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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 magazine published by the U.S. Department of State * The ...
, Germany, west of
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 of , south-west of , north of and north-east of . Together wit ...

Erfurt
and east of
Eisenach Eisenach () is a town A town is a human settlement. Towns are generally larger than villages and smaller than city, cities, though the criteria to distinguish between them vary considerably in different parts of the world. Origin ...
with a population of 44,000. The city is the capital of the district of Gotha and was also a residence of the Ernestine Wettins from 1640 until the end of monarchy in Germany in 1918. The
House of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha The House of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha (; german: Haus Sachsen-Coburg und Gotha) is a German dynasty. It takes its name from its oldest domain, the Ernestine duchy of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha, but its members later sat on the thrones of the United Ki ...

House of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha
originating here spawned many European rulers, including the royal houses of the
United Kingdom The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, commonly known as the United Kingdom (UK) or Britain,Usage is mixed. The Guardian' and Telegraph' use Britain as a synonym for the United Kingdom. Some prefer to use Britain as shorth ...

United Kingdom
,
Belgium Belgium ( nl, België ; french: Belgique ; german: Belgien ), officially the Kingdom of Belgium, is a country in Western Europe. It is bordered by the Netherlands to the north, Germany to the east, Luxembourg to the southeast, France to the ...

Belgium
,
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Portugal
(until 1910) and
Bulgaria Bulgaria (; bg, България, Bǎlgariya), officially the Republic of Bulgaria ( bg, Република България, links=no, Republika Bǎlgariya, ), is a country in Southeast Europe. It is bordered by Romania to the north, Serbia ...

Bulgaria
(until 1946). In the Middle Ages, Gotha was a rich trading town on the trade route ''
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 ...
'' and between 1650 and 1850, Gotha saw a cultural heyday as a centre of sciences and arts, fostered by the dukes of
Saxe-Gotha Saxe-Gotha (german: Sachsen-Gotha) was one of the Saxon duchies held by the Ernestine branch of the Wettin dynasty in the former Landgraviate of Thuringia Thuringia (; german: Thüringen ), officially the Free State of Thuringia ( ), is a stat ...
. The first duke, Ernest the Pious, was famous for his wise rule. In the 18th century, the ''
Almanach de Gotha The ''Almanach de Gotha'' (german: Gothaischer Hofkalender) is a directory of Europe's royalty Royalty may refer to: * Kingship * Royal family, the immediate family of a king or queen regnant, and sometimes his or her extended family * Royalty ...
'' was first published in the city. The cartographer
Justus Perthes Johann Georg Justus Perthes (11 September 1749, Rudolstadt, Schwarzburg-Rudolstadt – 2 May 1816, Gotha, Saxe-Gotha-Altenburg Saxe-Gotha-Altenburg () was a duchy ruled by the Ernestine branch of the House of Wettin in today's Thuringia, Ge ...

Justus Perthes
and the encyclopedist Joseph Meyer made Gotha a leading centre of German publishing around 1800. In the early 19th century, Gotha was a birthplace of the German insurance business. The
SPD The Social Democratic Party of Germany (german: Sozialdemokratische Partei Deutschlands, ; SPD, ) is a social democratic political party in Germany. It is one of the two major parties of contemporary Germany along with the CDU/CSU, Union parties ...
was founded in Gotha in 1875 by merging two predecessors. In that period Gotha became an industrial centre, with companies such as the ''
Gothaer Waggonfabrik ''Gothaer Waggonfabrik'' (''Gotha'', GWF) 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 Germany, see also Ger ...
'', a producer of trams and later aeroplanes. The main sights of Gotha are the early-modern Friedenstein Castle, one of the largest Renaissance Baroque castles in Germany, the medieval city centre and the
Gründerzeit in Leipzig, Germany (1892) (; "founders' period") was the economic phase in 19th-century Germany and Austria before the great Panic of 1873, stock market crash of 1873. In Central Europe, the age of industrialisation had been taking place since ...
buildings of 19th-century commercial boom. Gotha lies 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 ...
in a flat and agricultural landscape.


History


Middle Ages

Gotha has existed at least since the 8th century, when it was mentioned in a document signed by
Charlemagne Charlemagne ( , ) or Charles the Great ( la, Carolus Magnus; 2 April 748 – 28 January 814) was King of the Franks The Franks—Germanic-speaking peoples that invaded the Western Roman Empire in the 5th century—were first led by i ...

Charlemagne
as ''Villa Gotaha'' (
Old High German Old High German (OHG, german: Althochdeutsch, German abbr. ) is the earliest stage of the German language German ( Standard High German: , ) is a West Germanic language mainly spoken in Central Europe Central Europe is an area of Euro ...
''gotaha'' meaning "good waters") in 775. The first settlement was probably located around today's ''Hersdorfplatz'' outside the north-eastern edge of the later city centre. During the 11th century, the nearby
Ludowingians File:Schauenburg.jpg, Information board at the ruins of the Ludovingian family castle, the Schauenburg (Friedrichroda), Schauenburg near Friedrichroda The Ludovingians or Ludowingians (german: Ludowinger) were the ruling dynasty of Landgraviate o ...
received the village and established the city in the late 12th century, as Gotha became their second most important city after
Eisenach Eisenach () is a town A town is a human settlement. Towns are generally larger than villages and smaller than city, cities, though the criteria to distinguish between them vary considerably in different parts of the world. Origin ...
. The city generated wealth because it was conveniently located at the junction of two important long-distance 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 ...
from
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
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
to
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
Breslau
Breslau
and a north–south route from
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
over the
Thuringian Forest The Thuringian Forest (''Thüringer Wald'' in German language, German), is a mountain range in the southern parts of the Germany, German state of Thuringia, running northwest to southeast. Skirting from its southerly source in foothills to a gorg ...
to
Franconia Franconia (german: Franken, ; Franconian dialect: ''Franggn'' ; bar, Frankn) is a region In geography Geography (from Ancient Greek, Greek: , ''geographia'', literally "earth description") is a field of science devoted to the study ...

Franconia
. One of the oldest pieces of evidence of busy trade in the city is the "Gotha cache of coins" with nearly 800
Bracteate A bracteate (from the Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language belonging to the Italic languages, Italic branch of the Indo-European languages. Latin was originally spoken in the area around Rome, known as Latium. Through the power o ...
s, buried in 1185 in the central city. In 1180, Gotha was first mentioned as a city, when the area between ''Brühl'' and ''Jüdenstraße'' became the core of urban development, highlighting the early presence of Jews in this old trading town. The parish church of this first urban settlement was St. Mary's Church (demolished in 1530) at ''Schlossberg''. The castle (at the site occupied today by Friedenstein Castle) was first mentioned in 1217. As the Ludowingians died out in 1247, Gotha became part of the Wettins' territories, where it remained until 1918. The ''new town'' east of ''Querstraße'' was established in the early 15th century (with the ''Neumarkt'', first mentioned in 1428). The monastery (first
Cistercians The Cistercians, () officially the Order of Cistercians ( la, (Sacer) Ordo Cisterciensis, abbreviated as OCist or SOCist), are a Catholic religious order In the , a religious order is a community of with members that profess s. According ...
, since 1258
Augustinians Augustinians are members of Christian religious orders that follow the Rule of Saint Augustine The Rule of Saint Augustine, written about the year 400, is a brief document divided into eight chapters and serves as an outline for religious li ...
) was founded before 1251 and abandoned in 1525. Until 1665, the bourse of Gotha was located in the centre of ''Hauptmarkt'' square inside the
Renaissance The Renaissance ( , ) , from , with the same meanings. is a period Period may refer to: Common uses * Era, a length or span of time * Full stop (or period), a punctuation mark Arts, entertainment, and media * Period (music), a concept in ...
building, which hosts the town hall today. The medieval town hall was located on the north-eastern edge of Hauptmarkt, at the site of today's ''Innungshalle''. Water supply was a big problem, because Gotha is not located on a river. In 1369, Landgrave Balthasar had the Leinakanal built. This channel, over 25 kilometres long, brought fresh water from the Thuringian Forest (
Hörsel
Hörsel
and Apfelstädt rivers) to the city. The main businesses of medieval Gotha were cloth-making and the
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 ...
trade.


Early modern period

The
Reformation The Reformation (alternatively named the Protestant Reformation or the European Reformation) was a major movement within Western Christianity in Vatican City Vatican City (), officially the Vatican City State ( it, Stato della Cit ...
was introduced in Gotha in 1524 and the castle was rebuilt as a larger fortress between 1530 and 1541. Gotha was already part of the Ernestine Wettins territory after the 1485
Treaty of Leipzig The Treaty of Leipzig or Partition of Leipzig (German ''Leipziger Teilung'') was signed on 11 November 1485 between Elector Ernest of Saxony and his younger brother Albert III, the sons of Elector Frederick II of Saxony from the House of Wettin ...
. However, the Ernestines' loss of power after the
Schmalkaldic War The Schmalkaldic War (german: link=no, Schmalkaldischer Krieg) refers to the short period of violence from 1546 until 1547 between the forces of Emperor Charles V of the Holy Roman Empire (simultaneously King Charles I of Spain), commanded by t ...
in 1547, the Treaty of Erfurt in 1572, when the city became part of
Saxe-Coburg Saxe-Coburg (german: Sachsen-Coburg) was a duchy A duchy is a medieval 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 ...
, and the
Thirty Years' War The Thirty Years' War was a conflict fought largely within 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 Europe, Weste ...
resulted in Gotha's decline. The local castle, ''Grimmenstein'', was razed by Imperial troops in 1572. The turnaround was brought about by the selection of Gotha as a ducal residence in the 1640 territorial partition, when Ernest the Pious founded the duchy of
Saxe-Gotha Saxe-Gotha (german: Sachsen-Gotha) was one of the Saxon duchies held by the Ernestine branch of the Wettin dynasty in the former Landgraviate of Thuringia Thuringia (; german: Thüringen ), officially the Free State of Thuringia ( ), is a stat ...
. The strongly Protestant and absolutist sovereign quickly began to reorganize his small state (even before the war had ended) and in particular fostered the school system, for example by introducing
compulsory education Compulsory education refers to a period of education that is required of all people and is imposed by the government. This education may take place at a registered school A school is an designed to provide s and s for the teaching of ...
up to the age of 12 in 1642. This was the origin of the often noted liberal education of the Gotha citizenry and the following cultural heyday.
Veit Ludwig von SeckendorffImage:SECKENDORFF.gif, thumb Veit Ludwig von Seckendorff or Seckendorf (December 20, 1626December 18, 1692), Germany, German politician, statesman and scholar, was a member of the House of Seckendorff, a noble family which took its name from the vill ...

Veit Ludwig von Seckendorff
was one of numerous experienced and loyal civil servants employed by the duke. Seckendorff was considered one of the most able and influential thinkers on administration and public law of his time. His book ''Der teutsche Fürstenstaat'' (1656), written by order of Ernest, served for decades as a standard work in teaching political science at Protestant universities in Germany.
Friedenstein Castle Friedenstein Palace (german: Schloss Friedenstein) is an early Baroque palace built in the mid-17th century by Ernest I, Duke of Saxe-Gotha Ernest I, called "Ernest the Pious" (25 December 1601 – 26 March 1675), was a duke of Saxe-Gotha and S ...
was built between 1643 and 1654 and is one of the first large Baroque residence castles in Germany. Between 1657 and 1676, the city received a stronger fortification, which was demolished between 1772 and 1811. In their place, a park around Friedenstein and a boulevard around the city were established. Some important scientific institutions were the ducal library (today's '' Forschungsbibliothek Gotha'' as part of the
University of Erfurt The University of Erfurt (german: Universität Erfurt) is a public university located 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 o ...
), founded in 1650, the "coin cabinet" (1712), the "art and natural collection", basis of today's museums, and the
Gotha Observatory Gotha Observatory (''Seeberg Observatory'', ''Sternwarte Gotha'' or ''Seeberg-Sternwarte'') was a German astronomical observatory located on Seeberg hill near Gotha (town), Gotha, Thuringia, Germany. Initially the observatory was dedicated to astro ...
at Seeberg mountain, established 1788. The Gotha porcelain manufactory (established in 1767) was famous around 1800 for their
faience Faience or faïence (; ) is the general English language term for fine tin-glazed pottery. The invention of a white Ceramic glaze, pottery glaze suitable for painted decoration, by the addition of an stannous oxide, oxide of tin to the Slip (c ...
s. In 1774, the actor group led by Conrad (or Konrad) Ekhof, called "the father of German acting", came from Weimar to Gotha. He began working at the ''Schlosstheater'' and became ''Direktor'' of the first ever German court theatre (founded in 1683), while acting in many plays himself. Having turned it into one of the leading theatres in Germany, after his death in 1778 the fame of the theatre declined rapidly. The ''
Almanach de Gotha The ''Almanach de Gotha'' (german: Gothaischer Hofkalender) is a directory of Europe's royalty Royalty may refer to: * Kingship * Royal family, the immediate family of a king or queen regnant, and sometimes his or her extended family * Royalty ...
'', a directory of European royalty and nobility, was first published in 1763 and
Justus Perthes Johann Georg Justus Perthes (11 September 1749, Rudolstadt, Schwarzburg-Rudolstadt – 2 May 1816, Gotha, Saxe-Gotha-Altenburg Saxe-Gotha-Altenburg () was a duchy ruled by the Ernestine branch of the House of Wettin in today's Thuringia, Ge ...

Justus Perthes
founded his science publishing company in 1785. Joseph Meyer followed in 1826 by founding the ''
Bibliographisches Institut The German publishing company was founded 1826 in 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, entertainmen ...

Bibliographisches Institut
'', one of the two leading encyclopedia publishers in the German language besides the Brockhaus and
Adolf Stieler Adolf Stieler (26 February 177513 March 1836) was a German people, German cartographer and lawyer who worked most of his life in the Justus Perthes, Justus Perthes Geographical Institute in Gotha. Although he studied law and would serve in governme ...

Adolf Stieler
first published his '' Handatlas'' in Gotha in 1816. , the founder of the order of the Illuminati, died in Gotha in 1830. It was also during this time, that the city developed a sizeable Jewish population.


Since 1815

From 1826 to 1918, Gotha along with Coburg was one of the two capitals of the Duchy of
Saxe-Coburg-Gotha Saxe-Coburg and Gotha (german: Sachsen-Coburg und Gotha), or Saxe-Coburg-Gotha (), was an ErnestineErnestine is a feminine given name. Ernest is the male counterpart of this name. Notable people with the name include: * Ernestine Anderson (19 ...
. Under the rule of , Gotha was a centre of Germany's liberal movement, where the Gothaer Nachparlament, an aftermath of 1848 German Revolution took place. After 1851,
Gustav Freytag Gustav Freytag (; 13 July 1816 – 30 April 1895) was a German novelist and playwright. Life Freytag was born in Kreuzburg (Kluczbork) in Silesia Silesia (, also , ) is a historical region of Central Europe Central Europe is the cent ...

Gustav Freytag
, novelist, advocate of German unity and often a harsh critic of
Otto von Bismarck Otto, Prince of Bismarck, Count of Bismarck-Schönhausen, Duke of Lauenburg (german: Otto Fürst von Bismarck, Graf von Bismarck-Schönhausen, Herzog zu Lauenburg ; 1 April 1815 – 30 July 1898), born Otto Eduard Leopold von Bismarck, was a c ...

Otto von Bismarck
made Siebleben (today part of Gotha) his summer home. Ernest II made Freytag ''Hofrat'' (privy councillor) in 1854, when the Prussian government had issued a warrant for his arrest. In 1875, the German
socialist Socialism is a political Politics (from , ) is the set of activities that are associated with making decisions In psychology, decision-making (also spelled decision making and decisionmaking) is regarded as the Cognition, cognitive pr ...
party (
SPD The Social Democratic Party of Germany (german: Sozialdemokratische Partei Deutschlands, ; SPD, ) is a social democratic political party in Germany. It is one of the two major parties of contemporary Germany along with the CDU/CSU, Union parties ...
) was founded in Gotha through the merger of two organizations: the Social Democratic Workers' Party, led by
August Bebel Ferdinand August Bebel (22 February 1840 – 13 August 1913) was a German socialist politician, writer, and orator. He is best remembered as one of the founders of the Social Democratic Workers' Party of Germany (SDAP) in 1869, which in 1875 mer ...
and
Wilhelm Liebknecht Wilhelm Martin Philipp Christian Ludwig Liebknecht
(29 March 1826 – 7 August 1900) was a German sociali ...

Wilhelm Liebknecht
, and the
General German Workers' Association The General German Workers' Association (german: Allgemeiner Deutscher Arbeiter-Verein, ADAV) was a German political party founded on 23 May 1863 in Leipzig Leipzig (, also , ; Upper Saxon: ) is the most populous city in the Germany, German Sta ...
, founded by
Ferdinand Lassalle Ferdinand Lassalle (; 11 April 1825 – 31 August 1864) was a Prussia Prussia, , Old Prussian Distribution of the Baltic tribes, circa 1200 CE (boundaries are approximate). Old Prussian was a Western Baltic language belonging to t ...

Ferdinand Lassalle
. A compromise known as the
Gotha Program The Gotha Program was the party platform A political party platform, party program, or party manifesto is a formal set of principle goals which are supported by a political party A political party is an organization that coordinates ...
was forged, although it was strongly criticized by
Karl Marx Karl Heinrich Marx (; 5 May 1818 – 14 March 1883) was a German philosopher A philosopher is someone who practices philosophy Philosophy (from , ) is the study of general and fundamental questions, such as those about reason, M ...

Karl Marx
for its reformist bias in his ''
Critique of the Gotha Program The ''Critique of the Gotha Programme'' (german: Kritik des Gothaer Programms) is a document based on a letter by Karl Marx Karl Heinrich Marx (; 5 May 1818 – 14 March 1883) was a German philosopher A philosopher is someone who practice ...
''. From 1876 to 1908, the novelist
Kurd Lasswitz Kurd Lasswitz (german: link=no, Kurd Laßwitz; 20 April 1848 – 17 October 1910) was a German author, scientist, and philosopher. He has been called "the father of German science fiction". He sometimes used the pseudonym ''Velatus''. Biography ...
, sometimes referred to as "the father of German science fiction" worked as a teacher at Gotha's Ernestinum, the oldest ''Gymnasium'' in Thuringia. Industrialization started in Gotha around 1850, as the city was connected to the
Thuringian Railway Thuringian is an East Central German East Central German (german: Ostmitteldeutsch) is the eastern, non-Franconian languages, Franconian Central German language, part of High German languages, High German. Present-day Standard German as a High G ...
in 1847. The city became a centre of engineering with companies like the ''
Gothaer Waggonfabrik ''Gothaer Waggonfabrik'' (''Gotha'', GWF) 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 Germany, see also Ger ...
'', a tram and airplane manufacturer, founded in 1883. During the 19th century, Gotha also became a centre of banking and the insurance business in Germany. Ernst-Wilhelm Arnoldi founded the first fire insurance in 1820, followed by the first life insurance in 1827. The
mutual insurance #redirect Mutual insurance#redirect Mutual insuranceA mutual insurance company is an insurance Insurance is a means of protection from financial loss. It is a form of risk management, primarily used to hedge against the risk of a contingen ...
remains one of the largest insurance companies in Germany (it moved to
Cologne Cologne ( ; german: Köln ; ksh, Kölle ) is the largest city of Germany, Germany's most populous States of Germany, state of North Rhine-Westphalia (NRW) and the List of cities in Germany by population, fourth-most populous city and one of t ...

Cologne
after
World War II World War II or the Second World War, often abbreviated as WWII or WW2, was a global war A world war is "a war War is an intense armed conflict between states State may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media Literatur ...
). Gotha's tram network was established in 1894. The first
crematory A crematorium or crematory is a venue for the cremation of the Death, dead. Modern crematoria contain at least one cremator (also known as a crematory, retort or cremation chamber), a purpose-built furnace. In some countries a crematorium can ...
in Germany was built in Gotha in 1878. The
Independent Social Democratic Party of Germany The Independent Social Democratic Party of Germany (german: Unabhängige Sozialdemokratische Partei Deutschlands, USPD) was a short-lived political party A political party is an organization that coordinates candidates to compete in a par ...
(USPD), a left-wing breakaway of the SPD was founded in Gotha in 1917 in opposition to the SPD's war policies during
World War I World War I, often abbreviated as WWI or WW1, also known as the First World War or the Great War, was a global war A world war is "a war engaged in by all or most of the principal nations of the world". The term is usually reserved for ...

World War I
. During the
German Revolution 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 **Germ ...
, the Duke abdicated in 1918. A far-left government was elected in Gotha in 1919 and worked against both the
Weimar National Assembly The Constituent German National Assembly (german: verfassunggebende Deutsche Nationalversammlung), better known as the Weimar National Assembly (german: Weimarer Nationalversammlung, link=no), was the constitutional convention and de facto parli ...
and the
Kapp-Lüttwitz Putsch '' associated with the German Empire The Kapp Putsch (), also known as the Kapp–Lüttwitz Putsch (), named after its leaders Wolfgang Kapp and Walther von Lüttwitz, was an coup d'état, attempted coup against the German national government in B ...
in 1920 bringing the city to the edge of a civil war. After a referendum, the state of Gotha joined the newly created ''Freistaat''
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 magazine published by the U.S. Department of State * The ...
in 1920. Under
Nazi Nazism ( ), officially National Socialism (german: Nationalsozialismus, ), is the ideology An ideology () is a set of belief A belief is an Attitude (psychology), attitude that something is the case, or that some proposition about th ...
rule, Gotha became a centre of the arms industry with nearly 7,000 forced labourers working in the city's factories, where more than 200 died. The Gotha barracks in the southern periphery were enlarged and during the ''
Kristallnacht ''Kristallnacht'' () or the Night of Broken Glass, also called the November pogrom(s) (german: Novemberpogrome, ), was a pogrom A pogrom is a violent riot Rioters wearing scarves to conceal their identity and filter tear gas A riot ( ...

Kristallnacht
'' in 1938 the synagogue was destroyed. Allied air raids in 1944/5 damaged some buildings in the city, in particular the state theatre (demolished by East German authorities in 1958) and the main station (which remains only "half-a-building" until today) and the main church (rebuilt after the war). Nevertheless, some 95% of the city's buildings survived the war unscathed. Jewish slave laborers working in quarries at Gotha were all murdered by their Nazi overseers on 4 April 1945, just before the city was captured by American forces. The American Army reached the city in April 1945 but was replaced by the Soviets in July 1945 and in 1949 Gotha became part of the
GDR East Germany, officially the German Democratic Republic (GDR; german: Deutsche Demokratische Republik, , DDR, ), was a state that existed from 1949 to 1990 in eastern Eastern may refer to: Transportation *China Eastern Airlines, a current ...

GDR
. During this period, some historic inner-city quarters were replaced by ''
Plattenbau (plural: , german: Platte + Bau, lit=panel/slab' + 'building/ construction) is a building constructed of large, prefabricated Prefabrication is the practice of assembling components of a structure A structure is an arrangement and organiz ...

Plattenbau
'' buildings, especially west of the Hauptmarkt and at Gartenstraße north of the city centre. Many other buildings fell derelict during the later GDR period and the city's time of shrinking in the 1990s, whereas others were refurbished after
German reunification German reunification (german: Deutsche Wiedervereinigung) was the process in 1990 in which the German Democratic Republic German(s) may refer to: * Germany (of or related to) **Germania (historical use) * Germans, citizens of Germany, peop ...
in 1990. Gotha's economy was hit by the transition from state to market economy after 1990, nevertheless, some companies survived or were newly founded and have made Gotha an economically relatively successful city.


Geography and demographics


Topography

Gotha is situated in a flat landscape within the fertile
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 ...
. A tectonic dislocation traverses the city from north-west to south-east. Thereby, it forms three prominent hills: the 431 m high ''Krahnberg'' with the ''Ratsholz'' forest in the north-west, the hill of Friedenstein Castle in the city centre and the 409 m high ''Seeberg'' in the south-east. The city itself lies at an elevation of 300 m and the municipal territory is nearly free of forest (with the two named mountains as exceptions) and is in intensive agricultural use. As one out of only very few ancient cities in Germany, Gotha is not situated on a river, so that water supply was already a problem in the Middle Ages. For that reason, the ''Leinakanal'' was built in the 14th century over a distance of more than 25 kilometres, which was at the time an enormous task. The Leinakanal brings water from and Apfelstädt river to Gotha, overcoming the watershed between
Elbe The Elbe (, ; cs, Labe ; nds, Ilv or ''Elv''; Upper and dsb, Łobjo), historically in English also Elve, is one of the major river A river is a natural flowing watercourse, usually freshwater, flowing towards an ocean, sea, lake o ...

Elbe
(Apfelstädt) and
Weser The Weser () is a river of Lower Saxony in north-west Germany. It begins at Hann. Münden, Hannoversch Münden through the confluence of the Werra and Fulda (river), Fulda. It passes through the Hanseatic League, Hanseatic city of Bremen. Its m ...
(Gotha). The drain of Leinakanal is the ''Flutgraben'', a tributary of Nesse. The
Thuringian Forest The Thuringian Forest (''Thüringer Wald'' in German language, German), is a mountain range in the southern parts of the Germany, German state of Thuringia, running northwest to southeast. Skirting from its southerly source in foothills to a gorg ...
is located south-west of Gotha.


Administrative division

Gotha borders the following municipalities, which are all part of Gotha district: Goldbach, Remstädt, Bufleben, Friemar, Tüttleben, Drei Gleichen, Günthersleben-Wechmar, Schwabhausen, Emleben,
Leinatal Leinatal is a former municipality A municipality is usually a single administrative division Administrative division, administrative unitArticle 3(1). , country subdivision, administrative region, subnational entity, first-level subdivi ...
and
Hörsel The Hörsel () is a long 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 wit ...
. Gotha is divided in 11 districts. The urban districts are Mitte, Weststadt, West, Nord, Süd, Oststadt and Ost and the rural districts are Boilstädt (incorporated in 1994), Siebleben (1922), Sundhausen (1974) and Uelleben (1994).


Demographics

Gotha has long been one of the largest towns in Thuringia. During the Middle Ages, it was a town of 5,000 to 6,000 inhabitants and its selection as a ducal residence brought another impetus during the 17th and 18th century, so that Gotha had already more than 10,000 inhabitants by 1800. The number rose to 15,000 around 1850, as industrialisation started and the city was connected to the railway. The population saw a steady growth to 23,000 in 1875, 35,000 in 1900, 46,000 in 1925 and 58,000 in 1950, when the peak was reached. Until 1990, the population was roughly constant at around 57,000. After German reunification in 1990, the city saw a significant decline in population, it shrank to 48,000 by 2000 and to 44,000 by 2012. Between 2013 and 2016, the population rose in each consecutive year. In 2016 it reached 45,640. The average decrease of population between 2009 and 2012 was -0.05% p.a, whereas the population in bordering rural regions is shrinking with accelerating tendency. Suburbanization played only a small role in Gotha. It occurred after reunification for a short time in the 1990s, but most of the suburban areas are situated within the administrative city borders. During the 1990s and the early 2000s, many inhabitants left Gotha to search for a better life in west Germany or other major east German cities like Jena or
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 of , south-west of , north of and north-east of . Together wit ...

Erfurt
. Since 2005, emigration is not a big issue anymore. Today, the birth deficit, caused by the high average age of the population, is becoming a bigger problem because immigration is not sufficient to compensate for it in recent years. Despite urban planning activities to tear down unused flats, vacancy was a problem with rates around 9% in 2011 but declined to 4% in 2017. A side effect of the high vacancy rate is Gotha's low rent level. The birth deficit was 175 in 2012, this is -3.9 per 1,000 inhabitants (Thuringian average: -4.5; national average: -2.4). The net migration rate was +6.2 per 1,000 inhabitants in 2012 (Thuringian average: -0.8; national average: +4.6). The most important regions of origin of Gotha migrants are bordering rural areas of Thuringia as well as foreign countries like Poland, Russia, Ukraine, Hungary, Serbia, Romania and Bulgaria. Like other eastern German cities, foreigners account for only a small share of Gotha's population: circa 2.5% are non-Germans by citizenship and overall 7.1% are classified as migrants (according to the 2011 EU census). In contrast to the national average, the largest groups of migrants in Gotha are Russians in Germany, Russians, Vietnamese people in Germany, Vietnamese and Ukrainians in Germany, Ukrainians. Due to the official atheism of the former East Germany, GDR, most of the population is non-religious. 18.2% are members of the Evangelical Church in Central Germany and 4.8% are Catholics (according to the 2011 EU census).


Culture, sights and cityscape


Museums

Gotha hosts various museums, which are – together with the ducal buildings – promoted as the ''Gothaer Barock-Universum'' ("Baroque universe of Gotha"). * Friedenstein Castle hosts the following museums: ** The ''Ekhof Theatre'' is a Baroque court theatre and the world's only 17th century theatre with original stage machinery still working. ** The ''Historic Museum'' hosts an exhibition about municipal and regional history and culture of Gotha. ** The ''Museum of Nature'' shows a natural history exhibition with animals, minerals and fossils. ** The ''Castle Museum'' contains the former ducal living rooms and several items of cultural history. * The ''Ducal Museum'' opposite to the castle hosts the ducal collection of art, containing Egyptian antiques, Renaissance Old Masters paintings, Chinese and Meissen porcelain, Meissen porcelaine and more. * The ''Insurance Museum'' at Bahnhofstraße is Germany's only museum on the history of the insurance business, which has been important in Gotha since 1820. * The ''Tivoli'' at Cosmarstraße is the place where the Social Democratic Party of Germany was founded and hosts a small exhibition on the party's history.


Image gallery

File:Bühne des Ekhof-Theaters.JPG, Ekhof Theatre File:Westturm Friedenstein Gotha.JPG, The Historic Museum and the Museum of Nature are located in Friedenstein's western tower File:Gotha-exponate-010.jpg, One of the rooms at Castle Museum File:Thuringia Gotha asv2020-07 img28 Herzogliches Museum.jpg, Ducal Museum – arthistorical museum of Gotha File:Thuringia Gotha asv2020-07 img07 Versicherungsmuseum.jpg, Insurance Museum File:Thuringia Gotha asv2020-07 img29 Gothaer Tivoli.jpg, Tivoli


Cityscape

The city centre of Gotha has two medieval parts: the old town around ''Hauptmarkt'' and the new town around ''Neumarkt''. Both were walled until 1810, when the city walls were broken down and a boulevard was laid out in their place. Early-modern suburbiums were established to the south-west (around ''Dreikronengasse''), to the west (around ''Große Fahnenstraße'') and to the east (around ''Mohrenberg''). The later 19th century brought larger growth in all directions. Especially the axis between the main station and the city centre received a representative development in capital-city style. Due to Gotha's function as a ducal residence, most buildings built between 1870 and 1914 were generous in size and many mansions were built. Only some outer districts show the typical German working-class tenements (e.g. around ''Oststraße'' and ''Seebergstraße''). The largest ''
Plattenbau (plural: , german: Platte + Bau, lit=panel/slab' + 'building/ construction) is a building constructed of large, prefabricated Prefabrication is the practice of assembling components of a structure A structure is an arrangement and organiz ...

Plattenbau
'' settlement of Gotha was established at the western periphery during the late
GDR East Germany, officially the German Democratic Republic (GDR; german: Deutsche Demokratische Republik, , DDR, ), was a state that existed from 1949 to 1990 in eastern Eastern may refer to: Transportation *China Eastern Airlines, a current ...

GDR
period. In the 1980s, large areas of the western old town were demolished and replaced by small-scale ''Plattenbau'' houses. After 1990, many buildings were thoroughly refurbished after having fallen into dereliction during GDR times. Nevertheless, a relatively large share of ruined historic buildings remains characteristic for Gotha (in comparison to neighbouring cities like Eisenach, Erfurt or Weimar), especially within the historic new town and the 19th century belt around the city centre. The government sometimes failed to conserve historic buildings, for example the ' was demolished in 2007, as was the ' in 2011 (although the latter has now being reconstructed externally). The ' was saved in 2006, and the ''Prinzenpalais'' was restored in 2017 although the adjacent ''Kavaliershaus'' was demolished.


Sights and architectural heritage


Churches

* The main Protestant church ''St. Margarethen'' at Neumarkt was built between 1494 and 1543 in late-Gothic architecture, Gothic style. * The Protestant church ''St. Salvator'' at Klosterplatz is a former monastery of the
Augustinians Augustinians are members of Christian religious orders that follow the Rule of Saint Augustine The Rule of Saint Augustine, written about the year 400, is a brief document divided into eight chapters and serves as an outline for religious li ...
, built around 1300 in Gothic style and dissolved in 1525. * The ducal chapel inside Friedenstein Castle is located at the north-eastern corner and was designed in 1697. * The Protestant ''Friedrichskirche'' at Erfurter Landstraße was built between 1712 and 1715 in Baroque architecture, Baroque style. * The Protestant church ''St. Helena'' at Siebleben district was built between 1818 and 1827 in Neoclassical architecture, Neo-Classical style. * The Catholic parish church ''St. Bonifatius'' at Moßlerstraße was built in 1855 in Romanesque revival, Neo-Romanesque style. File:Thuringia Gotha asv2020-07 img22 Margarethenkirche.jpg, St. Margarethen File:Augustinian church in Gotha (4).jpg, St. Salvator File:Gotha, Schlosskirche im Schloss Friedenstein.JPG, Ducal chapel inside Friedenstein Castle File:Gotha Friedrichkirche1.jpg, Friedrichskirche File:Siebleben-Dorfkirche.JPG, St. Helena File:Gotha Bonifatiuskirche2.jpg, St. Bonifatius


Castles and palaces

* The former residence of the
Saxe-Gotha Saxe-Gotha (german: Sachsen-Gotha) was one of the Saxon duchies held by the Ernestine branch of the Wettin dynasty in the former Landgraviate of Thuringia Thuringia (; german: Thüringen ), officially the Free State of Thuringia ( ), is a stat ...
dukes is
Friedenstein Castle Friedenstein Palace (german: Schloss Friedenstein) is an early Baroque palace built in the mid-17th century by Ernest I, Duke of Saxe-Gotha Ernest I, called "Ernest the Pious" (25 December 1601 – 26 March 1675), was a duke of Saxe-Gotha and S ...
, one of the largest late-Renaissance/early-Baroque styled castles in Germany. It consists of three wings in U-form with two towers at their ends and was built between 1643 and 1654. * The ''Schloss Friedrichsthal'' at Friedrichstraße is the former ducal summer residence, built between 1707 and 1711 in French Baroque architecture, French Baroque style. * The ''Winterpalais'' at Friedrichstraße is the former ducal winter residence, built in 1822 in neo-classical style. * The ''Orangerie'' at Friedrichstraße consists of two symmetric orangery houses and a Baroque park in between, built between 1747 and 1774. * The ''Prinzenpalais'' at Mozartstraße was the ducal guesthouse, built in 1776. * The ''Marstall'' at Parkallee was the ducal stables, built in 1847. * The ''Schloss Mönchhof'' at Siebleben district was a ducal summer residence, built in the late 18th century. File:Schloss-Friedenstein01.JPG, Patio of Friedenstein Castle File:Schloss Friedenstein Gotha.JPG, Towers of Friedenstein Castle File:Friedrichsthalgotha.jpg, Schloss Friedrichsthal File:Winterpalais Gotha 2006.jpg, Winterpalais File:Thuringia Gotha asv2020-07 img13 Orangerie.jpg, Orangerie (northern building) File:Thuringia Gotha asv2020-07 img11 Marstall.jpg, Marstall File:Gotha-Siebleben-Schloss-Mönchhof-1.JPG, Schloss Mönchhof


Other sights

* The ''town hall'' at Hauptmarkt was built as a bourse between 1566 and 1574 in Renaissance architecture, Renaissance style. It has been in use as town hall since 1665. * There are some Renaissance patricians' houses around Hauptmarkt and Brühl, showing the city's wealth through the 15th and 16th centuries. * The ''Hospital St. Mary'' is the former city hospital and was built between 1716 and 1719 in Baroque style. * The ''Crematorium'' at the main cemetery is the oldest one in Germany, established in 1878. * The ''Wasserkunst'' (water feature) at Schlossberg were established in 1895 with three cascades traversed by water from the Leinakanal. * The ''Courthouse'' at Justus-Perthes-Straße was built in 1895/96 in historicistic forms. * The 19th and early-20th century school buildings in Gotha are of impressive size and design, for example the Ernestinum (1837/38) at Bergallee, the Myconiusschule (1865) at Bürgeraue, the Herzog-Ernst-Schule at Reinhardsbrunner Straße, the Andreas-Reyher-Schule (1898–1900) at Mozartstraße, the Arnoldischule (1909–1911) at Eisenacher Straße and the former Baugewerbeschule (1910/11) at Trützschlerplatz. * Many of the banks' and insurances' buildings of Gotha are also architecturally interesting. They were built during Gotha's time as a centre of the finance industry around 1900. The ''Deutsche Grundkreditbank'' at Bahnhofstraße (1872–1877) was built by Ludwig Bohnstedt, as was the ''Gothaer Feuerversicherung'' (1872–1874) at Bahnhofstraße and the ''Gothaer Privatbank'' (1873–1877) at Ekhofplatz. The ''Gothaer Lebensversicherung'' (1893/94) was built by Bruno Eelbo at Bahnhofstraße and the ''Ducal Cashier's Office'' (1908) at Justus-Perthes-Straße was built by Alfred Cramer. * The Garden city movement, garden city ''Am Schmalen Rain'' was built in 1928 in garden-city style like Hellerau near Dresden. * The Stadtbad Gotha is an Art Nouveau-style public bathhouse built in 1909 and restored in 2014. File:Rathaus Gotha.JPG, Town hall File:Hospital Gotha.JPG, St. Mary's Hospital File:Gotha Wasserkunst Hauptmarkt.jpg, ''Wasserkunst'' File:Gotha-Amtsgericht1-Bubo.JPG, Courthouse File:Ernestinum Gotha.JPG, Ernestium school File:Privatbank Gotha.JPG, ''Gothaer Privatbank'' File:Am Schmalen Rain Gotha1.JPG, Garden city ''Am Schmalen Rain'' File:Gotha-Stadtbad-2-CTH.JPG, Stadtbad Gotha


Economy and infrastructure

During recent years, the economic situation of the city improved: the unemployment rate in the district declined from 17% in 2005 to 7% in 2013 with rates a bit higher in the city itself than in the other municipalities of the Gotha district.


Agriculture, industry and services

Agriculture is still important in the region around Gotha with its fertile soil. More than 60% of the municipal territory is in agricultural use for growing maize, crops, vegetables and sugar beets. Vehicle construction is still the most important industry in Gotha. The well-known ''
Gothaer Waggonfabrik ''Gothaer Waggonfabrik'' (''Gotha'', GWF) 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 Germany, see also Ger ...
'' had two successors after 1990: the ''Gothaer Fahrzeugwerke'', a Schmitz Cargobull factory with 800 workers and the ''Gothaer Fahrzeugtechnik'', a crane manufacturer with 400 employees. The brewery belongs to Oettinger Beer and has 300 employees. In 2012, there were 28 companies with more than 20 workers in the industrial sector, employing 3,300 people and generating a turnover of more than €850 million. The old industrial district is situated in the east of Gotha, a new one developed after 1990 in the south. Further, the neighbouring small towns of Waltershausen and Ohrdruf, Thuringia, Ohrdruf have strong industrial cores, where many commuters from Gotha have found work. As a former state capital (until 1920) and then district capital, Gotha is also a hub of public and private services. The city centre hosts some retailing and at the south-western periphery the largest hospital of the region was built after reunification. The Friedenstein barracks are one of the largest Bundeswehr bases in Thuringia. In addition, the ', a state historical archive, and the Land's Financial Court have their seat in Gotha. Despite the various sights and the colourful history, tourism plays no important role in Gotha yet. In 2012, there were only 68,000 overnight guests staying for 154,000 nights in Gotha (compared to 310,000 in
Eisenach Eisenach () is a town A town is a human settlement. Towns are generally larger than villages and smaller than city, cities, though the criteria to distinguish between them vary considerably in different parts of the world. Origin ...
, 650,000 in Weimar and 750,000 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 of , south-west of , north of and north-east of . Together wit ...

Erfurt
). Within the last decade there was no significant growth in tourism.


Transport

Gotha is connected by the
Thuringian Railway Thuringian is an East Central German East Central German (german: Ostmitteldeutsch) is the eastern, non-Franconian languages, Franconian Central German language, part of High German languages, High German. Present-day Standard German as a High G ...
to
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 of , south-west of , north of and north-east of . Together wit ...

Erfurt
and
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 the east and to
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
/Kassel in the west. Furthermore, there are some regional railways from Gotha to Leinefelde (via
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 to Gräfenroda (the latter out of service since 2011). Besides the main station, there is another one at the Leinefelde line: ''Gotha Ost'' in the north-eastern part of the city. Long-distance trains (ICE or IC) connect Gotha with Frankfurt in the west and Leipzig/Dresden in the east every two hours, as does a regional express train to Göttingen in the north-west and Zwickau/Glauchau in the east via Erfurt and Jena. The local trains to
Eisenach Eisenach () is a town A town is a human settlement. Towns are generally larger than villages and smaller than city, cities, though the criteria to distinguish between them vary considerably in different parts of the world. Origin ...
in the west, Halle (Saale), Halle in the east (via Erfurt and Weimar) and Bad Langensalza in the north depart once an hour. The two ''Autobahnen'' crossing 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). Furthermore, there are two ''Bundesstraßen'' connecting Gotha: the Bundesstraße 7 from Eisenach in the west to Erfurt in the east and the Bundesstraße 247 from Ohrdruf, Thuringia, Ohrdruf in the south to
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
in the north. Important secondary roads lead from Gotha to Bad Tennstedt in the north-east, to Arnstadt in the south-east, to Waltershausen in the south-west and to Goldbach in the north-west. An eastern bypass road to relieve the city centre of transit traffic along B 247 is in the planning process. The Erfurt-Weimar Airport is situated 20 kilometres east of Gotha and in use for holiday flights to southern European tourist destinations. The next major airport is Frankfurt Airport, approximately to the south-west. Biking is becoming more and more popular since the construction of quality cycle tracks began in the 1990s. For tourists there is the long-distance ''Radweg Thüringer Städtekette'' (Thuringian city string trail). It connects points of touristic interest along 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 via Gotha, Erfurt, Weimar and Jena to Altenburg. The public transport system consists of a Trams in Gotha, tram network with three lines, connecting the city centre with the main station in the south-east, the east station in the north-east and the hospital in Sundhausen district in the south-west. A peculiarity is the long ' (established in 1929), one of Germany's last traditional interurban tramway lines, to Bad Tabarz, Waltershausen and Friedrichroda. It is used both for everyday traffic and by tourists. Buses serve urban quarters and nearby villages lacking a tram or rail connection.


Education and research

There are three state-run ''Gymnasium (Germany), Gymnasiums'' in Gotha, including the famous Ernestine Gymnasium, Gotha, Ernestine Gymnasium. In addition, the ''Thüringer Fachhochschule für öffentliche Verwaltung'' (school of public administration) with 500 students has its seat in Gotha, as has the school of Thuringia's ministry of finance and the school of Thuringia's geodesy authority. Research with focus on early modern history is carried out by the ''Forschungsbibliothek Gotha'', the state archive and the "Friedenstein Foundation", which also runs the museums at Friedenstein Castle.


Politics


Mayor and city council

The most recent mayoral election was held on 15 April 2018, and the results were as follows: ! colspan=2, Candidate ! Party ! Votes ! % , - , bgcolor=, , align=left, Knut Kreuch , align=left, Social Democratic Party of Germany, Social Democratic Party , 9,910 , 61.1 , - , bgcolor=, , align=left, Jens Wehner , align=left, Christian Democratic Union of Germany, Christian Democratic Union , 3,210 , 19.8 , - , bgcolor=, , align=left, Birger Gröning , align=left, Alternative for Germany , 2,015 , 12.4 , - , bgcolor=, , align=left, Joachim Thier-Ueltzen , align=left, Independent politician, Independent , 1,088 , 6.7 , - ! colspan=3, Valid votes ! 16,223 ! 99.2 , - ! colspan=3, Invalid votes ! 137 ! 0.8 , - ! colspan=3, Total ! 16,360 ! 100.0 , - ! colspan=3, Electorate/voter turnout ! 37,412 ! 43.7 , - , colspan=5, 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, Social Democratic Party of Germany, Social Democratic Party (SPD) , align=left, Matthias Hey , 15,804 , 30.4 , 4.5 , 11 , 2 , - , bgcolor=, , align=left, Alternative for Germany (AfD) , align=left, Klaus-Dietrich von Bülow , 9,343 , 18.0 , New , 6 , New , - , bgcolor=, , align=left, Christian Democratic Union of Germany, Christian Democratic Union (CDU) , align=left, Maximilian Fliedner , 8,820 , 17.0 , 4.5 , 6 , 2 , - , bgcolor=, , align=left, The Left (Germany), The Left (Die Linke) , align=left, Bernd Fundheller , 6,722 , 12.9 , 5.3 , 5 , 2 , - , bgcolor=, , align=left, Free Voters / Pirate Party Germany, Pirate Party (FWG–Piraten) , align=left, Juliane Pürstinger , 5,874 , 11.3 , 3.0 , 4 , 1 , - , bgcolor=, , align=left, Alliance 90/The Greens (Grüne) , align=left, Felix Maximilian Kalbe , 3,589 , 6.9 , 2.7 , 3 , 2 , - , bgcolor=, , align=left, Free Democratic Party (Germany), Free Democratic Party (FDP) , align=left, Martin Helmut Steinbrück , 1,802 , 3.5 , 0.7 , 1 , ±0 , - ! colspan=3, Valid votes ! 17,506 ! 97.5 ! ! ! , - ! colspan=3, Invalid votes ! 448 ! 2.5 ! ! ! , - ! colspan=3, Total ! 17,954 ! 100.0 ! ! 36 ! ±0 , - ! colspan=3, Electorate/voter turnout ! 37,313 ! 48.1 ! 5.0 ! ! , - , colspan=8, Source
Wahlen in Thüringen


Twin towns – sister cities

Gotha is Sister city, twinned with: * Adwa, Ethiopia * Gastonia, North Carolina, Gastonia, United States * Kielce, Poland * Martin, Slovakia, Martin, Slovakia * Romilly-sur-Seine, France * Salzgitter, Germany


People from Gotha

* ''See the :de:Liste von Persönlichkeiten der Stadt Gotha, List of people associated with the town (German Wikipedia)''


Notes


References


External links


Official website

Official website


* {{DEFAULTSORT:Gotha (Town) Gotha, Gotha (district) Saxe-Coburg and Gotha Bezirk Erfurt