On October 17th, 1707, a wedding party in Arnstadt set off for Dornheim, 3 kilometres away. Both then and now, a large gate led into the small, enchanting courtyard next to Bach’s matrimonial church, Saint Bartholomew. The bridal couple were the organist of the Divi Blasii Church in Mühlhausen, Johann Sebastian Bach, and his second cousin, Maria Barbara Bach, the daughter of the organist and composer Johann Michael Bach.
Perhaps it was their friendship with the Dornheim pastor Johann Lorenz Stauber that caused the couple to choose the little village church for their wedding. Seven of Bach’s children were born during his marriage with the musically talented Maria Barbara, including the most famous Bach sons Wilhelm Friedemann and Carl Philipp Emanuel, as well as Johann Gottfried Bernhard, who also became the organist in Mühlhausen.
In addition to the entry in the church records, a fragment of the wedding quodlibet BWV 524 has survived—a cheerful, spontaneous piece, with texts that probably refer to members of the Bach family or their relatives.
of all Bach Locations
Inside, the epitaph of the Schwarzburg chief captain Christoph von Entzenbergk from 1585 and a Gothic winged altarpiece from 1430 are particularly worth seeing.
The bust of Bach in the church courtyard was unveiled in 2002. Like the monument in Arnstadt, it was created by the sculptor Bernd Göbel from Halle.
The some 60-kilometre-long Bach Cycle Experience Route leads through the places that formed Bach’s childhood and youth. You can bike the three kilometres from Arnstadt to Dornheim, following the path of Bach’s wedding party.
Route can begin/end anywhere
Parking: Dornheim town centre