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Around the year 1500, the city had 18,000 inhabitants and was one of the largest cities in the Holy Roman Empire. 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

The city itself is divided into 53 districts. The centre is formed by the district Altstadt (old town) and the Gründerzeit districts Andreasvorstadt in the northwest, Johannesvorstadt in the northeast, Krämpfervorstadt in the east, Daberstedt in the southeast, Löbervorstadt in the southwest and Brühlervorstadt in the west. More former industrial districts are Ilversgehofen (incorporated in 1911), Hohenwinden and Sulzer Siedlung in the north. Another group of districts is marked by Plattenbau settlements, constructed during the DDR period: Berliner Platz, Moskauer Platz, Rieth, Roter Berg and Johannesplatz in the northern as well as Melchendorf, Wiesenhügel and Herrenberg 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:

Around the year 1500, the city had 18,000 inhabitants and was one of the largest cities in the Holy Roman Empire. 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).[44] 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 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 (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.[45]

The theologian, philosopher and mystic Meister Eckhart (c. 1260–1328) entered the Dominican mo

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).[44] 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 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.

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.[45]

The theologian, philosopher and mystic Meister Eckhart (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.[46]

Max Weber (1864–1920) was born in Erfurt.[47] He was a sociologist, philosopher, jurist, and political economist whose ideas have profoundly influenced modern social theory and social research.

The textile designer Margaretha Rei

The theologian, philosopher and mystic Meister Eckhart (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.[46]

Max Weber (1864–1920) was born in Erfurt.[47] 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,[48] 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 (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 (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 Kaufmannskirche (Merchant's Church), that still exists on the main square, Anger.

Famous modern musicians from Erfurt are Clueso, the Boogie Pimps and Yvonne Catterfeld.

Erfurt has a great variety of museums:

  • The Stadtmuseum (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 StadtmuseumStadtmuseum

  • Angermuseum

  • Naturkundemuseum

  • Deutsches Gartenbaumuseum

  • Museum für Thüringer Volkskunde

  • J.A. Topf & Söhne museum and holocaust memorial site

  • Angermuseum

  • Deutsches Gartenbaumuseum

  • <

    Deutsches Gartenbaumuseum

  • J.A. Topf & Söhne museum and holocaust memorial site

  • Schloss Molsdorf

  • The

    Schloss Molsdorf

    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 BarbariansSince 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 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's opera Hänsel und Gretel 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 Verdi's opera Un ballo in maschera directed by Johann Kresnik opened at the Erfurt Theater. The production st

    On 12 April 2008, a version of Verdi's opera Un ballo in maschera 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 and a female singer with a painted on Hitler toothbrush moustache performing a straight arm 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.[53]

    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 FC Rot-Weiß Erfurt is member of 3. Fußball-Liga and based in Steigerwaldstadion with a capacity of 20,000. The Gunda-Niemann-Stirnemann Halle was the second indoor speed skating arena in Germany.

    Cityscape

    FC Rot-Weiß Erfurt is member of 3. Fußball-Liga and based in Steigerwaldstadion with a capacity of 20,000. The Gunda-Niemann-Stirnemann Halle was the second indoor speed skating arena in Germany.

    Erfurt's cityscape features a medieval core of narrow, curved alleys in the centre surrounded by a belt of Gründerzeit 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 Plattenbau 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 Gründerzeit 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 ri

    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 Plattenbau 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 Gründerzeit 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 Stadtpark, the Nordpark and the Südpark. The largest green area is the Egapark [de], a horticultural exhibition park and botanic garden established in 1961.

    The city centre has about 25 churches and monasteries, most of them in Gothic style, some also in 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".[54]

    Catholic churches and monasteries
    • The Allerheiligenkirche (All Saints' Church) is a 14th-century Gothic parish church in Market Street, which hosts a columbarium.
    • The Dom St. Marien (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,[55] which is named 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.[56]
    • The Lorenzkirche (St Laurence's Church) is a small 14th-century Gothic parish church at Anger Square.
    • The <

      All Saints' Church

  • St Laurence's Church

  • St Martin's Church

  • Holy Cross Church

  • Schottenkirche

  • Ursulines Church

  • St Martin's Church

  • Schottenkir

    Schottenkirche

  • St Wigbert's Church

  • Protestant churches and monasteriesProtestant churches and monasteries
    • Ägidienkirche (St Giles' Church) is a 14th-century Gothic parish church at Wenigenmarkt Square. It is the surviving one of formerly two bridge-head churches of the

      St Andrew's Church

    • St Augustine's Church

    • Merchants' Church

    • St Michael's Church

    • Dominican Church

    • Regulated St Augustine's Church

    Former churches
    • The Barfüßerkirche is a 14th-century Gothic monastery church at Barfüßerstraße. The former Franciscan monastery beca

      St Andrew's Church

    • St Augustine's Church <

      St Augustine's Church

    • <

      Merchants' Church

    • St Michael's Church

      St Michael's Church

    • Dominican Church

    • Regulated St Augustine's Church

    • Regulated St Augustine's Church

    Former churches
    • The Barfüßerkirche is a 14th-century Gothic monastery church at Barfüßerstraße. The former Franciscan monastery became a Protestant parish church after the Reformation. In 1944, the c

      Ruins of the former Franciscan monastery's church.

    • St Bartholomew's steeple

    • Hospital Church

    • Carthusian Church

    • St Nicholas' steeple

    • St Paul's steeple

    • Carthusian Church

      Carthusian Church

    • St Nicholas' steeple

    • St Paul's s

      St Paul's steeple

    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. The building had many other uses since then. It was c

    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. The building had many other uses since then. It was conserved in the 1990s and in 2009 it became a museum of Jewish history.[49] A rare Mikveh, a ritual bath, dating from c.1250, was discovered by archeologists in 2007.[16] It has been accessible to visitors on guided tours since September 2011.[61] 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.[62]

    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.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.[63]

    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 Kristallnacht on 9–10 November 1938.[64]

    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.[65]

    Old Synagogue

  • Small Synagogue

  • New Synagogue

  • 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.

  • Christmas market at Domplatz

  • Fischmarkt

  • Wenigemarkt

  • Post office at Anger

  • Angermuseum

  • Hirschgarten

  • 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.[66]

    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.[66]

    The Petersberg Citadel 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.[67]

    The Cyriaksburg Citadel [de] is a smaller citadel south-west of the city centre, dating from 1480. Today, it houses the German horticulture museum.[68]

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

    Between 1873 and 1914, a belt of Christmas market at Domplatz

  • Wenigemarkt

  • Wenigemarkt

  • Post