The New International Encyclopædia/Eisenach
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EISENACH, ī'ze-nȧG. A town of the Grand Duchy of Saxe-Weimar, and former residence of the Principality of Eisenach, situated at the northwestern end of the Thuringian Forest and at the confluence of the Nesse with the Hörsel, 45 miles west of Weimar (Map: Germany, D 3). The town is well laid out, and has a number of squares, one of which, the Lutherplatz, contains the house where Luther lived while studying at Eisenach, and another, Karlsplatz, is adorned with a bronze statue of Luther. The most noteworthy ecclesiastical edifices are the Church of Saint Nicholas, dating from the twelfth century, with an octagonal tower: the Church of Saint George, a large Gothic edifice with a bronze statue of Sebastian Bach, a native of Eisenach. Other interesting buildings are the palace, erected in 1742; the town hall; the Klemda, an old castellated building dating from the thirteenth century, and now occupied by a club; the theatre; and the house where Sebastian Bach was born. Not far from the town, on a lofty eminence, is situated the Castle of Wartburg, the residence of the mediæval landgraves of Thuringia, dating probably from the eleventh century, but mainly built in the succeeding centuries, and recently restored. It consists of two main parts, the Vorburg and the Hofburg, the former containing the Ritterhaus and stables, and the latter the apartments of the landgraves. Among the rooms in the Vorburg, the most interesting is that occupied by Luther while he worked on his famous translation of the Bible. The Hofburg contains many halls of great splendor, including the Sängersaal, where, according to local tradition, the contests of the Minnesingers were held under the patronage of the Landgrave Hermann I. (1190-1217), as described in the old poem, Kriec von Wartburg. The castle is now occasionally occupied by the Grand Duke of Weimar.
Among the educational institutions of Eisenach, the most prominent is the gymnasium, formerly a Latin school, which counted among its pupils Luther and Sebastian Bach. Eisenach has some well-developed manufacturing industries, and produces paint, chemicals, woolen goods, leather, pottery, shoes, tobacco, and cigars. It owns its water-supply, has an electric street railway, and is lighted by gas and electricity. The neighborhood of Eisenach is of remarkable picturesqueness, ornamented with splendid gardens and magnificent residences. The town was founded in 1070, near the older town of Isenach, or Isenacum. It prospered under the protection of the landgraves of Thuringia, the owners of the Wartburg, and was, from 1596 to 1741, the residence of the princes of Eisenach. Population, in 1890, 21,399; in 1900, 31,442. Consult: Storch, Beschreibung der Stadt Eisenach (Eisenach, 1831); Schwerdt and Jäger, Eisenach und die Wartburg (ib., 1871); Warnatz, Die Wartburg und Eisenach in Sage und Geschichte (Vienna, 1881); Scheller, Eisenach und Umgebung, edited by Kühner (Eisenach, 1898).