Infobox German Location
Wappen = Coat of arms of Kassel.svg
Art = City
lat_deg = 51 |lat_min = 19 |lat_sec=0
lon_deg = 09 |lon_min = 30|lon_sec=0
Bundesland = Hessen
Regierungsbezirk = Kassel
Landkreis = urban
Höhe = 167
Fläche = 161
Einwohner = 193518
Stand = 2006-12-31
Metro = est. 450.000 Inhabitants
PLZ = 34001–34134
Vorwahl = 0561
Kfz = KS
Website = [http://www.stadt-kassel.de/ www.stadt-kassel.de]
Bürgermeister = Bertram Hilgen
Partei = SPD
Kassel IPA| [ˈkʰasəl] (until 1926 officially CasselFact|date=August 2008) is a city situated along the
Fulda Riverin northern Hessen, Germany, one of the two sources of the Weserriver . It is the administrative seat of the Kassel administrative region (" Regierungsbezirk") and of the district (" Kreis") of the same name. The city has c. 198,500 inhabitants (2007) and covers an area of 106.77 square kilometres.
The city's name is derived from the ancient "Castellum Cattorum", a castle of the Chatti, a German tribe that has lived in the area since Roman times.
Kassel as such is first mentioned in 913 as the place where two
deeds were signed by king Conrad I. The place was called "Chasella" and was a fortification at a bridge crossing the Fulda river. A deed from 1189 certifies that Kassel had city rights, but the date of their conveyance is not known. In 1567 the landgraviate of Hesse, until then centered in Marburg, was divided among four sons, with Hesse-Kassel(or Hesse-Cassel) becoming one of its successor states. Kassel was its capital and became a centre of Calvinist Protestantismin Germany. Strong fortifications were built to protect the Protestant stronghold against Catholic enemies. In 1685 Kassel became a refuge for 1700 Huguenots who found shelter in the newly established borough of Oberneustadt. Landgrave Charles, who was responsible for this humanitarian act, also ordered the construction of the "Oktagon" and of the "Orangerie". In the late 18th century Hesse-Kassel became infamous for selling mercenaries (Hessians) to the British crown to help suppress the American Revolutionand to finance the construction of palaces and the landgrave's opulent lifestyle.
In the early 19th century the
Brothers Grimmlived in Kassel and collected and wrote most of their fairy tales. At this time (1803) the landgravate was elevated to a principality and its ruler to " Prince-elector". Shortly after, it was annexed by Napoleon and, in 1807 became the capital of the short-lived Kingdom of Westphaliaunder Napoleon's brother Jérôme. The electorate was restored in 1813.Having sided with Austria in the Austro-Prussian Warfor supremacy in Germany, the principality was annexed by Prussiain 1866. The Prussian administration united Nassau, Frankfurtand Hesse-Kassel into the new Prussian province of Hesse-Nassau. Kassel ceased to be a princely residence, but soon developed into a major industrial centre as well as a major railway junction.
In 1870 after the
Battle of Sedan, Napoleon IIIwas sent as a prisoner to the castle of Wilhelmshöhe above the city.
World War II
Kassel was the Headquarters for Germany’s Wehrkreis IX. This Wehrkreis included part of Thuringia and part of Hesse. The Commander was General der Infanterie
Wehrkreis XII was made up of three Bereich Hauptsitze: Kassel;
Frankfurt am Main; and Weimar.
Bereich Hauptsitze Kassel was the headquarters for nine Unterregion-Hauptsitze, namely Kassel I; Kassel II;
Korbach; Marburg (Lahn); Hersfeld; Siegen; Wetzlar; Fulda; and Giessen.
Bereich Hauptsitze Frankfurt am Main was the headquarters for six Unterregion-Hauptsitze, namely Frankfurt am Main I; Frankfurt am Main II; Offenbach (Main);
Aschaffenburg; Friedberg; and Hanau.
Bereich Hauptsitze Weimar was the headquarters for nine Unterregion-Hauptsitze; namely
Weimar; Sangerhausen; Gera; Rudolstadt; Mulhausen (Thuringia); Erfurt; Eisenach; Gotha; and Meiningen.
World War II, a subcamp of Dachau concentration campwas located here. The inmates provided slave labourfor Henschel. [Edward Victor. "Alphabetical List of Camps, Subcamps and Other Camps."www.edwardvictor.com/Holocaust/List %20 of % 20 camps. htm] During the night of October 22/23, 1943, 569 British bombers razed Kassel (see: Bombing of Kassel in World War II), destroying 90% of the city centre; some 10,000 people died in the raid and 150,000 were rendered homeless, in a firestorm comparable to the one in Hamburgin July 1943. The attack had been disguised by a feint attack on Frankfurt am Mainthat commenced five minutes before the raid on Kassel. By far most of the casualties were civilians or wounded soldiers recuperating in local hospitals, whereas Kassel's heavy weapons factories survived the attack generally undamaged. The attack included one of the most accurate target markings since the Hamburg firestorm raid. On the night of the Kassel firestorm raid RAF Bomber Commandintroduced Operation Coronato confuse the German nightfighters, making the raid a complete success -- so devastating that the regional Gauleiter, Karl Weinrich, was removed from his post soon after. He was replaced by Karl Gerland.
US First Armycaptured Kassel on April 3, 1945. After the war, most of the ancient buildings were not restored, and large parts of the city centre were completely rebuilt in the style of the 1950s. A few historic buildings, however, such as the Museum Fridericianum (see below), were restored.
There is a frequently repeated legend among Kassel citizens alleging that the city was close to becoming the provisional capital of the
Federal Republic of Germanyin 1949. It is true that the interim parliament (" Parlamentarischer Rat") was at that time considering a new location for the capital, since Berlinwas then a special administrative region controlled directly by the allies and surrounded by the Soviet zone of occupation. A number of cities were proposed to host the federal government, but Kassel was eliminated in the first round. Most of the members of the German constitutional assembly(as well as the U.S. Supreme Command) favoured Frankfurt am Mainwhere the Hessian administration had already started the construction of a plenary assembly hall. In the end Bonnwon after Chancellor Konrad Adenauerintervened emphatically for Bonnwhich was only fifteen kilometers away from his hometown.
Due to the destruction of 1943, the city was almost completely rebuilt in the 1950s. Hence there are very few old buildings in the centre. The oldest monument is the "Druselturm". The "Brüderkirche" and the St. Martin Church are also in part of medieval origin, but the towers of St. Martin are from the 1950s.
What historic buildings have survived are mainly outside the center of town. "Wilhelmshöhe Palace", above the city, was built in 1786 by landgrave Wilhelm IX of Hesse-Kassel. The palace now is a museum and houses a world-famous wall paper collection, an important collection of graeco-roman antiques and a fine gallery of paintings comprising the second largest collection of
Rembrandts in Germany. It is surrounded by a beautiful park with many appealing sights. The "Oktagon" is a huge octagonal stone structure carrying a giant replica of Hercules"Farnese" (now at Museo Archeologico Nazionale in Naples, Italy). From its base down to Wilhelmshöhe Palace runs a long set of artificial cascades which delight visitors during the summer months. The "Löwenburg" ("Lions Castle") is a replica of a medieval castle, also built during the reign of Wilhelm IX. After the Franco-Prussian Warof 1870/71 Napoléon IIIwas imprisoned in Wilhelmshöhe. In 1918 Wilhelmshöhe became seat of the German Army Command (OHL): it was there that the military commanders Hindenburgand Ludendorffprepared the German capitulation.
Another large park is the "Karlsaue" along the Fulda River. Established in the 16th century, it is famous for the "
Orangerie", a palace built in 1710 as a summer residence for the landgraves. Today there is also a planetariumin the park.
Kassel is scene of
Documenta, an important international exhibition of modern and contemporary art. Museums include: Schloss Wilhelmshöhe(Antiquities Collection and Old Masters; wall paper museum), Museum für Sepulkralkultur (the only German Museum of the culture of funerals); Art Gallery ( Albrecht Dürer, Rubens, Rembrandt, Frans Hals, Anthony van Dyck), New Gallery ( TischbeinFamily, Joseph Beuys).
Kassel (upper center) is near the center of Germany, southwest of
Potsdamand Berlin, south of Hamburg, and east of Dortmund and Cologne.]
The city operates a
tramway system; a Stadtbahn-like system with light rail vehicles running on both main line rail and tram tracks, called "RegioTram", is currently being deployed. The city also operates buses, and was responsible for the development of the Kassel kerbwhich improves the alignment of modern low-floor buses with bus stops.
The city is connected to the DB network by two stations,
Kassel Hauptbahnhof, the traditional central station that has been reduced to the function of a regional station since the opening of the Hanover-Würzburg high-speed rail linein 1991, and Kassel-Wilhelmshöhe, the station on said high-speed line where InterCityExpressand InterCityservices call at.
University of Kasselwas founded in 1971, and is the newest university in the state of Hesse.
In 1558 the first German
observatorywas built in Kassel, followed in 1604 by the "Ottoneum", the first permanent theaterbuilding, and in 1779 by Europe's first public museum, named the " Museum Fridericianum" after its founder. By the end of the 19th century the museum held one of the largest collections in the world of watches and clocks. Since 1955 the documenta, an international exhibition of modern and contemporary art, has been held regularly in Kassel. The documenta now takes place every 5 years and the next will be in mid-2012. As a result of the documenta 6 (1977), Kassel has become the first town worldwide, that was illuminated by LASER-beams at night (Laserscape, by artist Horst H. Baumann).
Famous inhabitants of Kassel include
Jerome Bonaparte, brother of Napoleon Bonaparte, while he was king of Westphalia; the Brothers Grimm; F. W. Murnau, the movie director; Paul Reuter, founder of the Reuters news agency; Franz Rosenzweig, philosopher, Philipp Scheidemann, briefly Germany's Chancellor after World War I; and Louis Spohr, the 19th-century composer and violinist, who is commemorated by a museum in the city. Astrid and Thorwald Proll, members of the German terrorist group the Red Army Faction(also known as the Baader-Meinhof gang) active during the 1970s and 1980s, were born here in 1947 and 1941, respectively. Kassel is also the birthplace of Annika Mehlhorn, a German butterfly and medley swimmer who competed in the 2004 Summer Olympics. Helmut Hasse(1898 - 1979) did fundamental work in algebra and number theory.
Kassel is twinned with
* [http://www.stadtpanoramen.de/en/kassel/kassel.html Kassel City Panoramas] - Panoramic views and Virtual Tours
* [http://www.kassel.de/ Official website]
* [http://cms.uni-kassel.de/ University of Kassel]
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