The Anna Amalia Library, part of Germany's Classical Weimar World Heritage site, re-opened to the public on October 24 after extensive restoration work following a devastating fire in 2004. The official opening was hosted by German President Horst Koehler.
The fire destroyed the library on 3 September 2004. After the debris was removed, efforts were focused on securing the structure with the help of a multi-disciplinary team including architects, structural engineers, restoration experts and others. The restorative works were completed based on respecting original style and materials, such as the plaster used and the colors of the façade.
About 50,000 books were destroyed in the fire and 62,000 damaged. Thousands of books have been carefully restored and 60,000 volumes have been returned to the library.
Classical Weimar was added to the World Heritage List in 1989. It is clearly linked with the artistic and literary works of universal significance of Johann Sebastian Bach, Franz Liszt, Johann Wolfgang Goethe and Friedrich Schiller. In 1761, Duchess Anna Amalia commissioned the State Architect to convert the three-storey Renaissance "Little French Castle" of 1562-69 into a library, of which Goethe was Director from 1797 to 1832. An extension in classical style was added in 1804, and in 1818-25 the neighbouring medieval City Tower was incorporated by means of a new entrance hall. A further extension was added in 1844-49.