Set on the banks of the Werra River, Meiningen is a cultural and financial hub in southern Thuringia. It was first mentioned in the 10th century and flourished in the Middle Ages as a textile and metalworking hub. By the end of the 19th century, Meiningen emerged as an important banking centre and became part of the German Democratic Republic in 1945.
Things to do in Meiningen
One of the town’s most magnificent buildings is the Staatstheater Meiningen, which provides a setting for musical theatre, plays and concerts. It was originally founded in 1831 when it was known as the Meininger Hoftheater, although the current building dates back to 1909. Coincide your visit with a performance by the Meiningen Court Orchestra, which was founded in 1690, making it one of the oldest orchestras in Europe.
Occupying a half-timbered former post office is the Kunsthaus Meiningen, which hosts contemporary and experimental art exhibitions. In addition to paintings, sculptures and photographic works, you’ll find spatial installations, graphics and video art. Some of Kunsthaus Meiningen’s art exhibitions are accompanied by musical concerts, theatrical performances and workshops.
The Baumbachhaus museum is another must-see, as it focuses on the literary work of local poet Rudolf Baumbach. Lovingly restored motorbikes and police vehicles are on display at the Meininger Zweiradmuseum, while the Magic World of Scenery showcases theatre stage backdrops in a former riding school. Train enthusiasts can visit the Meiningen Steam Locomotive Works, with its railway repair workshop owned by Deutsche Bahn.
Getting around Meiningen
Meiningen is around 2.5 hours’ drive from Frankfurt and Frankfurt Airport, which has flights to destinations across the globe. Regular trains connect to the Meiningen railway station and buses travel throughout the town, connecting most of its attractions. The centre of Meiningen can easily be explored on foot.