The town of Gotha lies within the federal state of Thuringia in central Germany. Gotha has historical significance in Germany as it was chosen to be the capital of the Ducky of Saxe-Gotha in 1640, and became one of the two capitals of the Duchy of Saxe-Coburg-Gotha from 1826 to 1918.
The town's main attraction is its former ducal palace, Schloss Friedenstein, which is one of Germany's oldest early Baroque palaces. Completed in 1656, the palace was the prestigious residence of Duke Ernst I of Saxe-Gotha, with a 100-metre façade and side wings which stretch back 140 metres. The size and scale of the building, along with its raised position above Gotha, was a prominent symbol of the Duchy's power. The Protestand Duke Ernst I chose to keep the outward look of his palace plain and austere, with symmetry and strict forms, as well as its sheer scale, being the most recognisable features of Friedenstein Palace. The duke's son and heir, Friedrich I, transformed the interior of the palace, doing so in complete contrast to its simple exterior. Between 1680 and 1687, the interior was extensively and lavishly redesigned, leaving the ducal apartment, banqueting rooms and audience chambers as the epitome of opulence.