It is generally assumed that Sebastian lived for a while in family member and mayor Martin Feldhaus's home "Zur Goldenen Krone" at the corner of Ledermarkt and Holzmarkt (close to the main market square). Since 1704, Maria Barbara Bach (Sebastian's later wife) and her sisters lived in the same house. Sebastian's famous fight with student Geyersbach on August 4, 1705 also took place on this market square:
The Arnstadt years were perhaps Sebastian's "wild" years, the years of conflict with the Arnstadt authorities and the years of the Romantic walks to the Lübeck of Buxtehude. Bach's duties were not too heavy, and presumably he spent much of his time at the organ. The spirit of Bach's Arnstadt years is, in my opinion, very well captured by a masterfully conceived sculpture of Bernd Göbel, on the market square since 1985 (see the (inadequate) picture on the right). Most 19th century Bach statues represent the composer as a chubby but strict Prussian Feldwebel. Bernd Göbel has pictured Bach as a wigless, sensitive young artist experimenting at an imaginary organ.
Apart from the attractive Rathaus (town hall, picture on the left), the market square is also the location of the historical museum "Haus zum Palmbaum", which has a nice Bach exhibition (including the famous organ console of the Wender organ from Bach's time).
From a purely touristic point of view, and certainly under the ideal weather conditions of our trip, drinking a beer at the Arnstadt market square was a sensational experience. Also, the winding route from Arnstadt to Ilmenau in the South was one of our favorites.
Addresses: Bach Kirche, Markt. Opening hours: Mon-Sat: 10:30 - 12:30 and 14:00 - 16:00, Sun: 14:00 - 16:00. City Historical Museum "Haus zum Palmbaum", PSF2, Markt 3, O-5210 Arnstadt. Opening hours: Mon-Fri: 9:00 - 12:30 and 13:00 - 16:30. Sat and Sun: 13:00 -17:00.
Go to the J.S. Bach Home Page