The district dates back to the Großkreis Weimar, which was created in 1922 after the federal state Thuringia was established. The two cities Weimar and Apolda were not part of the district. In 1952 the district was split into two parts - Weimar and Apolda. In 1994 the two parts were merged again, however not completely covering the territory as before 1952.
The main river in the district is the Ilm. To the south are the hills of the Thuringia Forest, including the highest elevation is the Riechheimer Berg with 511 m above sea level. To the north of the district the landscape becomes less hilly, it belongs to the Thüringer Becken. In this part is also the lowest elevation with 120 m, at the meeting of the rivers Ilm and Saale. Near Bad Salza starts the Saale-Unstrut wine route, as the viticulture in the district has a tradition of more than 800 years.
The coat of arms shows symbols of the historic states on the territory of the district. The lion to the right stands for the dukes of Saxe-Weimar-Eisenach, the top left displays the Wheel of Mainz, and the three apples are the symbol of Apolda, as they were used in the coat of arms of the governors of Apolda. The coat of arms were granted on November 24, 1994.