Belvedere Palace stands on a hill at the south of Weimar and is surrounded by 43 hectares of parkland. Duke Ernst August of Saxe-Weimar-Eisenach had a Baroque summer residence including an orangery, pleasure garden and labyrinth that was built here between 1724 and 1748.
Since 1923, Belvedere Palace has been used as a museum for arts and crafts of 18th century with porcelain, glass, faience, furniture and paintings.
After the death of Ernst August in 1748, the parks were left wild. They were restored to their former glory only when Duchess Anna Amalia took up residence there every summer. Duke Carl August, who came to power in 1775, pursued botanical studies at Belvedere together with Goethe. By 1820, a botanical garden had been created with approximately 7900 plant species from Germany and abroad. In 1811, Carl August left Belvedere Palace and Park to his son Carl Friedrich and the latter’s wife, the Russian Grand Duchess Maria Pawlowna. The later duke had a so-called Russian garden laid for his wife at the west of the palace followed by a small Hedge Theatre and a maze.
Grand Duke Carl Alexander, whose reign commenced in 1853, had the palace, park and orangery carefully preserved and maintained. The park was reconstructed between 1974 and 1978 and the Russian Garden between 1978 and 1982. Reconstruction and restoration work on the orangery complex began in 1998 and will be completed progressively over the next few years.
Belvedere Palace and Park are listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1998.