Schloss Weimar was the residence of the dukes of Saxe-Weimar and Eisenach, and has also been called Residenzschloss. It is part of the UNESCO World Heritage Site 'Classical Weimar'.
In history, the palace was often destroyed by fire. The Baroque palace from the 17th century, with the church Schlosskirche where several works by Johann Sebastian Bach were premiered, was replaced by a Neoclassical structure after a fire in 1774. Four rooms were dedicated to the memory of poets who worked in Weimar, Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, Johann Gottfried Herder, Friedrich Schiller and Christoph Martin Wieland. From 1923, the building has housed the Schlossmuseum, a museum with a focus on paintings of the 15th and 16th centuries and works of art related to Weimar, a cultural centre.
The building has been developed over the past 500 years. The first building on the site was a medieval moated castle, which was first documented at the end of the 10th century. After a fire in 1424, and again from the mid-16th century, when Weimar became the permanent residence of the dukes, it was remodelled. After another fire in 1618, reconstruction began in 1619 planned by the Italian architect Giovanni Bonalino. The church was completed in 1630, where several works by Johann Sebastian Bach were premiered between 1708 and 1717. Johann Moritz Richter changed the design to a symmetrical Baroque structure with three wings, open to the south.
The building was destroyed by fire in 1774. Duke Carl August formed a commission for its reconstruction directed by Johann Wolfgang Goethe. Architects Johann August Arens, Nikolaus Friedrich Thouret and Heinrich Gentz kept the former walls of the east and north wings and created a 'classical' interior, especially the staircase and the banqueting hall. Decoration was supplied by sculptor Christian Friedrich Tieck. In 1816, Clemens Wenzeslaus Coudray began plans for the west wing, which was reopened in 1847 with a court chapel. The wing contained the so-called Dichterzimmer (poets' rooms), initiated by Duchess Maria Pavlovna. They commemorate Christoph Martin Wieland, Johann Gottfried Herder, Friedrich Schiller and Goethe. From 1912 to 1914 a south wing was added under Duke Wilhelm Ernst.
The Herder Room was restored in 2005, the restoration of the Goethe Room and the Wieland Room was completed in 2014.References:
The Broch of Gurness is an Iron Age broch village. Settlement here began sometime between 500 and 200 BC. At the centre of the settlement is a stone tower or broch, which once probably reached a height of around 10 metres. Its interior is divided into sections by upright slabs. The tower features two skins of drystone walls, with stone-floored galleries in between. These are accessed by steps. Stone ledges suggest that there was once an upper storey with a timber floor. The roof would have been thatched, surrounded by a wall walk linked by stairs to the ground floor. The broch features two hearths and a subterranean stone cistern with steps leading down into it. It is thought to have some religious significance, relating to an Iron Age cult of the underground.
The remains of the central tower are up to 3.6 metres high, and the stone walls are up to 4.1 metres thick. The tower was likely inhabited by the principal family or clan of the area but also served as a last resort for the village in case of an attack.
The broch continued to be inhabited while it began to collapse and the original structures were altered. The cistern was filled in and the interior was repartitioned. The ruin visible today reflects this secondary phase of the broch's use.
The site is surrounded by three ditches cut out of the rock with stone ramparts, encircling an area of around 45 metres diameter. The remains of numerous small stone dwellings with small yards and sheds can be found between the inner ditch and the tower. These were built after the tower, but were a part of the settlement's initial conception. A 'main street' connects the outer entrance to the broch. The settlement is the best-preserved of all broch villages.
Pieces of a Roman amphora dating to before 60 AD were found here, lending weight to the record that a 'King of Orkney' submitted to Emperor Claudius at Colchester in 43 AD.
At some point after 100 AD the broch was abandoned and the ditches filled in. It is thought that settlement at the broch continued into the 5th century AD, the period known as Pictish times. By that time the broch was not used anymore and some of its stones were reused to build smaller dwellings on top of the earlier buildings. Until about the 8th century, the site was just a single farmstead.
In the 9th century, a Norse woman was buried at the site in a stone-lined grave with two bronze brooches and a sickle and knife made from iron. Other finds suggest that Norse men were buried here too.