Friedenstein means ‘rock of peace’ – a name that was chosen by Duke Ernest the Pious as a symbolic expression for the longing for peace after the 30 Years' War. The palace was one of the residences of the dukes of Saxe-Coburg-Gotha. Today it houses various museums and the ducal rooms. A tour of the palace always includes the beautiful festive hall, where Queen Victoria and Prince Albert used to dance during balls.
Thuringia and the Royals of Europe
The Ernestine dynasty who ruled in Thuringia for many centuries has not only left amazing palaces, castles and museums but also established links with the royal families of Europe by a busy marriage policy. From England, via Denmark, Sweden and Belgium up to Bulgaria and Monaco – there are plenty of connections, the most famous family offspring certainly being Prince Albert of Saxe-Coburg-Gotha and Queen Victoria.
Friedenstein Castle in Gotha was one of the residences of the dukes of Saxe-Coburg-Gotha and is now home to various museums.
The festive hall of Friedenstein Castle was the site of balls and receptions. Among the illustrious guests were also Queen Victoria and Prince Albert.
The baroque Ekhof Theatre in Friedenstein Castle comes back to life every year in July and August.
The Baroque Garden of Friedenstein Castle is one of several gardens and parks surrounding the palace and museum complex.
The Ducal Museum of Gotha presents the magnificent art and antiquities collections of the dukes of Saxe-Coburg-Gotha.
Gotha, where Queen Victoria was royally amused
The town of Gotha was one the favourite residences of the dukes of Saxe-Coburg-Gotha, with Prince Albert, Queen Victoria and their children being frequent guests. The queen loved visiting Thuringia – ‘I feel so at home here’ is what she wrote into her diary on 2nd September 1845.
Her husband Prince Albert of Saxe-Coburg-Gotha had a special relationship to Gotha. The town was the home of his beloved grandmother Duchess Karoline Amalie of Saxe-Coburg-Altenburg, whom he visited very often.
With Friedenstein Castle, the Ekhof Theatre, the Ducal Museum, the Orangery and the gardens – a Baroque Universe from the late 1600s has survived in Gotha.
Meiningen - birthplace of Queen Adelaide
Meiningen is the birthplace of Adelheid of Saxe-Meiningen. Born as daughter of Duke George I, she became the wife of William Duke of Clarence in 1818. When in 1831, William was crowned as King William IV, she became queen consort of the United Kingdom and of Hanover. With all of her children having died young, she developed a special relationship to her niece the later Queen Victoria, who once said she had confided in her ‘more than in her own mother’. In Thuriniga, Elisabethenburg in Meiningen and Altenstein near Bad Liebenstein are linked with her.