The SaaleHorizontale passes right by the Dornburg Palaces. When you approach Dornburg on the trail you will be able to see the ensemble of the three palaces from quite a distance, towering on a cliff high above the Saale river. The Dornburg Palaces combine the countryside along the Saale river with a beautifully landscaped park, vineyards and spectacular panoramic views across the Saale valley to marvellous effect. The three palaces date from different periods and can look back on a fascinating history.
The palace gardens
The park surrounding the palaces comprises several parts that were created independently and only joined up later. The Renaissance Palace features an English-style landscape park, while the baroque garden of the Rococo Palace is dominated by geometric shapes and rose arches. The area around the Old Palace is a reminder of its former use as administrative offices. In the 18th and 19th century, promenades, viewing points and vineyards were created on a total of five terraced levels here.
The Old Palace
The most northerly palace dates back to the 15th century. Initially a ducal residence, later on the palace was used to house administrative offices, as a factory during the 19th century, and as a school and a nursing home in the 20th century. Today the thick walls contain a conference centre belonging to Jena University.
The Renaissance Palace
Johann Wolfgang von Goethe lived in this palace from 11 July to 11 September 1828, and the Goethe rooms are still open to visitors as a reminder of this time. Most of the palace in its current form dates back to 1608.
The Rococo Palace
This palace was built between 1736 and 1744 for Duke Ernst August of Weimar. The first elected state parliament on German soil met here in the winter of 1818/1819. This parliament was the first to include representation for farmers. From the garden side, the palace looks like a pavilion, but the side facing towards the valley rises to a height of three storeys. Inside the palace, visitors can admire the dining room furnished by Duke Carl Alexander, with precious collections of Chinese, Delft and Meissen porcelain.