Gera Tourist Attractions
The Thuringian town of Gera, 50km/30mi south of Leipzig, lies on the middle course of the Weisse Elster, at the intersection of important traffic routes.
The Gera Markt, surrounded by buildings homogeneous in style, is one of the finest market squares in Thuringia. The most striking building in the square is the Town Hall (Rathaus; 16th C., rebuilt 1573-76 after destruction), with a Baroque mansard roof, a tall and elegant tower over the main entrance and three subsidiary entrances.Another notable old building in the square, the 16th century Municipal Pharmacy (Stadtapotheke), has a richly decorated Renaissance oriel window.In the center of the square is the Samson Fountain (Simsonbrunnen; by C. Junghans, 1685-86).
A few paces from the Town Hall in Gera can be seen the old Regierungsgebäude, a three-story Baroque building originally erected in 1720-22 and rebuilt after a fire in 1780, incorporating some 16th C work (north wing). The central range is four-storied, articulated by pilasters and a triangular pediment.
Near the old Regierungsgebäude in Gera is a three-story Baroque building of 1732-38 (much restored), originally a prison and orphanage, which is now occupied by the History Museum.
St Salvator's Church
Near the Town Hall in Gera stands the Salvatorkirche (Baroque, 1717-20), with a flat painted ceiling. In the aisles are double galleries, with interesting decoration and furnishings (c. 1900).
Natural History Museum
Adjoining the Salvatorkirche in Gera is the Schreibersches Haus, a three-story Baroque building (1687-88) with a richly decorated Baroque hall. It now houses the Natural History Museum, with collections on the life and work of five Thuringian ornithologists: (Brehm (father and son) Liebe, Hennicke and Engelmann.
Two notable Gothic buildings in Gera are the Trinity Church (Trinitatiskirche), an aisleless, basically Gothic church with a three-story closed choir (flat painted ceiling), and the parish church of St Mary, also aisleless (Late Gothic, c. 1400).
Among the finest burghers' houses in Gera is the Ferbersches Haus at Greizer Strasse 37-39, now occupied by the Museum of Applied Art (Museum für Kunsthandwerk). Another fine house is the Haus J. Buttermann (18th C.), with sculptural decoration on the doorway. A Baroque house at Steinweg 15 is also notable.
The Gera Orangery, a semicircular Baroque building (1729-32) northwest of the city center, now houses the Gera Art Gallery and a permanent exhibition of works by the Gera-born painter Otto Dix (1891-1969).
Ten km/6mi south of Gera is Wünschendorf, with the Veitskirche (St Vitus's Church), which is basically Early Romanesque, and a covered wooden bridge of 1786. In the Mildenfurth district is a former monastic church (1193) which was converted into a hunting lodge after 1617. There are still some remains of the original basilica.
Schloss Osterburg, Weida
Schloss Osterburg (basically Romanesque), 13km/8mi south of Gera in Weida, has a massive keep, a guard-room and a Heimatmuseum.Other features of interest in the town are the Renaissance Town Hall, the "plague pulpit" (1608) in the old churchyard (1564), a Renaissance doorway (1580) and a number of 17th and 18th century tombs.