History of the house

In the middle of the old town center, the guesthouse is not only close to numerous historical sights such as the Krämerbrücke, the Domplatz and the Augustinian monastery, but also not far from beautiful parks and the Gera in Erfurt's "Little Venice". Built right next to the Collegium Maius, the main building of the old Erfurt University, it is now being used for university purposes for the second time in two decades.

[Translate to English:] Zur großen Arche Noah und Engelsburg
[Translate to English:] IBZ und Michaelisstraße
[Translate to English:] Eingangsportal IBZ

Establishment of the IBZ by the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation

[Translate to English:] Eingangsportal_Tafel IBZ

With the handing over of the building in October 2000, the 13th International Meeting Center opened its doors in the new German states. The meeting centers were built by the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation in order to provide scientists and their families not only with suitable accommodation during their research stay, but also with the opportunity to establish diverse contacts with specialist colleagues. More than 30 years ago, the Foundation had already developed a program to improve the integration of foreign guests - after all, in addition to work, impressions and experiences from everyday life shape the image that guests take home with them of Germany. The living situation is of great importance.

A look into the past

[Translate to English:] Kellergewölbe

"What God gives remains worthless (Was Got beschert bleibt unerwert)". This saying stands over the portal in the Michaelisstrasse 38, in addition the year 1565. But the history of the house goes back further, already since 1395 the name "house to the large ark Noah and angel castle (Haus zur großen Arche Noah und Engelsburg)" exists. The house already served university purposes at that time. From 1392 to 1395 it was the residence and study place of the second rector Amplonius Rattingk von Bercka.

130 years later the printer Melchior Sachse set up his workshop here. 224 writings were published, including such important ones as Luther's translation of the Bible and the reprints of the Strasbourg edition of the Eulenspiegel. In 1565, Sachse, who had achieved prosperity through hard work, had the building rebuilt, extended and partly rebuilt in such a way that it still (or once again) presents itself to us today in its outer form. Since 1495, the Sachse family also owned a multi-storey back building extending to the Breitstrom. The house "Kleine Arche Noah", located at an angle to Furthmühlgasse, is considered the place of origin of the mocking verses Epistolae obscurorum virorum (Dunkelmännerbriefe), which were published anonymously in 1515 and 1516.

The more recent history of the estate was less glorious. Mainly used for residential purposes, it survived the last world war almost unscathed, but the state of construction deteriorated rapidly afterwards. Up to 16 tenants lived under unacceptable hygienic conditions. There were many plans to renovate the house professionally and use it for new purposes, but lack of money and materials prevented this for a long time.

In 1996, the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation took over the property as investor. Between 1998 and 2000, the listed building was extensively renovated and converted into the International Meeting Center Erfurt (IBZ). On October 2, 2000, the building was officially opened and handed over to the University of Erfurt.

The architecture of the house

[Translate to English:] Eingangsportal Frontansicht

The complex "Haus zur großen Arche Noah und Engelsburg" consists of a three-storey main building and a developed attic - it is located on the eaves side on Michaelisstraße - and a two-storey courtyard building along Furthmühlgasse. The main building has a massive first floor, above which there are two floors of plastered half-timbered construction with partially visible filling woods. The historic cellars, which are located under the building, are only partially used (e.g. for building services). A high-quality round arch and a cross vault with mitre are particularly valuable here. Since 2000, its exterior has essentially regained the appearance that Melchior Sachse had given it in 1565. The first floor is faced on the street side with 30 cm thick ashlars. The street side of the house is particularly emphasized: a rustic column with a bulge and ionic capital marks the transition to Furthmühlgasse. The eye-catcher of the façade is the entrance portal made of sandstone, which has survived the more than 400 years astonishingly well. Today it is one of the most beautiful Renaissance portals in Erfurt: the double-wing wooden door is vaulted by a diamond ashlar arch resting on volute capitals. With male character heads they crown the portal niches (often erroneously called sitting niches). To the right and left are fluted columns, on whose ionic capitals rests a tooth-cut beam. In the spandrels are the breast images of Christ and Paul, the two main pillars of Lutheran doctrine. Melchior Sachse the Younger had his own family crest and that of his wife Elisabeth - two crossed arrows and two tree-lined snakes - mounted in the aedicule above the entablature flanked by dolphins.