“O LORD, I love the habitation of thy house, and
the place where thy glory dwells”
(Psalms 26, 8)
Ruhla´s history was strongly
influenced by decades of division. It was first officially mentioned in
1355 as a town divided between different authorities and lords.
During the 17th century the administrational boundary which followed the
Ruhla River that runs right through the town centre became the federal
In 1640 the heritage of John Duke of Weimar was divided between his sons
and as a result one half of Ruhla belonged to the duchy of Saxony-Gotha
while the other was part of the duchy of Saxony-Weimar (Eisenach).
the borderline between the two duchies was the "Erbstrom". The
separation was maintained until the foundation of the federal state of
Thuringia in 1920/21.
The Gotha part of Ruhla was also divided into two administrational areas:
and office Tenneberg/Waltershausen
- until 1833.
Ruhla being shattered into three totally independent congregations lead to
enormous hurdles in the territorial development as well as to differences,
misunderstandings and arguments, which finally hindered the collective use
and upkeep of the church "St. Trinitatis" (left)
in the Gotha part of the town.
division of Ruhla and the resulting argument between the churches (which
was transformed into a play by the native writer Arno Schlothauer and put
on stage by the folklore club "Alt-Ruhla" in 2001) made it necessary to
build the angle church of St. Concordia (right) in the Weimar-Eisenach part.
The history of St Concordia begins with the congregational meeting in
Ruhla-Eisenach on September 23rd, 1658, in which the citizens
agreed to the building of a new church after it had come to arguments
between the members of different congregations during church services.
After lengthy negotiations both dukes signed the "Separation-Recess"
on January 10th, 1660, which abolished the community of churches and
schools in Ruhla and allowed the Eisenach part of the congregation to
build their own church and school.
The construction was begun immediately. The planning and supervision was
done by the princely architect Johann Moritz Heinrich Richter from Weimar.
During the celebration which marked the opening of construction on
March 20th, 1660, he had the members of the congregation and the
guests mark the ground plan of its design with their bodies. The church
would have two wings at a right angle to match the conditions of a
landscape. The men in the crowd marked the right wing, the women
marked the left wing, just as the real building would be used. Where the
two wings met, the architect had all the children standing where the altar
It was a brilliant idea of the architect and an unconventional solution to
the problems posed by the prerequisites to build the new church of Ruhla
with two naves, each the size of a village church, at a right angle.
Lothar Koch, minister to the Concordia Church from 1905 to 1929,
characterized the construction thus:
"Like the swallow artfully smoothes her nest to a
wall, the princely architect has built the church at a steep mountain and
without care for conventional shapes he gave her two wings to clutch the
mountain firmly as though she had arms."
Note: Thanks to Helene Pawlitzki for doing the english translation!