See sites of royal splendour in Germany
Weimar and Goethe are inextricably linked. The great poet Goethe was the town's privy councillor, a man of great energy but also, and most importantly for the palace project, a man of many talents. His many contacts included Professor Heinrich Gentz, an architect at Berlin's Bauakademie and an expert in early Prussian classicism. Goethe brought him to Weimar in 1801. A trio of architects designed this three-winged palace, while Heinrich Gentz was responsible for its sublime interior. The staircase is the stunning centrepiece of a hall embellished with white Doric columns, while the banqueting hall is among the finest of the palace's rooms with its Ionic columns and picture gallery. Famed for its noble elegance is the hall of mirrors, which has a patterned stucco ceiling echoed by the parquet floor. The park on the Ilm is another reminder of Goethe and the era of Classicism. It is just a short hop from the palace and covers an area of almost 50 hectares. The duke and his poet created an idealised landscape with bridges, grottos, ruins, sculptures and a Roman House offering panoramic views. Arranged in terraces around Goethe's modest summer house were orchards, flower gardens and vegetable plots. Today, the planting is almost the same as in its original form. Nearby attractions: Hohenzieritz House from 1751 accommodates the Müritz National Park offices and a memorial to Luise of Mecklenburg-Strelitz. In Putbus Park there are more than 60 different non-indigenous trees.