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Town hall
Town hall
Coat of arms of Kempten
Kempten im Allgäu is located in Germany
Kempten im Allgäu
Coordinates 47°44′0″N 10°19′0″E / 47.733333°N 10.316667°E / 47.733333; 10.316667
Country Germany
State Bavaria
Admin. region Swabia
District Urban district
Lord Mayor Ulrich Netzer (CSU)
Basic statistics
Area 63.29 km2 (24.44 sq mi)
Elevation 674 m  (2211 ft)
Population 61,480  (31 December 2006)
 - Density 971 /km2 (2,516 /sq mi)
Other information
Time zone CET/CEST (UTC+1/+2)
Licence plate KE
Postal codes 87401–87439
Area code 0831
Reichsfürststift (Freie Stadt) Kempten im Allgäu
Imperial Ducal Abbey (Free City) of Kempten in the Allgäu
Imperial Abbey of the Holy Roman Empire
Duchy of Franconia
1213 – 1802/3

Coat of arms

Capital Kempten Abbey
Government Theocracy
Historical era Middle Ages
 - Abbey founded 747
 - Abbey rebuilt 941 1213
 - Abbey became Reichsfrei
    as a Duke-Abbey
 - Abbey property in city
    sold to become Free City
 - Mediatised to Bavaria 1802/3 1802
 - Cities united 1819
Reichstadt Kempten im Allgäu
Imperial City of Kempten in the Allgäu
Free Imperial City of the Holy Roman Empire
Duchy of Franconia
1289 – 1802/3
A view of Kempten in 1650
Capital Kempten im Allgäu
Government Republic
Historical era Middle Ages
 - City founded before 50 BC
 - City became Reichsfrei
    as an Imperial City
1289 1289
 - Abbey sold property
    within Imperial City
 - City converted
    to Protestantism
 - Mediatised to Bavaria 1802/3 1802
 - Cities united 1819

Kempten im Allgäu is the largest city in Allgäu, a region in the south-west of Bavaria, Germany. Population was c. 61,000 in 2006. The area was possibly settled originally by Celts, but was later overtaken by the Romans, who called the town Cambodunum. Archaeologists consider Kempten one of the oldest urban settlements in Germany.





The Greek geographer Strabon mentions in 50 BC a town of the Celtic Estiones named Kambodunon. This is considered the oldest written reference of any German city. So far no archaeological evidence could be found that this Celtic settlement really existed.

Roman era

In 15 BC Roman troops led by Nero Claudius Drusus and his brother Tiberius conquered and destroyed an existing Celtic city. Later the settlement was named Cambodunum. In the following years the city was rebuilt on a classical Roman city plan with baths, forum and temples. Initially in wood, the city was later rebuilt in stone after a devastating fire that destroyed almost the entire city in the year AD 69. The city possibly served as provincial capital of Raetia during the first century before Augsburg took over this role. Extensive archeological excavations at the end of the 19th century and again during the 1950s at what were then the outskirts of Kempten unearthed the extensive structural foundations.

The city was again destroyed in AD 233 by the Alemanni, a Suebic tribe. The original site of Cambodunum was then abandoned and moved to a strategically safer location on the Burghalde hill overlooking the river Iller.

Only in 488 the last Roman troops left the area and the city was entirely overtaken by the Alemanni.

Middle Ages

After the Romans abandoned the settlement, it was moved from the hill down to the plains located next to the river Iller. In written sources, the town appears as Cambidano. Being still predominantly Alemannic, the town once more was destroyed by the Franks in 683 as a consequence of the city’s support of an uprising against the Frankish kingdom.

Around 747, the first missionary cell was founded by the Irish monks Magnus and Theodore sent from the Abbey of St. Gall in Switzerland to evangelize the area. In the following years a monastery — Kempten Abbey — was built, the first in the Allgäu region. Audogar was the first abbot of the new Benedictine monastery. Through the financial and lobbyist support of Charlemagne’s wife Hildegard, an Allemanic princess, the monastery managed to become one of the most privileged monasteries of the Frankish Empire.

After several ravages by the Magyars, Ulrich of Augsburg, bishop of Augsburg and also abbot of Kempten, began the rebuilding of the monastery and the city in 941.

In 1213, Holy Roman Emperor Frederick II declared the abbots members of the Reichstag and granted the abbot the right to bear the title of Duke. However in 1289, King Rudolf of Habsburg also granted special privileges to the urban settlement in the river valley, making it an Imperial City. In 1525 the last property rights of the abbots in the Imperial City were sold in the so-called “Great Purchase”, marking the start of the co-existence of two independent cities bearing the same name next to each other. More conflict arose after the Imperial City converted to Protestantism in direct opposition to the Catholic monastery (and Free City) in 1527.

Renaissance and Baroque to Modern Age

During the turmoil of the Thirty Years' War (1632–33), both cities were destroyed by the imperial forces and the Swedish troops respectively.

Only shortly after the war the Duke-Abbot Roman Giel of Gielsberg commissioned the two architects Michael Beer and Johann Serro from Graubünden to build a new parish church and monastery church including a representative Residence for the Duke-Abbots. This church is acknowledged as the first major church construction in Germany after the Thirty Years' War.

During the Napoleonic Wars the Duke-Abbey and Imperial City came under Bavarian rule (1802–03). Finally, in 1819, the two rivalling cities were united into a single communal entity.

The city was the location of a subcamp of the Dachau concentration camp during World War II.[1]

Main sights

Baroque St. Lorenz Basilica
Gothic St. Mang Church
City Hall and Market Square
  • The St. Lorenz Basilica minor
  • The St. Mang Church
  • The Burghalde Castle
  • The Duke-Abbots' Residence
  • The Archaeological Park Cambodunum
  • The City Hall and Square
  • The medieval Keck Chapel


Kempten is well connected with the region through the A 7 autobahn (WürzburgUlmFüssen). Bundesstraßen B 12 (partly as A 980 autobahn), B 19 and B 309 are also intersecting in Kempten.

The city has been connected to the national rail network since 1852 and currently boasts good Intercity and Eurocity rail connections.


The University of Applied Sciences Kempten (Fachhochschule Kempten) started in the winter semester of 1978–79 with 89 students and since then expanded and now accommodates more than 2800 students in eight degree courses:

  • Business Administration
  • Computer Science
  • Electrical Engineering
  • Industrial Engineering – Electronic and Information Technology
  • Industrial Engineering – Mechanical Engineering with Distribution Management or Information Technology
  • Mechanical Engineering
  • Social Management
  • Tourism and Hospitality Management

There are also three Grammar Schools (Allgäu-Gymnasium, Hildegardis-Gymnasium, Carl-von-Linde-Gymnasium) offering education to the entire region of the Allgäu.

Notable people

Notable people from Kempten include:

Partner cities

See also


External links

Simple English

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