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Meiningen at a glance

Situated in the valley of the river Werra between Thuringian Forest and the rolling hills of the Rhön region the picturesque town of Meiningen has a lot to offer. The former ducal residence was founded more than one thousand years ago. A harmonious and spaciously designed townscape with wide avenues and imposing buildings as well as narrow alleys and half-timbered houses give the town a varied appeal and attraction. The late middle age richness of the city is still to be seen in many buildings, streets and squares. The English Garden with its fountains and statues, the Palace Garden by the river Werra and the historic town centre with its lovingly restored buildings and extraordinary cafés invite to an extensive stroll.

Meiningen became world famous with the theatre reforms of Duke Georg II of Saxe-Meiningen. The theatre museum ‘Magic World of Scenery’ (Zauberwelt der Kulisse) provides an astonishing insight into the art of theatre of the Meiningen company. The passion for arts in the house of Saxe-Meiningen attracted musicians like Brahms, Liszt and Wagner and the poet Friedrich Schiller spent an important time of his life here.


Meiningen is situated right in the heart of Germany. The town is located in southwest Thuringia in close proximity to the borders of Hesse and Bavaria. One of Germany’s most interesting and beautiful motorways, the Thuringian-Forest Autobahn A71, leads directly to Meiningen. The town is also connected to Eisenach and Würzburg via Interstate B19.

From the cities of Erfurt, Eisenach, Fulda, Würzburg and Bamberg, Meiningen can be reached in a one hour drive. You will need approximately two hours by car from Leipzig, Kassel, Frankfurt and Nuremberg.

How to get here

by car

From Erfurt / Dresden: motorway A4, then motorway A71 following signs for Schweinfurt, exit Meiningen-Nord
From Würzburg / Schweinfurt: motorway A71 following signs for Erfurt, exit Meiningen- Süd
From Bamberg: motorway A73 following signs for Erfurt, at Dreieck Suhl intersection take the exit for motorway A71 towards Schweinfurt, exit Meiningen-Nord
From Eisenach: Interstate B19
From Fulda: Interstate B279

by train

Regional express train
(RE) Chemnitz - Erfurt – Meiningen
Local passenger trains
(RB) Erfurt – Meiningen
(RB) Meiningen – Schweinfurt
(RB) Meiningen – Eisenach

In Eisenach, Erfurt and Würzburg there are connecting IntercityExpress trains.

by bus

The bus company MeinFernbus leaves from Zella-Mehlis to many cities in Germany and even neighbouring countries, for example Berlin, Hamburg, München, Stuttgart, Zürich and Kopenhagen. From Zella-Mehlis it’s a 30 minute train ride to Meiningen.

by plane

Frankfurt International Airport (180 km/112 miles away)
Erfurt Airport (60 km/37 miles away)
Nürnberg Airport (170 km/106 miles away)
Leipzig/Halle Airport (220 km/137 miles away)

Dates & Facts


21.448 (31.12.2014)

Administrative area of town

5.947 ha - thereof
49,5 % - 2.943 ha forest
17,6 % - 1.049 ha agricultural area
16,1 % - 955 ha green space
14,5 % - 864 ha residential area and roads
0,7 % - 41 ha water
1,6 % - 95 ha other


Town Centre: 285 metres above MSL
Dreißigacker: 430 metres above MSL
Herpf: 320 metres above MSL

Road network and transport connection

A 71 Erfurt-Schweinfurt
B 19 Eisenach-Würzburg
B 89 Hildburghausen, Sonneberg
B 280 Zella-Mehlis

train: hourly in all directions
local public transport

Manufacturing and trade

processing and manufacturing trade, high-precision and spezial purpose engineering, building industry and subconstruction work, commerce and service

Public health and welfare

Helios clinical centre, Geriatric hospital, doctors of all fields
3 nursing and special-care homes
3 senior-friendly residences/ retirement homes
7 daycare centres


3 elementary schools
2 secondary schools /junior high
2 high schools
3 vocational schools
3 special needs schools
educational centre of the Thuringian police and department police of the Thuringian College for Administration


The Meiningen Theatre, several museums, art galleries, library, adult education centre, music school, arts school

Leisure and recreation

Indoor and outdoor swimming pools, sports fields, multi-purpose hall, tennis court, bowling alleys, canoe facilities



Meiningen is first mentioned in records


The town is granted as a fief to the diocese of Würzburg by Emperor Henry II and remains under its rule for more than 500 years


Emperor Ludwig the Bavarian awards Meiningen the privileges of the free imperial town of Schweinfurt


Reconstruction of the castle, that had been destroyed in 1432, by bishop Lorenz von Bibra


Defeat of the town in the Peasant War


Counts of Henneberg exchange properties with the Bishop of Würzburg: they hand over the district of Mainberg and receive Meiningen


Dynasty of the Counts of Henneberg dies out and Meiningen becomes part of the regency of the Wettin family

around 1600

Meiningen experiences an economical boom due to linen and fustian manufacturing


The town is pillaged during the Thirty Years' War and its population decreases by half


Meiningen becomes part of the Duchy of Saxe-Altenburg


Change to the Duchy of Saxe-Gotha


Residence of the new Duchy of Saxe-Meiningen after the division of Saxe-Gotha


Construction of Elisabethenburg Palace


Duchess Charlotte-Amalie (1730-1801) takes over the reign after her husband`s death and brings innovation and change the duchy: her sons Karl and Georg I. continue with numerous reforms


Poet Friedrich Schiller arrives in Meiningen on his escape from Stuttgart and continues his journey to his asylum in Bauerbach


Inauguration of the Court Theatre of Meiningen


The Werra Valley railway is put into operation


With the outcome of the war between Prussia and Austria, Duke Bernhard II had to resign and handed over the power to his son Georg II (1826-1914)


The Meiningen Theatre Company of Duke Georg II is touring throughout Europe. The spectacular performances are renowned and have a great influence on the art of theatre at that time.


A fire destroys large parts of the town centre. Reconstruction until 1880.


With conductor Hans von Bülow the Court Orchestra (Meininger Hofkapelle) becomes one of the most demanded orchestras in Germany and also tours throughout Europe


Theatre building burns down in an destructive blaze, opening of the new building only one year later


The Soldiers' and Workers' Council forces Duke Bernhard III to abdicate


Meiningen becomes district seat in the state of Thuringia and keeps this status until today despite several changes of district boundaries and political structures


Large parts of the town are being destroyed in a heavy air raid. Meiningen is then first occupied by American troops and later by the Soviet Army


Installation of an official border checkpoint between GDR and Federal Republic of Germany within the restricted area around Meiningen


Opening of the Inner-German border just 12 km (7.5 miles) south of Meiningen eventually ends the 50 years of isolation to south and west


Development of the business park Meiningen-Dreißigacker, one of the largest in South Thuringia


Withdrawal of the Red Army troops from garrison town Meiningen


Complete refurbishment of the Meiningen Theatre building