening and the owl for the night.

Luge and toboggan run

Ilmenau has long had an international reputation for luge, sledging and tobogganing. The toboggan run is open summer and winter alike, with its eight bends over a length of 460 m. Great fun is to be had and there is a start designed for non-professionals.

The Wasserburg

The excavated ruins of this second Ilmenau castle are near the court building. Finds from the excavations are exhibited in the hallway of the Finanzamt (tax office) very close by.



Am Markt 1 (im Amtshaus)
98693 Ilmenau


Tel. +49 (0) 36 77 / 600 300
Fax +49 (0) 36 77 / 600 330