Germanic settlement. The oldest evidence of human settlement dates from the prehistoric era; archeological finds from the north of Erfurt revealed human traces from the paleolithic period, ca. 100,000 BCE. The Erfurt-Melchendorf dig showed a settlement from the neolithic period. The Thuringii inhabited the Erfurt area ca. 480 and gave their name to Thuringia ca. 500.
The town is first mentioned in 742 under the name of "Erphesfurt": in that year, Saint Boniface writes Pope Zachary to tell him that he had established three dioceses in Thuringia, one of which "in a place called Erphesfurt, which for a long time has been inhabited by pagan natives." All three dioceses (the other two were Würzburg and Buraburg) were confirmed by Zachary the next year, though later Erfurt was brought into the diocese of Mainz.That the place was populous already is borne out by archeological evidence, which includes 23 graves and six horse burials from the sixth and seventh centuries.
Throughout the Middle Ages, it was an important trading town because of its location, 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. In the Capitulation of Erfurt the city, its 12,000 defenders, and the Petersberg fortress were handed over to the French on 16 October 1806. The city became 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.
The Erfurt Program was adopted by the Social Democratic Party of Germany during its congress at Erfurt in 1891.
Bombed as a target of the Oil Campaign of World War II, Erfurt suffered only limited damage and was captured on 12 April 1945, by the US 80th Infantry Division. On 3 July, American troops left the city and the city became part of the Soviet Zone of Occupation and East Germany. On 19 March 1970 the East and West German Chancellors Willi Stoph and Willy Brandt met in Erfurt, the first such meeting since the division of Germany. After reunification, the city became the capital of the re-established state of Thuringia.
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, 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.
University of Applied Sciences ErfurtThe 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 ErfurtThe University of Erfurt was founded in 1994 and is thus the youngest public university in Germany. It sees itself in the tradition of the historic University that had been there from 1392 to 1816. The historic university is regarded as the third-oldest university in Germany (after Heidelberg (1386) and Cologne (1388)). In the winter term 2008/09 there were approximately 4700 enrolled students.
- Faculty of Philosophy
- Faculty of Political Science
- Arts Faculty
- Faculty of Education
- Faculty of Catholic Theology
|Area||269.17 km2 (103.93 sq mi)|
|Elevation||200 m (656 ft)|
|Population||204,994 (31 December 2010)|
|Density||762 /km2 (1,972 /sq mi)|
Erfurt is twinned with:
- Győr, Hungary, since 1971
- Vilnius, Lithuania, since 1972
- Kalisz, Poland, since 1982
- Mainz, Germany, since 1988
- Lille, France, since 1991
- Shawnee, United States, since 1993
- San Miguel de Tucumán, Argentina, since 1993
- Lovech, Bulgaria, since 1996
- Haifa, Israel, since 2000
- Xuzhou, People's Republic of China, since 2005
- Kati, Mali, since 2011