Ilmenau Tourist Attractions
Ilmenau lies 20km/12.5mi from Suhl on the northeastern fringes of the Thuringian Forest, surrounded by wooded hills. In recent years it has developed into a considerable industrial town and educational center. It has many associations with Goethe, who often visited Ilmenau as a minister of the Duchy of Weimar.
Goethe Memorial Museum
In the Amtshaus in the Ilmenau Markt, a plain Baroque building of 1756, stands the Goethe-Gedenkstätte (rooms occupied by Goethe, with period furniture). The same building houses the Heimatmuseum (porcelain; history of silver- and copper-mining).
The two-story Town Hall in Ilmenau has a Renaissance doorway and the magnificent coat of arms of the Counts Henneberg on the facade. In the Marktplatz is the Hennebrunnen, a fountain of about 1752.
The Ilmenau Stadtkirche, an aisleless Renaissance building (1603), was rebuilt in the 18th C after a fire.
The oldest house in Ilmenau is the Zechenhaus on the Sturmheide, seat of the Ilmenau mining authority from 1691.
There is a well marked "Goethe Trail", which runs from Ilmenau via Gabelbach to Stützerbach, a distance of 18km/11mi. The route is waymarked with the letter "G", and there are explanatory tablets at the various sites.
Goethe frequently stayed in the Gabelsbach hunting lodge in Ilmenau. Visitors can see the rooms he occupied when he came here with the Duke of Weimar to hunt, as well as documents, drawings and other mementos. There is a small museum on Goethe's natural history studies in the Thuringian Forest.
North of Gabelbach is the little house on the Kichelhahn where Goethe wrote his well-known poem "Über allen Gipfeln ist Ruh." On the summit of the Kichelhahn (861 m/2,825ft) stands an outlook tower from which there are panoramic views.
A short distance from the Kichelhahn tower near Ilmenau is the Grosser Hermannstein, with a cave which Goethe liked to visit.
On the Schwalbenstein near Ilmenau is a crag (fine view) near the Schöffenhaus where Goethe wrote the fourth act of his play "Iphigenie" on a single day in 1779.
In Stützerbach near Ilmenau, now a holiday resort and spa (Kneipp cure), where Conrad Röntgen carried out his first experiments in developing the X-ray tube, is the Goethehaus (Kneippstrasse 18), with mementos of Goethe's visits. The house also contains an interesting exhibition on the history of glass manufacture (with demonstrations).Stützerbach has an 18th C Baroque church (aisleless) with a vaulted timber ceiling and a west tower topped by a curving roof.
Oehrenstock has a small mining museum, illustrating the history of mining in the Ilmenau area.