Goethe and Charlotte

Kochberg Castle and Park

The wife of Freiherr von Stein went for walks here with the great poet, and her son Carl transformed the estate into a garden paradise. Goethe visited often, and with good reason. His close friend Charlotte von Stein, lady-in-waiting to Duchess Anna Amalia, had her country residence at Kochberg Castle.

Between 1775 and 1788, Johann von Goethe frequently visited Kochberg Castle on foot, on horseback or – later on – in a carriage. The charming moated castle was built in around 1600 amid the foothills of the Thuringian Slate Mountains. Today, walkers can follow in the great poet’s footsteps on the Goethe Trail, which runs for almost 30 kilometres from Weimar via Schwarza to Kochberg Castle. 

“My soul seeks you in Kochberg”

Visitors are drawn here to explore Goethe’s illustrious relationship, but above all by the magnificent, six-acre landscape park created by Charlotte von Stein’s eldest son, Carl, in the early part of the 19th century. Completed in around 1840, the park was rejuvenated in the 1970s. Carl’s creation was an idyllic haven of beauty. From the Liebhabertheater right next to the castle, which still stages plays to this day, paths wind their way beneath magnificent old trees to enchanted places, such as tower ruins, a walled grotto with a burial ground, and a bathing house and pond. The pond also feeds a rivulet that runs through the grounds and on to the jewel of the park: the Blumentheater flower display.  

Kochberg Castle

Goethe was a regular visitor here between 1775 and 1788. The manor with its castle and park is almost completely intact, and you can take a 360° virtual tour of the grounds on the Klassik Stiftung Weimar website.

Flowers and box trees have been arranged on two circular beds to look like the sun, the moon and the stars, shining beautifully and brightly. Opposite, some steps covered in flowers lead up to a small hut from where you have a wonderful view over the colourful beds. The design still follows Goethe’s colour wheel, with the flowers staggered in complementary colours from the light edge to the strong centre. The poet would have enjoyed visiting even without Charlotte.


This theatre is a real gem, and was built in around 1800 by Carl von Stein, Charlotte von Stein’s eldest son, who wanted his own little slice of Weimar-style culture on the Kochberg estate. The Theatre Summer from May to the end of September presents top-class opera, theatre performances and concerts every weekend. In the authentic theatre of the late 18th century, works from the Baroque, Classical and Romantic periods are presented according to the historical performance practice of their time of origin, so that location, work and performance form a total work of art. All productions are conceived by the theatre management together with renowned artists and ensembles especially for this stage. Visitors discover that the great questions of our time are already echoed in the works of over 200 years ago. To this end, the theatre cultivates a lively dialogue with the audience, which begins with introductions and ends with a discussion after the performances.

Kochberg Castle ©Jens Hauspurg, Thüringer Tourismusverband Jena-Saale-Holzland


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