Built between 1643 and 1654, Friedenstein Castle is the largest Early Baroque castle complex in Germany. The former residence of the Electors of Saxe-Coburg-Gotha stands on the 311-metre high Castle Hill above the Old Town of Gotha. The four-wing castle was built by Duke Ernest I the Pious with two characteristic towers and has largely been preserved. From the outside, the castle is primarily without decoration and looks quite plain – the Duke aimed to achieve clarity of form and function. However, the interior has numerous beautifully designed rooms and halls which have retained their original form and furnishings over the centuries. The probably most outstanding part of the castle is the Ekhof Theatre, the oldest castle theatre in the world with original wooden stage machinery dating from the 17th century. It is still used during the Ekhof Festival in the summer months. The theatre and other rooms can be seen on a guided tour of the castle.
Other items of interest which form part of the castle complex are the Castle Museum, the Museum of Regional History and Culture, the Museum of Nature, the archives and library, the casemates, the park and the very well-kept orangery garden.
In the southern part of the complex, the redeveloped Ducal Museum re-opened on 19 October 2013. Art ranging from antiquity to the modern age is on show, including works by Cranach and Caspar David Friedrich and one of the oldest Egyptian Collections in Europe. The exhibition rooms themselves have been returned to their former condition in 1879 and have regained their spacious character.
Why not get married at Friedenstein Castle? Couples can be married in the attractive setting of the Duchess's Antechamber.