The town of Wetzlar in the Lahn valley has a small mediaeval market square, impressive half-timbered houses, magnificent baroque architecture and a 700-year-old stone bridge across the River Lahn. Charming narrow streets and small retail shops make you want to spend time looking around the town. The symbol of the city is the unusual cathedral. The fact that it was built in several stages and never really completed is evident in the lack of uniformity in its appearance, and makes it architecturally particularly interesting. In addition, Wetzlar is part of the German Half-Timbered Route.
In the 12th century Wetzlar was on an equal footing with Frankfurt. The Emperor granted a municipal charter and it later became the judicial centre of the Holy Roman Empire. In 1771, when he was a trainee lawyer at the court, Goethe met the attractive Charlotte Buff, fell deeply in love with her and wrote here his famous novel The Sorrows of Young Werther. Over 200 years later you can follow Goethe’s footsteps in Wetzlar. This is particularly enjoyable when you take one of the walking tours of the town with a costumed guide.
For further tourist information please see the official website of Tourist-Information Wetzlar
Following in Goethe’s footsteps
Goethe was a writer who liked to develop his ideas while walking. In Wetzlar there is a path he frequently followed. You can take this 7.5 km trail, known as the Wetzlar Goethe Trail, yourself; it takes between two and three hours. The path leads you to 11 locations linked to Goethe and ends with a life-size statue of him as a young man. A guide to the trail is available at the Wetzlar Tourist Information Office and can be downloaded as a GPX track (This link will bring you to a German-language website).
Wetzlar, focus on optics
Wetzlar is also the optics centre of Germany. The compact camera was invented here in 1913. From then on photography became above all the way to record your travels. In Wetzlar particular attractions of this sort are large brilliants of optical glass and a special set of mirrors which produces a vast number of shadows and reflections. The “information points” and “tools” of the Optics Trail are to be found throughout the city. This is a project, constantly being extended, created by the city and its administration, the citizens, schools, universities, manufacturers of optical instruments and the local Chambers of Commerce. The aim is to help people appreciate that Wetzlar is the home of the Leica camera.
Photography in the Leica Theme Park
The new Leitz Headquarters in Leitz Park, formerly the Spilburg District, houses the Leica theme park, production facilities, administrative offices, the Leitz Akademie, a shop and customer service centre. The modern World of Leica Theme Park (Leica Erlebniswelt) enables you to experience the Leica brand directly, with all your senses, and provides fascinating insights and everything worth knowing about the firm’s history.
A Leica Shop with a photo studio which can be rented, a restaurant and a café complete the range of services and experiences in the Leitz Park. Admission to the World of Leica is free, appointments are not needed during regular opening hours.