Greiz is the capital of the Greiz District, located on the Weiße Elster River, which starts its journey in the Czech Republic nearby. The town was founded in 1209, so the summer of 2009 marked its 800th anniversary.
Two singular palaces dominate the local architectural scene. Oberes Schloss, the Upper Castle, gives a daunting profile to the fifty-meter high hillside upon which it is perched.
One of the castle’s towers dates back to the town’s founding, though most of the structure had to be rebuilt after a lightning strike and fire in 1540. Nowadays, apartments and museums occupy its many floors.
Meanwhile, Unteres Schloss, the Lower Castle, was reconstructed in the classical style in 1802. It was modeled after the 16th-century original destroyed by fire. The interiors of this castle’s Blue Salon and former ballroom, now called White Hall, are exquisite in every detail. A museum on the premises will give you insights into its past and historical value.
In the center of the town, you can stroll through a park fashioned after a traditional English Garden. You will notice that many of the surrounding streets are lined with houses designed in the Jugendstil — art nouveau style.
Here you will find a third stunning building, the so-called “Summer Palace,” first opened in 1768. Since 1922, it has housed the National Book and Print Collection, including valuable donations from the estate of Princess Elizabeth of England (1770-1840). In its Garden Hall, exhibitions and concerts are held during the summer months.
Then, each autumn, the center of town transforms itself into a socio-cultural project, the Greizer Theaterherbst. This is when theater professionals come together for a weeklong festival of the arts.
The performers conduct workshops, stage dramas, and entertain guests who arrive from miles around. Since 1991, this festival has grown to become one of the most anticipated events on Thuringia’s calendar.