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Torgau
Schloss Hartenfels Torgau Innenhof.jpg
Coat of arms of Torgau
Torgau is located in Germany
Torgau
Coordinates 51°33′37″N 13°0′20″E / 51.56028°N 13.00556°E / 51.56028; 13.00556
Administration
Country Germany
State Saxony
Admin. region Leipzig
District Nordsachsen
Municipal assoc. Torgau
Mayor Andrea Staude (SPD)
Basic statistics
Area 90.33 km2 (34.88 sq mi)
Elevation 78 m  (256 ft)
Population 20,241  (31 December 2007)
 - Density 224 /km2 (580 /sq mi)
Other information
Time zone CET/CEST (UTC+1/+2)
Licence plate TDO
Postal code 04860
Area code 03421
Website www.torgau.de
Location of the town of Torgau within Nordsachsen district
Map

Torgau is a town on the banks of the Elbe in northwestern Saxony, Germany. It is the capital of the district Nordsachsen.

Outside Germany, the town is most well-known as the place where during the Second World War, United States Army forces coming from the west met with forces of the Soviet Union coming from the east during the invasion of Germany on April 25, 1945.

Contents

Sights

Sights include the historic town centre, restored since the unification, a brewery museum, the monument for the meeting of the Russian and American troops on the Elbe and a Russian military cemetery. The early Renaissance Hartenfels castle dominates the town. The chapel was built in 1544 (designed by Nickel Gromann) and combines late Gothic with early Renaissance elements. It was consecrated by Martin Luther on October 5, 1544. Brown bears are still kept in the moat.

History

The settlement goes back to a Slavonic settlement named Turguo in the shire of Neletici. There was presumably a wooden Slavonic castle located under the present-day Hartenstein castle. In the 10th century it fell under the rule of the Holy Roman Emperors, and a stone castle was built, round which the settlement congregated. A market is attested in 1119. The town was located on the important trade-road between Leipzig and Frankfurt an der Oder that crossed the river Elbe at a ford east of Torgau.

Torgau belonged to the duchy of Saxe-Wittenberg. After the last Ascanian duke died without issue in 1423, the Electorate passed to the Wettin dynasty, which took up its residence at Torgau. Following the Leipzig partition of the Wettin inheritance in 1485, Torgau fell to the Ernestine line. The court resided mainly in Weimar and in Torgau. From 1525 onwards, Torgau became the sole residence. After the Battle of Mühlberg in 1547, Torgau fell to the Albertine line.

During the Reformation, the town council closed all cloisters in 1523. Citizens of Torgau destroyed the paintings and statues of saints in the churches and stormed the Franciscan monastery. After Luther had driven Andreas Karlstadt (Bodenstein) from Saxony in 1524, he enforced the expulsion of Karlstadt's followers in Torgau in 1529. Katharina von Bora, the wife of Martin Luther is buried in St. Marien, Torgau. The Torgauer Artikel, a draft of the Augsburg Confession was composed by Luther, Melanchthon, Bugenhagen and Jonas in the electoral superindenture in 1530 (Wintergrün).

The first German opera, Heinrich Schütz's Dafne, was presented at the court in Torgau, 1627.

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World War II

The town is the place where during the Second World War, United States Army forces coming from the west met with forces of the Soviet Union coming from the east during the invasion of Germany on April 25, 1945, which is now remembered as "Elbe Day". This marked the beginning of the line of contact between Soviet and American forces, but not the finalized occupation zones. In fact the area surrounding Torgau initially occupied by U.S. forces was later, in July 1945, given over to Soviet forces in compliance with the Yalta agreement. After the war, in 1949, a film called the Encounter at the Elbe was released from Mosfilm about this meeting of the two armies.

According to journalist Andy Rooney, who was a correspondent in Europe at the time, the Red Army raided the Hohner accordion and harmonica factory at Torgau at the time. There was nothing surprising about that, Rooney said; armies have been plundering civilian property for ages. What was surprising was that half of the soldiers in the Red Army seemed to know how to play a musical instrument. There was a woman, a singer, who had been held prisoner at Torgau during the war, Rooney said, and the Russians freed her. She gave an impromptu concert in the town square, and the sound of her voice rising above the combined accordions and harmonicas playing in unison was something one would never forget.

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Multimedia


1911 encyclopedia

Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From LoveToKnow 1911

TORGAU, a town of Germany, in the Prussian province of Saxony, situated on the left bank of the Elbe, 30 m. N.E. of Leipzig and 26 m. S.E. of Wittenberg by rail. Pop. (1905), 12,299. Its most conspicuous building is the Schloss Hartenfels, on an island in the Elbe, which was built, or at least was finished, by the elector of Saxony, John Frederick the Magnanimous. This castle, which is now used as a barracks, is one of the largest Renaissance buildings in Germany. It was for some time the residence of the electors of Saxony and contains a chapel consecrated by Martin Luther. The town hall, a 16th-century building, houses a collection of Saxon antiquities. Torgau has two Evangelical churches and a Roman Catholic church. One of the former, the Stadt Kirche, contains paintings by Lucas Cranach and the tomb of Catherine von Bora, the wife of Luther. The chief industries of the town are the manufacture of gloves, carriages, agricultural machinery, beer and bricks; there is a trade in grain both on the Elbe and by rail. The fortifications, begun in 1807 by order of Napoleon, were dismantled in 1889-1891. In the vicinity is the royal stud farm of Graditz.

Torgau is said to have existed as the capital of a distinct principality in the time of the German king Henry I., but early in the 14th century it was in the possession of the margraves of Meissen and later of the electors of Saxony, who frequently resided here. The town came into prominence at the time of the Reformation. In 1526 John, elector of Saxony, Philip, landgrave of Hesse, and other Protestant princes formed a league against the Roman Catholics, and the Torgau articles, drawn up here by Luther and his friends in 1530, were the basis of the confession of Augsburg. Torgau is particularly celebrated as the scene of a battle fought on the 3rd of November 1760, when Frederick the Great defeated the Austrians (see Seven Years' War). In January 1814 Torgau was taken by the Germans after a siege of three months and it was formally ceded to Prussia in 1815.

See Grulich and Barger, Denkwiirdigkeiten der alts¢chsischen Residenz Torgau aus der Zeit der Reformation (Torgau, 1855); Knabe, Geschichte der Stadt Torgau bis zur Reformation (Torgau, 1880); and the publications of the Altertumverein zu Torgau (Torgau, 1884 sqq.).


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Simple English

Torgau

Torgau
Coordinates 51°33′37″N 13°0′20″E / 51.56028°N 13.00556°E / 51.56028; 13.00556
Administration
Country Germany
State Saxony
Admin. region Leipzig
District Nordsachsen
Municipal assoc. Torgau
Town subdivisions 4
Mayor Andrea Staude (SPD)
Basic statistics
Area 90.33 km2 (34.88 sq mi)
Elevation 78 m  (256 ft)
Population 19,894  (31 December 2009)
 - Density 220 /km2 (570 /sq mi)
Other information
Time zone CET/CEST (UTC+1/+2)
Licence plate TDO
Postal code 04860
Area code 03421
Website www.torgau.de

Torgau is a town on the banks of the Elbe in northwestern Saxony, Germany. The town is well-known as the place where during the Second World War, United States Army forces met with forces of the Soviet Union during the invasion of Germany on April 25, 1945.

This marked the beginning of the line of contact between Soviet and American forces, but not the occcupation zones. In fact the area surrounding Torgau at first occupied by U.S. forces was later, in July 1945, given over to Soviet forces.

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