Elisabethenburg Castle in Meiningen

Meiningen Museums

As a striking example of Thuringian baroque castle architecture, the three-winged complex of Elisabethenburg Castle, which was built from 1682 onwards, is one of Meiningen's landmarks in terms of urban planning. The ducal residential castle in Meiningen was the central place of residence and representation of the ducal family of Saxe-Meiningen and the intellectual center of an important court of the muses between Weimar and Bayreuth.

  • Schloss Elisabethenburg in Meiningen
  • Schloss Elisabethenburg in Meiningen
  • Schloss Elisabethenburg in Meiningen
  • Schloss Elisabethenburg in Meiningen
  • Schloss Elisabethenburg in Meiningen
  • Schloss Elisabethenburg in Meiningen
  • Schloss Elisabethenburg in Meiningen
  • Schloss Elisabethenburg in Meiningen
  • Schloss Elisabethenburg in Meiningen


Meiningen achieved fame - even beyond Germany's borders - at the end of the 19th century when the arts-minded Duke George II of Saxe-Meiningen (1826-1914) caused a sensation throughout Europe with his court theater and court orchestra and triggered far-reaching cultural reforms. Wherever the Duke's court actors appeared on stage in Europe, audiences and critics alike were surprised by the historical accuracy and illusionistic perfection of the stage arrangements. The meticulous staging of the dramas of Shakespeare, Schiller, or Kleist became the unmistakable trademark that earned Meiningen the reputation of a world-famous theater city and Georg II the epithet "Theaterherzog" (theater duke). The museums exhibit original stage decorations of the Meiningen court theater, from the 19th century, in addition to ducal living quarters, banquet halls, and collections of arts and crafts. The musical traditions of Meiningen are associated with such illustrious names as Johann Ludwig Bach, Hans von Bülow, Richard Wagner, Johannes Brahms, Richard Strauss, and Max Reger. Their lives and work were temporarily closely linked to Elisabethenburg Castle and Meiningen. The precious collection of historical musical instruments in the former ducal library and the ducal dining room are highlights in the new presentation of the Music History Collection and the Max Reger Archives. Memorial rooms in the castle remember Princess Adelheid of Saxe-Meiningen, who reigned in Great Britain as Queen alongside William IV from 1830 to 1837, as well as Friedrich Schiller's asylum stay in Meiningen and Bauerbach in 1782/83.

Permanent exhibitions in Elisabethenburg Castle

Meiningen – Court of the Muses between Weimar and Bayreuth

Who ruled Saxe-Meiningen? With what did the small duchy of Saxe-Meiningen cause an artistic sensation throughout Europe from the 1870s on? What was the musician Max Reger temporarily dependent on? Who was Hans von Bülow? And what does musical interpretation actually mean? Children, young people and adults can experience cultural history to touch, look at and listen to in the exhibition "Meiningen - Court of the Muses between Weimar and Bayreuth". In the former residential suite of Duke Georg II and Helene von Heldburg (1839-1923), where after extensive restoration princely representation and living milieu can once again be experienced, the family environment of the ducal couple, the development of the Meiningen court orchestra and the development of Meiningen from a court of the muses to a city of the muses are illuminated. One can discover famous Meiningen artists and intellectuals, where Helene von Heldburg taught actors. In the Reger Room, you can honk a horn. Rolf Seelmann-Eggebert introduces the visitors to the ducal dining table with his voice. And the sensual presentation of the historical musical instruments in the Green Library will certainly remain in the visitor's memory.

Adelheid, Queen of Great Britain

Princess Adelheid of Saxe-Meiningen was the only one from the family of the local dukes to ascend to the top of a European world empire. The exhibition presents pictures, contemporary testimonies, and the family environment. In 1818, the 26-year-old received a marriage proposal from William, heir to the British throne. The main purpose of this marriage was explicitly to produce children entitled to inheritance. However, after miscarriages and the early death of two daughters, Adelheid remained childless. In 1830, she became Queen of Great Britain alongside William IV. But throughout her life, however, she cared for the children of others, for the widows and orphans of the country, as well as for her nieces and nephews. Queen Victoria, her successor and niece, wrote that she loved and trusted Aunt Adelheid more than her own mother. As a child, she had also seen a decorated Christmas tree as a child, with sweets and presents that the Meiningen lady had in store for the children at Aunt Adelheid's house. Therefore, based on this diary entry by 12-year-old Victoria, it can be assumed that Adelheid brought the tradition of the Christmas tree to Britain.

Asylum for Schiller!

When young Friedrich Schiller first appeared in Meiningen in 1782, he was an asylum seeker: penniless and threatened with persecution. He found a place to stay for eight months in the community of Bauerbach of the Imperial Knights near Meiningen. Was this an unproductive waiting phase or a gathering of strength for future projects? The relationship between exile and asylum, solitude and security, passivity and activity is an important aspect of the exhibition. Another aspect: Schiller’s contacts to Meiningen continued even after his move to Mannheim. From then on, these were primarily tied to Christophine and Wilhelm Reinwald, Schiller's sister and brother-in-law. Christophine Reinwald's advanced age - she outlived her brother by 42 years - ultimately made her a contemporary witness of the past classical era and an icon of the emerging Schiller cult.

Painting Gallery

Although the Meiningen exhibition of mainly Italian, Dutch and German paintings from the 17th to 18th centuries cannot be measured in its entirety against the prominent examples of princely painting collections, it does contain some eminent individual pieces of international importance. The painters responsible for them are Ferdinand Bol, Jacob de Backer, Gerard Houckgeest, Giovanni Antonio Pellegrini, Bernardo Strozzi, and Friedrich Bury, who are undoubtedly among the great masters of their craft. A collection of ducal portraits and paintings by the court painters Gottlieb Friedrich and Johann Philipp Bach, Carl Wagner, and Samuel Diez are of inestimable value for the representation of court life and the history of the Meiningen residence.

Art in Craft

Furniture, faiences, porcelain, coins, and gems come partly from the ducal collections and partly from other acquisitions. The tapestry "The Triumphal Entry of Alexander into Babylon" in the Victoria Hall in the Middle Gallery was part of the original furnishings of Elisabethenburg Castle and is one of the textile treasures of the art collections of the Meiningen museums. It was created in 1689 in the Brussels manufactory of Marcus de Vos (1650-1717). The castle church and the staircase with the Hesse Hall on the upper floor are dominated by baroque interior design. Other rooms are characterized by a stylistic pluralism ranging from Rococo to Classicism. Masterful stucco work bears witness to the high level of the art of decoration, for example, by the Franconian Bernhard Hellmuth from about 1760. Extensive areas of the castle were redesigned around 1880 under Duke Georg II, who preferred the

Henneberg Collection

One source of the Meiningen art collections was made accessible through the activities of the Henneberg Antiquarian Society, which was founded by Ludwig Bechstein in Meiningen in 1832. It is in the early tradition of the bourgeois historical societies. From the association's collection, which comprised almost 9,000 objects, the museum's holdings include not only late Gothic sculptures, products of the arts and crafts and guilds but also instruments of torture and many pieces of regional historical significance. They provide numerous references to the former County of Henneberg and thus to an important territorial structure of the past.

Amenities and Facilities

Meiningen Museums have the following amenities and facilities:

Guided tours



Hours of operation & ticket prices:

Museum in Elisabethenburg Castle
April to September
Tuesday to Sunday, Holidays

10:00 a.m. - 6:00 p.m.

October to March
Tuesday to Sunday, Holidays

11.00 a.m. – 5.00 p.m.

Sunday opening hours apply on public holidays in Thuringia. The Meiningen museums are not open on December 24th , 25th and 31st.

Ticket prices

Elisabethenburg Castle and Literature Museum
Single ticket: 6,00 €
Reduced: 4,50 €
Family day ticket (Parents with children): 13,00 €

Theater Museum
Single ticket: 5,00 €
Reduced: 3,50 €
Family day ticket (Parents with children): 11,00 €

Combined Card
Single ticket: 9,00 €
Reduced: 7,00 €
Family day ticket (Parents with children): no combined card

Free admission for children under the age of 6.


Elisabethenburg Castle in Meiningen

Meininger Museen in der Kulturstiftung Meiningen-Eisenach Schlossplatz 1 98617 Meiningen Telefon: 03 69 3 / 88 10 10

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