Erfurt: Wikis


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From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Mariendom and the Severikirche
Mariendom and the Severikirche
Coat of arms of Erfurt

Erfurt is located in Germany
Coordinates 50°59′0″N 11°2′0″E / 50.983333°N 11.033333°E / 50.983333; 11.033333
Country Germany
State Thuringia
District Urban district
City subdivisions 53 districts
Lord Mayor Andreas Bausewein (SPD)
Basic statistics
Area 269.17 km2 (103.93 sq mi)
Elevation 200 m  (656 ft)
Population  202,929  (31 December 2007)[1]
 - Density 754 /km2 (1,953 /sq mi)
Other information
Time zone CET/CEST (UTC+1/+2)
Licence plate EF
Postal codes 99001-99198
Area code 0361
Website Rendezvous in the center of Germany (English)

Erfurt (German pronunciation: [ˈɛɐ̯fʊɐ̯t]) is the capital city of Thuringia and is the main city nearest to the geographical centre of Germany, located 100 km SW of Leipzig, 150 km N of Nürnberg and 180 km SE of Hannover. Erfurt Airport can be reached by plane via Munich. 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 the hilly forest of Steigerwald.



1493 drawing of Erfurt
Old synagogue (oldest one in Europe)
Old university (1392)
Citadel on Petersberg
Town hall
main station
Christmas market
Mariendom at night
Wenigemarkt square

Erfurt was first mentioned in 742 under the name of "Erphesfurt". It was an important trading town during the Middle Ages near a ford across the Gera river. Together with the other five Thuringian woad-towns of Gotha, Tennstedt, Arnstadt and Langensalza it was the centre of the German woad trade.

In 1349, during the wave of pogroms which followed the Black Death across Europe, the Jews of Erfurt were rounded up, with more than 100 killed and the rest driven from the city. Recently, the medieval synagogue has been discovered beneath newer buildings, and is being restored (completion expected 2009). In 1392, the University of Erfurt, where Martin Luther was matriculated, was founded. One of the leading German universities for many centuries, it fell upon hard times in the early 19th Century, and was forced to close in 1816. It was refounded in 1994 by the Thuringian state parliament and has regained its status as a leading German academic and research institution.

In 1664, the city and surrounding area were brought under the dominion of the Electorate of Mainz. Erfurt became part of the Kingdom of Prussia in 1802, part of the First French Empire in 1806 as Principality of Erfurt, and was returned to Prussia in 1815 after the Napoleonic Wars. Although enclosed by Thuringian territory in the west, south and east, the city remained part of the Prussian Province of Saxony until 1944. The city was the site of the failed Erfurt Union of German states in 1850.

Bombed as a target of the Oil Campaign of World War II, Erfurt suffered only limited damage and was captured on April 12, 1945, by units of Patton's Third United States Army. On July 3, American troops left the city and the city became part of the Soviet Zone of Occupation and East Germany. After German reunification, Erfurt became the capital of the re-established state of Thuringia.

Main sights

Erfurt has preserved an intact medieval city centre. The city is known for its two churches, Erfurt Cathedral (Mariendom) and Severikirche, which stand side by side and together form the emblem of the city. Both churches tower above the townscape and are accessible via huge open stairs called Domstufen. Another remarkable site is the Krämerbrücke, a bridge crossing the narrow Gera River. The bridge is covered with 32 inhabited buildings. It was built in 1325 with a church on either bridgehead, one of which, the Ägidienkirche, is still functional. The Augustinerkloster is an old Augustinian monastery. Martin Luther studied at the university and lived in the Augustinerkloster for a few years after 1505.

The eleventh century Erfurt Synagogue is thought to be the oldest synagogue building still standing in Europe. It is now a museum displaying the Erfurt Treasure.


Martin Luther attended the University of Erfurt and received his bachelor's and master's degrees of theology there. Luther lived there as a student from 1501 to 1511 and, as a monk, from 1505 to 1511.

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.

The sociologist Max Weber was born in Erfurt,[2] and the theologian and philosopher Meister Eckhart was Prior of Erfurt's Dominican Order.

Johann Pachelbel served as organist at the Prediger church in Erfurt. Pachelbel composed approximately seventy pieces for organ while in Erfurt. After 1906 the composer Richard Wetz 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.


Erfurt Theater

Since 2003, the modern new built opera house is home of 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 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 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 premiere was sold out.[3]


Erfurt lies on two Bundesstraßen (federal motorways):

Also there are two Autobahnen crossing each other at Erfurter Kreuz nearby:

There have been trams in the city since 1883. Today there are six tram lines to most of the parts of Erfurt, supplemented by several bus lines

Railways run from Erfurt main station to:


University of Applied Sciences Erfurt

The University of Applied Sciences Erfurt was founded on 1991. It is characterised by a combination of scientific training and its practical applications. In the winter term 2008/09 there studied approximately 4600 students.


  • Faculty of Social Affairs
  • Faculty of Business, Logistics and Transport
  • Faculty of Landscape Architecture, Horticulture and Forestry
  • Faculty of Architecture
  • Faculty of Civil Engineering and Conservation/Restoration
  • Faculty of Building Services Engineering and Computer Science

University of Erfurt

The University of Erfurt was founded on 1994 so it is the youngest public universtity in Germany. It sees itself in the tradition of the historic University that had been there as from 1392 to 1816. In the winter term 2008/09 there studied approximately 4700 students.


  • Faculty of Philosophy
  • Faculty of Political Science
  • Arts Faculty
  • Faculty of Education
  • Faculty of Catholic Theology
  • Max-Weber-College


Erfurt is the home of the Born Feinkost, producing the mustard served to the Thuringia Bratwurst.

International relations

Twin towns — Sister cities

Erfurt is twinned with:


External links

Travel guide

Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From Wikitravel

Street in Erfurt
Street in Erfurt

Erfurt [1] is the capital of the German state of Thuringia (Thüringen). It was an important trading town during the Middle Ages, and has many beautiful old buildings and parks.

Get in

By car

Erfurt lies on two federal motorways:

  • Bundesstraße 4 from Ilmenau in south to Nordhausen in north and
  • Bundesstraße 7 from Gotha in west to Weimar in east.

By train

The Erfurt Hauptbahnhof (main train station) is quite large. Numerous ICE and IC trains pass through daily, with direct lines to Berlin, Munich, Leipzig, Dresden and Frankfurt.

By plane

Not the best option for budget travellers. However, Air Berlin [2] flies to Erfurt airport from London and other locations.

Get around

The city centre is quite compact so walking is often the best way to explore the city. Regular tram services run all around the city, with service intervals of every 10 minutes during most of the day. The trams are less frequent in the evenings and no trams operate after midnight on weekdays.

Erfurt waterfront cafes in winter
Erfurt waterfront cafes in winter
  • Dom (Cathedral) and Severi Kirche (Church) both overlooking the Domplatz (main market square, location of the Christmas market in December as well as fairs throughout the year).
  • Krämerbrücke (Bridge with medieval houses, the most important landmark in Erfurt)
  • Fischmarkt with its Burgerhouses and town hall.
  • Augustinerkloster (monastery where Martin Luther lived), the main gate of the old university (third oldest German university, shut down in the 19th century and reopened in 1992)
  • Anger (main square, full of stores) with the old Post Office building.

Much of Erfurt's charm is found in its narrow streets, many of which are pedestrianized, with their beautiful old houses, green areas and little bridges across the Gera river and the Stadtpark and the Nordpark on different sides of the city center.

  • Garden lovers can find many things to do and see in Egapark [3], which is a huge and beautiful botanical garden and accessible by Strassenbahn. Check out for any exhibitions or programmes.
  • Watch Opera in recently-renovated Erfurt Theater [4].


Shops on the Krämerbrücke offer crafts and souvenirs. Around main square, Anger 1 has upmarket shops inside.


The Thuringer Bratwurst comes from Erfurt, and the city has numerous stalls selling this world-famous delicacy.

  • Die Tolle Knolle (which you could translate as "The Amazing Spud") is great for hearty potato casseroles, one of Germany's traditional dishes. On Arnstädter Chaussee 9, just off Langer Brücke.
  • San Remo, Marktstrasse 21, 0361 6430449, [5]. San Remo is supposedly an excellent ice cream shop.  edit


Erfurt has numerous small bars in the city center. On the Domplatz there is a tapas bar, which is quite delicious. To the north of the Domplatz there are more bars, with one of the more popular bars being Double D's, which has numerous theme nights and drink specials.

Outside of the city-center is the disco Spot, which is quite intense and draws a younger crowd.

  • By train, Weimar is only a quarter of an hour away
  • Jena is just half an hour by train
  • Leipzig is about an hour away.
  • Wander around on near-by Thuringen Forest, the largest forest in Germany, on which Thuringia called the "green heart of Germany"
  • Halle (Saale) about 45 minutes away. Has some great things to see. Largest city in Saxony-Anhalt, birthplace of Handel and has a few castles.
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1911 encyclopedia

Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From LoveToKnow 1911

ERFURT, a city of Germany, in Prussian Saxony, on the Gera, and the railway Halle-Bebra, about midway between Gotha and Weimar, which are 14 m. distant. Pop. (1875) 48,025; (1905) 100,065. The city, which is dominated on the west by the two citadels of Petersbergand Cyriaxburg, is irregularly built, the only feature in its plan, or want of plan, being the Friedrich Wilhelmsplatz, a broad open space of irregular shape abutting on the Petersberg. On the south-western side of this square, which contains a monument to the elector Frederick Charles Joseph of Mainz (1719-1802), is the Domberg, an eminence on which stand, side by side, the cathedral and the great church of St Severus with its three spires (14th century). The churches are approached by a flight of forty-eight stone steps, the grouping of the whole mass of buildings being exceedingly impressive. The cathedral (Beatae Mariae Virginis) is one of the finest churches in Germany. It was begun in the 12th century, but the nave was rebuilt in the 13th in the Gothic style. The magnificent chancel (1349-1372), with the 14thcentury crypt below, rests on massive substructures, known as the Cavate. The twin towers are set between the chancel and nave. The cathedral contains, besides fine 15th-century glass, some very rich portal sculptures and bronze castings, among others the coronation of the Virgin by Peter Vischer. In one of its towers is the famous bell, called Maria Gloriosa, which bears the date 1497, and weighs 270 cwt. Besides the cathedral and St Severus, which are Roman Catholic, Erfurt possesses several very interesting medieval churches, now Evangelical. Among these may be mentioned the Predigerkirche, dating from the latter half of the 12th century; the Reglerkirche, a Romanesque building (restored in 1859) with a 12th-century tower; and the Barfusserkirche, a Gothic building containing fine 14th-century monuments. All these were originally monastic churches. Of the former religious houses there survive a Franciscan convent, with a girls' school attached, and an Ursuline convent. The Augustinian monastery, in which Luther lived as a friar, is now used as an orphanage, under the name of the Martinsstift. The cell of Luther was destroyed by fire in 1872. A bronze statue of the reformer was erected in the Anger, the chief street of the town, in 1890. At one time Erfurt had a university, of which the charter dated from 1392; but it was suppressed in 1816, and its funds devoted to other purposes, among these being the endowment of an institution founded in 1758 and now called the royal academy of sciences, and the support of the royal library, which now contains 60,000 volumes and over loco manuscripts. On the W. and. S. W. extensive new quarters have grown up within recent years, e.g. Hirschbruhl. The interior of the town hall (1869-1875) is adorned with legendary and historical frescoes by Kampfer and Peter Janssen. Erfurt possesses also a picture gallery and an antiquarian collection.

The educational establishments of the town include a gymnasium, a realgymnasium, a realschule, technical schools for building and handicrafts, a high-class commercial school, a school of agriculture, and an academy of music. The most notable industry of Erfurt is the culture of flowers and of vegetables, which is very extensively carried on. This industry had its origin in the large gardens attached to the monasteries. It has also important and growing manufactures of ladies' mantles, boots and shoes, machines, furniture, woollen goods, musical instruments, agricultural machinery and implements, leather, tobacco, chemicals, &c. Brewing, bleaching and dyeing are also carried on on a large scale, and there are extensive railway works and a government rifle factory.

Erfurt (Med. Erpesfurt, Erphorde, Lat. Erfordia) is a town of great antiquity. Its origin is obscure, but in 741 it was sufficiently important for St Boniface to found a bishopric here, which was, however, after the martyrdom of the first bishop, Adolar, in 755, reabsorbed in that of Mainz. In 805 the place received certain market rights from the emperor Charlemagne. Later the overlordship was claimed by the archbishops of Mainz, on the strength of charters granted by the emperor Otto I., and their authority in Erfurt was maintained by a burgrave and an advocatus, the office of the latter becoming in the 12th century hereditary in the family of the counts of Gleichen. In spite of many vicissitudes (from 1109 to 1137, for instance, the town was subject to the landgraves of Thuringia), and of a charter granted in 1242 by the emperor Frederick II., the archbishops succeeded in upholding their claims. In 1255, however, Archbishop Gerhard I. had to grant the city municipal rights, the burgraviate disappeared, and Erfurt became practically a free town. Its power was at its height early in the ,5th century, when it joined the Hanseatic League. It had acquired by force or purchase various countships and other fiefs in the neighbourhood, and ruled a considerable territory; and its wealth was so great that in 1378 it established a university, the first in Europe that embraced the four faculties. By the end of the century, however, its prosperity had sunk owing to the perpetual feud with Mainz, the internecine war in Saxony, and the consequent dwindling of trade. By the convention of Amorbach in 1483 the overlordship of Erfurt was ultimately transferred by the electors of Mainz to Saxony. The political and religious quarrels of the 16th century still further depressed the city, in which the reformed religion was established in 1521. Then came the Thirty Years' War, during which Erfurt was for a while occupied by the Swedes. After the peace of Westphalia (1648) the city was assigned by the emperor to the elector of Mainz, and, on its refusal to submit, it was placed under the ban of the Empire (1660). In 1664 it was captured by the troops of the archbishop of Mainz, and remained in the possession of the electorate till 1802, when it came into the possession of Prussia. In 1808 it was the scene of the memorable interview between Napoleon and the emperor Alexander I. of Russia, at which the kings of Bavaria, Saxony, Westphalia and Wurttemberg also assisted, which is known as the congress of Erfurt. Here in 1850 the parliament of the short-lived Prussian Northern Union (known as the Erfurt parliament) held its sittings. In 1902 the tooth anniversary of the city's incorporation with Prussia was celebrated.

See W. J. A. von Tettau, Erfurt in seiner Vergangenheit and Gegenwart (Erfurt, 1880); C. Beyer, Geschichte der Stadt Erfurt (Erfurt, 1900); and F. W. Kampschulte, Die Universität Erfurt in ihrem Verhaltnisse zu dem Humanismus and der Reformation (1856-1858). For a detailed bibliography see U. Chevalier, Repertoire des sources. Topo-bibliographie (Montebeliard, 1894-1899), s.v.

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