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Erfurt ( , ; ) is the
capital Capital most commonly refers to: * Capital letter Letter case (or just case) is the distinction between the letters that are in larger uppercase or capitals (or more formally ''majuscule'') and smaller lowercase (or more formally ''minusc ...
and largest city in the state of
Thuringia Thuringia (; german: Thüringen ), officially the Free State of Thuringia ( ), is a states of Germany, state of Germany. Located in central Germany, it covers , being the sixth smallest of the sixteen German States (including City States). It ...
, central Germany. It is located in the southern part of the
Thuringian Basin The Thuringian Basin (german: Thüringer Becken) is a depression (geology), depression in the central and northwest part of Thuringia in Germany which is crossed by several rivers, the longest of which is the Unstrut. It stretches about from north ...
, within the wide valley of the
Gera river The Gera is a river A river is a natural flowing watercourse, usually freshwater, flowing towards an ocean, sea, lake or another river. In some cases a river flows into the ground and becomes dry at the end of its course without reaching ano ...
. It is located south-west of
Leipzig Leipzig (, ; Upper Saxon: ) is the most populous city in the Germany, German States of Germany, state of Saxony. With a population of 605,407 inhabitants as of 2021 (1.1 million residents in the larger urban zone), it surpasses the Saxon c ...

Leipzig
, south-west of
Berlin Berlin (; ) is the Capital city, capital and List of cities in Germany by population, largest city of Germany by both area and population. Its 3,769,495 inhabitants, as of 31 December 2019 makes it the List of cities in the European Union by ...

Berlin
, north of
Munich Munich ( ; german: München ; bar, Minga ) is the capital and most populous city of Bavaria. With a population of 1,558,395 inhabitants as of 31 July 2020, it is the List of cities in Germany by population, third-largest city in Germany, ...

Munich
and north-east of
Frankfurt Frankfurt, officially Frankfurt am Main (; Hessian dialects, Hessian: , "Franks, Frank ford (crossing), ford on the Main (river), Main"; french: Francfort-sur-le-Main), is the most populous city in the States of Germany, German state of Hess ...

Frankfurt
. Together with a string of neighbouring cities
Gotha Gotha () is the fifth-largest city in Thuringia Thuringia (; german: Thüringen ), officially the Free State of Thuringia ( ), is a state State may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media Literature * ''State Magazine'', a monthly magazi ...

Gotha
,
Weimar Weimar (; la, Vimaria or Vinaria) is a city in the federal state of Thuringia, Germany. It is located in Central Germany (cultural area), Central Germany between Erfurt in the west and Jena in the east, approximately southwest of Leipzig, nor ...

Weimar
,
Jena Jena (; ) is a German city A city is a large human settlement.Goodall, B. (1987) ''The Penguin Dictionary of Human Geography''. London: Penguin.Kuper, A. and Kuper, J., eds (1996) ''The Social Science Encyclopedia''. 2nd edition. London: Rou ...

Jena
and others, Erfurt forms the central metropolitan corridor of Thuringia called ''Thüringer Städtekette'' (German "Thuringian city chain") with over 500,000 inhabitants. Erfurt's old town is one of the best preserved medieval city centres in Germany. Tourist attractions include the
Krämerbrücke The Krämerbrücke (Merchants' bridge) is a medieval arch bridge An arch bridge is a bridge with abutments at each end shaped as a curved arch. Arch bridges work by transferring the weight of the bridge and its loads partially into a horizont ...

Krämerbrücke
(Merchants' bridge), the Old Synagogue, the ensemble of
Erfurt Cathedral Erfurt Cathedral (german: Erfurter Dom, link=no, officially ''Hohe Domkirche St. Marien zu Erfurt'', English: Cathedral Church of St Mary at Erfurt), also known as St Mary's Cathedral, is the largest and oldest church building in t ...

Erfurt Cathedral
and ''Severikirche'' (St Severus's Church) and
Petersberg Citadel Petersberg Citadel (German:''Zitadelle Petersberg'') in Erfurt Erfurt ( , ; ) is the and largest city in the state of , central Germany. It is located in the southern part of the , within the wide valley of the . It is located south-west o ...
, one of the largest and best preserved town fortresses in Europe. The city's economy is based on agriculture, horticulture and microelectronics. Its central location has led to it becoming a logistics hub for Germany and central Europe. Erfurt hosts the second-largest trade fair in eastern Germany (after Leipzig) as well as the public television children's channel
KiKa KiKA (contraction of ''Der KinderKAnal von ARD und ZDF''  he Children's Channel of ARD (broadcaster), ARD and ZDF is a Germany, German free-to-air television channel based in Erfurt, Germany. It is managed by a joint venture by public-se ...
. The city is situated on the
Via Regia The Via Regia (Royal Highway) is a European Cultural Route following the route of the historic road of the Middle Ages. There were many such ''viae regiae'' associated with the king in the medieval Holy Roman Empire. History Origins The V ...
, a medieval trade and pilgrims' road network. Modern day Erfurt is also a hub for
ICE Ice is water Water (chemical formula H2O) is an , transparent, tasteless, odorless, and , which is the main constituent of 's and the s of all known living organisms (in which it acts as a ). It is vital for all known forms of , eve ...
high speed trains and other German and European transport networks. Erfurt was first mentioned in 742, as
Saint Boniface Boniface ( la, Bonifatius; 675 – 5 June 754), born in the Crediton Crediton is a town and civil parishes in England, civil parish in the Mid Devon district of Devon in England. It stands on the A377 road, A377 Exeter to Barnstaple road ...
founded the diocese. Although the town did not belong to any of the Thuringian states politically, it quickly became the economic centre of the region and it was a member of the
Hanseatic League The Hanseatic League (; gml, Hanse, , ; german: label=Modern German New High German (NHG) is the term used for the most recent period in the history of the German language German (: , ) is a mainly spoken in . It is the most widely ...
. It was part of the
Electorate of Mainz The Electorate of Mainz Mainz (; ; la, Mogontiacum) is the capital and largest city of Rhineland-Palatinate, Germany. Most of the city is upstream of the Rhine before it flows west. The north of the city faces Wiesbaden, in Hesse, and the ...
during the
Holy Roman Empire The Holy Roman Empire ( la, Sacrum Romanum Imperium; german: Heiliges Römisches Reich) was a multi-ethnic complex of territories in Western Western may refer to: Places *Western, Nebraska, a village in the US *Western, New York, a town i ...
, and later became part of the
Kingdom of Prussia The Kingdom of Prussia (german: Königreich Preußen) was a German kingdom Kingdom may refer to: Monarchy * A type of monarchy * A realm ruled by: **A king, during the reign of a male monarch **A queen regnant, during the reign of a female ...
in 1802. From 1949 until 1990 Erfurt was part of the
German Democratic Republic German(s) may refer to: * Germany (of or related to) **Germania (historical use) * Germans, citizens of Germany, people of German ancestry, or native speakers of the German language ** For citizens of Germany, see also German nationality law **Ger ...
(East Germany). The
University of Erfurt The University of Erfurt (german: Universität Erfurt) is a public university located in Erfurt Erfurt ( , ; ) is the capital and largest city in the state of Thuringia, central Germany. It is located in the southern part of the Thuringia ...
was founded in 1379,University of Erfurt. History. Timeline
/ref> making it the first university to be established within the geographic area which constitutes modern-day Germany. It closed in 1816 and was re-established in 1994, with the main modern campus on what was a teachers' training college.
Martin Luther Martin Luther (; ; 10 November 1483 – 18 February 1546) was a German German(s) may refer to: Common uses * of or related to Germany * Germans, Germanic ethnic group, citizens of Germany or people of German ancestry * For citiz ...

Martin Luther
(1483–1546) was its most famous student, studying there from 1501 before entering St Augustine's Monastery in 1505. Other noted Erfurters include the medieval philosopher and mystic
Meister Eckhart Eckhart von Hochheim ( – ), commonly known as Meister Eckhart or Eckehart, was a German Catholic theology, theologian, philosopher and German mysticism, mystic, born near Gotha (town), Gotha in the Thuringia, Landgraviate of Thuringia (now ce ...
(c. 1260–1328), the Baroque composer
Johann Pachelbel Johann Pachelbel (baptised 1 September 1653 – buried 9 March 1706; also Bachelbel) was a German composer, organist Image:Organist at Lausanne Cathedral.jpg, A cathedral organist in Lausanne Cathedral An organist is a musician who plays any ...
(1653–1706) and the sociologist
Max Weber Maximilian Karl Emil Weber (; ; 21 April 186414 June 1920) was a German Sociology, sociologist, historian, jurist, and political economy, political economist regarded as among the most important theorists of the development of Modernity, modern ...

Max Weber
(1864–1920).


History


Prehistory and antiquity

Erfurt is an old . The earliest evidence of human settlement dates from the prehistoric era; archaeological finds from the north of Erfurt revealed human traces from the
paleolithic The Paleolithic or Palaeolithic or Palæolithic (), also called the Old Stone Age (from Greek palaios - old, lithos - stone), is a period in prehistory Prehistory, also known as pre-literary history, is the period of human history ...
period, ca. 100,000 BCE. To the west of Erfurt in Frienstedt existed, in the AD era, a big
Germanic Germanic may refer to: * Germanic peoples, an ethno-linguistic group identified by their use of the Germanic languages ** List of ancient Germanic peoples and tribes * Germanic languages :* Proto-Germanic language, a reconstructed proto-language of ...

Germanic
village, which was found during the construction of a highway. Where they also discovered the oldest Germanic word ever discovered in Central Germany written in
runic script Runes are the letter (alphabet), letters in a set of related alphabets known as runic alphabets, which were used to write various Germanic languages before the adoption of the Latin alphabet and for specialised purposes thereafter. The Scandinav ...

runic script
was found on a comb from a sacrificial shaft the word: "kaba". From
Roman Times In historiography, ancient Rome is Roman people, Roman civilization from the founding of the Italian city of Rome in the 8th century BC to the collapse of the Western Roman Empire in the 5th century AD, encompassing the Roman Kingdom (753 BC ...
, however, they found 200 coins dating back to the 3rd century, plus 150 Roman ceramic fragments and more than 200
fibulae The fibula or calf bone is a leg bone A bone is a Stiffness, rigid tissue (anatomy), tissue that constitutes part of the vertebrate skeleton in animals. Bones protect the various organs of the body, produce red blood cell, red and white bloo ...
. Also 11 inhumation graves of the Haßleben-Leuna group, which is an archeological cultural group. The Melchendorf dig in the southern city part showed a settlement from the
neolithic period The Neolithic period is the final division of the Stone Age The Stone Age was a broad prehistoric Prehistory, also known as pre-literary history, is the period of human history Human history, also known as world history, is the ...
. The
Thuringii The Thuringii (Thervingi), Toringi or Teuriochaimai, were an early Germanic people that appeared during the late Migration Period The Migration Period or better known as the Barbarian Invasions (from the Roman and Greek perspective) was a per ...
inhabited the Erfurt area ca. 480 and gave their name to Thuringia ca. 500.


Middle Age

The town is first mentioned in 742 under the name of "Erphesfurt": in that year,
Saint Boniface Boniface ( la, Bonifatius; 675 – 5 June 754), born in the Crediton Crediton is a town and civil parishes in England, civil parish in the Mid Devon district of Devon in England. It stands on the A377 road, A377 Exeter to Barnstaple road ...
wrote to
Pope Zachary Pope Zachary ( la, Zacharias; 679 – March 752) was the bishop of Rome A bishop is an ordained, consecrated, or appointed member of the Clergy#Christianity, Christian clergy who is generally entrusted with a position of authority and oversigh ...

Pope Zachary
to inform him that he had established three
diocese In Ecclesiastical polity, church governance, a diocese or bishopric is the ecclesiastical district under the jurisdiction of a bishop. History In the later organization of the Roman Empire, the increasingly subdivided Roman province, prov ...
s in central Germany, one of them "in a place called Erphesfurt, which for a long time has been inhabited by pagan natives." All three dioceses (the other two were
Würzburg Würzburg (; Main-Franconian: ) is a List of cities and towns in Germany, city in the traditional region of Franconia in the north of the Germany, German state of Bavaria. Würzburg is the administrative seat of the ''Regierungsbezirk'' Lower Fra ...

Würzburg
and
Büraburg The Büraburg was a prominent hill castle A hill castle or mountain castle is a castle in East Sussex East Sussex is a county A county is a geographical region of a country used for administrative or other purposesChambers Dictiona ...
) were confirmed by Zachary the next year, though in 755 Erfurt was brought into the
diocese of Mainz The Diocese of Mainz, historically known in English by its French name of Mayence is a Latin rite of the Catholic church in Germany. It was founded in 304, promoted in 780 to Metropolitan Archbishopric of Mainz and demoted back in 1802 to bishopri ...
. That the place was populous already is borne out by archeological evidence, which includes 23 graves and six horse burials from the sixth and seventh centuries. Throughout the
Middle Ages In the history of Europe The history of Europe concerns itself with the discovery and collection, the study, organization and presentation and the interpretation of past events and affairs of the people of Europe since the beginning of ...
, Erfurt was an important trading town because of its location, near a
ford Ford commonly refers to: * Ford Motor Company The Ford Motor Company, commonly known as Ford, is an American multinational automaker that has its main headquarters in Dearborn, Michigan, a suburb of Detroit (strait) , nicknames ...
across the Gera river. Together with the other five Thuringian
woad ''Isatis tinctoria'', also called woad (), dyer's woad, or glastum, is a flowering plant in the family Brassicaceae. It is occasionally known as Asp of Jerusalem. Woad is also the name of a blue dye produced from the leaves of the plant. Woad ...
towns of
Gotha Gotha () is the fifth-largest city in Thuringia Thuringia (; german: Thüringen ), officially the Free State of Thuringia ( ), is a state State may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media Literature * ''State Magazine'', a monthly magazi ...
, Tennstedt,
Arnstadt Arnstadt () is a town in Ilm-Kreis, Thuringia, Germany, on the river Gera (river), Gera about 20 kilometres south of Erfurt, the capital of Thuringia. Arnstadt is one of the oldest towns in Thuringia, and has a well-preserved historic centre with a ...

Arnstadt
and Langensalza it was the centre of the German woad trade, which made those cities very wealthy. Erfurt was the junction of important trade routes: the
Via Regia The Via Regia (Royal Highway) is a European Cultural Route following the route of the historic road of the Middle Ages. There were many such ''viae regiae'' associated with the king in the medieval Holy Roman Empire. History Origins The V ...
was one of the most used east–west roads between France and Russia (via
Frankfurt Frankfurt, officially Frankfurt am Main (; Hessian dialects, Hessian: , "Franks, Frank ford (crossing), ford on the Main (river), Main"; french: Francfort-sur-le-Main), is the most populous city in the States of Germany, German state of Hess ...

Frankfurt
, Erfurt,
Leipzig Leipzig (, ; Upper Saxon: ) is the most populous city in the Germany, German States of Germany, state of Saxony. With a population of 605,407 inhabitants as of 2021 (1.1 million residents in the larger urban zone), it surpasses the Saxon c ...

Leipzig
and
Wrocław Wrocław (; german: Breslau ; sli, Brassel; cs, Vratislav), ''Wratislavia''. is a city in southwestern Poland and the largest city in the historical region of Silesia. It lies on the banks of the River Oder in the Silesian Lowlands of Centra ...

Wrocław
) and another route in the north–south direction was the connection between the
Baltic Sea The Baltic Sea is an arm of the Atlantic Ocean, enclosed by Denmark Denmark ( da, Danmark, ) is a Nordic country The Nordic countries, or the Nordics, are a geographical and cultural region In geography, regions are areas that a ...

Baltic Sea
ports (e. g.
Lübeck Lübeck (; Low German Low German or Low Saxon (in the language itself: , and other names; german: Plattdeutsch, ) is a West Germanic languages, West Germanic language variety spoken mainly in Northern Germany and the northeastern part of the ...

Lübeck
) and the potent upper Italian city-states like
Venice Venice ( ; it, Venezia ; vec, Venesia or ) is a city in northeastern Italy Italy ( it, Italia ), officially the Italian Republic ( it, Repubblica Italiana, links=no ), is a country consisting of delimited by the and surrounding ...
and
Milan Milan (, , Milanese: ; it, Milano ) is a city in northern Italy, capital of Lombardy, and the List of cities in Italy, second-most populous city proper in Italy after Rome. The city proper has a population of about 1.4 million, while its ...

Milan
. During the 10th and 11th centuries both the
Emperor An emperor (from la, imperator The Latin word "imperator" derives from the stem of the verb la, imperare, label=none, meaning 'to order, to command'. It was originally employed as a title roughly equivalent to ''commander'' under the Roma ...
and the
Electorate of Mainz The Electorate of Mainz Mainz (; ; la, Mogontiacum) is the capital and largest city of Rhineland-Palatinate, Germany. Most of the city is upstream of the Rhine before it flows west. The north of the city faces Wiesbaden, in Hesse, and the ...
held some privileges in Erfurt. The German kings had an important monastery on Petersberg hill and the Archbishops of Mainz collected taxes from the people. Around 1100, some people became free citizens by paying the annual "" (liberation tax), which marks a first step in becoming an independent city. During the 12th century, as a sign of more and more independence, the citizens built a city wall around Erfurt (in the area of today's ). After 1200, independence was fulfilled and a city council was founded in 1217; the town hall was built in 1275. In the following decades, the council bought a city-owned territory around Erfurt which consisted at its height of nearly 100 villages and castles and even another small town (
Sömmerda Sömmerda is a town near Erfurt in Thuringia, Germany, on the Unstrut river. It is the capital of the Sömmerda (district), district of Sömmerda. History Archeological digs in the area that is now Sömmerda, formerly Leubingen, have uncovered ...
). Erfurt became an important regional power between the
Landgraviate of Thuringia The Duchy of Thuringia was an eastern frontier march of the Merovingian The Merovingian dynasty () was the ruling family of the Franks The Franks ( la, Franci or ) were a group of Germanic peoples The historical Germanic peoples (from ...
around, the Electorate of Mainz to the west and the
Electorate of Saxony The Electorate of Saxony (german: Kurfürstentum Sachsen, also ') was a state State may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media Literature * ''State Magazine'', a monthly magazine published by the U.S. Department of State * The State (newsp ...
to the east. Between 1306 and 1481, Erfurt was allied with the two other major Thuringian cities (
Mühlhausen Mühlhausen () is a city in the north-west of Thuringia Thuringia (; german: Thüringen ), officially the Free State of Thuringia ( ), is a states of Germany, state of Germany. Located in central Germany, it covers , being the sixth sma ...

Mühlhausen
and
NordhausenNordhausen may refer to: * Nordhausen (district), a district in Thuringia, Germany ** Nordhausen, Thuringia, a city in the district **Nordhausen station, the railway station in the city **Free Imperial City of Nordhausen, a free imperial city of the ...
) in the Thuringian City Alliance and the three cities joined the
Hanseatic League The Hanseatic League (; gml, Hanse, , ; german: label=Modern German New High German (NHG) is the term used for the most recent period in the history of the German language German (: , ) is a mainly spoken in . It is the most widely ...
together in 1430. A peak in economic development was reached in the 15th century, when the city had a population of 20,000 making it one of the largest in Germany. Between 1432 and 1446, a second and higher city wall was established. In 1483, a first city fortress was built on Cyriaksburg hill in the southwestern part of the town. The Jewish community of Erfurt was founded in the 11th century and became, together with
Mainz Mainz (; ) is the capital and largest city of Rhineland-Palatinate Rhineland-Palatinate (german: Rheinland-Pfalz, ) is a western state State may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media Literature * ''State Magazine'', a monthly magazine ...

Mainz
,
Worms The World Register of Marine Species (WoRMS) is a taxonomic database that aims to provide an authoritative and comprehensive list of names of marine organisms. Content The content of the registry is edited and maintained by scientific specialists ...
and
Speyer Speyer (, older spelling ''Speier'', known as ''Spire'' in French and formerly as ''Spires'' in English) is a city in Rhineland-Palatinate in Germany with approximately 50,000 inhabitants. Located on the left bank of the river Rhine, Speyer lies ...

Speyer
, one of the most influential in Germany. Their Old Synagogue is still extant and a museum today, as is the
mikveh Mikveh or mikvah (,  ''mikva'ot'', ''mikvoth'', ''mikvot'', or (Yiddish Yiddish (, or , ''yidish'' or ''idish'', , ; , ''Yidish-Taytsh'', ) is a West Germanic The West Germanic languages constitute the largest of the three branch ...

mikveh
at Gera river near .Archeologists Discover Medieval Jewish Bath in Erfurt, 12.04.2007, Deutsche Welle

/ref> In 1349, during the wave of
Black Death Jewish persecutions The Black Death persecutions and massacres were a series of violent attacks on Jewish communities Jewish ethnic divisions refer to many distinctive communities within the world's Ethnicity, ethnically Jewish population. Although considered a Cult ...
across Europe, the Jews of Erfurt were rounded up, with more than 100 killed and the rest driven from the city. Before the persecution, a wealthy Jewish merchant buried his property in the basement of his house. In 1998, this treasure was found during construction works. The
Erfurt Treasure The Erfurt Treasure is a hoard of coins, goldsmiths' work and jewelry that is assumed to have belonged to Jews who hid them in 1349 at the time of the Black Death Jewish persecutions, Black Death pogroms. The pieces were found in 1998 in the wall o ...
with various gold and silver objects is shown in the exhibition in the synagogue today. Only a few years after 1349, the Jews moved back to Erfurt and founded a second community, which was disbanded by the city council in 1458. In 1379,History and Buildings
/ref> the
University of Erfurt The University of Erfurt (german: Universität Erfurt) is a public university located in Erfurt Erfurt ( , ; ) is the capital and largest city in the state of Thuringia, central Germany. It is located in the southern part of the Thuringia ...
was founded. Together with the
University of Cologne The University of Cologne (german: Universität zu Köln) is a university in Cologne, Germany. It was the sixth university to be established in Central Europe and, although it closed in 1798 before being re-established in 1919, it is now one of ...
it was one of the first city-owned universities in Germany, while they were usually owned by the '. Some buildings of this old university are extant or restored in the "Latin Quarter" in the northern city centre (like , student dorms "" and others, the hospital and the church of the university). The university quickly became a hotspot of German cultural life in
Renaissance humanism Renaissance humanism was a revival in the study of classical antiquity Classical antiquity (also the classical era, classical period or classical age) is the period of cultural history between the 8th century BC and the 6th century AD cent ...
with scholars like
Ulrich von Hutten Ulrich von Hutten (21 April 1488 – 29 August 1523) was a Germany, German knight, scholar, poet and satire, satirist, who later became a follower of Martin Luther and a Protestant reformer. By 1519, he was an outspoken criticism, critic of the R ...

Ulrich von Hutten
, and
Justus Jonas Image:Justus-Jonas-6.jpg, Justus Jonas, 1543 Justus Jonas, the Elder (5 June 1493 – 9 October 1555), or simply Justus Jonas, was a Germany, German Lutheranism, Lutheran theologian and reformer. He was a Jurist, Professor (highest academic rank), ...

Justus Jonas
. In the year 1184, Erfurt was the location of a notable accident called the ''Erfurter Latrinensturz'' ( 'Latrine fall'). King
Henry VIHenry VI may refer to: * Henry VI, Holy Roman Emperor (1165–1197) * Henry VI, Count Palatine of the Rhine (ruled 1212–1214) * Henry VI, Count of Luxembourg (crowned 1281, died 1288) * Henry VI the Older (before 1345 – 1393) * Henry VI, Count o ...

Henry VI
held council in a building of the
Erfurt Cathedral Erfurt Cathedral (german: Erfurter Dom, link=no, officially ''Hohe Domkirche St. Marien zu Erfurt'', English: Cathedral Church of St Mary at Erfurt), also known as St Mary's Cathedral, is the largest and oldest church building in t ...

Erfurt Cathedral
to negotiate peace between two of his vassals, Archbishop Konrad I of Mainz and Landgrave Ludwig III of Thuringia. The amassed weight of all the gathered men proved too heavy for the floor to bear, which collapsed. According to contemporary accounts, dozens of people fell to their death into the
latrine A latrine is a toilet A toilet is a piece of sanitary hardware that collects human urine and Human feces, feces, and sometimes toilet paper, usually for disposal. Flush toilets use water, while dry toilet, dry or non-flush toilets do no ...

latrine
pit below. Ludwig III, Konrad I and Henry VI survived the affair.


Early modern period

In 1501
Martin Luther Martin Luther (; ; 10 November 1483 – 18 February 1546) was a German German(s) may refer to: Common uses * of or related to Germany * Germans, Germanic ethnic group, citizens of Germany or people of German ancestry * For citiz ...

Martin Luther
(1483 - 1546) moved to Erfurt and began his studies at the university. After 1505, he lived at St. Augustine's Monastery as a friar. In 1507 he was ordained as a priest in Erfurt Cathedral. He moved permanently to
Wittenberg Wittenberg ( , ; Low Saxon Low Saxon or Lower Saxon may refer to: Geography *Lower Saxony Lower Saxony (german: Niedersachsen ; nds, Neddersassen; stq, Läichsaksen) is a German state (''Land'') situated in Northern Germany, northwestern ...
in 1511. Erfurt was an early adopter of the
Protestant Reformation The Reformation (alternatively named the Protestant Reformation or the European Reformation) was a major movement within Western Christianity Western Christianity is one of two sub-divisions of Christianity Christianity is an Abra ...
, in 1521. In 1530, the city became one of the first in Europe to be officially bi-confessional with the
Hammelburg Hammelburg is a town in the Bad Kissingen (district), district of Bad Kissingen, in Lower Franconia, Bavaria, Germany. It lies on the river Franconian Saale, 25 km west of Schweinfurt. Hammelburg is the oldest winegrowing town (''Weinstadt'' ...
Treaty. It kept that status through all the following centuries. The later 16th and the 17th century brought a slow economic decline of Erfurt. Trade shrank, the population was falling and the university lost its influence. The city's independence was endangered. In 1664, the city and surrounding area were brought under the dominion of the
Electorate of Mainz The Electorate of Mainz Mainz (; ; la, Mogontiacum) is the capital and largest city of Rhineland-Palatinate, Germany. Most of the city is upstream of the Rhine before it flows west. The north of the city faces Wiesbaden, in Hesse, and the ...
and the city lost its independence. The Electorate built a huge fortress on Petersberg hill between 1665 and 1726 to control the city and instituted a governor to rule Erfurt. In 1682 and 1683 Erfurt experienced the worst years in its history. In 1683 more than half of the population died because of the deadly disease. In Erfurt
witch-hunt A witch-hunt, or a witch purge, is a search for people who have been labeled witches or a search for evidence of witchcraft. The classical period of witch-hunts in Early Modern Europe and Colonial America The colonial history of the Uni ...
s are known from 1526 to 1705. Trial records are only incomplete. Twenty people were involved in witch trials and at least eight people died. During the late 18th century, Erfurt saw another cultural peak. Governor
Karl Theodor Anton Maria von Dalberg Karl Theodor Anton Maria von Dalberg (8 February 1744 – 10 February 1817) was Prince A prince is a Monarch, male ruler (ranked below a king, grand prince, and grand duke) or a male member of a monarch's or former monarch's family. ''Prince' ...
had close relations with
Johann Wolfgang von Goethe Johann Wolfgang von Goethe (28 August 1749 – 22 March 1832) was a German German(s) may refer to: Common uses * of or related to Germany * Germans, Germanic ethnic group, citizens of Germany or people of German ancestry * For citizens of G ...

Johann Wolfgang von Goethe
,
Friedrich Schiller Johann Christoph Friedrich von Schiller (, short: ; 10 November 17599 May 1805) was a Germans, German playwright, poet, and philosopher. During the last seventeen years of his life (1788–1805), Schiller developed a productive, if complicated, ...

Friedrich Schiller
,
Johann Gottfried Herder Johann Gottfried (after 1802, von) Herder (; ; 25 August 174418 December 1803) was a German philosopher, theologian, poet, and literary critic. He is associated with the Age of Enlightenment, Enlightenment, ''Sturm und Drang'', and Weimar Classic ...

Johann Gottfried Herder
,
Christoph Martin Wieland 1805 portrait of Christoph Martin Wieland by Ferdinand Jagemann Christoph Martin Wieland (; 5 September 1733 – 20 January 1813) was a German poet and writer. He is best-remembered for having written the first ''Bildungsroman'' (''Geschichte des A ...

Christoph Martin Wieland
and
Wilhelm von Humboldt Friedrich Wilhelm Christian Karl Ferdinand von Humboldt (, also , ; ; 22 June 1767 – 8 April 1835) was a philosopher, , , diplomat, and founder of the , which was named after him in 1949 (and also after his younger brother, , a ). He is espe ...

Wilhelm von Humboldt
, who often visited him at his court in Erfurt.


Erfurt during the Napoleonic Wars

Erfurt became part of the
Kingdom of Prussia The Kingdom of Prussia (german: Königreich Preußen) was a German kingdom Kingdom may refer to: Monarchy * A type of monarchy * A realm ruled by: **A king, during the reign of a male monarch **A queen regnant, during the reign of a female ...
in 1802, to compensate for territories Prussia lost to France on the
Left Bank of the Rhine#REDIRECT Left Bank of the Rhine The Left Bank of the Rhine (german: Linkes Rheinufer, french: Rive gauche du Rhin) was the region north of Lauterbourg that is now in western Germany ) , image_map = , map_caption = , map_width = 250px ...
. In the Capitulation of Erfurt the city, its 12,000 Prussian and Saxon defenders under , 65 artillery pieces, and the
Petersberg Citadel Petersberg Citadel (German:''Zitadelle Petersberg'') in Erfurt Erfurt ( , ; ) is the and largest city in the state of , central Germany. It is located in the southern part of the , within the wide valley of the . It is located south-west o ...
and Cyriaksburg Citadel Cyriaksburg were handed over to the French on 16 October 1806; At the time of the capitulation,
Joachim Murat it, Gioacchino-Napoleone Murat , religion = Roman Catholic Roman or Romans usually refers to: *Rome, the capital city of Italy *Ancient Rome, Roman civilization from 8th century BC to 5th century AD *Roman people, the people of ancien ...

Joachim Murat
,
Marshal of France Marshal of France (french: Maréchal de France, plural ') is a French military distinction, rather than a military rank Military ranks are a system of hierarchy, hierarchical relationships, within an armed forces, police, intelligence agen ...

Marshal of France
, had about 16,000 troops near Erfurt. With the attachment of the
Saxe-Weimar Saxe-Weimar (german: Sachsen-Weimar) was one of the History of Saxony, Saxon duchies held by the Ernestine duchies, Ernestine branch of the House of Wettin, Wettin dynasty in present-day Thuringia. The chief town and capital was Weimar. The Weimar ...
territory of
Blankenhain Blankenhain is a town in the Weimarer Land district, in Thuringia, Germany. It is south of Weimar. History Until the Napoleonic Wars, Blankenhain had been a part of the Saxe-Weimar, Duchy of Saxe-Weimar. After the War of the Fourth Coalition, Fou ...
, the city became part of the
First French Empire The First French Empire, officially the French Empire, also known as the Napoleonic Empire, was the empire ruled by Napoleon, Napoleon Bonaparte, who established French hegemony over much of continental Europe at the beginning of the 19th cen ...
in 1806 as the
Principality of Erfurt The Principality of Erfurt (german: Fürstentum Erfurt; french: Principauté d'Erfurt) was a small state in modern Thuringia Thuringia (; german: Thüringen ), officially the Free State of Thuringia ( ), is a states of Germany, state of Germa ...
, directly subordinate to Napoleon as an "imperial state domain" (french: domaine réservé à l'empereur), separate from the
Confederation of the Rhine The Confederated States of the Rhine, simply known as the Confederation of the Rhine, was a confederation A confederation (also known as a confederacy or league) is a union of sovereign groups or states united for purposes of common acti ...
, which the surrounding
Thuringia Thuringia (; german: Thüringen ), officially the Free State of Thuringia ( ), is a states of Germany, state of Germany. Located in central Germany, it covers , being the sixth smallest of the sixteen German States (including City States). It ...
n states had joined. Erfurt was administered by a civilian and military Senate (') under a French governor, based in the , previously the seat of city's governor under the Electorate. Napoleon first visited the principality on 23 July 1807, inspecting the citadels and fortifications. In 1808, the Congress of Erfurt was held with
Napoleon Napoléon Bonaparte (15 August 1769 – 5 May 1821) was a French military and political leader. He rose to prominence during the French Revolution The French Revolution ( ) refers to the period that began with the Estates General o ...

Napoleon
and
Alexander I of Russia Alexander I (; – ) was the Emperor of Russia (Tsar) from 1801, the first King of Congress Poland from 1815, and the Grand Duke of Finland from 1809 to his death. He was the eldest son of Emperor Paul I and Sophie Dorothea of Württemberg. Bor ...

Alexander I of Russia
visiting the city. During their administration, the French introduced
street light A street light, light pole, lamppost, street lamp, light standard, or lamp standard is a raised source of light on the edge of a road or path. Similar lights may be found on a railway platform A railway platform is an area alongside a railwa ...

street light
ing and a tax on foreign horses to pay for maintaining the
road surface A road surface (British English British English (BrE) is the standard dialect A standard language (also standard variety, standard dialect, and standard) is a language variety that has undergone substantial codification of grammar an ...
. The suffered under the French occupation, with its inventory being auctioned off to other local churches – including the
organ Organ may refer to: Biology * Organ (anatomy) An organ is a group of Tissue (biology), tissues with similar functions. Plant life and animal life rely on many organs that co-exist in organ systems. A given organ's tissues can be broadly cate ...
,
bells Bells may refer to: * Bell, a musical instrument Places * Bells, North Carolina * Bells, Tennessee * Bells, Texas * Bells Beach, Victoria, an internationally famous surf beach in Australia * Bells Corners, Ontario People * "Bells", nickname of ...
and even the
tower A tower is a tall structure A structure is an arrangement and organization of interrelated elements in a material object or system A system is a group of Interaction, interacting or interrelated elements that act according to a set of rul ...

tower
of the chapel (') – and the former monastery's library being donated to the
University of Erfurt The University of Erfurt (german: Universität Erfurt) is a public university located in Erfurt Erfurt ( , ; ) is the capital and largest city in the state of Thuringia, central Germany. It is located in the southern part of the Thuringia ...
(and then to the Boineburg Library when the university closed in 1816). Similarly the Cyriaksburg Citadel was damaged by the French, with the city-side walls being partially dismantled in the hunt for imagined treasures from the convent, workers being paid from the sale of the building materials. In 1811, to commemorate the birth of the Prince Imperial, a ceremonial
column A column or pillar in architecture and structural engineering is a structural element that transmits, through compression (physical), compression, the weight of the structure above to other structural elements below. In other words, a column is ...

column
(') of wood and plaster was erected on the
common Common may refer to: Places * Common, a townland in County Tyrone County Tyrone (; ) is one of the thirty-two counties of Ireland Ireland (; ga, Éire ; Ulster Scots dialect, Ulster-Scots: ) is an island in the North Atlantic Ocean, ...
. Similarly, the ' – a Greek-style
temple A temple (from the Latin ) is a building reserved for spiritual rituals and activities such as prayer and sacrifice. Religions which erect temples include Christianity (whose temples are typically called church (building), churches), Hinduism (w ...

temple
topped by a
winged victory The ''Winged Victory of Samothrace'', also called the ''Nike of Samothrace'', is a marble Hellenistic sculpture of Nike (mythology), Nike (the Greek mythology, Greek goddess of victory), that was created in about the 2nd century BC. Since 1884, i ...

winged victory
with shield, sword and lance and containing a
bust Bust commonly refers to: * A woman's breast The breast is one of two prominences located on the upper ventral region of the torso of primates. In females, it serves as the mammary gland, which produces and secretes milk to feed infants. Bo ...
of Napoleon sculpted by Friedrich Döll – was erected in the ' woods, including a grotto with fountain and flower beds, using a large pond (') from the , inaugurated with ceremony on 14 August 1811 after extravagant celebrations for Napoleon's birthday, which were repeated in 1812 with a concert in the conducted by Louis Spohr. With the War of the Sixth Coalition, Sixth Coalition forming after French defeat in Russia, on 24 February 1813 Napoleon ordered the Petersburg Citadel to prepare for siege, visiting the city on 25 April to inspect the fortifications, in particular both Citadels. On 10 July 1813, Napoleon put , nobility of the First French Empire, baron of the Empire, in charge of the defences of Erfurt. However, when the French decreed that 1000 men would be conscripted into the , the recruits were joined by other citizens in rioting on 19 July that led to 20 arrests, of whom 2 were capital punishment, sentenced to death by French court-martial; as a result, the French ordered the closure of all inns and alehouses. Within a week of the Sixth Coalition's decisive battle of Leipzig, victory at Leipzig (16–19 October 1813), however, Erfurt was besieged by Prussian, Austrian and Russian troops under the command of Prussian Lt Gen Friedrich Graf Kleist von Nollendorf, von Kleist. After a first capitulation signed by d'Alton on 20 December 1813 the French troops withdrew to the two fortresses of Petersberg and Cyriaksburg, allowing for the Coalition forces to march into Erfurt on 6 January 1814 to jubilant greetings; the ' ceremonial column was burned and destroyed as a symbol of the citizens' oppression under the French; similarly the ' was burned on 1 November 1813 and completely destroyed by Erfurters and their besiegers in 1814. After a call for volunteers 3 days later, 300 Erfurters joined the Coalition armies in France. Finally, in May 1814, the French capitulated fully, with 1,700 French troops vacating the Petersberg and Cyriaksburg fortresses. During the two and a half months of siege, the mortality rate rose in the city greatly; 1,564 Erfurt citizens died in 1813, around a thousand more than the previous year. After the Congress of Vienna, Erfurt was restored to Kingdom of Prussia, Prussia on 21 June 1815, becoming the capital of one of the three districts (') of the new Province of Saxony, but some southern and eastern parts of Erfurter lands joined Blankenhain in being transferred to the Grand Duchy of Saxe-Weimar-Eisenach the following September. Although enclosed by
Thuringia Thuringia (; german: Thüringen ), officially the Free State of Thuringia ( ), is a states of Germany, state of Germany. Located in central Germany, it covers , being the sixth smallest of the sixteen German States (including City States). It ...
n territory in the west, south and east, the city remained part of the Prussian Province of Saxony until 1944.


Since 1815

After the Revolutions of 1848 in the German states, 1848 Revolution, many Germans desired to have a united national state. An attempt in this direction was the failed Erfurt Union of German states in 1850. The Industrial Revolution reached Erfurt in the 1840s, when the Thuringian Railway connecting
Berlin Berlin (; ) is the Capital city, capital and List of cities in Germany by population, largest city of Germany by both area and population. Its 3,769,495 inhabitants, as of 31 December 2019 makes it the List of cities in the European Union by ...

Berlin
and
Frankfurt Frankfurt, officially Frankfurt am Main (; Hessian dialects, Hessian: , "Franks, Frank ford (crossing), ford on the Main (river), Main"; french: Francfort-sur-le-Main), is the most populous city in the States of Germany, German state of Hess ...

Frankfurt
was built. During the following years, many factories in different sectors were founded. One of the biggest was the "Royal Gun Factory of Prussia" in 1862. After the Unification of Germany in 1871, Erfurt moved from the southern border of Prussia to the centre of Germany, so the fortifications of the city were no longer needed. The demolition of the city fortifications in 1873 led to a construction boom in Erfurt, because it was now possible to build in the area formerly occupied by the city walls and beyond. Many public and private buildings emerged and the infrastructure (such as a tramway, hospitals, and schools) improved rapidly. The number of inhabitants grew from 40,000 around 1870 to 130,000 in 1914 and the city expanded in all directions. The "Erfurt Program" was adopted by the Social Democratic Party of Germany during its congress at Erfurt in 1891. Between the wars, the city kept growing. Housing shortages were fought with building programmes and social infrastructure was broadened according to the welfare policy in the Weimar Republic. The Great Depression between 1929 and 1932 led to a disaster for Erfurt, nearly one out of three became unemployed. Conflicts between far-left and far-right-oriented milieus increased and many inhabitants supported the new Nazi government and Adolf Hitler. Others, especially some communist workers, put up resistance against the new administration. In 1938, the new synagogue was destroyed during the . Jews lost their property and emigrated or were deported to Nazi concentration camps (together with many communists). In 1914, the company ''Topf and Sons'' began the manufacture of crematoria later becoming the market leader in this industry. Under the Nazis, ''JA Topf & Sons'' supplied specially developed crematoria, ovens and associated plants to the Auschwitz-Birkenau, Buchenwald and Mauthausen-Gusen concentration camps. On 27 January 2011 a memorial and museum dedicated to the Holocaust victims was opened at the former company premises in Erfurt. During World War II, Erfurt experienced more than 27 British and American air raids, about 1600 civilians lost their lives. Bombed as a target of the Oil Campaign of World War II, Erfurt suffered only limited damage and was captured on 12 April 1945, by the US 80th Infantry Division (United States), 80th Infantry Division. On 3 July, American troops left the city, which then became part of the Allied Occupation Zones in Germany, Soviet Zone of Occupation and eventually of the German Democratic Republic (East Germany). In 1948, Erfurt became the capital of
Thuringia Thuringia (; german: Thüringen ), officially the Free State of Thuringia ( ), is a states of Germany, state of Germany. Located in central Germany, it covers , being the sixth smallest of the sixteen German States (including City States). It ...
, replacing
Weimar Weimar (; la, Vimaria or Vinaria) is a city in the federal state of Thuringia, Germany. It is located in Central Germany (cultural area), Central Germany between Erfurt in the west and Jena in the east, approximately southwest of Leipzig, nor ...

Weimar
. In 1952, the in the GDR were dissolved in favour of centralization under the new socialist government. Erfurt then became the capital of a new "" (district). In 1953, the of education was founded, followed by the of medicine in 1954, the first academic institutions in Erfurt since the closing of the university in 1816. On 19 March 1970, the East and West German heads of government Willi Stoph and Willy Brandt met in Erfurt, the first such meeting since the division of Germany. During the 1970s and 1980s, as the economic situation in GDR worsened, many old buildings in city centre decayed, while the government fought against the housing shortage by building large settlements in the periphery. The Peaceful Revolution of 1989/1990 led to German reunification. With the re-formation of the state of
Thuringia Thuringia (; german: Thüringen ), officially the Free State of Thuringia ( ), is a states of Germany, state of Germany. Located in central Germany, it covers , being the sixth smallest of the sixteen German States (including City States). It ...
in 1990, the city became the state capital. After reunification, a deep economic crisis occurred in Eastern Germany. Many factories closed and many people lost their jobs and moved to the former West Germany. At the same time, many buildings were redeveloped and the infrastructure improved massively. In 1994, the new university was opened, as was the Fachhochschule in 1991. Between 2005 and 2008, the economic situation improved as the unemployment rate decreased and new enterprises developed. In addition, the population began to increase once again. A Erfurt school massacre, school shooting occurred on 26 April 2002 at the Gutenberg-Gymnasium. Since the 1990s, organized crime has gained a foothold in Erfurt, with several mafia groups, including the Armenian mafia present in the city. Among other events, there has been a robbery and an arson attack targeting the gastronomy sector and in 2014 there was a shoot-out in an open street. The rocker group Hells Angels was also active in the city.


Geography and demographics


Topography

Erfurt is situated in the south of the Thuringian basin, a fertile agricultural area between the Harz mountains to the north and the Thuringian forest to the southwest. Whereas the northern parts of the city area are flat, the southern ones consist of hilly landscape up to 430 m of elevation. In this part lies the municipal forest of ' with Fagus sylvatica, beeches and Quercus robur, oaks as main tree species. To the east and to the west are some non-forested hills so that the Gera (river), Gera river valley within the town forms a basin. North of the city are some gravel pits in operation, while others are abandoned, flooded and used as leisure areas.


Climate

Erfurt has a humid continental climate (Dfb) or an oceanic climate (''Cfb'') according to the Köppen climate classification system. ''(direct
Final Revised Paper
''
Summers are warm and sometimes humid with average high temperatures of and lows of . Winters are relatively cold with average high temperatures of and lows of . The city's topography creates a microclimate caused by the location inside a basin with sometimes inversion (meteorology), inversion in winter (quite cold nights under ) and inadequate air circulation in summer. Annual precipitation is only with moderate rainfall throughout the year. Light snowfall mainly occurs from December through February, but snow cover does not usually remain for long.


Administrative divisions

Erfurt abuts the districts of Sömmerda (district), Sömmerda (municipalities Witterda, Elxleben, Walschleben, Riethnordhausen, Thuringia, Riethnordhausen, Nöda, Alperstedt, Großrudestedt, Udestedt, Kleinmölsen and Großmölsen) in the north, Weimarer Land (municipalities Niederzimmern, Nohra, Mönchenholzhausen and Klettbach) in the east, Ilm-Kreis (municipalities Kirchheim, Thuringia, Kirchheim, Rockhausen and Amt Wachsenburg) in the south and Gotha (district), Gotha (municipalities Nesse-Apfelstädt, Nottleben, Zimmernsupra and Bienstädt) in the west. The city itself is divided into 53 districts. The centre is formed by the district ' (old town) and the districts ' in the northwest, ' in the northeast, ' in the east, ' in the southeast, ' in the southwest and ' in the west. More former industrial districts are ' (incorporated in 1911), ' and ' in the north. Another group of districts is marked by Plattenbau settlements, constructed during the East Germany, DDR period: ', ', ', ' and ' in the northern as well as ', ' and ' in the southern city parts. Finally, there are many villages with an average population of approximately 1,000 which were incorporated during the 20th century; however, they have mostly stayed rural to date: * Alach (incorporated 1994) * Azmannsdorf (1994) * Bindersleben (1950) * Bischleben-Stedten (1950) * Büßleben (1994) * Dittelstedt (1994) * Egstedt (1994) * Ermstedt (1994) * Frienstedt (1994) * Gispersleben (1950) * Gottstedt (1994) * Hochheim (1938) * Hochstedt (1994) * Kerspleben (1994) * Kühnhausen (1994) * Linderbach (1994) * Marbach (1950) * Mittelhausen (1994) * Möbisburg-Rhoda (1950) * Molsdorf (1994) * Niedernissa (1994) * Rohda (1994) * Salomonsborn (1994) * Schaderode (1994) * Schmira (1950) * Schwerborn (1994) * Stotternheim (1994) * Tiefthal (1994) * Töttelstädt (1994) * Töttleben (1994) * Urbich (1994) * Vieselbach (1994) * Wallichen (1994) * Waltersleben (1994) * Windischholzhausen (1994)


Demographics

Around the year 1500, the city had 18,000 inhabitants and was one of the largest cities in the
Holy Roman Empire The Holy Roman Empire ( la, Sacrum Romanum Imperium; german: Heiliges Römisches Reich) was a multi-ethnic complex of territories in Western Western may refer to: Places *Western, Nebraska, a village in the US *Western, New York, a town i ...
. The population then more or less stagnated until the 19th century. The population of Erfurt was 21,000 in 1820, and increased to 32,000 in 1847, the year of rail connection as industrialization began. In the following decades Erfurt grew up to 130,000 at the beginning of World War I and 190,000 inhabitants in 1950. A maximum was reached in 1988 with 220,000 persons. The bad economic situation in eastern Germany after the reunification resulted in a decline in population, which fell to 200,000 in 2002 before rising again to 206,000 in 2011. The average growth of population between 2009 and 2012 was approximately 0.68% p. a, whereas the population in bordering rural regions is shrinking with accelerating tendency. Suburbanization played only a small role in Erfurt. It occurred after reunification for a short time in the 1990s, but most of the suburban areas were situated within the administrative city borders. The birth deficit was 200 in 2012, this is −1.0 per 1,000 inhabitants (Thuringian average: -4.5; national average: -2.4). The net migration rate was +8.3 per 1,000 inhabitants in 2012 (Thuringian average: -0.8; national average: +4.6). The most important regions of origin of Erfurt migrants are rural areas of Thuringia, Saxony-Anhalt and Saxony as well as foreign countries like Poland, Russia, Syria, Afghanistan and Hungary. Like other eastern German cities, foreigners account only for a small share of Erfurt's population: circa 3.0% are non-Germans by citizenship and overall 5.9% are migrants (according to the 2011 EU census). Due to the official atheism of the former East Germany, GDR, most of the population is non-religious. 14.8% are members of the Evangelical Church in Central Germany and 6.8% are Catholics (according to the 2011 EU census). The Jewish Community consists of 500 members. Most of them migrated to Erfurt from Russia and Ukraine in the 1990s.


Culture, sights and cityscape


Residents notable in cultural history

Martin Luther Martin Luther (; ; 10 November 1483 – 18 February 1546) was a German German(s) may refer to: Common uses * of or related to Germany * Germans, Germanic ethnic group, citizens of Germany or people of German ancestry * For citiz ...

Martin Luther
(1483–1546) studied law and philosophy at the University of Erfurt from 1501. He lived in St. Augustine's Monastery in Erfurt, as a friar from 1505 to 1511. The theologian, philosopher and mystic
Meister Eckhart Eckhart von Hochheim ( – ), commonly known as Meister Eckhart or Eckehart, was a German Catholic theology, theologian, philosopher and German mysticism, mystic, born near Gotha (town), Gotha in the Thuringia, Landgraviate of Thuringia (now ce ...
(c. 1260–1328) entered the Dominican monastery in Erfurt when he was aged about 18 (around 1275). Eckhart was the Dominican Prior at Erfurt from 1294 until 1298, and Vicar of Thuringia from 1298 to 1302. After a year in Paris, he returned to Erfurt in 1303 and administered his duties as Provincial of Saxony from there until 1311.
Max Weber Maximilian Karl Emil Weber (; ; 21 April 186414 June 1920) was a German Sociology, sociologist, historian, jurist, and political economy, political economist regarded as among the most important theorists of the development of Modernity, modern ...

Max Weber
(1864–1920) was born in Erfurt. He was a sociologist, philosopher, jurist, and political economist whose ideas have profoundly influenced modern social theory and social research. The textile designer Margaretha Reichardt (1907–1984) was born and died in Erfurt. She studied at the Bauhaus from 1926 to 1930, and while there worked with Marcel Breuer on his innovative chair designs. Her former home and weaving workshop in Erfurt, the ''Margaretha Reichardt Haus'', is now a museum, managed by the Angermuseum Erfurt.
Johann Pachelbel Johann Pachelbel (baptised 1 September 1653 – buried 9 March 1706; also Bachelbel) was a German composer, organist Image:Organist at Lausanne Cathedral.jpg, A cathedral organist in Lausanne Cathedral An organist is a musician who plays any ...
(1653–1706) served as organist at the Prediger church in Erfurt from June 1678 until August 1690. Pachelbel composed approximately seventy pieces for organ while in Erfurt. After 1906 the composer Richard Wetz (1875–1935) lived in Erfurt and became the leading person in the town's musical life. His major works were written here, including three symphonies, a Requiem and a Christmas Oratorio. Alexander Müller (composer), Alexander Müller (1808–1863) pianist, conductor and composer, was born in Erfurt. He later moved to Zürich, where he served as leader of the General Music Society's subscription concerts series. The city is the birthplace of one of Johann Sebastian Bach's cousins, Johann Bernhard Bach, as well as Johann Sebastian Bach's father Johann Ambrosius Bach. Bach's parents were married in 1668 in a small church, the ' (Merchant's Church), that still exists on the main square, Anger. Famous modern musicians from Erfurt are Clueso, the Boogie Pimps and Yvonne Catterfeld.


Museums

Erfurt has a great variety of museums: * The ' (municipal museum) shows aspects of Erfurt's history with a focus on the Middle Ages, early modern history, Martin Luther and the university. Other parts of the are the ' (new mill), an old water mill still in operation, and the ' (Benary's magazine) with an exhibition of old printing machines. * The ' ( Old Synagogue) is one of the oldest synagogue buildings in Europe.Jewish Life in Erfurt. Old synagogue
Jewish Life in Erfurt. Old synagogue.
Retrieved 31 October 2016
It is now a museum of local Jewish history. It houses facsimiles of medieval Hebrew manuscripts and the
Erfurt Treasure The Erfurt Treasure is a hoard of coins, goldsmiths' work and jewelry that is assumed to have belonged to Jews who hid them in 1349 at the time of the Black Death Jewish persecutions, Black Death pogroms. The pieces were found in 1998 in the wall o ...
, a hoard of coins and goldsmiths' work that is assumed to have belonged to Jews who hid them in 1349 at the time of the Erfurt massacre (1349), Black Death pogroms. * The ' (Topf and Sons memorial) is on the site of the factory of the company which constructed crematoria for Auschwitz and other concentration camps. Its exhibitions explore the collaboration of a civilian company with the National Socialist regime in the holocaust. * Memorial and Education Centre Andreasstrasse, (Stasi Museum). On the site of the former Erfurt Stasi prison, where over 5000 people were held. On 4 December 1989, the building was occupied by local residents. It was the first of many such takeovers of Stasi buildings in the former East Germany. Today it has exhibitions on the history of East Germany and the activities of its regime. * The Angermuseum is one of the main art museums of Erfurt, named after Anger Square, where it is located. It focuses on modern graphic arts, medieval sculpture and early modern artisanal handicraft. * The ' (Erfurt City Art Gallery) has exhibitions of contemporary art, of local, national and international artists. * The ''Margaretha Reichardt Haus'' is the home and workshop of the textile designer and former Bauhaus student, Margaretha Reichardt (1907–1984). * The ' (Saint Peter's church) houses an exhibition of concrete art, i.e. totally abstract art (not art made out of concrete). * The ' (German Horticulture Museum) is housed at the Cyriaksburg Citadel. * The (Natural History Museum) is situated in a medieval woad warehouse and explores Thuringian flora and fauna, geology and ecology. * The ' (Museum of Folk Art and Cultural Anthropology) looks at the ordinary life of people in Thuringia in the past and shows exhibits of peasant and artisan traditions. * The ' (Museum of Electrical Engineering) shows the history of electric engines, which have featured prominently in Erfurt's economy. * in the district of Molsdorf is a Baroque architecture, Baroque palace with an exhibition about the painter .


Image gallery

File:Erfurt Stadtmuseum Haus zum Stockfisch.jpg, File:Angermuseum Erfurt2.JPG, File:Naturkundemuseum Erfurt Eingangtor.jpg, File:Defensionskaserne 3.jpg, File:Erfurt, Museum für Thüringer Volkskunde.jpg, File:Erinnerungsort Topf und Söhne Erfurt.JPG, J.A. Topf & Söhne museum and holocaust memorial site File:Stasi Memorial Andreasstraße Erfurt.JPG, Memorial and Education Centre Andreasstrasse, former Stasi prison File:Schloss Molsdorf 01.jpg,


Theatre

Since 2003, the modern opera house is home to Theater Erfurt and its Philharmonic Orchestra. The "grand stage" section has 800 seats and the "studio stage" can hold 200 spectators. In September 2005, the opera ''Waiting for the Barbarians (opera), Waiting for the Barbarians'' by Philip Glass premiered in the opera house. The Erfurt Theater has been a source of controversy recently. In 2005, a performance of Engelbert Humperdinck (composer), Engelbert Humperdinck's opera ' stirred up the local press since the performance contained suggestions of pedophilia and incest. The opera was advertised in the program with the addition "for adults only". On 12 April 2008, a version of Giuseppe Verdi, Verdi's opera ' directed by Johann Kresnik opened at the Erfurt Theater. The production stirred deep controversy by featuring nude performers in Mickey Mouse masks dancing on the ruins of the World Trade Center (1973-2001), World Trade Center and a female singer with a painted on Adolf Hitler, Hitler toothbrush moustache performing a straight arm Nazism, Nazi salute, along with sinister portrayals of American soldiers, Uncle Sam, and Elvis Presley impersonators. The director described the production as a populist critique of modern American society, aimed at showing up the disparities between rich and poor. The controversy prompted one local politician to call for locals to boycott the performances, but this was largely ignored and the première was sold out.


Sport

The Messe Erfurt serves as home court for the Oettinger Rockets, a professional basketball team in Germany's first division, the Basketball Bundesliga. Notable types of sport in Erfurt are athletics, ice skating, cycling (with the oldest velodrome in use in the world, opened in 1885), swimming, handball, volleyball, tennis and football. The city's football club is member of and based in with a capacity of 20,000. The ' was the second Speed skating rink#Indoor speed skating tracks, indoor speed skating arena in Germany.


Cityscape

Erfurt's cityscape features a medieval core of narrow, curved alleys in the centre surrounded by a belt of ' architecture, created between 1873 and 1914. In 1873, the city's fortifications were demolished and it became possible to build houses in the area in front of the former city walls. In the following years, Erfurt saw a construction boom. In the northern area (districts Andreasvorstadt, Johannesvorstadt and Ilversgehofen) tenements for the factory workers were built whilst the eastern area (Krämpfervorstadt and Daberstedt) featured apartments for white-collar workers and clerks and the southwestern part (Löbervorstadt and Brühlervorstadt) with its beautiful valley landscape saw the construction of villas and mansions of rich factory owners and notables. During the interwar period, some settlements in Bauhaus style were realized, often as housing cooperatives. After World War II and over the whole GDR period, housing shortages remained a problem even though the government started a big apartment construction programme. Between 1970 and 1990 large settlements with high-rise blocks on the northern (for 50,000 inhabitants) and southeastern (for 40,000 inhabitants) periphery were constructed. After reunification the renovation of old houses in city centre and the ' areas was a big issue. The federal government granted substantial subsidies, so that many houses could be restored. Compared to many other German cities, little of Erfurt was destroyed in World War II. This is one reason why the centre today offers a mixture of medieval, Baroque and Neoclassical architecture as well as buildings from the last 150 years. Public green spaces are located along Gera river and in several parks like the ', the ' and the '. The largest green area is the , a horticultural exhibition park and botanic garden established in 1961.


Sights and architectural heritage


Churches, monasteries and synagogues

The city centre has about 25 churches and monasteries, most of them in Gothic architecture, Gothic style, some also in Romanesque architecture, Romanesque style or a mixture of Romanesque and Gothic elements, and a few in later styles. The various steeples characterize the medieval centre and led to one of Erfurt's nicknames as the "Thuringian Rome".


=Catholic churches and monasteries

= * The ' (All Saints' Church) is a 14th-century Gothic parish church in Market Street, which hosts a columbarium. * The ' (Erfurt Cathedral, St Mary's Cathedral) perches above Domplatz, the Cathedral square. It is the Episcopal see and one of the main sights of Erfurt. It combines Romanesque and Gothic elements and has the largest medieval bell in the world, which is named Maria Gloriosa, Gloriosa. One of the works of art inside the cathedral is Lucas Cranach the Elder's 'The Mystic Marriage of St. Catherine' painted around 1520. * The ' (St Laurence's Church) is a small 14th-century Gothic parish church at Anger Square. * The ' (St Martin's Church) was built in the 15th century in Gothic style and later converted to Baroque style. It was both a Cistercians, Cistercian monastery and a parish church of Brühl, a medieval suburban zone. * The ' (church of the new work/Holy Cross Church) is a 15th-century Gothic parish church at Neuwerk Street, that was later converted to Baroque style. Until 1285, it was used as an Augustinians, Augustinian monastery. * The ' (Scots Monks' Church of St Nicholas and St James) is an 11th-century Romanesque monastery church with a Baroque façade, which was later used as a parish church. * The ' (St Severus' Church) is the second-largest parish church after the cathedral and stands next to it on the Domberg hill. It is a Gothic church and was built around 1300. * The ', St. Ursula's Church, is a Gothic church at Anger Square. It is attached to the Ursulinenkloster, St. Ursula's Nunnery, founded in 1136. It is the only medieval monastery or nunnery in Erfurt which has been in continuous operation since it opened. * The ' (St Wigbert's Church) is a 15th-century Gothic parish church at Anger Square. File:Allerheiligenkirche Erfurt.jpg, All Saints' Church File:Erfurt Lorenzkirche vom Anger.jpg, St Laurence's Church File:Martinikirche.jpg, St Martin's Church File:Erfurt - Neuwerkskirche.jpg, Holy Cross Church File:Schottenkirche Erfurt.jpg, Schottenkirche File:Landtagprojekt Thueringen Erfurt 2011 (RaBoe) 110.jpg, Ursulines Church File:Wigbertikirche Erfurt2.JPG, St Wigbert's Church


=Protestant churches and monasteries

= * ' (St Giles' Church) is a 14th-century Gothic parish church at Square. It is the surviving one of formerly two bridge-head churches of the located on both ends of the bridge. As a result, the nave is on the 1st floor, while on ground level is a passage to the bridge. The steeple is open to the public and offers a good view over the city centre. Today, St Giles' Church is a Methodist parish church. * ' (St Andrew's Church) is a 14th-century Gothic parish church at Andrew's Street. The old craftsmen's quarter around it is named ' after the church. * St. Augustine's Monastery dates from 1277.
Martin Luther Martin Luther (; ; 10 November 1483 – 18 February 1546) was a German German(s) may refer to: Common uses * of or related to Germany * Germans, Germanic ethnic group, citizens of Germany or people of German ancestry * For citiz ...

Martin Luther
lived there as a monk between 1505 and 1511. The site has had a varied history and the restored complex has both modern and medieval buildings. Today it belongs to the Evangelical Church in Germany and as well as being a place of worship it is also a meeting and conference centre, and provides simple guest accommodation. In 2016 an application was made for it to be included in the already existing UNESCO World Heritage Site "Luther sites in Central Germany". * The ' (Merchant's Church St Gregory) is a 14th-century Gothic parish church at Anger Square. It is one of the largest and most important original parish churches in Erfurt. The parents of Johann Sebastian Bach, Johann Ambrosius Bach and Maria Elisabeth Lämmerhirt married here in 1668. * ' (St Michael's Church) is a 13th-century Gothic parish church in Michaelisstrasse. It became the church of the university in 1392. * The ' (Dominican Church) is a Gothic monastery church of the Dominican Order, Dominicans at . Since the Reformation in the 16th century, it is the main Protestant church of Erfurt and furthermore one of the largest former churches of the mendicant orders in Germany. The theologian and mystic
Meister Eckhart Eckhart von Hochheim ( – ), commonly known as Meister Eckhart or Eckehart, was a German Catholic theology, theologian, philosopher and German mysticism, mystic, born near Gotha (town), Gotha in the Thuringia, Landgraviate of Thuringia (now ce ...
(c. 1260 – 1328) entered Prediger Monastery around 1275. He was Prior from 1294 until 1298, and Vicar of Thuringia from 1298 to 1302. After a year in Paris, he returned to the monastery in 1303 and administered his duties as Provincial of Saxony from there until 1311. The baroque composer
Johann Pachelbel Johann Pachelbel (baptised 1 September 1653 – buried 9 March 1706; also Bachelbel) was a German composer, organist Image:Organist at Lausanne Cathedral.jpg, A cathedral organist in Lausanne Cathedral An organist is a musician who plays any ...
(1653–1706) was organist at the church from 1678 until 1690. * The ' (Regulated St Augustine's Church) is a 12th-century Romanesque-Gothic monastery church of the Augustinians at Station Street. After the Reformation, it became a Protestant parish church. File:Erfurt kosciol sw Idziego 2.jpg, St Giles' Church File:Erfurt, Andreaskirche-002.jpg, St Andrew's Church File:Augustinerkirche Erfurt.jpg, St Augustine's Church File:Erfurt, Kaufmannskirche 001.JPG, Merchants' Church File:J24 082e Michaeliskirche.jpg, St Michael's Church File:Erfurt Predigerkirche (2).JPG, Dominican Church File:Reglerkirche Erfurt.jpg, Regulated St Augustine's Church


=Former churches

= * The ' is a 14th-century Gothic monastery church at '. The former Franciscan monastery became a Protestant parish church after the Reformation. In 1944, the church was badly damaged by Allied bombing. Since that time its ruins have been preserved as a war memorial. * The ' (St Bartholomew's Church) was a parish church at Anger Square. The church was demolished before 1667 and only the steeple remained. Today, the steeple hosts a carillon with 60 bells. * The ' (St George's Church) was a parish church in ''Michaelisstraße''. It was demolished in 1632 and only the church tower now remains. * The ' (Hospital Church) was the church of the former Great City Hospital at '. It is a 14th-century Gothic building and is used today as a depot by the Museum für Thüringer Volkskunde (Museum of Thuringian Ethnology). * The ' (St John's Church) was a parish church at John's Street. It was demolished in 1819, but the steeple remained. * The ' (Carthusian Church, Mount St Saviour) was a monastery church at '. The Baroque church was closed in 1803 and afterwards used for many different purposes. Today, it is part of a housing complex. * The ' (St Nicholas' Church) was a parish church in Augustine's Street. It was demolished in 1747 and only the steeple remained. * The ' (St Paul's Church) was a parish church in Paul's Street. It was demolished before 1759. The steeple remains and is in use as the belfry of the Prediger Church. * The ' (St Peter's Church) was built in the 12th century in Romanesque style as a church of the Benedictine monastery of St Peter and Paul on Petersberg hill, now the site of
Petersberg Citadel Petersberg Citadel (German:''Zitadelle Petersberg'') in Erfurt Erfurt ( , ; ) is the and largest city in the state of , central Germany. It is located in the southern part of the , within the wide valley of the . It is located south-west o ...
. It was secularised in 1803 and used as a military store house. Today it houses an art gallery. File:Barfüßerkirche Erfurt 2011-03-19.jpg, Ruins of the former Franciscan monastery's church. File:Bartholomäusturm Erfurt.jpg, St Bartholomew's steeple File:Hospitalkirche "Zum Heiligen Geist" Erfurt 8.jpg, Hospital Church File:Westportal-Kartaeuserkirche-Erfurt-2015-05.jpg, Carthusian Church File:Nicolaiturm.jpg, St Nicholas' steeple File:Paulsturm.jpg, St Paul's steeple File:Peterskirche Erfurt 1.jpg, St Peter's Church


=Synagogues

= The oldest parts of Erfurt's ''Alte Synagoge'' ( Old Synagogue) date to the 11th century. It was used until 1349 when the Jewish community was destroyed in a pogrom known as the Erfurt massacre (1349), Erfurt Massacre. The building had many other uses since then. It was conserved in the 1990s and in 2009 it became a museum of Jewish history. A rare Mikveh, a ritual bath, dating from c.1250, was discovered by archeologists in 2007. It has been accessible to visitors on guided tours since September 2011. In 2015 the Old Synagogue and Mikveh were nominated as a World Heritage Site. It has been tentatively listed but a final decision has not yet been made. As religious freedom was granted in the 19th century, some Jews returned to Erfurt. They built their synagogue on the banks of the Gera river and used it from 1840 until 1884. The neoclassical building is known as the ''Kleine Synagoge'' (Small Synagogue). Today it is used an events centre. It is also open to visitors.Jewish Life in Erfurt. Small synagogue.
Retrieved 31 October 2016
A larger synagogue, the ''Große Synagoge'' (Great Synagogue), was opened in 1884 because the community had become larger and wealthier. This moorish style building was destroyed during nationwide Nazi riots, known as on 9–10 November 1938. In 1947 the land which the Great Synagogue had occupied was returned to the Jewish community and they built their current place of worship, the ''Neue Synagoge'' (New Synagogue) which opened in 1952. It was the only synagogue building erected under communist rule in East Germany. File:Alte Synagoge Erfurt.JPG, Old Synagogue File:Kleine Synagoge Erfurt2.JPG, Small Synagogue File:Synagoge Erfurt.JPG, New Synagogue


Secular architecture

Besides the religious buildings there is a lot of historic secular architecture in Erfurt, mostly concentrated in the city centre, but some 19th- and 20th-century buildings are located on the outskirts.


=Street and square ensembles

= * The ' (Merchants' bridge) is the most famous tourist attraction of Erfurt. This 15th-century bridge is completely covered with dwellings and unique in Europe north of the Alps. Today, there are some art handicraft and souvenir shops in the houses. * The ' (Cathedral Square) is the largest square in Erfurt and one of the largest historical market squares in Germany. The cathedral and St Severus' Church on its western side can be reached over the ', a wide flight of stairs. On the north side lies the courthouse, a historic building from 1880. The eastern and southern side is fronted by early-modern patrician houses. On the square are the Minerva Fountain from 1784 and the Erthal Obelisk from 1777. The Domplatz is the main setting of the Erfurt Christmas Market in December and the location for "DomStufen-Festival", an open-air theatre festival in summer. * The ' (Fish Market) is the central square of Erfurt's city centre. It is surrounded by renaissance-style patrician houses and the town hall, a neo-gothic building from 1882. In the middle of the square is a statue called ' (Roman), a symbol of the city's independence, erected by the citizens in 1591. * The ' (Minor Market) is a small square on the east side of the Gera river (opposite to the Fischmarkt on the west side), surrounded by early-modern patrician and merchants' houses. The fountain on this square with the sculpture "Scuffling Boys" was created in 1975. Today, square also has various cafés and bars. Next to the in is the building, a neoclassicistic event hall from 1831 (current building). The Congress of Erfurt took place here in 1808. * The ' (originally the German term for "village green") is a protracted square in the eastern city centre. All tram lines are linked here, so that it became the new city centre during the 20th century with many important buildings. On its northern side is the main post office, built in 1886 in neo-gothic style with its prominent clock tower. In the north-east there is the Martin Luther monument from 1889 in front of the Merchants' Church. Between the church and the Ursuline monastery lies the "Anger 1" department store from 1908. On the south side next to Station Street is the , the art history museum of Erfurt, inside a Baroque palace from 1711. The western part of Anger square is surrounded by large historicist business houses from the late 19th century. The west end of the square is marked by the Angerbrunnen fountain from 1890. The Jesuit College near was built in 1737 and used until the ban of the Jesuits in 1773. * The ''Willy Brandt Square'' is the southern gate to the city centre in front of the main station. Opposite to the station is the former hotel ', where the first meeting of the East- and West-German heads of government took place in 1970. On the western side is the building of the old Erfurt station (1847–95) with a clock tower and the former offices of the Thuringian Railway Company. * The ' (Deer Garden) is a small park in front of the Thuringian government seat in the western city centre. The minister-president's seat is the ', a Renaissance-Baroque palace from the 17th century. * The ' (Michael's Street) is known as "the lithic chronicle of Erfurt", because of its mostly medieval buildings. It is the main street of the Latin quarter around the old university and today one of the favourite nightlife districts of the Erfurters with various bars, restaurants and cafés. The central building of the old university, , was built in 1515, destroyed by Allied bombs in 1945 and originally rebuilt in 1999. * The ' is an inner-city circular road following the former inner city wall. The road was set out in the 1890s by closing a branch of the Gera river. The buildings along the street originate from all periods of the 20th century, including some GDR-era highrise residence buildings. An old building complex here is the former Great Hospital, established in the 14th century. Today, it hosts the museum of popular art and cultural anthropology. * The ' (St Andrew's Quarter) is a small quarter in the northern part of the city centre between in the south-west and in the north-east. It was the former craftsmen quarter with narrow alleys and old (16th/17th century) little houses. During the 20th century, there were plans to demolish the quarter because of its bad housing conditions. After 1990, the houses were redeveloped by private individuals so that it is one of the favourite neighbourhoods today. The largest building here is the former Municipal Corn Storage in Gothic style from 1466 with a floor area of . File:Krämerbrücke Erfurt II, Germany2.jpg, File:P1010412-Montage.jpg, Christmas market at File:Haus zum Roten Ochsen Fischmarkt.jpg, File:Wenigemarkt Erfurt.JPG, File:Hauptpost Erfurt2.JPG, Post office at File:Angermuseum Erfurt2.JPG, File:2011-05-19-erfurt-by-RalfR-44.jpg,


=Fortifications

= From 1066 until 1873 the old town of Erfurt was encircled by a fortified wall. About 1168 this was extended to run around the western side of Petersberg hill, enclosing it within the city boundaries.Stadtverwaltung Erfurt (4 September 2012)
''Stadtbefestigung einst und jetzt''
Retrieved 28 December 2017
After German Unification in 1871, Erfurt became part of the newly created German Empire. The threat to the city from its Saxon neighbours and from Bavaria was no longer present, so it was decided to dismantle the city walls. Only a few remnants remain today. A piece of inner wall can be found in a small park at the corner Juri-Gagarin-Ring and Johannesstraße and another piece at the flood ditch (''Flutgraben'') near Franckestraße. There is also a small restored part of the wall in the Brühler Garten, behind the Catholic orphanage. Only one of the wall's fortified towers was left standing, on Boyneburgufer, but this was destroyed in an air raid in 1944. The
Petersberg Citadel Petersberg Citadel (German:''Zitadelle Petersberg'') in Erfurt Erfurt ( , ; ) is the and largest city in the state of , central Germany. It is located in the southern part of the , within the wide valley of the . It is located south-west o ...
is one of the largest and best preserved city fortresses in Europe, covering an area of 36 hectares in the north-west of the city centre. It was built from 1665 on Petersberg hill and was in military use until 1963. Since 1990, it has been significantly restored and is now open to the public as an historic site.Verein der Freunde der Citadelle Petersberg zu Erfurt e.V. (2015). ''350 Jahre Zitadelle Petersberg. Tagungsband: Wissenschaftliches Kolloquim zum 350. Jahrestages der Grundsteinlegung der Zitadelle Petersberg vom 29. Mai bis 31 Mai 2015. Universität Erfurt''. The is a smaller citadel south-west of the city centre, dating from 1480. Today, it houses the German horticulture museum.


=19th- and 20th-century architecture in the outskirts

= Between 1873 and 1914, a belt of ' architecture emerged around the city centre. The mansion district in the south-west around , and hosts some interesting ' and ''Art Nouveau'' buildings. The "Mühlenviertel" ("mill quarter"), is an area of beautiful Art Nouveau apartment buildings, cobblestone streets and street trees just to the north of the old city, in the vicinity of Nord Park, bordered by the Gera river on its east side. The Schmale Gera stream runs through the area. In the Middle Ages numerous small enterprises using the power of water mills occupied the area, hence the name "Mühlenviertel", with street names such as Waidmühlenweg (woad, or indigo, mill way), Storchmühlenweg (stork mill way) and Papiermühlenweg (paper mill way). The ''Bauhaus'' style is represented by some housing cooperative projects in the east around and and in the north around . Lutherkirke Church in (1927), is an Art Deco building. The former malt factory "Wolff" at in the east of Erfurt is a large industrial complex built between 1880 and 1939, and in use until 2000. A new use has not been found yet, but the area is sometimes used as a location in movie productions because of its atmosphere. Examples of Nazi architecture include the buildings of the (Thuringian parliament) and (an event hall) in the south at . While the building (1930s) represents more the neo-Roman/fascist style, (1940s) is marked by some neo-Germanic ' style elements. The Stalinist early-GDR style is manifested in the main building of the university at (1953) and the later more international modern GDR style is represented by the horticultural exhibition centre "" at , the housing complexes like Rieth or and the redevelopment of and area along in the city centre. The current international glass and steel architecture is dominant among most larger new buildings like the Federal Labour Court of Germany (1999), the new opera house (2003), the new main station (2007), the university library, the Erfurt Messe (convention centre) and the ice rink. File:Ernst-Toller-Straße Erfurt.JPG, tenements in district File:Brunnen Jacobsenviertel Erfurt.JPG, Cubistic fountain in a Bauhaus housing complex File:Lutherkirche Erfurt2.JPG, Art Deco Luther's Church File:ThüringerLandtag.jpg, Entrance of the Thuringian parliament File:Audimax-Foyer der Universität Erfurt.jpg, Lobby of the university main building File:Statue Johannesplatz Erfurt.JPG, GDR architecture in district File:2011-05-19-bundesarbeitsgericht-by-RalfR-24.jpg, Inner yard of the Federal Labour Court


Economy and infrastructure

During recent years, the economic situation of the city improved: the unemployment rate declined from 21% in 2005 to 9% in 2013. Nevertheless, some 14,000 households with 24,500 persons (12% of population) are dependent upon state social benefits (Hartz concept, Hartz IV).


Agriculture, industry and services

Farming has a great tradition in Erfurt: the cultivation of Isatis tinctoria, woad made the city rich during the Middle Ages. Today, horticulture and the production of flower seeds is still an important business in Erfurt. There is also growing of fruits (like apples, strawberries and sweet cherries), vegetables (e.g. cauliflowers, potatoes, cabbage and sugar beets) and grain on more than 60% of the municipal territory. Industrialization in Erfurt started around 1850. Until World War I, many factories were founded in different sectors like engine building, shoes, guns, malt and later electro-technics, so that there was no industrial monoculture in the city. After 1945, the companies were nationalized by the East Germany, GDR government, which led to the decline of some of them. After reunification, nearly all factories were closed, either because they failed to successfully adopt to a free market economy or because the German government sold them to west German businessmen who closed them to avoid competition to their own enterprises. However, in the early 1990s the federal government started to subsidize the foundation of new companies. It still took a long time before the economic situation stabilized around 2006. Since this time, unemployment has decreased and overall, new jobs were created. Today, there are many small and medium-sized companies in Erfurt with electro-technics, semiconductors and photovoltaics in focus. Engine production, food production, the Braugold brewery, and Born Feinkost, a producer of Thuringian mustard, remain important industries. Erfurt is an ' (which means "supra-centre" according to Central place theory) in German regional planning. Such centres are always hubs of service businesses and public services like hospitals, universities, research, trade fairs, retail etc. Additionally, Erfurt is the capital of the federal state of Thuringia, so that there are many institutions of administration like all the Thuringian state ministries and some nationwide authorities. Typical for Erfurt are the logistic business with many distribution centres of big companies, the Erfurt Trade Fair and the media sector with
KiKa KiKA (contraction of ''Der KinderKAnal von ARD und ZDF''  he Children's Channel of ARD (broadcaster), ARD and ZDF is a Germany, German free-to-air television channel based in Erfurt, Germany. It is managed by a joint venture by public-se ...
and Mitteldeutscher Rundfunk, MDR as public broadcast stations. A growing industry is tourism, due to the various historical sights of Erfurt. There are 4,800 hotel beds and (in 2012) 450,000 overnight visitors spent a total of 700,000 nights in hotels. Nevertheless, most tourists are one-day visitors from Germany. The Christmas Market in December attracts some 2,000,000 visitors each year.


Transport


By rail

The
ICE Ice is water Water (chemical formula H2O) is an , transparent, tasteless, odorless, and , which is the main constituent of 's and the s of all known living organisms (in which it acts as a ). It is vital for all known forms of , eve ...
railway network puts Erfurt 1½ hours from
Berlin Berlin (; ) is the Capital city, capital and List of cities in Germany by population, largest city of Germany by both area and population. Its 3,769,495 inhabitants, as of 31 December 2019 makes it the List of cities in the European Union by ...

Berlin
, 2½ hours from
Frankfurt Frankfurt, officially Frankfurt am Main (; Hessian dialects, Hessian: , "Franks, Frank ford (crossing), ford on the Main (river), Main"; french: Francfort-sur-le-Main), is the most populous city in the States of Germany, German state of Hess ...

Frankfurt
, 2 hours from Dresden, and 45 minutes from
Leipzig Leipzig (, ; Upper Saxon: ) is the most populous city in the Germany, German States of Germany, state of Saxony. With a population of 605,407 inhabitants as of 2021 (1.1 million residents in the larger urban zone), it surpasses the Saxon c ...

Leipzig
. In 2017, the ICE line to
Munich Munich ( ; german: München ; bar, Minga ) is the capital and most populous city of Bavaria. With a population of 1,558,395 inhabitants as of 31 July 2020, it is the List of cities in Germany by population, third-largest city in Germany, ...

Munich
opened, making the trip to Erfurt Hauptbahnhof, Erfurt main station only 2½ hours. There are regional trains from Erfurt to
Weimar Weimar (; la, Vimaria or Vinaria) is a city in the federal state of Thuringia, Germany. It is located in Central Germany (cultural area), Central Germany between Erfurt in the west and Jena in the east, approximately southwest of Leipzig, nor ...

Weimar
,
Jena Jena (; ) is a German city A city is a large human settlement.Goodall, B. (1987) ''The Penguin Dictionary of Human Geography''. London: Penguin.Kuper, A. and Kuper, J., eds (1996) ''The Social Science Encyclopedia''. 2nd edition. London: Rou ...

Jena
,
Gotha Gotha () is the fifth-largest city in Thuringia Thuringia (; german: Thüringen ), officially the Free State of Thuringia ( ), is a state State may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media Literature * ''State Magazine'', a monthly magazi ...

Gotha
, Eisenach, Bad Langensalza, Magdeburg,
NordhausenNordhausen may refer to: * Nordhausen (district), a district in Thuringia, Germany ** Nordhausen, Thuringia, a city in the district **Nordhausen station, the railway station in the city **Free Imperial City of Nordhausen, a free imperial city of the ...
, Göttingen,
Mühlhausen Mühlhausen () is a city in the north-west of Thuringia Thuringia (; german: Thüringen ), officially the Free State of Thuringia ( ), is a states of Germany, state of Germany. Located in central Germany, it covers , being the sixth sma ...

Mühlhausen
,
Würzburg Würzburg (; Main-Franconian: ) is a List of cities and towns in Germany, city in the traditional region of Franconia in the north of the Germany, German state of Bavaria. Würzburg is the administrative seat of the ''Regierungsbezirk'' Lower Fra ...

Würzburg
, Meiningen, Ilmenau,
Arnstadt Arnstadt () is a town in Ilm-Kreis, Thuringia, Germany, on the river Gera (river), Gera about 20 kilometres south of Erfurt, the capital of Thuringia. Arnstadt is one of the oldest towns in Thuringia, and has a well-preserved historic centre with a ...

Arnstadt
, and Gera. In freight transport there is an intermodal freight transport, intermodal terminal in the district of Vieselbach ''()'' with connections to rail and the autobahn.


By road

The two Autobahnen crossing each other nearby at ''Erfurter Kreuz'' are the Bundesautobahn 4 (
Frankfurt Frankfurt, officially Frankfurt am Main (; Hessian dialects, Hessian: , "Franks, Frank ford (crossing), ford on the Main (river), Main"; french: Francfort-sur-le-Main), is the most populous city in the States of Germany, German state of Hess ...

Frankfurt
–Dresden) and the Bundesautobahn 71 (Schweinfurt–Sangerhausen). Together with the east tangent both motorways form a circle road around the city and lead the interregional traffic around the centre. Whereas the A 4 was built in the 1930s, the A 71 came into being after the reunification in the 1990s and 2000s. In addition to both motorways there are two Bundesstraßen: the Bundesstraße 7 connects Erfurt parallel to A 4 with
Gotha Gotha () is the fifth-largest city in Thuringia Thuringia (; german: Thüringen ), officially the Free State of Thuringia ( ), is a state State may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media Literature * ''State Magazine'', a monthly magazi ...

Gotha
in the west and
Weimar Weimar (; la, Vimaria or Vinaria) is a city in the federal state of Thuringia, Germany. It is located in Central Germany (cultural area), Central Germany between Erfurt in the west and Jena in the east, approximately southwest of Leipzig, nor ...

Weimar
in the east. The Bundesstraße 4 is a connection between Erfurt and
NordhausenNordhausen may refer to: * Nordhausen (district), a district in Thuringia, Germany ** Nordhausen, Thuringia, a city in the district **Nordhausen station, the railway station in the city **Free Imperial City of Nordhausen, a free imperial city of the ...
in the north. Its southern part to Coburg was annulled when A 71 was finished (in this section, the A 71 now effectively serves as B 4). Within the circle road, B 7 and B 4 are also annulled, so that the city government has to pay for maintenance instead of the German federal government. The access to the city is restricted as ' since 2012 for some vehicles. Large parts of the inner city are a pedestrian area which can not be reached by car (except for residents).


By light rail and bus

The Erfurt public transport system is marked by the area-wide (light rail) network, established as a tram system in 1883, upgraded to a light rail (') system in 1997, and continually expanded and upgraded through the 2000s. Today, there are six ''Stadtbahn'' lines running every ten minutes on every light rail route. Additionally, Erfurt operates a bus system, which connects the sparsely populated outer districts of the region to the city center. Both systems are organized by ''SWE EVAG'', a transit company owned by the city administration. Trolleybuses were in service in Erfurt from 1948 until 1975, but are no longer in service.


By airplane

Erfurt-Weimar Airport lies west of the city centre. It is linked to the central train station via Stadtbahn (tram). It was significantly extended in the 1990s, with flights mostly to Mediterranean holiday destinations and to London during the peak Christmas market tourist season. Connections to longer haul flights are easily accessible via Frankfurt Airport, which can be reached in 2 hours via a direct train from Frankfurt Airport to Erfurt, and from Leipzig Halle Airport, Leipzig/Halle Airport, which can be reached within half an hour.


By bike

Biking is becoming increasingly popular since construction of high quality cycle tracks began in the 1990s. There are cycle lanes for general commuting within Erfurt city. Long-distance trails, such as the ''Gera track'' and the ' (Thuringian cities trail), connect points of tourist interest. The former runs along the Gera (river), Gera river valley from the Thuringian forest to the river Unstrut; the latter follows the medieval
Via Regia The Via Regia (Royal Highway) is a European Cultural Route following the route of the historic road of the Middle Ages. There were many such ''viae regiae'' associated with the king in the medieval Holy Roman Empire. History Origins The V ...
from Eisenach to Altenburg via
Gotha Gotha () is the fifth-largest city in Thuringia Thuringia (; german: Thüringen ), officially the Free State of Thuringia ( ), is a state State may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media Literature * ''State Magazine'', a monthly magazi ...

Gotha
, Erfurt,
Weimar Weimar (; la, Vimaria or Vinaria) is a city in the federal state of Thuringia, Germany. It is located in Central Germany (cultural area), Central Germany between Erfurt in the west and Jena in the east, approximately southwest of Leipzig, nor ...

Weimar
, and
Jena Jena (; ) is a German city A city is a large human settlement.Goodall, B. (1987) ''The Penguin Dictionary of Human Geography''. London: Penguin.Kuper, A. and Kuper, J., eds (1996) ''The Social Science Encyclopedia''. 2nd edition. London: Rou ...

Jena
. The Rennsteig Cycle Way was opened in 2000. This designated high-grade hiking and bike trail runs along the ridge of the Thuringian Central Uplands. The bike trail, about long, occasionally departs from the course of the historic Rennsteig hiking trail, which dates back to the 1300s, to avoid steep inclines. It is therefore about longer than the hiking trail. The Rennsteig is connected to the E3 European long distance path, which goes from the Atlantic coast of Spain to the Black Sea coast of Bulgaria, and the E6 European long distance path, running from Arctic Finland to Turkey.


Education

After reunification, the educational system was reorganized. The
University of Erfurt The University of Erfurt (german: Universität Erfurt) is a public university located in Erfurt Erfurt ( , ; ) is the capital and largest city in the state of Thuringia, central Germany. It is located in the southern part of the Thuringia ...
, founded in 1379 and closed in 1816, was refounded in 1994 with a focus on social sciences, modern languages, humanities and teacher training. Today there are approximately 6,000 students working within four faculties, the Max Weber Center for Advanced Cultural and Social Studies, and three academic research institutes. The University has an international reputation and participates in international student exchange programmes. The ''Fachhochschule Erfurt'', is a Fachhochschule, university of applied sciences, founded in 1991, which offers a combination of academic training and practical experience in subjects such as social work and social pedagogy, business studies, and engineering. There are nearly 5,000 students in six faculties, of which the faculty of landscaping and horticulture has a national reputation. The International University of Applied Sciences Bad Honnef - Bonn, International University of Applied Sciences Bad Honnef – Bonn (IUBH), is a privately run university with a focus on business and economics. It merged with the former Adam-Ries-Fachhochschule in 2013. The world renowned Bauhaus design school was founded in 1919 in the city of
Weimar Weimar (; la, Vimaria or Vinaria) is a city in the federal state of Thuringia, Germany. It is located in Central Germany (cultural area), Central Germany between Erfurt in the west and Jena in the east, approximately southwest of Leipzig, nor ...

Weimar
, approximately from Erfurt, 12 minutes by train. The buildings are now part of a World Heritage Site and are today used by the Bauhaus-Universität Weimar, which teaches design, arts, media and technology related subjects. Furthermore, there are eight ', six state-owned, one Catholic and one Protestant (Evangelisches Ratsgymnasium Erfurt). One of the state-owned schools is a ', an elite boarding school for young talents in athletics, swimming, ice skating or football. Another state-owned school, ', offers a focus in sciences as an elite boarding school in addition to the common curriculum.


Media

The German national public television children's channel ''
KiKa KiKA (contraction of ''Der KinderKAnal von ARD und ZDF''  he Children's Channel of ARD (broadcaster), ARD and ZDF is a Germany, German free-to-air television channel based in Erfurt, Germany. It is managed by a joint venture by public-se ...
'' is based in Erfurt. MDR, Mitteldeutscher Rundfunk, a radio and television company, has a broadcast centre and studios in Erfurt. The Thüringer Allgemeine is a statewide newspaper that is headquartered in the city.


Politics


Mayor and city council

The first freely elected mayor after German reunification was Manfred Ruge of the Christian Democratic Union of Germany, Christian Democratic Union, who served from 1990 to 2006. Since 2006, Andreas Bausewein of the Social Democratic Party of Germany, Social Democratic Party (SPD) has been mayor. The most recent mayoral election was held on 15 April 2018, with a runoff held on 29 April, and the results were as follows: ! rowspan=2 colspan=2, Candidate ! rowspan=2, Party ! colspan=2, First round ! colspan=2, Second round , - ! Votes ! % ! Votes ! % , - , bgcolor=, , align=left, Andreas Bausewein , align=left, Social Democratic Party of Germany, Social Democratic Party , 25,450 , 30.4 , 35,432 , 58.5 , - , bgcolor=, , align=left, Marion Walsmann , align=left, Christian Democratic Union of Germany, Christian Democratic Union , 18,348 , 21.9 , 25,118 , 41.5 , - , bgcolor=, , align=left, Stefan Möller , align=left, Alternative for Germany , 12,077 , 14.4 , - , bgcolor=, , align=left, Karola Stange , align=left, The Left (Germany), The Left , 9,312 , 11.1 , - , , align=left, Sebastian Perdelwitz , align=left, Better City Erfurt , 7,963 , 9.5 , - , bgcolor=, , align=left, Alexander Thumfart , align=left, Alliance 90/The Greens , 5,323 , 6.4 , - , , align=left, Daniel Stassny , align=left, Free Voters / Pirate Party Germany, Pirate Party , 3,519 , 4.2 , - , bgcolor=, , align=left, Marko Enke , align=left, Free Democratic Party (Germany), Free Democratic Party , 1,709 , 2.0 , - ! colspan=3, Valid votes ! 83,701 ! 99.3 ! 60,550 ! 98.0 , - ! colspan=3, Invalid votes ! 562 ! 0.7 ! 1,240 ! 2.0 , - ! colspan=3, Total ! 84,263 ! 100.0 ! 61,790 ! 100.0 , - ! colspan=3, Electorate/voter turnout ! 172,908 ! 48.7 ! 172,562 ! 35.8 , - , colspan=7, Source
Wahlen in Thüringen
The most recent city council election was held on 26 May 2019, and the results were as follows: ! colspan=2, Party ! Lead candidate ! Votes ! % ! +/- ! Seats ! +/- , - , bgcolor=, , align=left, Christian Democratic Union of Germany, Christian Democratic Union (CDU) , align=left, Michael Panse , 56,789 , 19.6 , 5.1 , 10 , 2 , - , bgcolor=, , align=left, Social Democratic Party of Germany, Social Democratic Party (SPD) , align=left, Andreas Bausewein , 49,627 , 17.1 , 11.6 , 9 , 6 , - , bgcolor=, , align=left, The Left (Germany), The Left (Die Linke) , align=left, Matthias Bärwolff , 47,742 , 16.5 , 5.5 , 8 , 3 , - , bgcolor=, , align=left, Alternative for Germany (AfD) , align=left, Stefan Möller , 43,069 , 14.9 , 10.4 , 7 , 5 , - , bgcolor=, , align=left, Alliance 90/The Greens (Grüne) , align=left, Astrid Rothe-Beinlich , 34,318 , 11.8 , 2.1 , 6 , 1 , - , , align=left, Better City Erfurt (M) , align=left, Tina Morgenroth , 21,303 , 7.3 , New , 4 , New , - , bgcolor=, , align=left, Free Democratic Party (Germany), Free Democratic Party (FDP) , align=left, Thomas Kemmerich , 15,513 , 5.4 , 2.9 , 3 , 2 , - , bgcolor=, , align=left, Free Voters (FW) , align=left, Daniel Stassny , 14,454 , 5.0 , 1.6 , 2 , ±0 , - , bgcolor=, , align=left, Pirate Party Germany (Piraten) , align=left, Peter Städter , 5,472 , 1.9 , 0.2 , 1 , ±0 , - , bgcolor=#0B6623, , align=left, The III. Path , align=left, Enrico Biczysko , 1,635 , 0.6 , New , 0 , New , - ! colspan=3, Valid votes ! 97,492 ! 96.8 ! ! ! , - ! colspan=3, Invalid votes ! 3,232 ! 3.2 ! ! ! , - ! colspan=3, Total ! 100,724 ! 100.0 ! ! 50 ! ±0 , - ! colspan=3, Electorate/voter turnout ! 172,389 ! 58.4 ! 11.1 ! ! , - , colspan=8, Source
Wahlen in Thüringen


Twin towns – sister cities

Erfurt is Sister city, twinned with: * Győr, Hungary (1971) * Vilnius, Lithuania (1972) * Kalisz, Poland (1982) *
Mainz Mainz (; ) is the capital and largest city of Rhineland-Palatinate Rhineland-Palatinate (german: Rheinland-Pfalz, ) is a western state State may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media Literature * ''State Magazine'', a monthly magazine ...

Mainz
, Germany (1988) * Lille, France (1991) * Shawnee, Kansas, Shawnee, United States (1993) * San Miguel de Tucumán, Argentina (1993) * Lovech, Bulgaria (1996) * Haifa, Israel (2000) * Xuzhou, China (2005) * Kati, Mali (2011)


Notable people

*''See: List of people from Erfurt''


Footnotes


References


Bibliography


External links


Erfurt City Panoramas
– Panoramic Views and virtual Tours
Kraemerbruecke


with Shawnee, Kansas
World Shots. Germany. Erfurt.
– Collection of photographs (English, Russian, Hebrew)
Memorial and Museum Topf & Sons.
– Builders of the Auschwitz Oven

- Eran Laor Cartographic Collection, The National Library of Israel i
Historic Cities Research Project
{{Authority control Erfurt, German state capitals Medieval German architecture Members of the Hanseatic League Province of Saxony Bezirk Erfurt Holocaust locations in Germany