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Marburg
Marburg: the castle, upper town, and St Elizabeth's church
Marburg: the castle, upper town, and St Elizabeth's church
Coat of arms of Marburg
Marburg is located in Germany
Marburg
Coordinates 50°48′36″N 8°46′15″E / 50.81°N 8.77083°E / 50.81; 8.77083
Administration
Country Germany
State Hesse
District Marburg-Biedenkopf
Lord Mayor Egon Vaupel (SPD)
Basic statistics
Area 124.5 km2 (48.1 sq mi)
Elevation 173-412 m
Population 79,139  (31 December 2005)
 - Density 636 /km2 (1,646 /sq mi)
Other information
Time zone CET/CEST (UTC+1/+2)
Licence plate MR
Postal codes 35001-35043
Area code 06421
Website www.marburg.de
Location of the town of Marburg within Marburg-Biedenkopf district
Map

Marburg is a city in Hessen, Germany, on the River Lahn. It is the main town of the Marburg-Biedenkopf district. Its population is 78,701, and its geographical position is 50°48′36″N 8°46′15″E / 50.81°N 8.77083°E / 50.81; 8.77083.

Contents

History

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Founding and early history

Old Marburg

Like many settlements, Marburg developed at the crossroads of two important early medieval highways: the trade route linking Cologne and Prague and the trade route from the North Sea to the Alps and on to Italy), the former crossing the river Lahn here. The settlement was protected and customs were raised by a small castle built during the 9th or 10th century by the Giso. Marburg has been a town since 1140, as proven by coins. From the Gisos, it fell around that time to the Landgraves of Thuringia, residing on the Wartburg above Eisenach.

St Elizabeth

In 1228 the widowed princess-langravine of Thuringia, Elizabeth, chose Marburg as her dowager seat, as she did not get along well with her brother-in-law, the new Landgrave. The countess dedicated her life to the sick and would become after her early death in 1231, aged 24, one of the most eminent female saints, St Elisabeth of Hungary. She was canonized in 1235.

St Elizabeth's church

Capital of Hesse

In 1264, St Elizabeth's daughter Sophie of Brabant, succeeded in winning the Landgraviate of Hesse, hitherto connected to Thuringia, for her son Henry. Marburg (alongside Kassel) was one of the capitals of Hesse from that time until about 1540. Following the first division of the landgraviate, it was the capital of Marburg from 1485 to 1500 and again between 1567 and 1605. Hesse was one of the more powerful second-tier principalities in Germany. Its "old enemy" was the Archbishop of Mainz, one of the Prince-electors, who competed with Hesse in many wars and conflicts for coveted territory, stretching over several centuries.

After 1605, Marburg became just another provincial town, known mostly for its university. It became a virtual backwater for two centuries after the Thirty Years' War, 1618-1648, when it was fought over by Hessen-Darmstadt and Hessen-Kassel (or Hessen-Cassel). The Hessian territory around Marburg lost more than two thirds of its population, which was more than in any later wars (including World War I and World War II) combined.

Reformation

Marburg is the seat of the oldest Protestant university in the world, the University of Marburg, (Philipps-Universität-Marburg), founded in 1527. It is one of the six classical "university villages" in Germany, the other five being Freiburg, Göttingen, Heidelberg, and Tübingen, as well as the city of Gießen, which is located 30 km south of Marburg.

In 1529, Philipp I of Hesse arranged the Marburg Colloquy, to propitiate Martin Luther and Huldrych Zwingli.

Marburg over the Lahn River

Romanticism

Owing to its neglect during the entire 18th century Marburg – like Rye or Chartres – survived as a relatively intact Gothic town, simply because there was no money spent on any new architecture or expansion. When Romanticism became the dominant cultural and artistic paradigm in Germany, Marburg became interesting once again, and many of the leaders of the movement lived, taught, or studied in Marburg. They formed a circle of friends that was of great importance, especially in literature, philology, folklore, and law. The group included Friedrich Karl von Savigny, the most important jurist of his day and father of the Roman Law adaptation in Germany; the poets, writers, and social activists Achim von Arnim, Clemens Brentano, and especially the latter's sister and former's later wife, Bettina von Arnim. Most famous internationally, however, were the Brothers Grimm, who collected many of their fairy tales here – Rapunzel's Tower stands in Amönau near Marburg, and across the Lahn hills, in the area called Schwalm, little girls' costumes included a red hood.

It has to be said, however, that this circle had disappeared from Marburg by the 1820s, and for another 45 years, Marburg became a Hessian backwater again.

Prussian town

In the Austro-Prussian War of 1866, the reactionary Prince-elector of Hesse had backed Austria; Prussia won, and invaded (without any bloodshed) and annexed Hesse-Kassel (as well as Hanover, the City of Frankfurt, and other territories) north of the Main river, while likewise pro-Austrian Hesse-Darmstadt remained independent. For Marburg, this turn of events was very positive, because Prussia decided to make Marburg its main administrative center in this part of the new province Hesse-Nassau and to turn the University of Marburg into the regional academic center. Thus, Marburg's rise as an administrative and university city began; as the Prussian university system was one of the best in the world at the time, Marburg attracted many respected scholars. However, there was hardly any industry to speak of, so students, professors, and civil servants – who generally had enough but not much money and paid very little in taxes – dominated the town, which tended to be very conservative.

20th century

The Wettergasse in the Marburg Upper Town

Franz von Papen, vice-chancellor of Germany in 1934, delivered an anti-Nazi speech at the University of Marburg on 17 June. This contributed to several of von Papen's staff being murdered by the Nazis.

From 1942 to 1945, the whole city of Marburg was turned into a hospital with schools and government buildings turned into wards to augment the existing hospitals. By the spring of 1945, there were over 20,000 patients—mostly wounded German soldiers. As a result of its being designated a hospital city, there was not much damage from bombings except along the railroad tracks.

In 1945, Marburg became President and Field Marshal Paul von Hindenburg's final resting place. His grave is in the Elisabethkirche. He is an honorary citizen of the town.

Marburg is also now home to one of the most progressive schools for the blind in the world. Street crossings are equipped with "walk" and "don't walk" signs that also emit sounds enabling the blind to know what the signs are "saying".

Main sights

Marburg is famous for its medieval churches, especially the Elisabethkirche, one of the two or three first purely Gothic churches north of the Alps outside of France and thus an incunable of Gothic architecture in Germany, as well as for the castle.

More important, however, is Marburg's city as such, an unspoilt, spire-dominated, castle-crowned Gothic/Renaissance city on a hill, intact because Marburg was an extreme backwater between 1600 and 1850. Unlike, for example, Rothenburg ob der Tauber, Marburg regained some of its importance in later centuries, so it is not a "museum village" but rather a student-dominated university town.

Much of the physical attractiveness of Marburg today is the legacy of the legendary Lord Mayor Dr. Hanno Drechsler (in office 1970-1992), who promoted urban renewal and the restoration, for the first time, by object and not by area; i.e., areas were not pulled down but rather buildings restored. Thus, at a time when other cities were still pulling down medieval quarters, Marburg already protected its unique heritage. Marburg also had one of the first pedestrian zones in Germany. Marburg's Altstadtsanierung (since 1972) received many awards and prizes.

Politics

As a larger mid-sized city, Marburg, like six other such cities in Hesse, has a special status as compared to the other municipalities in the district. This means that the city takes on tasks more usually performed by the district so that in many ways it is comparable to an urban district (kreisfreie Stadt).

The mayor (Oberbürgermeister) Egon Vaupel, directly elected in January 2005 and in office since 1 July 2005, is from the Social Democratic Party of Germany. His deputy, the head of the building and youth departments Dr. Franz Kahle is supplied by the Greens. The majority in the 59-seat city parliament is held by a coalition of SPD (20 seats) and Green (10 seats) members. Also represented are the factions of the CDU (17 seats), the PDS (4 seats), the Freie Wähler (Free Voters) BfM (Bürger für Marburg- 3 seats), the FDP (3 seats) and a CDU splinter group MBL (Marburger Bürgerliste- 2 seats).

Outside the parliament, there are in Marburg, like otherwise only in big cities, a full range of groupings. Among the leftwing groups are ATTAC, the Worldshop movement, an autonomist-anarchist scene, but also groups engaged in ecological or human-rights concerns.

The city of Marburg, similar to the cities of Heidelberg, Tübingen, Göttingen etc. has a rich history of student corporations or "Verbindungen"; i.e., associations or fraternities including Corps, Landsmannschaften, Burschenschaften, Turnerschaften, etc.

City partnerships

Coat of arms

Marburg's coat of arms shows a Hessian Landgrave riding a white horse with a flag and a shield on a red background. The shield shows the red-and-white-striped Hessian lion, also to be seen on Hesse's state arms, and the flag shows a stylized M, blue on gold (or yellow). The arms are also the source of the city flag's colours. The flag has three horizontal stripes coloured, from top to bottom, red (from the background), white (from the horse) and blue (from the shield).

The arms, which were designed in the late nineteenth century, are based on a landgrave's seal on a municipal document, which is an example of a very prevalent practice of replacing forgotten coats of arms, or ones deemed not to be representative enough, with motifs taken from seals. Under municipal codes in force in Germany today, the use of city or municipal arms in service seals is often mandatory.

Marburg virus

The city's name is also connected to a filovirus, the Marburg virus, which was first noticed and described during an outbreak in the city: workers were accidentally exposed to infected green monkey tissue at the city's main industrial plant (1967), the Behring-Werke, then part of Hoechst and today of CSL Behring, founded by Marburg citizen and first Nobel Prize in Medicine winner, Emil von Behring. During the outbreak, 31 people became infected and seven of them died. While this may seem a small number of people, during a cholera epidemic in the modern world only 1 in 20 people die. Marburg virus is named after the city per the custom of naming hemorrhagic fever viruses after the location of their first recorded outbreak.

Points of interest

External links


Travel guide

Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From Wikitravel

Marburg [1] is in Hesse.

Marburg is a small university town north of Frankfurt in the Lahn valley. It was almost untouched by bombs during WWII. The old city("Oberstadt", upper city) is a labyrinth of narrow, cobblestone streets lined with extremely well-preserved examples of 17th and 18th century "Hessische" architecture. Hearing nearby church bells toll while walking through this part of Marburg is a life changing experience. This is the Germany you expect from the tour books and here you can enjoy it free from the crowds of tourists.

The Philipps Universität [2] (founded 1527) is the oldest Protestant university in the world. Marburg has approximately 86,000 residents. With 20,000 students and 6,000 people working for the university, the slogan of Marburg is: "Other cities may have a university, Marburg is a university."

Marburg Central-Station
Marburg Central-Station

Regular services go to Frankfurt and Kassel and from both cities your have extensive connections on the German high speed train network (ICE).

By plane

Marburg has no airport so head for Frankfurt/Main, Germany's busiest airport.

By car

One of the few German cities not directly connected by the Autobahn, but as you are in Germany there are good alternatives ... From Frankfurt take the Autobahn to Giessen and than the Bundesstrasse 3 to Marburg.

Get around

As a small town it`s best explored on foot. Other possibilities include the public bus services a bicycle. To reach the "Oberstadt" you can use one of the two lifts, which make it accessible for the disabled. If you need, ask the inhabitants: most people are very friendly and will go out of their way to point out the sights.

Marburg Castle
Marburg Castle

Stroll around the old city and enjoy the medieval atmosphere in combination with the spirit of an university town. Visit the Elisabeth-Church, Germany's oldest gothic church, and the old castle at top of the "Oberstadt". Also worth seeing are the old university building, the city hall, and Weidenhausen (the old part of the town on the other side of the river Lahn).

Take a romantic pedal boat trip on the river Lahn, which start from the bridge opposite to the old university building. Take a hike up to the Spiegelslustturm and enjoy a wonderful view over Marburg at night. There is an exhibition on the culture and history of Hesse in the old castle and also guided tours trough the "Kasematten", the cellars of the castle. Consult the tourist information office [3] for details.

There is the aquamar, a relatively new swimming pool with a spa area.

Take a train in the direction of Kassel to Kirchhain, a lovely small German town with interesting large markets like the New Years Market or the Martins market.

You can also take a trip to the Amoeneburg, an old fortress 15 km east of Marburg, or to castle Rauischholzhausen, a traditional castle with a nice park.

You can also go for longer hikes in the surrounding hills and the picturesque forests.

Where to eat

The city caters for the needs of more than 18,000 students so it is not difficult to find a nice cafe or pub. Most of the good pubs are located in the Oberstadt. Be aware that during the university terms they are sometimes crowded.

Try the Cafe am Grün next to the Red Star Bookstore. It's one of the best cafes in Marburg and also a good place to go with children.

Next to the elift (Oberstadtaufzug) in the middle of Marburg is a very good Lebanese imbiss.

If you arrive at the train station and like to eat Asian food just walk straight away from the train station and cross the river bridge behind the highway. On the right side is a good place for Asian food.

If you want to meet students then the "Mensa on the Erlenring" is very good, you can eat there as a guest, and the food is very good.

If you like traditional German food, visit the Ratsschänke [4] directly next to the historic town hall.

Where to Drink

There are too many pubs and bars to list them all, but if you are in Marburg and everything is closed because its already 3 or 4 o´clock in the morning you have to go to the bolschoi pub! It is near the Elisabeth Church and the place to be in the later night!

Places to stay

A youth hostel [5] is located a little bit south of town. More expensive hotels in Marburg are the Best Western Hotel and the Rosenpark Hotel.

Talk

In Marburg many European and other languages are widely spoken. For example it is possible to find those who will understand a little Japanese or Mandarin. English is never a problem, already children can speak an easy English here. The People in Marburg are very friendly and when you ask friendly you can get sometimes special tips you can never find in a Travel Guide.

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1911 encyclopedia

Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From LoveToKnow 1911

There is more than one meaning of Marburg discussed in the 1911 Encyclopedia. We are planning to let all links go to the correct meaning directly, but for now you will have to search it out from the list below by yourself. If you want to change the link that led you here yourself, it would be appreciated.


Simple English

Marburg
Marburg: the castle, upper town, and St Elizabeth's church

Marburg
Coordinates 50°48′36″N 8°46′15″E / 50.81°N 8.77083°E / 50.81; 8.77083
Administration
Country Germany
State Hesse
District Marburg-Biedenkopf
Lord Mayor Egon Vaupel (SPD)
Basic statistics
Area 124.5 km2 (48.1 sq mi)
Elevation 173-412 m
Population 79,139  (31 December 2005)
 - Density 636 /km2 (1,646 /sq mi)
Other information
Time zone CET/CEST (UTC+1/+2)
Licence plate MR
Postal codes 35001-35043
Area code 06421
Website Stadt Marburg
Location of the town of Marburg within Marburg-Biedenkopf district

Marburg is a city in Hesse, Germany, on the Lahn river. It is the main town of the Marburg-Biedenkopf Rural Disitrict. It has about 80,000 inhabitants and a small, but well-known university.

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