Top Historic Sights in Erfurt, Germany

Explore the historic highlights of Erfurt

Erfurt Synagogue

The Erfurt Synagogue was built c. 1094. It is thought to be the oldest synagogue building still standing in Europe. Thanks to the extensive preservation of the original structure, it has a special place in the history of art and architecture and is among the most impressive and highly rated architectural monuments in Erfurt and Thuringia. The synagogue was constructed during the Middle Ages on the via regia, one of the ma ...
Founded: c. 1094 | Location: Erfurt, Germany

St. Severus Church

The Church of St. Severus, a five-naved early Gothic hall church, was a collegiate church for the regular canons of St Augustine during the 12th century. Today, along with the cathedral, it is Erfurts most famous landmark.
Founded: 12th century | Location: Erfurt, Germany

Erfurt Cathedral

Erfurt Cathedral, dedicated to St. Mary, is a late Gothic cathedral which replaced the church built on this site for Bishop Boniface in 742. Martin Luther was ordained in the cathedral in 1507. The architecture of the Erfurt Cathedral is mainly Gothic and stems from around the 14th and 15th centuries. There are many things of note as far as the architecture is concerned, not least the stained glass windows and furnishing ...
Founded: 14th century | Location: Erfurt, Germany

Merchants' Bridge

The Krämerbrücke (Merchants" bridge) is a medieval bridge which is lined with inhabited, half timbered buildings on both sides. The bridge was built next to a ford and was part of the Via Regia, a medieval trade and pilgrims" road network, which linked Rome with the Baltic Sea, and Moscow with Santiago de Compostela in northern Spain. Originally constructed from wood, the bridge was first mentioned in ...
Founded: 1325 | Location: Erfurt, Germany

Predigerkirche

Predigerkirche ('Preacher"s Church') is a monastic church to the Dominican friary adjacent to the church. Predigerkirche was originally built by the Dominican Order in the 13th century, when the mystic Meister Eckhart was prior here. The church only became a Protestant church after the Reformation. The original building was modified in 1340-50, and the bell tower was built between 1447 and 1488. Around 1806 ...
Founded: 1340-1350 | Location: Erfurt, Germany

Petersberg Citadel

The Petersberg Citadel is one of the largest extant early-modern citadels in Europe and covers the whole north-western part of the city centre. It was built after 1665 on Petersberg hill and was in military use until 1963. It dates from a time when Erfurt was ruled by the Electors of Mainz and is a unique example of the European style of fortress construction. Beneath the citadel is an underground maze of passageways that ...
Founded: 1665 | Location: Erfurt, Germany

Kaufmannskirche St. Gregor

The Kaufmannskirche St. Gregor (Merchant"s Church St Gregory) is a 14th-century Gothic parish church at Anger Square. It is one of the largest and most important original parish churches in Erfurt. The parents of Johann Sebastian Bach, Johann Ambrosius Bach and Maria Elisabeth Lämmerhirt married here in 1668. The former Romanesque building (11th century) on the site was burnt down in 1291. The consecration of t ...
Founded: 1368 | Location: Erfurt, Germany

St. Augustine's Monastery

The church and monastery of the Augustinian hermits in Erfurt was built around 1300. Martin Luther, the famous Augustinian monk, was admitted to the monastery on 17 July 1505. The Augustinian Monastery pays tribute to Martin Luther with a new exhibition. The Lutherzelle (Luther's cell) can be visited as part of the exhibition. Since 1988 the monastery has been used as an ecumenical conference centre and a memorial to Luth ...
Founded: 1300 | Location: Erfurt, Germany

Cyriaksburg Fortress

The Cyriaksburg Fortress is situated on a hill outside the city gates of Erfurt. The construction was started in 1480 but not completed until about 1604. The shape of the foundations is like a rectangle with unequal sides. Two strong round towers from 1528 have been preserved. One of them is now used as a viewing tower and the other one houses an observatory. The moat is also partly visible. From 1631 to 1649, during the ...
Founded: 1480-1604 | Location: Erfurt, Germany

Featured Historic Landmarks, Sites & Buildings

Historic Site of the week

Luxembourg Palace

The famous Italian Medici family have given two queens to France: Catherine, the spouse of Henry II, and Marie, widow of Henry IV, who built the current Luxembourg palace. Maria di Medici had never been happy at the Louvre, still semi-medieval, where the fickle king, did not hesitate to receive his mistresses. The death of Henry IV, assassinated in 1610, left the way open for Marie's project. When she became regent, she was able to give special attention to the construction of an imposing modern residence that would be reminiscent of the Palazzo Pitti and the Boboli Gardens in Florence, where she grew up. The development of the 25-hectare park, which was to serve as a jewel-case for the palace, began immediately.

The architect, Salomon de Brosse, began the work in 1615. Only 16 years later was the palace was completed. Palace of Luxembourg affords a transition between the Renaissance and the Classical period.

In 1750, the Director of the King's Buildings installed in the wing the first public art-gallery in France, in which French and foreign canvases of the royal collections are shown. The Count of Provence and future Louis XVIII, who was living in Petit Luxembourg, had this gallery closed in 1780: leaving to emigrate, he fled from the palace in June 1791.

During the French Revolution the palace was first abandoned and then moved as a national prison. After that it was the seat of the French Directory, and in 1799, the home of the Sénat conservateur and the first residence of Napoleon Bonaparte, as First Consul of the French Republic. The old apartments of Maria di Medici were altered. The floor, which the 80 senators only occupied in 1804, was built in the middle of the present Conference Hall.

Beginning in 1835 the architect Alphonse de Gisors added a new garden wing parallel to the old corps de logis, replicating the look of the original 17th-century facade so precisely that it is difficult to distinguish at first glance the old from the new. The new senate chamber was located in what would have been the courtyard area in-between.

The new wing included a library (bibliothèque) with a cycle of paintings (1845–1847) by Eugène Delacroix. In the 1850s, at the request of Emperor Napoleon III, Gisors created the highly decorated Salle des Conférences, which influenced the nature of subsequent official interiors of the Second Empire, including those of the Palais Garnier.

During the German occupation of Paris (1940–1944), Hermann Göring took over the palace as the headquarters of the Luftwaffe in France, taking for himself a sumptuous suite of rooms to accommodate his visits to the French capital. Since 1958 the Luxembourg palace has been the seat of the French Senate of the Fifth Republic.