In 1789, under Goethe's influence, Duke Karl August initiated the rebuild of the classicist city palace and work began on designs for the Park on the Ilm, a picturesque parkland covering some 50 hectares.
As privy councillor, Goethe had no end of important contacts, which explains why Professor Heinrich Gentz made his way to Weimar in 1801. He went on to design the palace's majestic interior, which features a gorgeous staircase in a hall studded with white Doric columns. The banqueting hall is home to Ionic columns and a gallery of magnificent works of architectural art from that era. Unfortunately, the palace is now closed until the end of 2023. But Belvedere, Tiefurt and Ettersburg palaces are all open and well worth a visit.
The Park on the Ilm is another nod to Goethe and classicism. It's just a stone's throw away from the palace along the Ilm river. This is the product of the Duke and his poet joining forces to create an idyllic landscape with bridges, grottos, ruins, sculptures and a 'Roman House' offering spectacular views. Orchards, flower gardens and vegetable plots were arranged in terraces around Goethe's pretty yet modest summer house in the Park on the Ilm. The original planting has been recreated as closely as possible.