Erfurt is the capital of the region Thuringia , which is situated in the centre of the Federal Republic of Germany. The surface is said to amount approximately 270km², and the population fluctuates around 200.000 citizens. Erfurt is located on the river Gera , which original name was Erphes River, which meant muddy water. Surprisingly, Erfurt adopted the name as its own title. It is Erfurt which is said to be the only town that is in the center of Germany. Moreover, Erfurt is well-known from its industry, leading trade as well as the crop of the broad bean.
As far as the history is concerned, the first annotation about this place was published in 742AD. The Archbishopric of Mainz was believed to have been related to the establishment of Erfurt. And since the 10th century, the Archbishops ruled on this area. What is more, Erfurt became really influential and significant area in Thuringia region. As a matter of fact, it gained the respect and the importance among other craftsmen and traders in Europe. There can be enumerated some factors, which led to this achievement. First of all, Erfurt had improved trade contacts with other partners as it was at the point of intersection between two prosperous trade routs. Together with other cities such as Gotha, Tennstedt, Arnstadt and Langensalza, Erfurt was a member of German woad-trade union.
The 12th century was quite crucial for Erfurt as it had developed architecturally as well as economically. Some exquisite monuments were built here. As an example, the Benedictine monastery on the Pettersbeg´s hill surrounded by the citadel. The infrastructure were to become more and more advanced. The most famous bridge in the town is Krämerbrücke, which originally was wooden, however, it was rebuilt into stoned one. Nowadays, this bridge is one of the most prominent symbols of Erfurt.
During the Black Death the population of Erfurt did extremely decreased as a consequence of the pandemic of terminal diseases.
The town council took control over the rules in the city in 1243. Nevertheless, the Erfurt Archbishop’s position was still dependant on the Archbishopric of Mainz. The citizens of Erfurt were willing to exist separately from the superiors from Mainz.
Moreover, the 14th century tend to be very prosperous as the city was awarded with the title of the imperial state by the ruling at that time the Louis IV, Holy Roman Emperor (1331).
Additionally, the city possessed a great deal of estates. Erfurt ruled over 82 villages in the vicinity of its area.
Erfurt had some concatenation with famous German people. It is Martin Luther who lived and studied here. That is why the majority of Erfurt citizens are Protestants as far as religion is concerned.
At the beginning of the 19th century, Erfurt was incorporated into the Kingdom of Prussia. And during the Napoleon’s wars, the city became part of First French Empire. It was also a crucial factor for the establishment of the little Kingdom of Erfurt, which lasted only until 1814. What is worth mentioning is the fact that Erfurt appeared to be a special place on the continent as two European leaders met here, i.e. Napoleon Bonaparte and Alexander I of Russia. After the Congress of Vienna, the Kingdom of Prussia gained the territories of Erfurt, which were incorporated into the Saxony province.
When World War II came to an end, Germany was divided into two separate parts, i.e. the Federal Republic of Germany and the German Democratic Republic. And Erfurt belonged to the second one, which was a part of Soviet Zone. Eventually, after the reunification, Erfurt became the capital of Thuringia in 1991.
Monuments in Erfurt:
Krämerbrücke – the most famous and unique bridge in this part of Europe. Having been built through timber framing method in 1117 and being surrounded with inhabited buildings on both sides, the bridge attracts people’s attention. Moreover, the footbridge connects Benediktsplatz and Wenigermarkt, which is the route to the Old Market.
St. Severinus’ Church – this church belongs to the Latin Rite. It is located on the hill on the Domplatz. There is also St. Severinus’ Cathedral nearby. Both of them, the church and the cathedral, are thought to be the outstanding gem of European architecture built in the gothic style The church consists of five naves and two presbyteries. There are several elements, which enrich the outlook of the church, such as St. Severinus’ sarcophagus from 1365, Altarpiece created in 17th century, the St. Boniface’s chapel and the gothic bells.
Petersberg hill – this elevation come to approximately 230 metres above mean sea level. There are the well-known Citadel and St. Peter’s church, which is the greatest Romanesque church in Thuringia region. The Citadel was the first city fortifications to be found in Germany, and today it is an impressive example of European fortification construction dating from the 17th to the 19th centuries.
Domplatz – it is the biggest square market in Germany. Around Domplatz there are many historical buildings which survived many fires and destructions. The "Grüne Apotheke" (18th century) and the "Haus zur hohen Lilie" (1538) are two fine examples of the buildings in this area. In the neighbourhood, visitors can encounter many famous monuments mentioned above.
Das Rathaus – the town hall located at the Fischmarkt. The building was built at the end of the 19th century. The interior of the building includes numerous paintings, which depict the history of Erfurt, the Thuringia region as well as Martin Luther’s lifetime. The wall paintings appear to be exquisite and marvellous. Additionally, the visitors have the opportunity to admire the Festsaal, where the official meeting were held. This ´conference’ room is also embellished with wall paintings presenting the past times.
The University of Erfurt – one of the oldest universities in Europe. It was opened in 1392, but in 1816 it had to be closed. Eventually, after almost 175 years, the university was re-established as a new model university and it now offers excellent, interdisciplinary and vocational courses with internationally recognised degrees.
Taking all into consideration, Erfurt is the place worthy of notice as the it is extremely well organised as far as the infrastructure and architecture are concerned. The city is not lovely for its monuments, but also the friendly atmosphere occurring and the citizens living here. Erfurt is the place to visit. Erfurt is the place to live in.
The Europa Programm Center (EPC) is mandated by the State of Thuringia to guide and support Thuringia’s co-operation with its European partner regions. More precisely, the European Programme Centre was established by the State Council of Thuringia to provide technical support for the development of European projects by public and private entities located in the state itself.