The ensemble of buildings

Gotha Research Centre at Schloßberg 2, view from the Hauptmarkt
view from the Hauptmarkt

The Gotha Research Centre is located in the so-called Historischen Landschaftshaus (former meeting place of the duchy of Gotha) at Schloßberg 2. Just around the corner in direction to the city at Hauptmarkt 17 a-b is a modern extension that serves as an office building and also includes guest apartments.

Historisches Landschaftshaus Schloßberg 2

Since May 2018, the Gotha Research Center has been based in the so-called Historischen Landschaftshaus at Schloßberg 2, which once accommodated the estates of the former duchy of Saxony-Gotha. The historical ensemble, which dates back to the 17th century and has been extensively renovated by the city of Gotha. Today it is the main building of the Research Center, which houses the directorate and the administrative office, as well as event rooms and several project offices. The centerpiece of the building is the lecture hall, which extends over two floors and can provide seats for around 70 people. It dates to the 19th century and was formerly used by the state parliament of the duchy and from 1918 to 1920 the parliament of the State of Saxony-Gotha held conferences in this building. 

[Translate to English:] Forschungszentrum vom Schloßberg aus

About the history of the building Schloßberg 2

Building from the Hauptmarkt around 1678

Today's ensemble of buildings at Schloßberg 2 can be traced back to two neighboring residential buildings at the Oberern Hauptmarkt  and at the lower end of the Schlossberg. According to documents they can be traced back to the 17th century. In 1643, the ducal chamber purchased the residence of the ducal cavalry captain Johann Breithaupt on the Oberer Hauptmarkt for 1,000 gulden. A few years later, it was acquired by the polymath and linguist Hiob Ludolf (1624-1704), who was appointed court counsellor in 1660. The building was probably largely rebuilt. After Ludolf's departure from Gotha in 1675, the ducal chamber placed the house at the disposal of the first high court preacher Johann Christian Gotter (1607-1677) as a residence.

While Gotter was still living in the building it was sold to the ducal chamber director Friedrich Born (since about 1688 Freiherr v. Born), who commisioned the house to be remodeled and had a uniform, stuccoed facade made. In 1716, the house belonged to the commander of the ducal bodyguard, Major General Heinrich von Westernhagen, who had probably resided there since 1699. 

[Translate to English:] Landschaftshaus Ostfassade 1857

Around the middle of the 18th century, the estates of the duchy of Saxe-Gotha acquired the building, but under the pressure of the ducal chamber they had to lease it to others and continue to hold their meetings in the town hall. It was not until 1764 that the chamber, to which the building had reverted to in the meantime, made it permanently available for use by the "Landschaft", as the estates were also called. On October 2, 1848, the first state parliament with greater civic participation was held there. In 1861-64 the hall, which had already been enlarged before, was raised by one floor and the gallery was built. In the gallery 175 balusters from the ducal theater were used, which had been remodeled in 1860. In 1888 the hall was renovated again and a "parquet floor" was installed.

From the middle of the 19th century, various state authorities also moved in, initially parts of the judicial office and the court martial, around 1900 the State Credit Institute in Gotha and in 1912 the Insurance Department was provided with rooms on the upper floor. For a short amount of time it accommodated the parliament and government seat of the Free State of Thuringia (1918-20). Shortly after the building became the property of the newly founded Free State of Thuringia in 1920, which also housed various authorities here. Around 1930, the „Thüringischen Bakteriologischen Untersuchungsanstalt“ (Thuringian Bacteriological Examination Institute) moved in, followed by the Gotha Police Directorate in 1935. In 1943, the Gauleitung in Thüringen of the NSDAP rented three rooms.

Landschaftshaus with headquarters of the Volkssolidarität around 1960

In 1945, the state of Thuringia established a Hygiene Institute in the Landschaftshaus, which existed as a state authority until July 1952. With the territorial reform of 1952, the Hygiene Institute was assigned to the district of Suhl, which, unlike the district of Erfurt to which Gotha was annexed, did not yet have such a facility, and renamed the "Bezirkshygieneinspektion und -institut Suhl/Sitz Gotha“ (District Hygiene Inspectorate and Institute Suhl/Seated in Gotha). In order to fulfill this purpose and to create more space for laboratory installations, the historic conference hall was temporarily deprived of its shape because a false ceiling was installed. After the unification of the two German states, the reestablished Free State of Thuringia decided on December 11, 1990, to close the Hygiene Inspectorates and Institutes of the districts of Erfurt, Gera and Suhl; the Gotha facility was closed in 1993.

After the Hygiene Institute moved out, the building stood empty for more than 15 years. In 2008, Baugesellschaft Gotha mbH (construction company) acquired the building from the properties of the State. After the demolition of all rear and side buildings as well as an extensive renovation, the house was handed over to the University of Erfurt in May 2018 for use by the Gotha Research Center.

Source:  Das Landschaftshaus Gotha, ed. Baugesellschaft Gotha mbH. Gotha 2018.

1) View of the main market around 1678. Washed pencil drawing by Mathes and Jost Bieler. Landesarchiv Thüringen - Staatsarchiv Gotha, Staatsministerium Abt. Gotha, Departement IV, Sekretarienschrank Loc. 7 Nr. 8, Bl. 19. (detail).
2) Landschaftshaus east façade 1857, pen and ink drawing by König. State Archives of Thuringia - Gotha State Archives, Map Collection CC 1.2/33 (detail).
3) Landschaftshaus with headquarters of the Volkssolidarität around 1960. Collection Jürgen Hißner, Gotha.

Guest House and Office Building Hauptmarkt 17a-b