Gotha is in Thuringia, Germany.
While their home territories were pretty insignificant, the House of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha were immensely successful in European marriage politics, and at the end of 19th century several European countries were ruled by this dynasty: the United Kingdom (Queen Victoria was married to Prince Albert of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha; the House of Windsor is just another name of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha, chosen during the anti-German sentiments of the First World War), Belgium (Leopold I was chosen as King of the Belgians in 1831), Bulgaria and Portugal (the latter two are now republics).
There was a rivalry between the two main duchies and residences of Thuringia: Gotha and Weimar. While Weimar stood out for its cultural impact, with Goethe, Schiller, Wieland and Herder all present at Duchess Anna Amalia's "Court of the Muses", Gotha became an early centre of natural sciences. The Dukes of Gotha began to collect naturalia in the 17th century and the town's museum of natural history was one of the first of its kind. The Gotha astronomical observatory was established in 1786 and had a Europe-wide leading position at that epoch. Moreover, Gotha was a stronghold of the German publishing sector, with Perthes being Germany's prime publisher of maps and atlases.
The Gothaer Versicherung was Germany's first mutual insurance company, based on English models. In 1875 the Socialist Workers' Party was founded in Gotha, predecessor of the Social Democratic Party of Germany.
Regional trains from Erfurt call twice an hour, taking about 20 minutes. Moreover, there are regional trains from Weimar (hourly; 30–40 minutes), Jena (every two hours, taking one hour), Göttingen (1:15) and Gera (1:35).
The TWSB operates a tramway network with four urban lines plus the Thüringerwaldbahn, an intraurban tramway that links Gotha with the Boxberg hill, the nearby towns Waltershausen, Friedrichroda and Tabarz, and the Marienglashöhle show cave on the northern slope of the Thuringian Forest mountain range (21.7 km in total).
phone: +49 3621 8234-0Early-Baroque palace of the Dukes of Saxe-Gotha, built in 1643–1654 as one of Germany's biggest 17th-century stately homes. The complex includes the Schlossmuseum (museum), museum of regional history, huge numismatic collection, the Ekhof-Theater (ducal court theatre), a research centre as well as the palace chapel and ducal tombs. The casemates of the palace's fortress are accessible, too.
Ducal MuseumThe Dukes' arts collection, including Egyptian and Graeco-Roman antiques, Renaissance paintings, East Asian arts and sculptures of different eras.
Castle groundsThe 91-acre park is one of the biggest in Germany and a very beautiful, too. It was one of the first English-style landscape gardens in Germany and all of continental Europe. There is a number of very old trees, including some 500-year old oaks.
TeeschlösschenNeogothic 18th-century maison de plaisance, imitating the look of a chapel.
Friedrichsthal CastleBaroque three-wing summer residence from the 1700s, modelled on Versailles.
German Insurance museum
St Maragaret's Church
Augustinian ChurchFormer monastic church of the Augustinian Hermits. Martin Luther (who was an Augustinian Friar himself) preached here in 1521. Rather modest Gothic hall church from the outside, but contains a rich Baroque interior, including a stately box for the Dukes and an early-Baroque organ case.
Perthes-Forumaddress: Justus-Perthes-Straße 5Former buildings of the Perthes publishing house of maps and atlases. Now houses the Thuringian state archives and a research library.
TivoliPlace where the Socialist Workers' Party was established in 1875
address: Töpfleber Weg 2Home to more than 600 animals of 140 different species.
Citizens' toweraddress: on the Galberg hill35-metre high tower on a hill with panoramic view over the further surroundings.
- Thüringen Philharmonie Gotha, symphony orchestra, gives concerts several times per month, usually at Kulturhaus Gotha or Stadthalle Gotha
- Kinderchor Gotha children's choir
- Gothardus festival, first weekend in May, celebrated since the Middle Ages, with markets, concerts, pageant, fireworks
- Ekhof festival, June to August, concerts and theatrical performance in the historical Ekhof theatre
- Baroque festival, last weekend in August, cizizens wear Baroque costumes, play scenes set on the court of Duke Frederick III
phone: +49 3621 408020address: Schwabhäuser Str. 4, 99867 GothaSimple but clean guesthouse in the old town; each room with private bathroom; friendly hosts.
phone: +49 3621 302901address: Jüdenstraße 2717 hostel rooms in a monastery, right in the old town. Each with private bathroom (shower, WC) but no TV.
Best Western Hotel Der Lindenhofphone: +49 3621 7720address: Schöne Aussicht 5, 99867 GothaFour-star-hotel (90 rooms), surrounded by gardens, 2 km from castle and old town.
phone: +49 3621 4420address: Lindenauallee 20Four-star hotel (94 rooms), spa with sauna and salt cave, just outside the castle grounds, 400 m from the castle.