Infobox German Location
Name = Erfurt
Art = City
image_photo = Dom und Severikirche in Erfurt.jpg
image_caption = Mariendom and the Severikirche
Wappen = Wappen_Erfurt.png
lat_deg = 50 | lat_min = 59 | lat_sec = 0
lon_deg = 11 | lon_min = 2 | lon_sec = 0
Bundesland = Thuringia
Landkreis = urban
Höhe = 158-430
Fläche = 269.17
Einwohner = 202844
Stand = 2006-12-31
pop_ref = [cite web |author=Thüringer Landesamtfür Statistik |url=http://www.tls.thueringen.de/seite.asp?aktiv=dat01&startbei=datenbank/default2.asp |title=Population of Thuringia by district |language=German |accessdate=2007-04-25]
PLZ = 99001-99198
Vorwahl = 0361
Kfz = EF
Gemeindeschlüssel = 16 0 51 000
LOCODE = DEERF
Gliederung = 53 districts
Website = [http://www.erfurt.de/ www.erfurt.de]
Bürgermeister = Andreas Bausewein
Bürgermeistertitel = Oberbürgermeister
Partei = SPD
Erfurt (pronounced|ˈɛɐ̯fʊɐ̯t) is a
cityin central Germany. It is the capitalof the state of Thuringiawith a population of 202,619 (2006).
Erfurt is located 100 km SW of
Leipzig, 113 km SW of Kasseland 180 km SE of Hannover. Erfurt Airportcan be reached by plane via Munich, Düsseldorfand Hamburg.
Reunification of Germanyon October 3, 1990, Erfurt is the main city nearest to the geographical centre of the country. It lies in the southern part of the Thuringian Basin, within the wide valley of Gera River, a tributary of the Unstrut. To the south, the city is surrounded by hilly forest ("Steigerwald").
Erfurt was first mentioned in 742 under the name of "Erphesfurt". It was an important trading town during the
Middle Agesnear a ford across the Gera river. Together with the other five Thuringian woad-towns of Gotha, Tennstedt, Arnstadtand Langensalzait was the centre of the German woadtrade.
In 1349, during the wave of
pogroms which followed the Black Plagueacross Europe, the Jews of Erfurt were rounded up, with more than 100 killed and the rest driven from the city, and the ghettoburned. Recently, the remains of the medieval synagoguehave been discovered beneath newer buildings, and are being restored.
In 1392 the
University of Erfurtwas founded, which was famous in its time, became defunct in 1816, and was refounded in 1994 by the Thuringian state parliament.
Erfurt became part of the
Kingdom of Prussiain 1802, part of the First French Empirein 1806 as Principality of Erfurt, and was returned to Prussia in 1815 after the Napoleonic Wars. Although enclosed by Thuringian territory, the city remained part of the Prussian Province of Saxonyuntil 1944. The city was the site of the failed Erfurt Unionof German states in 1850.
April 12, 1945, during World War II, Erfurt was taken by units of the U.S. Third Army under General George Patton. On July 3, American troops left the city and it was occupied by the Soviet Red Army. In contrast to most other major German cities, Erfurt suffered only limited damage from Allied air raids during the war. Erfurt fell in the Soviet Zoneof occupation, which would later become East Germany.
German reunification, Erfurt became the capital of the re-established state of Thuringia.
April 26, 2002, the student Robert Steinhäuser killed thirteen teachers, two students, a police officer and himself at Erfurt's Gutenberg-Gymnasium school (see Erfurt massacre).
Erfurt has preserved an intact medieval city centre.
Erfurt is symbolised by the two churches,
Erfurt Cathedral("Mariendom") and "Severikirche", which stand directly side by side and together form the emblem of the city. Both churches tower above the townscape and are accessible via huge open stairs.
Another remarkable site is the
Krämerbrücke, a bridgecrossing the narrow Gera River. The bridge is covered with inhabited buildings. It was built in 1325 with a church on either bridgehead, one of which still functional.
The "Augustinerkloster" is an old Augustinian monastery.
Martin Lutherstudied in the Augustinerkloster for a few years after 1505.
Martin Luther attended the University of Erfurt and received his bachelor's and master's degrees there. Luther lived there as a student from 1501-11 and as a monk from 1505–11.
Erfurt 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 a small church that still exists on the main square, Anger. Meister Eckhartand the sociologist Max Weberalso lived in the city. Johann Pachelbelserved as organist at the Prediger church in Erfurt. Pachelbel composed approximately seventy pieces for organ while in Erfurt. After 1906 the composer Richard Wetzlived 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.
Erfurt is an important population centre in the fictional United States of Europe in the alternate history book series based on the novel "1632". It is the major city of substantial size located nearest (to the displaced in time and space) town of
Grantville, WVwhose citizens are the joint protagonists unifying Germany and introducing the industrial revolution 'a few centuries early' during the complications posed by the Thirty Years' War.
Since 2003, the modern new built opera house is home of
Theater Erfurtand 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 Barbariansby Philip Glasspremiered in the opera house.
The Erfurt Theater has been source of controversy recently. In 2005 a performance of
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 April 12, 2008, a version of
Giuseppe 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 Mousemasks dancing on the ruins of the World Trade Centerand a female singer with a painted on Hitlertoothbrush moustache performing a straight arm Nazisalute, along with sinister portrayals of American soldiers, Uncle Sam, and Elvis Presleyimpersonators. 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 premiere was sold out. [ [http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/main.jhtml?xml=/news/2008/04/11/wopera111.xml German staging of Verdi's A Masked Ball on 9/11 with naked cast in Mickey Mouse masks - Telegraph ] ]
Erfurt lies on two
Bundesstraßen (federal motorways):
*Bundesstraße 4 from
Ilmenauin south to Nordhausenin north and
*Bundesstraße 7 from Gotha in west to
Also there are two
Autobahnen crossing each other at "Erfurter Kreuz" nearby: The Bundesautobahn 4from Frankfurt am Mainto Dresdenand the Bundesautobahn 71( Erfurt- Meiningen- Schweinfurt) from Würzburgto Sangerhausen(and Halle (Saale)via Bundesautobahn 38).
There have been trams in the city since 1883. Today there are seven tram lines to most of the parts of Erfurt.
Railways run from Erfurt station to
Berlin(via Weimar, Naumburg, Halle and Wittenberg), Dresden(via Weimar, Naumburg, Leipzigand Riesa), Frankfurt am Main(via Gotha, Eisenach, Bebra, Fuldaand Hanau), Würzburg(via Arnstadt, Suhl, Meiningen, Bad Neustadtand Schweinfurt), Ilmenau, Saalfeld, Nordhausen(via Sondershausen), Magdeburg(via Sömmerda, Sangerhausen, Staßfurtand Schönebeck), Bad Langensalzaand Kassel/ Göttingen(via Mühlhausen, Leinefelde-Worbisand Heiligenstadt).
* [http://www.erfurt.de/ Official website] (German, English, French)
* [http://www.stadtpanoramen.de/en/erfurt/erfurt.html Erfurt City Panoramas] - Panoramic Views and virtual Tours
* [http://www.kraemerbruecke.de/index_eng.html Kraemerbruecke]
* [http://www.cityofshawnee.org/SisterCities/erfurt.htm Sister City (since 1993)] with
* [http://www.myworldshots.com/Germany/Erfurt World Shots. Germany. Erfurt.] - Collection of photographs (English, Russian, Hebrew)
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