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coat of arms Germany map
Coat of arms of the city of Eisenach
Map of Germany, position of the city of Eisenach highlighted

Coordinates: 50 ° 59 ′  N , 10 ° 19 ′  E

Basic data
State : Thuringia
Height : 215 m above sea level NHN
Area : 104.17 km 2
Residents: 42,250 (Dec. 31, 2019)
Population density : 406 inhabitants per km 2
Postal code : 99817
Primaries : 03691, 036920, 036928
License plate : EA
Community key : 16 0 56 000
City structure: 11 districts , next to the center of Eisenach

City administration address :
Markt 2
99817 Eisenach
Website : eisenach.de
Lord Mayor : Katja Wolf ( Die Linke )
Location of the city of Eisenach in Thuringia
Weimar Eisenach Suhl Gera Jena Landkreis Altenburger Land Landkreis Greiz Tschechien Saale-Holzland-Kreis Freistaat Sachsen Freistaat Bayern Saale-Orla-Kreis Landkreis Sonneberg Niedersachsen Hessen Sachsen-Anhalt Landkreis Eichsfeld Landkreis Saalfeld-Rudolstadt Landkreis Hildburghausen Landkreis Schmalkalden-Meiningen Ilm-Kreis Landkreis Weimarer Land Erfurt Landkreis Gotha Wartburgkreis Landkreis Sömmerda Kyffhäuserkreis Unstrut-Hainich-Kreis Landkreis Nordhausenmap
About this picture
Aerial view of the old town of Eisenach

Eisenach is the sixth largest city in Thuringia and is located in the west of Thuringia . It is one of the so-called Luther cities . The Mittelstadt has been an independent city since 1998 and is the center of western Thuringia and the adjacent north-eastern Hessian areas. In spatial planning , the city assumes the position of a middle center with partial functions of a regional center and is assigned to the planning region of Southwest Thuringia . Eisenach is located on the Hörsel on the northern edge of the Thuringian Forest .

Eisenach is famous for the Wartburg above the city, the UNESCO - World Heritage Site is owned and medieval seat of the Landgrave of Thuringia was. There Martin Luther translated the New Testament from Greek into German in the autumn of 1521 . In 1817 the Wartburg Festival took place there, one of the most important events of the Vormärz . Eisenach has been a university town since February 2017, unofficially the town is nicknamed Wartburgstadt .

The composer Johann Sebastian Bach was born in Eisenach in 1685 .

Industrialization began in Eisenach in the second half of the 19th century. In 1896, for example, the Eisenach vehicle factory was founded, which belonged to BMW from 1928 and later built the Wartburg as the Eisenach automobile factory . The tradition of automobile construction was continued after 1990 by Adam Opel AG . The factories of the automotive industry such as Opel and Bosch employ over 4,000 people today, which makes Eisenach an industrial center in Thuringia.


Topographic location of Eisenach - Source: OpenTopoMap (2013)

The core city of Eisenach lies in the valley of the Hörsel , which flows into the Werra on the right in the Hörschel district . The lowest point of the entire urban area is not far north of the Hörschel district at about 196  m above sea level. NN in the Werra valley. The lowest point in Eisenach's old town lies at the former needle gate on Goethestrasse.

In the south and southwest, the Thuringian Forest rises steeply to heights of over 400  m above sea level. NN at. There the Rennsteig between the Hohe Sonne and the Vachaer Stein forms the southern border of the urban area. At 460  m above sea level NN is a rocky knoll on the Weinstrasse on the Kleiner Drachenstein, the highest point in the Eisenach city area. The Drachenschlucht and the Landgrafenschlucht are located between the Hohe Sonne and the city . The cursed Jungfernloch , a rock cave, is located in the mountains of the southern part of the city, as is the fraternity monument and the Wartburg. Also south of the urban area, the federal road 84 crosses the Rennsteig am Vachaer Stein, the pass is at 368  m above sea level. NN .

To the east of Eisenach extends the Hörseltal and the Hörselberge , which border it to the north and which , according to legend, are said to be the home of Frau Holle . The valley of the Nesse , which flows into the Hörsel at Eisenacher Petersberg, runs north of the Hörselberge .

To the north of Eisenach, an extensive plateau extends to the edge of the Hainich with the Eisenach districts of Hötzelsroda , Neukirchen , Madelungen and Berteroda .

West of Eisenach, near Stedtfeld , the Hörseltal narrows to a width of a few hundred meters. At the Thuringian Gate near Hörschel , the Hörsel flows into the Werra and there the Rennsteig begins as the ridge path of the Thuringian Forest; the districts of Göringen , Wartha and Neuenhof are located south of the Rennsteig in the Werra Valley.

Natural space

Panorama of Eisenach with the Wartburg, seen from the fraternity monument on the
Göpelskuppe .

Due to its location on the border of two natural areas, Eisenach is one of the so-called gate cities . It mediates between the Werrabergland and the Hörselberge, two stratified landscapes in the north that are shaped by shell limestone and the north-western Thuringian Forest in the south, which is shaped by the sandstones and conglomerates of the Oberrotlying region. In the northwest, the Eisenach urban area has a share in the Gerstungen-Creuzburger Werraaue. The mountains on the edge of the Thuringian Forest south of the Neuenhof district lie in the north of the Bad Liebenstein Zechstein belt . This location on the edge of several natural areas favored the development of the medieval town of Eisenach as a market for the raw materials wood and stone and the products obtained from them, as well as for agricultural products. The location on an important pass road across the Thuringian Forest was also beneficial for urban development .

Neighboring communities

View from Michelskuppe to Eisenach city center, in the background the foothills of the Thuringian Forest

The municipalities of Krauthausen and Amt Creuzburg border the urban area in the north . To the east of the city follow the communities Hörselberg-Hainich and Wutha-Farnroda . This is followed by the town of Ruhla in the south-east and the municipality of Gerstungen in the south and south-west . While all of these neighboring communities are in the Wartburg district in Thuringia , the urban area borders Herleshausen in the Hessian Werra-Meißner district in the west .

Expansion and division of the urban area

Overview city districts

The Eisenach city area covers an area of ​​103.85 km². 7.44 km² of this are built-up areas, 6.10 km² are traffic areas, 45.39 km² are agricultural areas and 1.12 km² are commercial and industrial areas. Due to its location on the Thuringian Forest, the forest areas cover 37.52 km², around a third of the urban area.

Eisenach consists of the core city and the districts Berteroda , Hötzelsroda , Madelungen , Neuenhof , Hörschel , Neukirchen , Stedtfeld , Stockhausen , Stregda , Wartha and Göringen .

The districts have district constitutions , Neuenhof and Hörschel as well as Wartha and Göringen each have a common district constitution.


The total rainfall is between 781 and 959 mm per year, the average is 831 mm (national average: 837 mm). In most of the urban area, the values ​​are between 800 and 850 mm, only in the Werra and Hörsel floodplains are below 800 mm. With 850 to 900 mm per year, the highest amounts of precipitation are reached in the north and south of the urban area.

The annual mean temperature of the city is 7.6 to 9.0 ° C and thus corresponds to the Thuringian national average. The annual mean of the sunshine duration is 1423 to 1444 hours per year. The prevailing wind direction in open areas is west-southwest.

Average monthly temperatures and precipitation for Eisenach
Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
Max. Temperature ( ° C ) 1.9 3.6 8.2 13.0 17.8 21.2 22.3 22.3 18.9 13.2 6.5 3.3 O 12.7
Min. Temperature (° C) −3.4 −3.3 −0.6 2.5 6.5 9.7 11.6 11.3 8.1 4.6 1.2 −1.4 O 3.9
Temperature (° C) −0.8 0.1 3.8 7.7 12.1 15.4 16.9 16.8 13.5 8.9 3.8 0.9 O 8.3
Precipitation ( mm ) 37 36 37 44 56 71 62 59 44 46 48 47 Σ 587
Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
  Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
Source: Climate-data.org

natural reserve

The urban area is part of the Thuringian Forest landscape protection area and the Thuringian Forest Nature Park . In the north-western part it touches the Eichsfeld-Hainich-Werratal Nature Park . Large parts of the nature reserve forests with gorges between Wartburg and Hohe Sonne are located in the south of the urban area between the outskirts and the Rennsteig . There you will find the extensive mixed deciduous forests and important geotopes typical of the natural area of ​​the Northwestern Thuringian Forest .

Among the 15 protected landscape elements, area natural monuments and natural monuments, there are two regionally and nationwide significant bat roosts.

Protected object Year of protection Brief description
Basalt dike in the Lower Muschelkalk at Hörschel station 1977 Geological outcrop
Bat quarter Neuenhof 1988 Bat nursery of national importance
Donnerkaute at Neuenhof 1988 Sinkhole
Reefs of the Upper Zechstein near Neuenhof 1988 Geological outcrop
Wetland in the Mosewald 1985 Wetland
Bat quarters in the Stedtfeld Castle 1988 Bat nursery of regional importance
Zechstein outcrop on the Göpelskuppe 1977 Geological outcrop
Michelskuppe 1966 Geological outcrop
Rotliegend at the Wartburgschleife 1977 Geological outcrop
Elven grotto 1966 Rock formation
Relay break in Rotliegend at the exit (B 84) Eisenach 1977 Geological outcrop
Luisengrotte 1966 Geological outcrop
Ludwigsklamm 1966 Rock formation
Landgrave Gorge 1966 Rock formation
Dragon Canyon 1977 Klamm

Geology, geomorphology

The Landgrafenschlucht near Eisenach with an outcrop of conglomerates of the Rotliegend

The part of the urban area in the north-western Thuringian Forest is formed in the near-surface geological subsurface by the Eisenach series of the Ober rotliegend (Saxon). The layers of the Wartburg conglomerate in the east are followed by undivided siltstones , the so-called slate clays, and the gravelly succession of the main conglomerate in the west . The eroding brooks cut up the silicate- bound and thus hard conglomerates and sandstones like a gorge and prepared the numerous high rock bands, which, like the gorges, shape the landscape. Larger gorges are the Drachenschlucht and the Landgrafenschlucht. Significant rocks are located below the Wartburg, at the Teufelskanzel and at the Mädelstein.

The northern slopes of the Hörseltal and the strata adjoining it to the north are characterized by the strata of the middle and upper shell limestone and the lower Keuper . The layer surfaces can also be covered by loess loam . The geological layers of the Werra highlands are in the range of Eisenach by several hercynian sweeping dislocations divided into a plurality of layer packets. The geological layers are mostly tilted against each other along the break lines. A stratified rib of shell limestone, for example, forms the up to 20 meter high rocks of the Michelskuppe within the northern city area. On the fault lines southwest of the Stregda district and around the Eisenach cemetery, clay and marl stones from the lower Jurassic came to light. The extreme west of the urban area is characterized by the Leine series and the Werra-bis-Staßfurt series of the Zechstein . Limestone and dolomite stone dominate there , but also anhydrite and gypsum . The copper slate bank and reef limestone, for example, are open to the fraternity monument. An outcrop with rocks from the Tertiary era has been preserved in a so-called geological window at the Hörschel train station. It is a basalt dike in the Hörschelberg , which was created during the times of the Rhön volcanism. The floodplains of Hörsel and Werra are filled with floodplain sediments, mostly loose valley sands, which were deposited there by the rivers in the recent geological past. They are the greatest evacuation in the Eisenach city area and important as industrial locations. The old town of Eisenach was built on periglacial debris on the northern edge of the Thuringian Forest , which was created during the Vistula glaciation.

Flora and vegetation

Trespenrasen on Wartenberg

The potential natural vegetation at almost all locations in the Eisenach urban area is red beech forests . The spectrum ranges from lime and orchid beech forests to Hainsimsen beech forests on the Rotliegend conglomerates of the northwestern Thuringian Forest. Alder-ash brook forests and willow-ash alluvial forests have naturally developed in the floodplains. The natural vegetation of the gorges consists of maple-ash canyon forests. Dry oak forests may have developed in extreme locations on rocky peaks and on ridges over conglomerate and sandstone. On steep southern slopes, for example on Petersberg in the east of the city, it is difficult for the trees to grow due to the steepness and dryness of the locations. In places there are species-rich dry bushes and lawns . Sloes and hawthorn species are common, but rarer species such as barberry , privet , buckthorn and juniper are also present. The Eisenach whitebeam is also an endemic species on the slopes of the Petersberg . The limestone slopes on the Petersberg are mostly dominated by the branchy grass lily .

The current vegetation differs significantly from the potentially natural in many places. The forests are dominated by forest. Inappropriate tree species such as spruce , Scots pine and black pine were brought in or used for the afforestation of eroded slopes. Large areas, especially in the north and east of the urban area, are subject to intensive agricultural use and are dominated by cultivated plants. At most, plant species from the field flora such as poppy or odorless chamomile can gain a foothold there. In the area of ​​the former military training area on Wartenberg in the north of the city area, grazing with sheep has resulted in extensive, semi-natural, species-rich grasslands ( Trespenrasen ). In some places you can also find gentian and schiller grass turf there. The forests in the Thuringian Forest conservation area in the southern urban area are particularly close to nature. They also contain floristic features such as the two-flowered violet . European beech and English oak are there to form the population and in some places reach their natural age. In the numerous canyon and rubble forests , old and particularly tall specimens of the common ash and sycamore maple have grown. Extensive wetlands are located in the west of Eisenach between the Thuringian Forest and the automobile plant. There reed areas , a lake, streams, alluvial forests, reed cane , moist tall herbaceous meadows and wet meadows are closely interlinked. Old trees, including several black alder , characterize the area as well as the transition to natural deciduous forests interspersed with rocks.


Residence house

4th millennium BC BC to 1150

The oldest traces of settlement go back about 5500 years. Traces of the band ceramists were found at the Eisenach brickworks west of Mühlhäuser Chaussee . They lived in rectangular post houses. Further archaeological finds from the area of ​​the former clay pits indicate that arable farming and livestock were also practiced here. In the 2nd millennium BC Chr. Settled Celts the Eisenach area.

End of the 1st millennium BC The Germanic Hermundurs settled in the region, their and the Celtic settlements were on the rivers near Hörschel , Stregda, Stockhausen and Sättelstädt . The Thuringian Museum in Eisenach holds the artefacts from these excavations.

Until 531 the settlement area belonged to the Kingdom of Thuringia . In older research it was assumed that the Thuringians ("Toringi") appearing in the sources in late antiquity were partly derived from groups of the Hermunduren, but this has now been disputed. After the Thuringian Empire was broken up by the Franks , it is said to have been Frankish settlers who settled on the banks of the Hörsel near the Petersberg in the 8th century . This settlement is considered to be the origin of today's city of Eisenach.

According to legend, Ludwig the Springer had the Wartburg built in 1067. At that time, the Ludowinger dynasty , from which the count came, tried to consolidate and expand their territorial power by building castles. In 1080 the Wartburg was first mentioned in a document by the Saxon chronicler Bruno von Merseburg . The name Eisenach first appeared in a written source in 1150 when a knight Berthold de Isenacha was about to be buried.

From the civitas to the main residence of the Landgraves of Thuringia (until the middle of the 13th century)

Eisenach was first mentioned in a document in the 1180s as a landgrave's civitas near an already existing village on Petersberg. The origins of the city of Eisenach can be traced back to three (customs) legally separate market settlements: the Saturday market (today Karlsplatz ), the Wednesday market (on Frauenplan ) and the Monday market on today's market square . The city's location at the crossroads of long-distance trade routes enabled the rapid development of trade and commerce, which were protected by the Eisenach city wall , which was built in the second half of the 12th century . The Nikolaitor , one of the oldest city gates in Thuringia, is reminiscent of these fortifications .

In addition to the right to build the city fortifications, Eisenach was given the (limited) administrative right, the right to hold markets and collect taxes, a city coat of arms and the right to mint as a feature of urban development . The parallel and right-angled alleys, the placement of the churches and the layout of the craftsmen's quarters indicate that the city was being built according to plan.

At the end of the 12th century, the Wartburg became the main residence of the Landgraves of Thuringia . Eisenach occupied a central position within the Ludowingian dominion, it was the link between the Hessian and Thuringian parts of the area. The court of Landgrave Hermann I of Thuringia was the center of minstrel singing and poetry in the empire . In 1206 the legendary Singers' War is said to have taken place on the Wartburg .

From 1211 Elisabeth of Thuringia lived on the Wartburg as the wife of Landgrave Ludwig IV . She appeared in Eisenach as a benefactor and, among other things, founded a hospital in which she devoted herself to the poor, sick and lepers. After the death of Ludwig IV, Elisabeth left the Wartburg in 1228 and was taken over by Pope Gregory IX in 1235 . canonized.

Ludwig's successor Heinrich Raspe donated the preacher's monastery in Eisenach in her honor. In 1246 Heinrich Raspe confirmed the city of Eisenach's rights and freedoms. In 1247 he died in the Wartburg and was buried in Eisenach.

War of Succession, Wettin rule, town charter (mid-13th century to end of 14th century)

With Heinrich's death, the Ludowinger dynasty became extinct, leading to the Thuringian-Hessian War of Succession between the grandson of Hermann I , the Meissen margrave Heinrich the Illustrious , to whom Heinrich Raspe had promised the contingent loan in 1243 in the event of his death, and Sophie von Brabant , a daughter of Ludwig IV. Led. After the end of the war (1264) Eisenach fell to the Wettin Heinrich the Illustrious. As a direct consequence of this war, the areas that have since been referred to as the Landgraviate of Hesse and other parts of the rulership were lost.

Eisenach had already received a municipal statute under Heinrich Raspe, which is only indirectly handed down in the handfeast of 1283. At the same time, the city was raised to the rank of Oberhof . Thus all cities of the Landgraviate formed a family with city rights. They had to adopt the Eisenach legal principles and follow them. In 1286, Landgrave Albrecht granted the city the right to elect two mayors. In 1293 a paved road ("the stone path") in Eisenach was first mentioned in a document.

In 1306 the city tried in vain to achieve the status of an imperial city . The fight against the Wettin city lords led to the destruction of Klemme Castle and the defensive towers of St. Mary's Church. After an unsuccessful siege of the Wartburg, Eisenach surrendered to Landgrave Friedrich the Freidigen in 1308 . As a reparation, the citizens of the city had to rebuild the destroyed Klemme Castle and the towers of St. Mary's Church.

In the years 1333 to 1362 the Eisenach city arbitrariness was written down, a collection of local laws drawn up by the Eisenach council. In 1387, the priest and town clerk Johannes Rothe wrote the now lost Eisenach legal books as chain books , which served as the basis for the legal book written by Johannes Purgold at the beginning of the 16th century. It was also Johannes Rothe who wrote the Thuringian chronicle based on the Chronica Thuringorum written by Dominican monks from the Eisenach preacher monastery around 1395 .

For entertainment , mystery games or moralities with a religious background were performed in the city of Eisenach . Landgrave Friedrich der Freidige is said to have been so excited during the Eisenach performance of The Game of the Five Wise and Five Foolish Virgins in 1321 that he suffered a physical and mental breakdown and lived mentally deranged until his death.

Jews probably settled in Eisenach as early as the 12th century. The first indication of a possible Jewish community around 1235 is the mention of Jechiel ben Jakob from Eisenach, the author of a synagogue poem and two lamentations. There is evidence that Samuel ben Jakob corresponded with Meir von Rothenburg on religious issues in the 13th century . At the end of the century, the Jews are said to have lived in Judengasse, which was badly affected by a city fire in 1342, and later in Loeberstrasse. From the years 1293 and 1323 further names have been handed down. In 1283, provisions relating to Jewish residents were laid down in the city law. During the plague from 1348 onwards Jews were attacked, after 1411 they were expelled from the city. In 1510 they were allowed to trade for a few years, but not to settle in Eisenach.

Great fire, plague, political and economic decline (from 1342)

In 1342 a great fire destroyed almost all of the city's buildings; the city documents burned with the town hall on the market square. In 1349 the city was hit by the first plague epidemic, another in 1393 claimed 3,000 lives in the city.

In 1406, with the death of Landgrave Balthasar , Eisenach lost court and landgrave administration and thus its status as a landgrave's residence. This eventually led to the city's economic decline. When the landgrave's possessions were divided up in 1445, Eisenach fell to Wilhelm III. who closed the Eisenach mint around 1450. After the death of Wilhelm III. Eisenach fell to the Ernestines in the course of Leipzig's partition in 1485 .

Reformation, Luther's stay, Peasants' War (16th century)

Luther's arrival at the Wartburg on an Eisenach serial license from 1921
Luther memorial

In 1498 Martin Luther came to Eisenach for the first time as a Latin student. On May 2, 1521, he preached in the Georgenkirche on the way back from the Worms Reichstag . After he had been given the imperial ban, he was housed in the Wartburg as "Junker Jörg" the next day and thus hidden from possible persecutors. He stayed there until March 1, 1522 and translated the New Testament from the Greek original into German ; it was published in September 1522 ("September Testament").

With the arrival of the preacher Jacob Strauss from Basel , noted for 1523 , the Eisenach interest rate dispute began - a conflict that rapidly intensified despite the personal intervention of Luther and Melanchton - as a result of which Eisenach citizens initially refused to pay interest on financial transactions. Subsequently, residents tumbled over the existing church institutions, almost all churches and monasteries were badly devastated or burned down.

On May 7, 1525, the Werrahaufen , an army of rebellious peasants in the German Peasants' War , arrived in front of the city to obtain support from the city authorities and the population. The city commandant succeeded in luring the majority of the unsuspecting leaders into the city, whereupon they were immediately arrested and executed after a show trial in the market. A cross in the pavement in front of the church still reminds of this today. Seventeen sympathizers from the Eisenach population shared this fate weeks later after Elector Johann the Constant had regained control of the situation.

In 1528 Eisenach became Protestant in the course of the Reformation , the first superintendent was Justus Menius . The Anabaptist movement was widespread in Thuringia at this time , and one of the most important supporters in Eisenach was Fritz Erbe . He was captured in 1533 and imprisoned in the stork tower for seven years . In 1540 he was moved to the dungeon in the south tower of the Wartburg, where he died in 1548.

Again royal seat (1596), city fires (1617, 1636), plague (1626), witch trials

Eisenach around 1647 ( Merian engraving )

In the 1550s, Hanns Leonhardt built numerous splendid town houses in the style of the Renaissance as a master builder and architect ; the former wine cellar, today the town hall, the St. George's fountain on the market and the Luther House have been preserved. Such a representative city center made it easier for Johann Ernst, Duke of Saxony-Eisenach , to move his residence from Marksuhl to Eisenach in 1596 . Devastating city fires in 1617 and 1636, the tribulations of the Thirty Years' War and the plague introduced in 1626 severely damaged the city and slowed down the economic boom again.

Eisenach and today's districts of Madelungen, Neukirchen and Stregda were hit by witch persecution from 1615 to 1681 . Eight women and one man were caught in witch trials , four were executed, two women withstood the torture and did not make a confession, but were expelled from the country like the man.

On March 21, 1685, Johann Sebastian Bach was born in Eisenach and baptized in the Georgenkirche. His father Johann Ambrosius Bach was the head of the council trumpeting. In Eisenach, the baroque composers Johann Pachelbel and Johann Christoph Bach worked as organists and Georg Philipp Telemann as court conductor.

Saxe-Weimar (1741), city of culture

As a royal residence, Eisenach became a royal court until 1757, and in the 18th century it became more and more a city of culture. The city ​​palace , which was built on the market from 1742 to 1751, is an architectural symbol of this new heyday . In 1741, the Duchy of Saxony-Eisenach fell to Ernst August I of Saxony-Weimar with the death of Duke Wilhelm Heinrich . In 1777 Johann Wolfgang von Goethe stayed at the Wartburg for the first time at the invitation of Duke Karl August of Saxe-Weimar-Eisenach .

In the circles of Julie von Bechtolsheim , Goethe's “Seelchen” and Wieland's “Psyche”, the most respected spirits of the time met on Jakobsplan: In addition to Goethe and Wieland, the Eisenach philosopher Christian Schreiber , Friederike von Schardt , the sister-in-law of Charlotte von Stein , Madame de Staël , Benjamin Constant , Duke August von Gotha , Grand Duke Karl August of Saxe-Weimar-Eisenach and his wife, Carl Friedrich , the then reigning Grand Duke of Weimar and his wife, Maria Pawlowna , Duke Bernhard of Weimar , Moritz August von Thümmel , Friedrich de la Motte Fouqué , Johann Friedrich Rochlitz , Karl von Müffling , General Wilhelm von Dörnberg , Count Johann von Thielmann , Aaron Burr , the Vice President of the United States of America, August von Kotzebue , Count Otto von Loeben , Johann Benjamin Erhard , and Count Dorotheus Ludwig von Keller and many others. There came what Madame de Staël once said: "All truly educated people are compatriots".

Napoleon, war damage, typhus epidemic (1807 to 1814)

In 1807 Napoleon I rested in the city. During the Napoleonic Wars , there was a tragic accident on September 1, 1810: the gunpowder explosion of a French ammunition transport through Eisenach left the city dead and seriously damaged. This is reminiscent of the Black Fountain, built in 1817 on Georgenstrasse, which was given its current appearance on its centenary. The withdrawal of the defeated French army, as a result of which a typhus epidemic broke out in the city, claimed countless victims . During the campaign in 1814, the Russian Tsar Alexander I stayed briefly in Eisenach.

Wartburg Festival, industrialization, spa town (19th century)

View of the market square with the classicist former bourgeois school built by Johann Wilhelm Sältzer from 1825, the old post office and the rectory on the Pfarrberg. In the background the Wartburg before the construction of the new keep and the construction of the "New Kemenate". Colored steel engraving, 1856
Eisenach around 1900

In October 1817, on the occasion of the fourth anniversary of the Battle of the Nations near Leipzig, around 500 students and professors met for the first Wartburg Festival to commemorate 300 years of the Reformation and to demand a unified and free Germany. Another Wartburg Festival followed in 1848. Since 1850, the Wingolfsbund has celebrated its Wartburg Festival in Eisenach every two years. The physicist and social reformer Ernst Abbe was born in Eisenach in 1840 .

Economically, structurally and culturally, the city developed significantly faster after 1800 than before. In 1817 a midwifery school opened in Fleischgasse (today Lutherstrasse). A centralization of midwifery training that "medical professionals and state theorists alike welcomed". The merchants Eichel, Pfennig and Streiber founded the first industrial companies; it emerged spinning mills , Bleiweiß- and colors of factories and the Kammgarnspinnerei its first major operation. The tanning trade was also important. The traffic routes starting from Eisenach were developed as comfortable roads and created the connection to the Eisenacher Oberland in the Rhön , a part of the secularized prince abbey of Fulda which was awarded by the Congress of Vienna .

The Biedermeier period favored the creation of landscape parks; so the merchant Christian Friedrich Roese laid out a forest park on the still bare Metilstein . At the same time, the gardens on the Pflugensberg and on the Spicke, the Kartausgarten, the Clemdagarten and the Pfennig's garden were created. The founding of the Grand Ducal Saxon Forestry School by Forstrat Gottlob König in 1830 continued this trend. The first restaurants and amusement parks sprang up around the city, and the first coffeehouses and ballrooms in the city . In the society salons typical of the time , in Eisenach the clemma society for the “educated classes”, senior civil servants, entrepreneurs, officers, but also the landed gentry met for cultural talks, music and entertainment.

The Eisenach brickworks Sältzer with the Hoffmann ring furnace, Marienstraße 1 (today: Marienstraße 21), in the background the Wartburg. Contemporary engraving, 1875
Beer mat from the Petersberg brewery Erbslöh and Schuchard , Eisenach, around 1875

In 1820, the architect Johann Wilhelm Sältzer built a brick kiln in Eisenach , which his son Eduard Sältzer later expanded and which, with the introduction of the Hoffmann ring furnace, set standards for the economical production of the building material urgently needed in Thuringia in the early days . In 1847 it was connected to the Thuringian Railway to Gotha, Erfurt, Weimar, Halle and Leipzig in the east. The line was extended to Bebra in Hesse in 1849 , so that there were rail connections to Frankfurt am Main and Kassel. The last railway line opened in 1858 was the Werra Railway, which led via Meiningen and Coburg to the Main. The Schwebda – Wartha railway to Eschwege, which opened in 1907 and was shut down in 1969, began in today's district of Wartha, west of Eisenach .

In 1859 the German National Association was founded in the Gasthof Phantasie . August Bebel and Wilhelm Liebknecht founded the Social Democratic Workers' Party (SDAP) in the Goldener Löwe inn in 1869 and wrote its Eisenach program . In the further development until 1890, the SPD emerged from it. The economic development of the city led to the founding of further factories around 1870, the Demmer Brothers stove factory, the Hermann Berger shoe last factory, August Saeltzer art pottery, Arzberger paint factory, Schöpff & Co., Wilk & Oehring window factory, Eisenach Stein & Co. and in 1873 the Petersberg Brewery Eisenach owned by the businessman Albert Erbslöh , which later became part of the Aktien- Brauerei Eisenach and is now the Wartburg Brewery Eisenach GmbH.

Wartburg motor car . An advertisement from the Eisenach vehicle factory from 1902

In 1896 the Eisenach vehicle factory was founded, with which the Eisenach automotive industry began. To supply the city, a (light) gas station was built in 1862 , a waterworks in 1874, the post and telegraph office in 1887 and the city slaughterhouse and electricity company in 1892. This enabled the Eisenach electric tram to be operated from 1897 . Numerous banks and insurance companies set up branches in the city center around 1900, and in 1905 a branch of the Reichsbank was opened in the north of the city center .

An infantry garrison had existed in Eisenach since 1822, and the troop strength was put at 165 in 1831. At the instigation of the city administration, the construction of the municipal barracks in Hospitalstrasse began in 1869 . The 2nd Battalion of the 5th Thuringian Infantry Regiment No. 94 was stationed there from 1871 to 1914 .

The Wingolfsbund monument was completed in 1899, the fraternity monument inaugurated in 1902 , today's main train station in 1904, the Stern Volkshaus in 1906 and the Bachhaus opened in 1907 . In 1908 the first movie theater was opened and in 1913 a zoo was built on the Wartenberg . Eisenach became a conference and congress city around 1900. On January 19, 1901 , the Association of German Motor Vehicle Manufacturers was founded in the Hotel Kaiserhof with the assistance of the director of the Eisenach vehicle factory, Gustav Ehrhardt , which was renamed the Association of the Automobile Industry in 1946 . The Kurbad-Eisenach-Gesellschaft was founded in 1905, numerous hotels and guest houses, the lobby , a casino, baths, parks and sanatoriums were built. The spa company acquired the rights to use the Grand Duchess - Caroline - source combined mineral water source at Wilhelmsglücksbrunn and had a water line from this to the foyer embarrassed the cure was opened in Eisenach south town in the July 8 1906th With the First World War, the spa business in Eisenach largely came to a standstill.

Second Jewish community (from 1804)

With the permission for the Thuringian court factor Michael Rothschild in 1804, a modest Jewish immigration began. In the 1820s, other families came from the rural communities, the surrounding "Jewish villages" Lengsfeld, Gehaus, Herleshausen, Nesselröden, Geisa. But it was not until the beginning of the 1860s that a small congregation was founded, which had 72 members in 1864, and by 1877 already 287. Around 1864, Jacob Heidungsfeld was employed as the first teacher in the Jewish congregation, who also worked as a cantor until his death in 1897 . The Israelite Religious School was founded in 1865 and a mikveh was set up in 1868 (Clemensstrasse 5).

Eisenach was from 1846 to 1876 under Rabbi Dr. Mendel Heß and from 1912 seat of the state rabbinate of Saxony-Weimar-Eisenach, which included the communities of Apolda, Aschenhausen, Eisenach, Gehaus, Geisa, Jena, Ilmenau, Stadtlengsfeld, Vacha and Weimar. From 1898 to 1930, Dr. Josef Wiesen Rabbi, from 1912 in Eisenach. He died in November 1942 in the Theresienstadt concentration camp .

The Eisenach Jews were initially active in the cattle, cloth and fashion goods trade, then in the trade in fur, leather and agricultural products, with wool, wood and manufactured goods. In 1877 there were two Jewish lawyers, a doctor, an editor, an insurance agent, two bankers, etc. Renowned businesses were the Löwenstein women's fashion store, the Dreyfuß men's fashion store, but also industrial companies such as the Weinstein drum factory. In 1904 the community had the highest number of members with 430, in 1906 it had only 386 members.

Between the world wars

After the First World War , the city's population had grown to 40,000 in 1919. In the newly developed residential areas in the suburbs and north of the railway line, preference was given to building four-story houses. The living conditions in the villa colonies of Mariental, Predigerberg, Karthäuserhöhe and Marienhöhe, which had arisen in the southern part of the city, were significantly more luxurious , where mainly pensioners and civil servants settled. The reestablishment of the Jewish community in Eisenach, which was partly made up of business people from Stadtlengsfeld and the Eisenacher Oberland, was connected with the economic upturn . The focus of the Eisenach Israelite community was the synagogue , built in 1885 in what was then Wörthstrasse (today: Karl-Marx-Strasse ) ; it was set on fire and destroyed on November 9, 1938 during the Reichspogromnacht . 23 Jewish soldiers from Eisenach died in the First World War.

The 2nd Replacement Battalion 167 was relocated from Eisenach to Kassel in 1917 and the replacement battalion of the Landwehr Infantry Regiment No. 83 from Eschwege was taken over in November. The Panzer Regiment II, relocated from Silesia to Eisenach, moved into the newly built barracks on Ludendorffwall (today Ernst-Thälmann-Straße) in October 1935. A memorial for those who fell in March at the entrance to Frankfurter Strasse commemorates a bloody military operation on March 18, 1920 during the Kapp Putsch , in which five workers in Eisenach were killed. From 1920 to 1940, Eisenach was the center of Guida Diehl's new land movement . The organization and the Neulandverlag were based in the Neulandhaus; the city was the scene of the Neulandag annually . In 1920 the newly founded Thuringian regional church took its seat in Eisenach.

National Socialism and World War II

On January 30, 1933, the NSDAP took power . At first, the city experienced a strong economic boost. Housing estates (Am Klosterholz, Kirschberg), two schools, the Thuringian State Bank building in Karlstrasse and the Thuringian Daily Post publishing building, the deaconess mother house on Karlsplatz and a forest stage were built. As part of the rearmament, armaments factories, large barracks and an air force flying school were established . The city became the location of the 2nd Panzer Regiment of the 1st Panzer Division in 1935 . A camp of the Reich Labor Service was set up at Siebenborn .

The Burned Out Bach House (1945)
Memorial for the synagogue on Karl-Marx-Strasse that was destroyed in 1938

In 1920 and 1924 various Jewish shops were smeared with paint by students, and in 1923 and 1925 the windows of the synagogue were broken. From 1933 onwards, like everywhere else in the German Reich, the Eisenach Jews were increasingly disenfranchised. From 1938 onwards, more and more Jewish citizens had to leave their homeland. In the pogrom night on November 9, 1938, the synagogue in Wörthstrasse was destroyed, Jewish shops and private houses were looted and devastated. Memorial plaques in the station building and in Karl-Marx-Straße as well as around 50 stumbling blocks remind of these incidents. On May 6, 1939, eleven Protestant regional churches on the Wartburg founded the institute for the research and elimination of the Jewish influence on German church life , which from then on had its seat at Bornstrasse 11. The work of the institute aimed to “free” Christianity from all Jewish influences and thus to create a “species-appropriate” faith. In September 1941 the 145 Jews still living in the city were interned at Goethestrasse 48 and deported from there to Belzec and Theresienstadt in 1942. Few of them survived.

In 1940 the first prisoners of war and women and men from the countries occupied by Germany came to the city and were mainly forced to work in the BMW municipal works and the BMW aircraft engine works . The largest groups were made up of 2,154  Ukrainians , 1,314 Russians and 390 Belarusians . The forced laborers also worked in the surrounding areas. A memorial in the alder trenches (district Mosbach, municipality Wutha-Farnroda) commemorates 455 victims. The Soviet honorary cemetery on Wartenberg commemorates 1,040 Soviet war prisoners and 102 civilian prisoners.

In 1941 Eisenach was connected to the Reichsautobahn network, from the east line 80 was provisionally completed up to the Eisenach-West exit. For this purpose, construction work has been taking place in the north of the city since 1936, including the Karolinental Bridge and the now listed motorway maintenance facility.

During World War II , from February 1944 to February 1945, the city was targeted seven times by Allied air raids , mostly by the United States Army Air Forces . 170 heavy bombers dropped over 400 tons of bombs on Eisenach. The automobile plant and its surroundings as well as the historic city center were particularly affected, especially in the area of Marktplatz , Lutherstrasse and Frauenplan . At the end of the war, 2,000 apartments in Eisenach were damaged or uninhabitable, and two-thirds of the automobile plant was destroyed. The archival vault and the royal stables of the residence as well as the council scales, which were later removed, also lay in ruins . The old residence, the old castle, the Creutznacher house , the town hall, the Lutherhaus and the Bachhaus were badly damaged . Lighter to moderate damage from bombs or artillery shelling suffered numerous other buildings, such as the Annen, Georgen, Kreuz, Nikolai and Predigerkirche, the bell tower, the New Residence and the Wartburg. Most of the damaged buildings were restored after the war ended. Approximately 370 civilians died in the air strikes, including the low-flying aircraft and artillery bombardment prior to the occupation.

American occupation

Up until the 1960s, prisoners of war, late returnees and emigrants from the three western occupation zones were received in the “Wallmeyer camp” and provided with first aid.

The western suburbs of Hörschel and Neuenhof and the neighboring town of Creuzburg were taken by American units on April 1, 1945. The German combat commandant von Eisenach refused to surrender and ordered unconditional resistance. The Americans advanced north of the city in the direction of Gotha in the following days, the Eisenach city center was covered with artillery fire on April 6, from 2 a.m. until dawn, which also resulted in building losses due to unquenched fires. Thereupon the combat command resigned, the troops of the German armed forces surrendered. In the morning hours of April 6th, Mayor Rudolf Lotz , who had been appointed two days earlier, handed the city over to the American troops.

The balance of the destruction in the Second World War was four damaged bridges, 55 public buildings (21 total loss), 6742 apartments (1870 total loss) as well as 231 utility buildings, factories, depots and technical facilities (84 of them with total loss). Seven bombings were aimed at the BMW site on the northern edge of the city center and the outdoor area on Wartenberg. Over 17,000 foreigners, including 14,089 Italians, were stuck as forced laborers or prisoners of war in barracks, ruins and emergency shelters on the outskirts of the city. The Eisenach death registers contain the data of around 2000 Soviet citizens and many hundreds of victims from other European countries.

Mayor Lotz was kept in office by the American city commander until May 7, 1945 and then replaced. Ernst Fresdorf , a Rhinelander and long-time mayor of Cologne, who happened to be present in Eisenach, was appointed the new mayor . Even under the Americans, the city began to be cleared of rubble, railway operations and production facilities to be put back into operation.

Soviet occupation

Memorial plaque for 33 young victims of the NKVD 1945/46

With the handover of Thuringia to the Red Army on July 1, 1945, Fresdorf had to agree to extensive personnel reviews, and he himself was relieved of his office on July 25, 1945. From July 27th, the SPD politician Karl Hermann took over the office of the mayor.

After the end of the war, four transit camps (one for each occupation zone) were set up in Eisenach as quarantine camps for prisoners of war, forced laborers and those who were expelled from their homes. By September 1946, around 450,000 people were registered and cared for in Eisenach.

At an earlier court building on Theater Square is a plaque with the inscription: "In memory of the victims of violence and injustice 1945-1989. In memory of 33 young people from Eisenach between the ages of 13 and 21: arrested in 1945, convicted in 1946 and 9 of them executed. You will not be forgotten. ”The young people were accused of werewolf activities. Five of those sentenced to long imprisonment died in special Soviet camps; the survivors returned from camp custody in 1950/51.


Close to the border, district town and industrial location, population decline

Eisenach, June 17, 1953
Demolition of the Jakobsplan district (north and east side from 1973, south side from 1988)
State and Church
- 1983 in dialogue at the Wartburg

After the inner-German border was closed in 1952, today's western districts were in the five-kilometer restricted belt , which could only be entered with state permission. Overall, the location close to the border had a negative impact on urban development, so the previously close economic and social ties to Northeast Hesse broke off, the population fell from 53,000 in 1939 to 48,000 in 1988. In 1950, Eisenach lost its status as an independent city and became part of it of the Eisenach district , which was divided in 1952. The city came to the reduced Eisenach district in the Erfurt district . The Wartha / Herleshausen border crossing was established to the west of the city . At least one person was shot by the border troops in 1964 for attempting to flee the republic in the border area near what is now the districts of Wartha and Göringen.

On June 17, 1953, 6,000 workers at the Eisenach engine plant (EMW) went on strike. In particular, they called for a lowering of labor standards. Soviet troops advanced and the occupying power declared a state of emergency.

The Wartburg Stadium was built in 1955 and, from 1965, the sports center in the Katzenaue. A GDR performance center for fencing was located in the Wartburg city. In 1962 the Bismarck Tower on the Wartenberg was blown up.

The triple anniversary celebrated in 1967, 900 years of Wartburg, 450 years of the Reformation and 150 years of fraternity meetings, was the reason for the GDR leadership to present Eisenach as a model socialist town . An extensive cultural program and urban redevelopment limited to the area around the sights were approved. The cityscape was embellished by the redesign of green spaces (Bahnhofstrasse, Wartburgallee) and facade renovations. A modern city marketing with tourism information was initiated, the first Eisenach Intershops for the sale of western articles were built in two hotels. The Wartburg pavilion was built to present the Eisenach automotive tradition. As a gift, the Eisenach parish received two new buildings in the outskirts of Hofferbertaue and Eisenach-Nord financed by West German church districts in the following years. Several scientific conferences with international participation took place in the city in 1966 and 1967. The planned town twinning with Denain in France and Pesaro in Italy were prohibited.

The traditional summer win , the song festival around the Wartburg, the fountain festival and the Wandelhalle festival were the most important cultural events of the year during the GDR era.

Automobile production, demolition of old city areas

The Wartburg city was an important industrial location in the GDR, the largest companies were VEB Automobilwerk Eisenach (AWE), Kombinat Fahrzeugelektrik Ruhla (FER), with headquarters in Eisenach and Ruhla , VEB Elektroschaltgeräte Eisenach, VEB Elektrotechnik Eisenach and VEB Bakery shop Eisenach. The focus was on vehicle construction: the first Wartburg rolled off the production line in Eisenach in 1956 . The annual increase in production reached an annual volume of 42,700 cars in 1971 and the highest annual production of 74,000 cars in 1985. Since the 1970s, the shortage of skilled workers in industry and the latent housing shortage have been problematic for the further development of the city. The planning of the first prefabricated housing estates began as early as 1972 , after a residential area of ​​the workers' housing cooperative (AWG) had already been built in the north-west of the city on Ernst-Thälmann-Strasse . With the demolition of old town quarters, space has been created for industrial residential construction since 1975, in the same year construction of the inner-city residential area Goethestrasse began with around 750 apartments, from 1976 to 1978 a further 460 apartments were built in the residential area Petersberg and from 1978 to 1985 were built in the residential area Eisenach-Nord 3745 residential units for around 12,000 residents. By connecting these residential areas to the district heating networks that were created at the same time, it was possible to reduce the pollution of the breathable air. In a balance sheet for 1986, 5325 remote-heated apartments were shown. In 1975 the Eisenach tram , which opened in 1897, was discontinued and replaced by articulated buses. The high volume of traffic at the change of shift and the predominant stove heating in the apartments often led to smog alarms in the city center , and illnesses caused by respiratory problems increased steadily. This environmental pollution has also been mentioned in the Eisenach daily press since the mid-1980s. In addition to the political situation, the feared loss of large parts of the historic old town and the increasing environmental pollution were the main reasons for the growing resentment and resistance of the Eisenach population.

Turnaround time

Election poster for the Volkskammer election on March 18, 1990

On October 11, 1989, thousands of concerned Eisenachers gathered for the first time in the Georgenkirche for a prayer for peace, and on October 23 and 30 the church also served as a podium for the gatherings of representatives of the Thuringian regional church and the emerging Eisenach opposition and citizens' movement. Twelve representatives of integrity from all social classes were appointed to the “Eisenach Citizens' Committee”. A demonstration through the old town of Eisenach concluded the event. On the night of November 9th, the rush to the border crossing points at Wartha-Herleshausen began, Eisenach was for months the stage of the wave of travel that was now beginning in the old federal states, numerous radio and television stations reported live from the city and district area.

The first major demonstration after the opening of the border took place on November 19: cultural workers and around 8,000 citizens demanded the end of SED rule in the GDR. The representatives of the citizens' committee met on December 2nd with representatives of the city and district administration as well as the SED for initial consultations. December on. The first offices of the citizens' movement and the newly founded parties (SDP, New Forum and Democratic Awakening) were set up in the administrative building of the Eisenach district council. The “Round Table” was first set up on December 20th in the Eisenach Superintendent's offices on Pfarrberg, while Superintendent Hans Herbst was in charge of the talks . On January 27, 1990, a mass rally registered by the SPD took place on the Eisenach market square, at which Willy Brandt spoke to the people of Eisenach. The following weeks were used by all parties to prepare for the Volkskammer election on March 18, 1990, and numerous prominent federal and state politicians also appeared in Eisenach. Contrary to what was expected, the “ Alliance for Germany ” led by the CDU also won this election with a clear majority in Eisenach. The Eisenach District Council met for its last session on April 20, and the representatives of the Eisenach Citizens' Committee ceased their work on April 27. With the local elections on May 6, 1990 , the Eisenach CDU won a clear majority in the city and in the Eisenach district. In mid-May, the leading representatives of the parties represented in the parliaments (CDU, SPD, FDP, Democratic Awakening and the "Hofferbertaue Citizens' Initiative", important in Eisenach) agreed to form a grand coalition.

On May 31, 1990, Eisenach's first freely elected city councilor since 1933, to which 59 city councilors from ten political parties and groups belonged. He elected Hans-Peter Brodhun as the new mayor and the city council, which existed under GDR law.

After the reunification, independent city

After reunification , the number of inhabitants continued to decline, but the economic framework conditions in Eisenach were better than those in other parts of the new federal states . The car manufacturer Opel started production in a new car plant in Eisenach in 1992 after the Eisenach car plant was closed in 1991. In 1994, as part of the Thuringian district reform, the districts of Eisenach and Bad Salzungen merged to form the Wartburg district with headquarters in Bad Salzungen and Eisenach. The head office of the district administrator has been in Bad Salzungen since July 1994, where a new district administration office was built and in 1997 the company moved into. In 1998 Eisenach became (again) an independent city. The sole seat of the Wartburg district then passed to Bad Salzungen.

During a trip to Germany on May 14, 1998, the then President of the United States of America , Bill Clinton , visited the city together with the then Federal Chancellor Helmut Kohl .

Work on the urban development complex Gate to the City has been underway since October 2005 . The focus is on the redesign of the suburb of the station, including urban development measures, remediation of contaminated sites and aspects of traffic management. As a result of the neglect of vacant houses in the city center, it is not uncommon for them to be demolished, for example on Johannisplatz. On May 25, 2009 the city received the title Place of Diversity awarded by the federal government .

On November 4, 2011, right-wing terrorists Uwe Mundlos and Uwe Böhnhardt were found shot in a mobile home in the Stregda district after a successful bank robbery. Through this factual self-exposure, her terrorist cell, the National Socialist Underground, suddenly became known and triggered years of reappraisal of her murders and attacks with twelve investigative committees and a judicial process . The circumstances of her death and the subsequent work of the authorities have not been fully clarified and have occupied the Thuringian State Parliament's committee of inquiry since 2015 . Eisenach is one of the largest remaining strongholds of the right-wing extremist NPD, which is on par with the more moderate AfD in elections with results around 10 percent.

In 2015, Eisenach was awarded the honorary title of “ Reformation City of Europe ” by the Community of Evangelical Churches in Europe .

Due to the city's ongoing budget deficit, efforts have been made since 2012 to give up the freedom of the district and to reintegrate Eisenach into the Wartburg district. In 2016, the city applied to the state government to give up district freedom and return to the Wartburg district. The red-red-green state government initially included this concern in the planned regional reform of Thuringia in 2018 and 2019 . After the planned second district reform in Thuringia was canceled in November 2017, the city and the district drew up a joint contract on the basis of which the integration into the district should take place. This "future contract", which the district council of the Wartburg district approved with a large majority in August 2018, formed the basis for the draft law for the voluntary reorganization of the district of Wartburg district and the independent city of Eisenach . However, the Eisenach city council voted 16 to 16 against the “future contract”, which meant that the Thuringian state parliament could not pass the law. The city council of Eisenach already expressed concerns about the project at the beginning of November 2018, among other things because Eisenach was not intended as a district town and could not be financially efficient in the long term due to the abandonment of district freedom. On March 12, 2019, the city council finally unanimously approved a compromise proposal by the CDU parliamentary group, which provides for a merger on January 1, 2022.

coat of arms

Coat of arms of the city of Eisenach
Blazon : “In blue, the silver full figure of St. George in chain armor and cloak; in the right hand a flagged spear , whose silver three- pronged pennant showsa red high cross , the left hand , whichholdsa golden palm branch , supported on a silver shield with a red paw cross . The shield figure is [heraldically] accompanied on the right by a silver paw cross. "
Justification of the coat of arms: The city coat of arms with St. George goes back to the oldest city seal from the end of the 13th century. Landgrave Ludwig der Springer , the son of the founder of Eisenach, venerated the saint , had the George Church built on the market and chose him as the patron saint for himself and his city.


On October 1, 1922, Fischbach , Eichrodt , Wutha , Stockhausen, Trenkelhof , Stregda, Mittelhof , Dürrerhof and Ramsborn were incorporated. Stedtfeld followed on October 1, 1923. On September 30, 1924, Eichrodt, Wutha, Stockhausen, Stregda, Mittelhof, Dürrerhof and Stedtfeld became independent again.

On July 1, 1994, the municipality of Hötzelsroda, the municipality of Lerchenberg near Eisenach with the districts of Stregda, Madelungen, Neukirchen and Berteroda, the municipality of Neuenhof / Hörschel, the municipality of Stedtfeld, the municipality of Stockhausen and the municipality of Wartha-Göringen were incorporated.

Population development

Population development of Eisenach from 1791 to 2017 according to the adjacent table
Population projections

Eisenach was one of the larger cities in Thuringia as early as the Middle Ages. It is estimated that the city had 4,500 inhabitants in the middle of the 16th century, 5,500 in the middle of the 17th century and 6,500 in the beginning of the 18th century. According to a census in the Duchy of Saxony-Weimar-Eisenach from 1791, the city of Eisenach had 8,214 inhabitants. The population rose steadily in the early modern period too, so that at the beginning of industrialization around 1850, around 10,000 people were already living in Eisenach. Nevertheless, the strongest population growth took place later than in most other cities in Thuringia, namely between 1895 and 1914, when machine and vehicle construction in particular ensured a high degree of industrialization. The number of inhabitants doubled between 1850 and 1890 and again from 1890 to the First World War, when the city already had 40,000 inhabitants. In the period between the world wars, another 10,000 inhabitants were added, as the automotive industry developed well. Due to refugees, the population reached its historical high of around 52,000 shortly after the Second World War. During the GDR era, Eisenach did not grow any further due to its disadvantageous location directly on the inner-German border. The population even fell by around 4,000 between 1945 and 1989. After reunification, the population began to decline rapidly, but this was slowed down by improved economic conditions as early as the mid-1990s. Since then, the population of Eisenach has only declined slowly. In their 2009 publication “Who, where, how many? - Population in Germany 2030 ”, in which the Bertelsmann Foundation provides data on the development of the population for all municipalities with more than 5000 inhabitants in Germany, a 7.5 percent decline in Eisenach's population between 2009 and 2030 (3220 people) is predicted.

year Residents
1791 8214
1830 8698
1840 8521
December 3, 1864 ¹ 12,072
December 1, 1875 ¹ 16.164
December 1, 1880¹ 18,624
December 1, 1885 ¹ 19,743
December 1, 1890¹ 21,339
December 2, 1895 ¹ 24,346
December 1, 1905 ¹ 35,153
December 1, 1910¹ 38,362
June 16, 1925 ¹ 43,385
June 16, 1933 ¹ 44,695
May 17, 1939 ¹ 50,464
October 29, 1946 ¹ 51,834
year Residents
August 31, 1950 ¹ 51,777
December 31, 1960 48.109
January 1, 1971 ¹ 50,918
December 31, 1981 ¹ 50,674
December 31, 1985 50,559
December 31, 1988 48,361
December 31, 1995 45,337
December 31, 1998 44,368
December 31, 1999 44,499
December 31, 2000 44,442
December 31, 2001 44,242
December 31, 2002 44,306
December 31, 2003 44,081
December 31, 2004 43,915
December 31, 2005 43,727
year Residents
December 31, 2006 43,626
December 31, 2007 43,308
December 31, 2008 43,051
December 31, 2009 42,847
December 31, 2010 42,750
December 31, 2011 41,708
December 31, 2012 41,744
December 31 2013 41,567
December 31, 2014 41,884
December 31, 2015 42,417
December 31, 2016 42,588
December 31, 2017 42,710
December 31, 2018 42,370
December 31, 2019 42,250

¹ census result


Eisenach was already a center of religious life in Germany under the Thuringian Landgraves; Saint Elisabeth of Thuringia lived and worked here , as did her husband, Landgrave Ludwig IV (the Saint) , who promoted the religious life of the city as much as possible. The first Jewish community settled in Eisenach under these landgraves. Until the Reformation, the Catholic Archdiocese of Mainz was responsible for Eisenach . The most important orders were represented in the city with monasteries and appointment courts.

Eisenach was and is a center of the Reformation. The city was the seat of the regional bishop of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Thuringia from 1921 to the end of 2008 . The new regional bishop of the Evangelical Church in Central Germany has had his seat in Magdeburg since the merger of the Thuringian Regional Church and the Evangelical Church of the Church Province of Saxony in 2009. The bishop and the regional church office had their seat in the Villa Pflugensberg above the city center.

By resolution of the Regional Synod of the Evangelical Church in Central Germany (EKM), the formation of the Provosts Eisenach-Erfurt was approved on January 1, 2013, the official seat of the regional bishop will be Eisenach. The provost responsible for the region, Reinhard Werneburg, was elected at the Gera meeting of the regional synod on March 18, 2012. The rooms of the regional church community in Eisenach are located in Barfüßerstraße.

Today most of Eisenach's citizens are non-denominational.

In addition to the two large Christian parishes, there are other religious communities in Eisenach, namely Baptists (Julius-Lippold-Strasse), Seventh-day Adventists (Obere Predigergasse), Methodists (Goethestrasse), New Apostolic Church (Uferstrasse) and Jehovah's Witnesses (Am Wiesengrund ).

There is also a Muslim community in Eisenach, which is part of the Association of German-speaking Islamic Cultural Center in Eisenach e. V. has organized and operates a prayer room.

The Jewish community in Eisenach was systematically wiped out with the destruction of the synagogue in 1938 and the deportation of Eisenach citizens of Jewish faith until 1942. The memorial book of the Federal Archives for the victims of the National Socialist persecution of Jews in Germany (1933–1945) lists 206 Jewish residents of Eisenach who were deported and mostly murdered.


City council

Election of the Eisenach City Council 2019
Turnout: 58.0% (2014: 51.0%)
n. k.  %
Gains and losses
compared to 2014
 % p
−7.6  % p
−9.4  % p
−0.1  % p
+ 11.7  % p
+ 3.0  % p
+ 2.7  % p
+1.2  % p
+ 2.0  % p
−1.5  % p
−2.0  % p
Template: election chart / maintenance / notes
g citizens for Eisenach
i Eisenacher Aufbruch, MLPD -near

The city council consists of the mayor and 36 council members. After the local elections on May 26, 2019, the seats are distributed as follows:

Political party Seats
Distribution of seats in the
Eisenach City Council 2019
A total of 36 seats
The left 8 (−2)
CDU 7 (−4)
SPD 4 (± 0)
AfD 4 (+4)
Green 4 (+1)
NPD 4 (+1)
BfE 1 2 (± 0)
FDP 2 (+1)
EA 2 1 (± 0)
Pirates 0 (−1)
1 Citizens for Eisenach
2 Eisenacher Aufbruch, MLPD -near
Town hall and council pharmacy

(Lord) Mayor

In 1286, Landgrave Albrecht II granted the city the right to elect two mayors. In the Middle Ages, this office was held predominantly by members of influential patrician families such as Hellgreve or Cotta. With the introduction of a new city order in 1813, the office of the mayor and his powers were reorganized; The first incumbent to rule according to the new rules was the Eisenach councilor Friedrich Günther Beyer. A Lord Mayor was elected for the first time in 1847, and August Roese held the post as “Lord Mayor for Life”. Between 1950 and 1994 the city was again represented by a mayor. The mayoral elections in 2018 decided the incumbent since 2012 Katja Wolf ( The Left ) with 7,859 votes (58%), remaining mayor in the runoff on April 29, 2018 for himself and the city.

Town twinning

Eisenach's twin cities

Eisenach has six twin cities:

  • There have been historical connections with the Hessian university town of Marburg for over 800 years. For this reason, the Marburg city council decided in 1986 to revive the connection between the two cities, which was ratified on June 10, 1988 in the hall of the Wartburg.
  • Relations with Sedan in France go back to 1972. Even before the fall of the Wall , a state-organized youth exchange took place between the then Erfurt and Sedan districts. The town twinning agreement was signed on May 25, 1991.
  • The German Lutheran College , located in Waverly ( Iowa , USA ), was founded in 1879 and was later named Wartburg College . For this reason, since November 28, 1992, Eisenach has been twinned with Waverly.
  • In 1993, a company that also became a supplier to the automotive industry in Eisenach after reunification concluded a town twinning with the Danish city of Skanderborg , which was renewed on the occasion of its 15th anniversary with a contract dated October 6, 2008.
  • As early as the early 1990s, children affected by the Chernobyl disaster from the Belarusian city ​​of Mahiljou (Russian: Mogiljow ) visited Eisenach several times at the invitation of the Diakonisches Werk . That was the trigger for the town twinning with Mahiljou / Mogiljow, signed on December 12, 1996.
  • Sárospatak in Hungary is considered the birthplace of Saint Elizabeth. Every year at Pentecost, a big festival is celebrated there in memory of the farewell to the four-year-old Erzsébet . In the Thuringian Elizabeth Year 2007, on the occasion of the 800th birthday of Saint Elizabeth, the first contacts between the two cities took place, which were contractually sealed on November 19, 2008 in the Elizabeth Church in Sárospatak with a town partnership.

Culture and sights

Cultural institutions

In 1879, the Eisenach Theater was inaugurated, which, after a checkered history , was elevated to the Thuringian State Theater Eisenach in 1952 by the Thuringian state government at the time . The Landeskapelle Eisenach, founded in 1919 as a municipal orchestra, is an important part of the theater . It was rebuilt after the end of the Second World War in 1946 with expelled members of the Silesian Philharmonic in Breslau and musicians from the former Eisenach Municipal Orchestra and was given its current name in 1952. In addition to the Landeskapelle, the Eisenach Dance Theater has been part of the ensemble since 2004 and the Eisenach Young Theater since 2005 .

After its dissolution, the Theater am Markt, founded in 2008, developed from the Theater Education Center at the State Theater in Eisenach as a voluntary independent theater .

In the historic Wandelhalle , which made Eisenach's rise to the status of a spa town in 1906 - an open music pavilion on the edge of the Kartausgarten built as an English-style park at the beginning of the 20th century - exhibitions and concerts take place regularly. In the industrial monument Alte Mälzerei there is an industrial museum, a theater and the Lippmann + Rau music archive , which was founded in 1959 by Jazzklub Eisenach e. V. was looked after.

Eisenach traditionally has a rich choir landscape, one of the nationally known choirs is the Eisenach Bach Choir . The majority of the choirs in the city and the surrounding Wartburg district are organized in the Wartburg singers' circle.

In the so-called Storchenturm , the historic theater Im Kerker is the smallest theater in the city.

With the listed film theater Capitol, Eisenach has a cinema, the last of four sound film cinemas in Eisenach .

Since 2007, exhibitions of contemporary art have been taking place in the former exhibition pavilion of the Eisenach automobile plant, today's KUNSTPavillon , in Wartburgallee . The pavilion was built in 1967 and served as an exhibition space for vehicles built in Eisenach until 1994. It has been a listed building since 2013.


Every year on the weekend before Laetare , one of the largest spring festivals in Germany takes place in Eisenach with the summer prize . The highlight is the pageant on Saturday, at the end of which Ms. Sunna and Mr. Winter deliver the traditional argument.

During the Christmas season, the traditional Christmas market on the Wartburg and the Christmas market on the Eisenach market square with around 50 exhibitors are among the tourist attractions.

In the years 2005 to 2007, with a view to the Luther Decade 2008 to 2017, Luther - Das Fest took place at the end of August . The organizing Luther Association e. V. as the main organizer is trying to develop this event as a medieval festival with new topics and offers. The Eisenacher Telemann Days in honor of the composer Georg Philipp Telemann have been held every two years since 1982 . In spring, the city is one of the scenes of the Thuringian Bach Weeks .

The Alte Mälzerei has been known as a venue for jazz music since the 1990s, and open-air concerts are held at the Wandelhalle (reggae nights).

Since the reunification, Eisenach has been the permanent meeting place of the German fraternity . The boys' day always takes place in the week after Pentecost.

The Motorsport Club Eisenach e. V. is the organizer of the Wartburg Rally, a street race around the city of Eisenach, which takes place every summer . For vintage car fans, Thuringia tours and veterans' meetings take place regularly in spring and summer.

Castles and Palaces

The city's landmark: the Wartburg

The city's landmark is the Wartburg World Heritage Site .

In addition, there were numerous castle complexes on the mountains around the old town, which are only reminiscent of field names and sparse remains as ground monuments , in particular the Metilstein , the Eisenach Castle , the Frauenburg , the Rudolfstein Castle and the Malittenburg . In the walls of the old town there were aristocratic city castles, including what is probably the oldest secular building in the city, known as the Hellgrevenhof and the Lussenhof on the Frauenberg. The landgrave's stone courtyard as a city residence immediately south of the Georgenkirche was followed by the ducal residence palace at the same location , of which the palace brewery, the well cellar, the residence house and the Creutznacher house still exist. The former moated castle Klemme served as a fortress and later as a garrison .

The castles preserved and castle-like buildings in the central city include the Eisenacher Stadtschloss which Fischbach Castle , the Palais Bechtolsheim , the villa Pflugensberg and the urgent need of rehabilitation hunting lodge Hohesonne . In the neighborhoods there are the Berteroda Castle , the Neuenhof Castle , in the Stedtfeld boyneburgksche Lower Castle , small remnants of the Upper Castle, the fortified tower stone floor and a boyneburgksche country villa. The Stedtfelder Wasserburg was razed after the Thirty Years War . The buildings of the moated castle in Madelungen with the associated manor have also disappeared. In Hötzelsroda there was an earth wall called a Schanze , an aristocratic castle palace in the local area and in the district of Dürrerhof the Dürrerhof manor with a landscape park , which was demolished in the 1950s .

Sacred buildings

Evangelical Lutheran Churches

The Georgenkirche , built around 1180, is considered the wedding church of St. Elisabeth and is the baptismal church of Johann Sebastian Bach .

Shortly after 1160, the Nikolaikirche was built in the Romanesque style and restored in the neo- Romanesque style in the 19th century . The church was the parish church of the Benedictine convent of St. Nikolai until the Reformation .

Legend has it that the Church of St. Anne was built by Elisabeth of Thuringia as a house of prayer, the inscription above the archway "Hospital of St. Anne - donated by St. Elisabeth in 1226" is supposed to prove this. In fact, the former chapel fell victim to a fire in 1342, the new building was destroyed in the Peasants' War in 1525 . In the period from 1634 to 1639 the Annenkirche was completely rebuilt, the inscription probably also dates from that time. In the 18th century the church was used as a garrison church, from 1874 to 1954 as the church of the Diakonissenhausstiftung .

The Clement Chapel was first mentioned in a document in 1295 . The Wartha half-timbered church, built in 1586, is the oldest and smallest half-timbered church in Thuringia.

The most recent church building is the Elia Chapel, completed in 2005, on Altstadtstrasse. It serves as a place of prayer on the workshop grounds of the Diakonie-Verbund Eisenach.

Catholic churches

The parish church of the Catholic parish of St. Elisabeth Eisenach is the St. Elisabeth Church . It was built from 1886 to 1888 based on the model of the Marburg Elisabeth Church in neo-Gothic style. Extensive exterior and interior renovation took place between 2000 and 2002.

Not far from the old cemetery is the profaned cruciform church , which was built in 1692 from the remains of the Eisenach Mariendom .

The Predigerkirche is located in the area of ​​a former Dominican monastery . Construction began shortly after Elizabeth's canonization and was consecrated around 1240. Today the church houses the permanent exhibition Medieval Art in Thuringia, which is part of the Thuringian Museum .


The synagogue in Eisenach around 1900

Already in the Middle Ages there was a synagogue on the property at Karlstrasse 23 . In the period from 1883 to 1885, the New Synagogue was built in today's Karl-Marx-Straße and inaugurated on January 8, 1885. The building was completely destroyed by fire in the November pogroms in 1938 and demolished a little later. The events that passed on 21 September 1947 reminded synagogue monument, whose base stone- New Synagogue was built.

Listed buildings

Monument ensembles

The two largest monument ensembles in the city in terms of area are the area monument of the old town of Eisenach and the area monument of the Südviertel .

The construction of the 2.84 kilometer long city ​​wall began as early as 1130. There were a total of 22 towers, five of which were city ​​gates , of which only the Nikolaitor remains today .

Individual architectural monuments

City Palace
Fraternity monument
St. Anne's Hospital Church

The Eisenach town hall on the market was built in 1508 in the late Gothic style as a wine cellar and received its present-day Renaissance shape when it was renovated in 1564 . In 1596 it was chosen as the new town hall after the old town hall near the Georgenkirche had become too small. After the great fire in 1636 it was rebuilt and in 1638 it received its characteristic stair tower.

The Georgsbrunnen has been on the market for more than 450 years and has been relocated several times. The gilded fountain statue was created in 1549 by Hans Leonhard . The city ​​palace is also located on the market . It was built from 1742 in several stages under Duke Ernst August by Gottfried Heinrich Krohne . Of the once four wings, three are still preserved today. The south wing on the market was built as a residential wing including existing town houses, the north wing houses richly decorated rooms with stucco work by the Kassel master JM Brühl and paintings by the Austrian painter Josef Michael Daysinger, and the stables on the ground floor of the west wing .

The building at Karlstrasse 1 was built around 1560. During the city fire of 1636 it was unscathed. The farm pharmacy, founded in 1585, was located here from 1771 to 1948. In 1900 the old timber framework was exposed and a gable was erected over the entrance. Further renovations took place in 1936. The Hof-Apotheke was renamed the Rats-Apotheke in 1948 and is still in the building today.

The Reutervilla is located in the south of the city, not far from the entrance to the Wartburg. It was built according to plans by the poet Fritz Reuter between 1866 and 1868 by the German architect Ludwig Bohnstedt in the neoclassical style as the home of the poet. Today the villa houses the Reuter-Wagner-Museum as well as a branch of the registry office.

To the east of the city stands on the Göpelskuppe the Burschenschaftsdenkmal the German fraternity up. The 33 meter high monument was inaugurated in 1902.

The Eisenach theater was built on behalf of the Eisenach banker and factory owner Julius von Eichel-Streiber according to designs by the Leipzig architect Karl Weichardt in the classicist style and handed over to the city of Eisenach on January 1, 1879. The building can seat 501 spectators.

Probably the narrowest inhabited half-timbered house in Germany is located on Johannisplatz in the center of the city . It is 2.05 meters wide and 8.5 meters high and has two floors. The age of the house is estimated to be well over 250 years.

In 1539 a representative residential and commercial building was built on the market by the Eisenach merchant and councilor Conrad Creutznacher, the Creutznacher Haus . When Duke Johann Ernst expanded his residence on the esplanade at the end of the 16th century, he included the house in the palace complex. The building, which was renovated from 2003 to 2005, is one of the few surviving Renaissance buildings in the city and today houses, among other things, the tourist information office.

The Sophienbad, one of the oldest Art Nouveau baths in Germany, was opened in 1899 by the Grand Duchess of Saxony-Weimar-Eisenach. It is used differently today, but is protected as a complete system.

The foyer on the edge of the Kartausgarten was inaugurated in 1906, below the Hotel Fürstenhof , as a drinking and foyer and reminds of the time when Eisenach was a summer resort and spa town.

Listed witnesses from the health care system of the early 20th century are the deaconess house in the city center and the south wing of today's St. Georg Clinic in the north of the city.


The history of the approximately 3.8 hectare Kartausgarten dates back to the 14th century, when Carthusian monks laid out a monastery garden there around 1390. Around 1700 it was elevated to a princely pleasure and kitchen garden, at the end of the 18th century Johann Georg Sckell redesigned it into a landscape garden. This was looked after from 1845 by the Eisenach court gardener Hermann Jäger . The facility has been in the hands of the city since 1942. In addition to the classicist gardener's house with tea room, there is also the foyer on the site.

The 26.7 hectare city ​​park is located about 400 meters east of the city center . The area at Goldberg was redesigned into a landscape garden from 1841 to 1844 by Eduard Petzold on behalf of the Eichel family. In the years 1890 to 1892 the Villa Pflugensberg , later used as the state church office, was built there, a castle-like building in the neo-Gothic style. The Bismarck memorial in the entrance area of ​​the city park was demolished in 1963.

In the district of the district Hötzelsroda is also available from is Eduard Petzold designed landscape park Dürrerhof with the applied after the Second World War military cemetery Hötzelsroda .

The old cemetery is located above the Eisenacher Markt at the foot of the Schlossberg . It was laid out in 1599 on behalf of Duke Johann Ernst . Numerous members of the Bach family of musicians are buried in the cemetery; the adjacent Kreuzkirche houses the archives of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Thuringia.

Between the Wartburg and the western old town is the landscape park Roesesches Hölzchen, created around 1800 by Eisenach merchant Christian Friedrich Roese, with the Metilstein in the center, here you can also find the legendary rock formation monk and nun, which once inspired Goethe to a drawing.

In the Mariental there is the artificially created Prinzenteich with gondola operation, swans and carp stock. It was named in the 19th century in honor of the two sons of the Duchess of Orleans , who stayed in Eisenach with her children from 1848 to 1858.

The main cemetery was laid out in the north of the city in 1896 .

In the Dresdner Straße there is a geological garden with rock samples from all over Germany.


The Bach House
and the extension on the Frauenplan house the Bach Museum
Main gate of the Eisenach automobile plant
Golden Lion Memorial

Eisenach is the birthplace of the composer Johann Sebastian Bach . The Bachhaus am Frauenplan, which is considered the birthplace of the composer, is dedicated to him and his family .

The reformer Martin Luther , the former since 1956 by the Thuringian State Church reminds (now Evangelical Church in Central Germany ) as a museum operated Luther House . In the house, which is one of the oldest half-timbered houses in Thuringia, Martin Luther is said to have lived with the wealthy Cotta family from 1498 to 1501 . From 2013 to 2015 the Luther House was extensively renovated, expanded with an annex and equipped with a new permanent exhibition ("Luther and the Bible").

The city palace houses the Thuringian Museum , founded in 1899 . This also includes the exhibition areas in the Predigerkirche, the tea room in the Kartausgarten and the Reutervilla . The handicraft collection moved to the city palace in 1931. In addition to the Thuringian porcelain collection, there are also works of painting from the second half of the 19th century and expressive realism as well as urban history. The Predigerkirche houses the collection of medieval carvings, the most extensive of its kind in Thuringia. In the Reutervilla, the former living quarters of the Low German poet Fritz Reuter , is the Reuter-Wagner-Museum with the most extensive collection about the composer Richard Wagner after Bayreuth .

The automobile museum was founded in 1967. It was initially located in today's KUNST pavilion, which was specially built for this purpose, on the edge of the Kartausgarten. In 1998, on the occasion of the 100th anniversary of automobile manufacture in Eisenach, the symbolic foundation stone for the new exhibition automobile world eisenach was laid on the site of the former Eisenach automobile plant (AWE) . Since 2005, the exhibition, which shows vehicles from the brands BMW , EMW , Dixi and Wartburg , has been located in the listed former AWE administration building O2. The former main gate of the AWE, which is also listed, is located in the immediate vicinity.

The Goldener Löwe memorial , a former inn at the southern end of Marienstraße, commemorates the founding of the SDAP (later SPD) on August 8, 1869 and August Bebel .

The Sparkasse Museum has been located in the administration building at Rennbahn 6 of the Wartburg-Sparkasse since June 2010 .

A non-public collection on Eisenach's criminal history with historical uniforms, technical devices for surveillance by the Stasi, as well as evidence from agent activities in Eisenach during the Cold War is in the Eisenach police station.

Industrial monuments

In the northeast of the city is the old malt house, a unique industrial monument. It was built in 1873 by Adam Heintz as a malt and malt coffee factory. Particularly noteworthy is the almost completely preserved machine park, some of which dates back to the founding years and which were fully functional again after restoration in 1993/1994.

The foundation stone for the Eisenacher brewery was laid in 1828 when the city's 244 authorized brewers built a common rock cellar about 100 meters deep to store beer. In 1874 ten citizens of Eisenach founded a club brewery, which in 1886 became the Eisenach joint stock brewery. The brewhouse, built in 1911, is still a landmark of the brewery today.

At the turn of the 19th and 20th centuries In the 19th century, the Eisenach Hauptbahnhof was built with the Fürstenbahnhof on the right.

The only partially preserved industrial buildings in Eisenach include the old slaughterhouse and the Eisenach gas works . The former cigar factory at Fischweide 1 was preserved as a ruin for a long time and has since been demolished.

Monuments, memorial stones and plaques

Wingolfsdenkmal for the dead of the Wingolfsbund
Memorial for the German doctors who died in the service of both world wars
Photo of the act of commemoration for the unveiling of the memorial to the “Entjudungsinstitut” on May 6, 2019
The Bismarck Tower on the Wartenberg in 1902

Numerous memorial stones and plaques commemorate historically significant events and personalities in the city's history.

In the immediate vicinity of the Bach House is the Bach monument , which the city dedicated to the composer born in Eisenach on September 28, 1884. The design comes from Adolf von Donndorf , it was executed by Hermann Howaldt .

The Luther monument, also designed by Adolf von Donndorf, is located on Karlsplatz in the center of the city . A third monument designed by Donndorf, the Bismarck monument erected at the entrance to the city park in 1903 , was torn down by 1963.

The Black Fountain in Georgenstrasse is a reminder of a tragic accident that left 68 dead in the explosion of three cars loaded with gunpowder and ammunition.

In honor of the dead of the Franco-German War 1870-71 inaugurated the Wingolf 1899 Wingolfsdenkmal one, the later the fallen of both world wars was dedicated. It is integrated into an imposing staircase that leads from the city center over the Pfarrberg to the southern district .

Across from the Wartburg driveway, the Carl Alexander monument was inaugurated in 1909 to commemorate the Grand Duke's friendship with Eduard Mittenzwey . It was executed by the Eisenach sculptor Hermann Hosaeus . In the further course of the road you come across the Cranach monument to the castle captain of the Wartburg and founder of the Reuter Wagner Museum, Hans Lucas von Cranach , below the Wartburg .

The memorial for the victims of the Kapp Putsch , which commemorates the killing of five unarmed citizens in Eisenach, is located on Frankfurter Strasse .

On Karlsplatz, in front of the parent company of the Diakoniestiftung Eisenach , is the medical memorial, a memorial created in 1926 for the German doctors who died in the First World War . It was restored in 1997 and the dedication extended to "... the (medical) victims of war, terror and tyranny".

An armored rider , who symbolizes the dragon slayer St. George , stands on Jacob's plan. It was created in 1939 by Erich Windbichler and originally stood in front of the officers' mess of the barracks complex on Ludendorffwall (today: Ernst-Thälmann-Straße) in the north of the city. The monument stands for the tradition of the heavy Silesian horsemen from Sagan , the "predecessors" of the Eisenach Panzer Regiment II. In 1999 the monument was restored.

A relic of the GDR era that is now a listed building is the memorial to the history of the German labor movement in Wartburgallee .

Several memorials, memorial stones and plaques commemorate the victims of the two world wars as well as the crimes of the Third Reich and the Holocaust ; this also includes around 100 stumbling blocks and the memorial to the “Entjudungsinstitut”, unveiled in 2019 .

The " Götterdämmerung " -type Bismarck Tower , built in 1902 on the Wartenberg according to a design by Wilhelm Kreis , was blown up in 1963.

Public facilities

Eisenach has a district court , which belongs to the district of the Meiningen regional court , and the Eisenach labor court , which belongs to the district of the Erfurt regional labor court .

The municipal facilities include the Eisenach City Library with a current inventory of around 70,000 printed works and digital media as well as around 3,500 predominantly historical books on Thuringian-Saxon history.

In the back building of the city palace is the city ​​archive with city files, files from the incorporated localities and official registers from the 16th century to 1990. The collections also include a significant part of the former Carl Alexander Library and the partial estate of the family of the writer Walter Flex .

The St. Georg Clinic Eisenach was created in 2002 through the merger of the Christian Hospital Eisenach with the Wartburg Clinic .

education and Science

The Eisenach University

In Eisenach there are four state primary schools, three regular schools ( Wartburg School , Geschwister-Scholl-School , Goetheschule ), two state high schools ( Ernst-Abbe-Gymnasium and Elisabeth-Gymnasium ) as well as the state support center Pestalozzischule (status: school year 2017/18). At the beginning of the 2013/2014 school year, the city 's first community school was set up at the Oststadtschule . In addition to the state schools, there is the Evangelical Primary School and the Martin Luther Gymnasium in the city as educational institutions sponsored by the Evangelical Church in Central Germany , a Waldorf school and the special school for mentally handicapped Johannes Falk sponsored by the Diakonie-Verbund Eisenach.

As inter-company training centers which are Cooperative Education Gera-Eisenach (2016 Cooperative Education Eisenach ), the vocational training center Ludwig Erhard and the Technology and Vocational Training Center Eisenach available.

One municipal and several private music schools serve to promote young musicians. The municipal adult education center is located at Schmelzerstraße 19 .

The Cooperative State University Gera-Eisenach offers dual courses of study in the fields of business and technology on the Eisenach campus.


Wartburg Stadium

In 2015 there were 46 sports clubs with 6,918 members in Eisenach.

The handball club ThSV Eisenach played in the handball Bundesliga in the 2015/16 season . The previous venue in the Werner-Aßmann-Halle belongs to the sports and leisure center An der Katzenaue and has a capacity of 3,140 spectators. The sports hall, built in 1979 and modernized after 1990, no longer complies with the regulations of the handball league, so preparations are underway for the replacement building with 4,000 seats at a location in downtown Eisenach.

The top-class football clubs in Eisenach are FC Eisenach in the sixth class Thuringia league and FSV Eintracht Eisenach in the women's state class Thuringia. The largest stadium in the city and home of FC Eisenach is the Wartburg Stadium , which opened in 1955 . The predecessor club of FC Eisenach, BSG Motor Eisenach , played between 1954 and 1983 for a total of 12 years in the GDR League , the second highest league of the German Football Association . In the Eternal Table of the GDR League, the club occupies 54th place. The handball division of the BSG was the GDR field handball champion in 1958 .

Eisenach is the starting point of the Supermarathon, the longest running route of the GutsMuths Rennsteiglauf at 72.7 kilometers .

The Motorsport Club Eisenach e. V. is the organizer of the annual summer rally Wartburg , a road race as part of the German Rally Championship .

Since 2005, Eisenach has been the destination of the two-year Flèche Allemagne, a brevet-style rally for long-distance cyclists . Eisenach was a stage of the Germany Tour 2019 .

The Wartburg Open was a tennis tournament that took place annually in Eisenach from 1993 to 2002. It was part of the ATP Challenger Tour and was played outdoors on clay on the grounds of the TC Blau-Weiß Eisenach in Eisenacher Johannistal.

The city has five municipal sports halls, 13 school sports halls, the sports center An der Katzenaue with the Werner-Aßmann-Halle and around a dozen sports fields in the city.

Economy and Infrastructure

In 2016, Eisenach generated a gross domestic product (GDP) of € 1.7 billion within the city limits . In the same year, GDP per capita was € 40,821 (Thuringia: € 27,674; Germany: € 38,180) and thus above the Thuringian and national averages. There were around 29,100 employed people in the city in 2017. The unemployment rate in December 2018 was 6.2% and thus above the average for Thuringia of 5.2%.


Vehicle industry

Opel factory in Eisenach

Automobiles have been designed and built in Eisenach since 1898. In the factory founded by the entrepreneur Heinrich Ehrhardt as the Eisenach vehicle factory, production included the Dixi from 1904 onwards , before the factory was taken over by BMW in 1928 , which meant their entry into vehicle construction. During the Second World War, for use in the army, and until the mid-1950s, motorcycles were manufactured. Between 1937 and 1945, BMW also manufactured aircraft engines in the BMW aircraft engine factory in Eisenach am Dürrerhof , which was completely dismantled after the end of the war. During the GDR era , the city was the location of the Eisenach automobile plant (AWE) , which manufactured the Wartburg car. The production facility of Opel Eisenach GmbH, a subsidiary of Adam Opel AG , has been located on the western outskirts of the city since 1992 ; In the 1990s, BMW set up a new plant in the immediate vicinity of Eisenach in the Deubachshof industrial park (municipality of Krauthausen , Wartburgkreis), which specializes in the production of large press tools.

Since 2003 dump truck from Bell Equipment finally assembled at its factory in Eisenach.

Establishments and companies

The industrial companies based in Eisenach focus on the automotive industry and the supply industry, metal processing and logistics. In 2003 there were 102 industrial companies with around 8,000 employees. With 133 industrial jobs per 1000 inhabitants, Eisenach is well above the national average. The monthly average productivity in 2003 was just under 27,000 euros per employee, the export quota of the Eisenach economy is 14 percent. In 2010, commercial and industrial companies were registered in Eisenach in 2008.

At the beginning of the 1990s, Robert Bosch GmbH founded the subsidiary Robert Bosch Fahrzeugelektrik Eisenach GmbH on the Wartenberg and employs 1,650 people there. Truck-Lite Europe GmbH, which today belongs to the Penske International Group , emerged from the traditional company Fahrzeugelektrik Ruhla (FER) and is located in the industrial area in the Stockhausen district. In the transport, logistics and service sectors, Panopa Logistik GmbH & Co KG, Piepenbrock Dienstleistungen GmbH & Co KG and Hörseltalbahn GmbH should be mentioned.

Renewable energy

Wind turbines have been in operation on the northern edge of the city near Neukirchen and Stockhausen since around 1998. As one of the first Thuringian cities, the city supports a citizen solar park for the generation of electrical energy from regenerative sources, which went into operation in 2008 on the site of the former Eisenach gas works .


Since 1998, the proportion of those employed in agriculture and forestry subject to social insurance contributions in Eisenach has decreased by 94.3%. It is currently (as of June 30, 2011) 0.3% (= 60 employees). In 2011, the Eisenach farms cultivated an area of ​​4502 ha , which corresponds to 0.5% of the agricultural area in Thuringia. Agricultural employment is concentrated in the rural districts of Neukirchen, Madelungen, Hötzelsroda, Neuenhof and Göringen.


Tourism has a high priority for the city and the surrounding area. In addition to the classic travel destinations of Wartburg, Bachhaus, Lutherhaus and Rennsteig, the establishment of the Hainich National Park north of the city enabled a further increase in visitor numbers. The Eisenach – Budapest mountain hiking trail begins at the Wartburg.

Eisenach is a city in the country, forest covers large parts of the southern urban area and is used for forestry. In the outskirts of the city, riding stables and adventure farms, for example in the districts Gefilde, Trenkelhof and Madelungen, as well as canoeing and cycling tourism along the Werra have acquired a certain importance.


Eisenach main station


Eisenach lies at the junction of the Thuringian Railway (Halle-Gerstungen-Bebra) with the Werra Railway (Eisenach-Eisfeld). The Eisenach railway station is an ICE hold the relation Frankfurt-Dresden and IC stop the relation Dortmund-Berlin-Stralsund and belongs to the third highest railway station category . Other stops in the city are Eisenach West , Eisenach-Opelwerk and Hörschel as well as the Eisenach-Stedtfeld depots (shared station with HTB) and Wartha (Werra) . The Eisenach depot, which was formerly operated and closed by Deutsche Bahn AG, will be continued by a private railway company.


Trunk roads

The historically most important road through Eisenach is the Via regia , which led from Frankfurt via Erfurt and Leipzig to Russia . Today this road is traced by the B 84 in a westerly direction and the L 3007 in an easterly direction.

Since 2010, Eisenach has only been affected by the federal motorway 4 , which has been re-routed further north . The original A4 route between the former Wutha-Farnroda and Eisenach-West junctions is now used as a bypass road to relieve inner-city traffic and to connect the new Eisenach-West motorway junction, about one kilometer west of the Ramsborn district . The junction points Eisenach Ost (-stadt), Eisenach Mitte and Eisenach West (-stadt) were retained. Another motorway in the vicinity of Eisenach is federal motorway 44 , which will connect Eisenach to the Ruhr area via Kassel . The connection to the BAB 4 will take place about 15 kilometers west of Eisenach at the triangle Wommen .

The federal road 7 , which has ended at the BAB 4 junction Eisenach-West since 2010, connects Eisenach with Kassel. The section of the B 7 from Eisenach-West through the city center via Wutha-Farnroda to Sättelstädt was downgraded to state road 3007 with the commissioning of the BAB-4 north route. The federal road 19 begins at the BAB-4 junction Eisenach-West and leads over the former freeway route, now used as a motor vehicle, to Eisenach Oststadt and further south through the urban area, over the Thuringian Forest to Meiningen . As a connection to Bad Langensalza in the northeast and to the BAB-4 junction Eisenach Ost near Großenlupnitz and to Vacha and Fulda in the southwest, the federal highway 84 crosses the city area. The federal highway 88 begins at the former BAB-4 exit Eisenach-Ost (B 19/84 Eisenach-Oststadt) and connects Eisenach with Ilmenau in the southeast. Important state roads lead to Mühlhausen in the north and to Herleshausen and Gerstungen in the west.

Inner-city and stationary traffic
The city parking garage

Due to the overlapping interests of professional and individual traffic, stationary traffic and the needs of tourism-related traffic, a traffic and parking space concept was developed in 1994 and updated in 2003, 2007 and 2020.

The city now has an automated parking guidance system that is interlinked with the Wartburg for the southern part of the city, as well as three inner-city parking garages .

Public transport

Eisenach had a tram network from 1897 to 1975 , which initially connected the southern district, and later also the north, east and west of the urban area with the city center.

On the private initiative of a master locksmith, bus and coach operations were opened on the bus routes Bahnhof – Wartburg and Bahnhof – Hohe Sonne– Wilhelmsthaler See at Easter 1913 and immediately enjoyed great interest. The buses acquired in Berlin were given improved brakes and new paintwork. In 1918, the Deutsche Reichspost took over the lucrative bus business in Eisenach and established connections to all of the localities in the district.

Today there are 14 city bus routes and several dozen regional bus routes operated by the Wartburgmobil transport company and its partner companies. The new construction of a central bus station (ZOB) in the immediate vicinity of the main train station was completed in 2017, so that the previously spatially separated central stops for the city bus routes and regional traffic were merged in Gabelsberger Straße . There is a bus stop for long-distance buses near the city car park on Uferstraße .

The central taxi rank has been at the main entrance in front of Eisenach's main train station since the 1920s.

Air travel

12 km northeast of the city is located on the territory of the neighboring municipality Hörselberg-Hainich the airport Eisenach-Kindel . The former military airfield is approved for aircraft up to 20 tons and helicopters. The closest airports with scheduled operations are Erfurt-Weimar Airport , around 50 kilometers to the east and Kassel-Calden Airport , around 80 kilometers to the northwest.

Bicycle traffic

Eisenach is located on the Thuringian chain of cities long -distance cycle path , on the Iron Curtain Trail cycle path , close to the Rennsteig cycle path , close to the Werra cycle path , on the Hörseltal cycle path , the Pummpälzweg and the Herkules-Wartburg cycle path to Kassel . In the town there is already a first continuous cycle path connection along the Hörsel, some main streets have been extended to include lanes for cyclists, the concept of cycle paths developed in 2003 is to be implemented in the next few years. The aim is a continuous network of cycle paths that will separate cycle traffic from motor vehicle traffic, especially on busy roads.


The first newspaper appeared in Eisenach as early as the 18th century, initially as part of the court reports and state gazette. At the end of the 19th century, Philipp Kühner took over the editor-in-chief of the Eisenacher Tagespost and a little later also its publishing house. Under his leadership, the newspaper developed into the most widely read daily newspaper in West Thuringia. Today Eisenach is the seat of a local editorial office of the Thuringian national newspaper and the Thuringian general .

In April 1926, a broadcasting station of the Mitteldeutsche Rundfunk AG (MIRAG) was put into operation in the Ritterbad of the Wartburg . This Wartburg meeting point, which had been technically renewed several times, was in operation as an external studio for the Weimar broadcaster until 1987 during the GDR era and enabled numerous concerts and conferences to be broadcast from the Wartburg. The local radio station Wartburg-Radio 96.5 has been broadcasting from Eisenach since 2001 . The private radio broadcaster Antenne Thüringen operates a regional studio in the city.

The 2004 to 2020 on behalf of the Mitteldeutsche Rundfunk television series produced family Dr. Kleist originated and played in Eisenach and the surrounding area.


Honorary citizen

The honorary citizenship was first bestowed in Eisenach in 1837 to the chief post officer Franz Maximilian Diez in recognition of his services to the postal system in the city. Other honorary citizens include the Duchess of Orléans (1851), Chancellor Otto von Bismarck (1895) and Regional Bishop Moritz Mitzenheim (1961).

With a municipal council resolution of December 5, 1946, the National Socialists Adolf Hitler , Wilhelm Frick and Fritz Sauckel were deprived of their honorary citizenship, which was centrally granted in 1933.

Eisenach personalities

For a city of this size Eisenach can boast a multitude of personalities from German and world history.

Born in Eisenach in 1685, Johann Sebastian Bach is one of the most important German composers of the Baroque era . With Johann Wilhelm Hertel an important representative of the “sensitive style” of the German pre-classical period is a son of the city. In 1925 Rudolf Mauersberger founded the Bach Choir Eisenach .

Eisenach is also the city of the humanities and natural sciences, the philosopher Christian Schreiber , the physicist Ernst Abbe and the pedagogue Wilhelm Rein were born there. The philosopher and women's rights activist Hedwig Bender worked there, as did the geologist Johann Georg Bornemann .

The relationship between Johann Wolfgang von Goethe and Charlotte von Stein , who was born in Eisenach in 1742 , is still subject to speculation today. The poet Julie von Bechtolsheim , who spent most of her life in Eisenach , also had friendly ties to Goethe .

The Cotta family was one of the city's influential patrician families in the 15th and 16th centuries. Both Johann Cotta (senior) and his son Johann Cotta (jun.) Were mayors in Eisenach in the 16th century, Ursula Cotta is said to have hosted and promoted the young Martin Luther . The members of the Eichel-Streiber family of industrialists , especially the patron Julius von Eichel-Streiber and the lawyer, had a major influence on the fortunes of the city from the 17th century, but especially in the 19th and early 20th centuries State politician Friedrich von Eichel-Streiber .

The city has also produced a number of important personalities in the recent past, including: the politicians Sabine Bergmann-Pohl and Botho Prinz zu Sayn-Wittgenstein-Hohenstein , the handball national player Stephan Just and the author and theater director Michael Schindhelm . The handball player Werner Assmann , after whom the ThSV Eisenach venue is named, lived and worked in Eisenach.


Place name

There are several theories about the interpretation of the name Eisenach, which are mostly based on abnormalities in the main tributaries, but so far have not provided any conclusive justification. The place name is said to have originated as Middle High German  îsîn , "iron" and aha, "water".

"The Middle High German name" Isenacha "," iron river ", is derived from the location on the horn, which is brownish in color from the high iron content."

This interpretation is contradicted by linguists, because the Hörsel does not have any ferrous water, the turbidity corresponds to that of any other streams in the region.

License Plate

The vehicle distinguishing sign for the Eisenach district and the town that was then part of the district was ESA . After the founding of the Wartburgkreis, it was issued temporarily until January 31, 1995 and replaced by the new distinctive sign WAK on February 1, 1995 . With the acquisition of the district freedom, the city was assigned the distinctive sign EA , which was then issued for new registrations and re-registrations. To this day, vehicles with the ESA and WAK license plates, which are expiring for the registration area, are permitted in the city area . As the only old license plate in Thuringia, ESA was not reintroduced in the course of license plate liberalization .

28,777 vehicles were registered in the registration district on December 31, 2018.

Planetoids Eisenach and Bach

As a special form of honor, the naming of newly discovered celestial bodies after important places and personalities in history has been in use for over 100 years. With Johann Sebastian Bach, nine Bach planetoids in the asteroid belt of the sun have already been considered, and the most important places of action have also been taken into account. The 1931 TWI - (01814) planetoid discovered by K. Reinmuth in 1931 bears the official name (1814) Bach . The planetoid (10774) Eisenach , discovered by F. Börngen (Tautenburg observatory) in 1991, has an orbital period around the sun of 3.72 years, the surface is 65 square kilometers and the diameter around 4.5 kilometers.

Eisenach corners

A pastry made from wafers developed in Eisenach around 1950 was called Eisenacher Ecken .


  • Gerd Bergmann: Older history of Eisenach. From the beginning to the beginning of the 19th century . Ed .: Eisenacher History Association. Kröner, Eisenach 1994, ISBN 3-9803976-0-2 .
  • Gerd Bergmann: Eisenacher railway history. 150 years of the railway in Eisenach. Eisenacher Geschichtsverein, Eisenach 1997, ISBN 3-9803976-3-7 .
  • Reinhold Brunner: History of the city of Eisenach. Wartberg-Verlag, Gudensberg-Gleichen 2004, ISBN 3-8313-1460-8 .
  • Reinhold Brunner: From Judengasse to Karlstrasse. Jewish life in Eisenach (= writings of the Eisenacher Geschichtsverein e.V. ). Hain-Verlag, Weimar / Jena 2003, ISBN 3-89807-050-6 .
  • Reinhold Brunner: The persecution, expulsion and murder of the Jewish people of Eisenach 1938 to 1942 (= writings of the Eisenacher Geschichtsverein e.V. ). Eisenacher Geschichtsverein, Eisenach 1998, ISBN 3-9803976-4-5 .
  • Reinhold Brunner: That was the 20th century in Eisenach. The book for the series of the "Thuringian General". Edited by the city of Eisenach. Wartberg-Verlag, Gudensberg-Gleichen 2000, ISBN 3-86134-970-1 .
  • Ulrike Frank: Do you remember? Right in the middle of everyday life in the GDR in Eisenach. Stories and episodes. Saturday was bathing day and on Sunday the Bimmel went to Mariental. Herkules-Verlag, Kassel 2011, ISBN 978-3-941499-61-4 .
  • Ulrike Frank: With the donkey to the Wartburg. Stories and anecdotes from old Eisenach. Wartberg-Verlag, Gudensberg-Gleichen 2007, ISBN 978-3-8313-1803-2 .
  • Walter Höhn: Eisenach. The Wartburg city between Rennsteig and Hörselberge. Verlag Imhof, Petersberg 2010, ISBN 978-3-86568-561-2 .
  • Herlind Reiss: Monument topography Federal Republic of Germany - cultural monuments in Thuringia. Volume 2.1 .: City of Eisenach. Country houses and villas at the foot of the Wartburg. Edited by the Thuringian State Office for Monument Preservation . E. Reinhold Verlag, Altenburg 2007, ISBN 978-3-937940-24-3 .
  • Stefan Wolter: “Think about poverty!” The poor system in the city of Eisenach in the late 17th and 18th centuries. Alms Fund - Orphanage - Penitentiary. Hainholz-Verlag, Göttingen 2003, ISBN 3-932622-22-7 (Zugl .: Göttingen, Univ., Diss., 1999).

Web links

Commons : Eisenach  - album with pictures, videos and audio files
Wikivoyage: Eisenach  - travel guide

Individual evidence

  1. Population of the municipalities from the Thuringian State Office for Statistics  ( help on this ).
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This version was added to the list of articles worth reading on March 20, 2013 .