The 48-hectare country park on the edge of Weimar’s old town is part of a kilometre-long stretch of green along the Ilm River. It was laid between 1778 and 1828 and features both sentimental, classical and post-classical/romantic styles.
The creation of the park on the Ilm river is closely linked with Goethe’s life and work in Weimar. In 1776, Duke Carl August gave the poet a small house with a garden, today known as Goethe's garden house. The first constructions and developments appeared in 1778 on the rocky western slope. Paths were subsequently laid, seating installed, monuments, bridges and other park architecture built. Numerous trees and bushes were also planted. The old palace gardens such as the »Stern« and the »Welsche Garten« were redesigned and integrated into the park.
The work largely came to an end in 1828 with the death of Carl August, who had been a significant driving force behind the design of the park.
Over the following decades, the park was maintained but part of its direct connection with the surrounding landscape disappeared due to building work such as the street “Am Horn”. Moreover, insufficient care of the trees and shrubs puts its original appearance at risk. Extensive reconstruction, preservation and maintenance work was carried out on the trees, shrubs, paths and architecture only when the park was taken over by the National Research and Memorial Sites of Classical German Literature (NFG) in 1970.
The park on the Ilm river has been a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1998.