the “theatre city”

Meiningen - the “theatre city”

Without Meiningen – no Hollywood?! The “Meininger” ensemble of actors with its exemplary performances was considered the epitome of European dramatic art in the late 19th century. The displays of selected illusionist stage sets from their unique collection at the theatre museum “Magic World of Scenery” give an idea of how early Hollywood productions were inspired by the “Meininger” company. Meiningen is a destination for theatre aficionados as well as steam engine enthusiasts, who come here for the annual Steam Engine Festival every September.

The city centre is dominated by representative, neo-classical buildings. In the various castles and palaces, parks and museums one can encounter an abundance of famous names from our rich cultural history – the musicians Hans von Bülow, Johannes Brahms and Max Reger, Friedrich Schiller and the fairytale poet Ludwig Bechstein as well as Princess Adelaide who, born and raised in Meiningen, introduced the Christmas tree to the royal court when she became Queen of England. With over 1000 events every year the picturesque town of Meiningen is one of Thuringia’s cultural hotspots.

Highlights/Places of interest

Church of Our Lady

The impressive town church features architectural elements from the Gothic and Neo-Gothic style (choir and nave respectively) as well as a Neo-Romanesque west facade. Of the original Romanesque church, that had been erected around the year 1000, only parts of the North tower remain.

Meiningen Theatre

An important chapter in the annals of European theatre history was written here, since “the Meiningen theatre is the place where modern Regietheater was invented” (R. Schechner, New York University). The classicist building is scheduled for complete refurbishment from June 2010 until December 2011. During that time, the ensemble will give its performances ranging from drama and opera to concerts, musicals and ballet at the Meininger Kammerspiele (see below) and other exciting venues such as the English Garden.

Kammerspiele, Municipal art gallery

Once a school and "bazaar" for Jewish tradesmen, this building, erected in 1833, was completely renovated in 2008. Today, it is home to the theatre’s “Kammerspiele” stage, the municipal art gallery and the café „La Musica“. The gallery displays classic modernist as well as contemporary works. – Tue-Sun 3pm-8pm.,

Theatre museum „Magic World of Scenery“

The former ducal riding hall (built in 1797) was remodelled to accommodate the theatre museum “Magic World of Scenery” in 1999. At this unusual venue, daily presentations at 10am, 12am, 2pm and 4pm, which include the display of a historic stage set with scenic illumination and a 20-minute movie (available in German, English, French and Japanese), will give the visitor a vivid idea of how the “Meininger” ensemble made European theatre history.

Hotel Sächsischer Hof

Built in the year 1802 and adorned with a romantic half-timbered facade, the hotel “Sächsischer Hof” was the first lodging house in town that is still in operation today. With its eventful history, romantic flair and gourmet cuisine it is suited to the highest standards and most refined tastes. Amongst the many famous guests that have taken lodgings here are Franz Liszt, Johannes Brahms and Richard Wagner.

Castle Landsberg

Overlooking the Werra valley, this castle built in the neo-Gothic style once served as a summer residence for the ducal family of Saxe-Meiningen. The romantically furnished rooms and restaurants cater to its image as a fairy-tale castle.

Schloss Elisabethenburg

The former residence of the dukes of Saxe-Meiningen was erected as a three-winged Baroque palace complex in 1682-1692. Today, the castle accommodates one of the “Meininger museums”. In the 19th century, thanks to the work of artists such as Brahms, Strauss, Reger, Wagner and Ibsen under the auspices of the artistically-minded theatre enthusiast Duke Georg II., the Meiningen court established itself as one of Germany’s most important cultural centres.

Hotel Schlundhaus

This hotel with its impressive wood-carved bay window in its current form dates from the year 1906. Legend has it that the Thuringian dumplings called “Hütes” were prepared and served here for the first time by the pagan goddess Mother Hulda herself.

English Garden

This generous park facility in the “English” style, which quickly gained popularity throughout Germany at the end of the 18th century, is a romantic landscape park with low hills, meadows, ponds, bridges and artificial ruins, which was laid out in opposition to the aesthetic principles of Baroque horticulture. The park with its many memorials of famous personalities such as Ludwig Bechstein, Jean Paul, Johannes Brahms and Max Reger serves as an urban retreat as well as a reminder of Meiningen’s rich cultural history.

Büchner House

Hidden from view in a backyard of the historic city centre, one of the town’s oldest buildings can be found. Built in 1596 and miraculously saved from a devastating fire in 1874, the Büchner house features a richly coloured and ornamented half-timbered frame construction.

Goetz cave

Offering a 480 m long circuit path, the Goetz cave is the largest rift and cleft cave in Europe that is open to the public. Visitors can also enjoy a unique panoramic view of the city from the cave lodge.

Steam Locomotive Work

The German Railways Steam Locomotive Work is the only railway repair shop in Germany that still has the know-how and technology to repair and maintain historic steam engines. In 2008, the steam engine 'Adler', the first German steam locomotive, was restored here. Guided tours (every 1st and 3rd Saturday of a month at 10am) and the annual Steam Locomotive Festival attract thousands of steam locomotive enthusiasts every year.

Ausstellung historische Instrumente - Meininger Museum
Ausstellung historische Instrumente - Meininger Museum



Ernestinerstraße 2
98617 Meiningen


Tel. +49 (0) 3693 / 44650
Fax +49 (0) 3693 / 446544