Quedlinburg

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Template:Use dmy dates Template:Infobox German location Quedlinburg (Template:IPA-de) is a town located north of the Harz mountains, in the district of Harz in the west of Saxony-Anhalt, Germany. In 1994 the medieval court and the old town was set on the UNESCO world heritage list.

Until 2007 it was the capital of the district of Quedlinburg. Some places in town with Romanesque architecture are part of the holiday route Romanesque Road, such as St. Servatius' church at the castles hill, St. Wigbert's church down the valley and St Marie's church on the Montsion's hill (Münzenberg).

History

File:Schlossmühle Quedlinburg dahinter Burgberg mit Stift.JPG
south of the castle hill: 'Schlossmühle'

The town of Quedlinburg is known since at least the early 9th century, when a settlement known as Gross Orden existed at the eastern bank of the river Bode. As such the city is first mentioned in 922 as part of a donation by King Henry the Fowler. The records of this donation were collected at the abbey of Corvey.

After Henry's death in 936, his widow Saint Matilda founded a religious community for women ("Frauenstift") on the castle hill, where daughters of the higher nobility were educated. The main task of this collegiate foundation, Quedlinburg Abbey, was to pray for the memory of King Henry and the rulers that came after him. The Annals of Quedlinburg were also compiled there. The first abbess was Matilda, a granddaughter of King Henry and St. Matilda.

The Quedlinburg castle complex, founded by King Henry and built up by Emperor Otto I in 936, was an imperial palatinate of the Saxon emperors. The palatinate, including the male convent, was in the valley, where today the Roman Catholic Church of St. Wiperti is situated, while the women's convent was located on the castle hill.

In 961 and 963 a canon's monastery was established in St. Wiperti, south of the castle hill. It was abandoned in the 16th century, and at one time the church, which boasts a magnificent crypt from the 10th century, was even used as a barn and a pigsty before being restored in the 1950s.

In 973, shortly before the death of Emperor Otto I, a Reichstag (Imperial Convention) was held at the imperial court in which Mieszko, duke of Poland, and Boleslav, duke of Bohemia, as well as numerous other nobles from as far away as Byzantium and Bulgaria, gathered to pay homage to the emperor. In the occasion Otto the Great introduced his new daughter-in-law Theophanu, a Byzantine princess whose marriage to Otto II brought hope for recognition and continued peace between the rulers of the Eastern and Western empires.

In 994 Otto III granted the right of market, tax and coining and established the first market place to the north of the castle hill.

The town became a member of the Hanseatic League in 1426. Quedlinburg Abbey frequently disputed the independence of Quedlinburg, which sought the aid of the Bishopric of Halberstadt. In 1477 Abbess Hedwig, aided by her brothers Ernest and Albert, broke the resistance of the town and expelled the bishop's forces. Quedlinburg was forced to leave the Hanseatic League and was subsequently protected by the Electorate of Saxony. Both town and abbey converted to Lutheranism in 1539 during the Protestant Reformation.

Template:Infobox World Heritage Site In 1697 Elector Frederick Augustus I of Saxony sold his rights to Quedlinburg to Elector Frederick III of Brandenburg for 240,000 thalers. Quedlinburg Abbey contested Brandenburg-Prussia's claims throughout the 18th century, however. The abbey was secularized in 1802 during the German Mediatisation and Quedlinburg passed to the Kingdom of Prussia as part of the Principality of Quedlinburg.(? -- this might be Halberstadt as there is no evidence that Quedlinburg ever became a principality) Part of the Napoleonic Kingdom of Westphalia from 1807–13, it was included within the new Prussian Province of Saxony in 1815. In all this time, great ladies ruled Quedlinburg as abbesses without "taking the veil"; they were free to marry. The last of these great ladies was a Swedish princess, an early fighter for women's rights, Sofia Albertina.

During the Nazi regime, the memory of Henry I became a sort of cult, as Heinrich Himmler saw himself as the reincarnation of the "most German of all German" rulers. The collegiate church and castle were to be turned into a shrine for Nazi Germany. The Nazi Party tried to create a new religion. The cathedral was closed from 1938 and during the war. The local crematory was kept busy burning the victims of the Langenstein-Zwieberge concentration camp. Liberation in 1945 brought back the Protestant bishop and the church bells, and the Nazi style eagle was taken down from the tower. Georg Ay was local party chief from 1931 until the end of the war.

Quedlinburg was administered within Bezirk Halle while part of the Communist East Germany from 1949 to 1990. It became part of the state of Saxony-Anhalt upon German reunification in 1990.

During Quedlinburg's Communist era as part of the GDR (1949–1990), restoration specialists from Poland were called in during the 1980s to carry out repairs on the old architecture. As in all German cities the Altstadt old city medieval sections, are the most popular attractions of any town. Now Quedlinburg is a center of restoration of Fachwerk houses.

During the last months of World War II, the United States Military occupied Quedlinburg. In the 1980s, upon the death of one of the US Military men, the Theft of medieval art from Quedlinburg came to light.

Main sights

In the innermost parts of the town a wide selection of half-timbered buildings from at least five different centuries are to be found (including a 14th-century structure, one of Germany's oldest), while around the outer fringes of the old town there are wonderful examples of Jugendstil buildings, dating from the late 19th and early 20th centuries.

Since December 1994 the old town of Quedlinburg and the castle mount with the collegiate church are listed as one of UNESCO's World Heritage Sites. Quedlinburg is one of the best-preserved medieval and renaissance towns in Europe, having escaped major damage in World War II.

In 2006 the Harzer Schmalspurbahnen Selketal branch was extended into Quedlinburg from Gernrode giving access to the historic steam narrow gauge railway, Alexisbad and high Harz plateau.

The castle and the cathedral still towers above the city the way they dominated the town in early Middle Ages. The cathedral is a prime example of German Romanesque style. The Domschatz, the cathedral treasure containing ancient Christian religious artefacts and books, was stolen by an American soldier and finally brought back to Quedlinburg in 1993 and is again on display here.

Geography

The town is located north of the Harz mountains approximatively 123 meters above sea level. The nearest mountains reach 181 meters above sea level. The biggest part of the town is located in the western part of the river Bodes bed. This river comes from the Harz mountains and flows into the river Saale and further into the river Elbe. The municipal area of Quedlinburg is 120.42 km²: before the incorporation of the two (previously independent) municipalities of Gernrode and Bad Suderode in January 2014 it was only 78.14 km².


Climate

Quedlinburg has a humid continental climate (Köppen climate classification) resulting from Prevailing Westerlies, blowing from the high pressure area in the central Atlantic towards Scandinavia. Snowfall occurs almost every winter. January and February are the coldest months of the year, with an average temperature of 0.1 °C and 0.4 °C. July and August are the hottest months, with an average temperature of 17.8 °C (63 °F) and 17.2 °C. The average annual precipitation is close to 438 millimetres with rain occurring usually from May to September. This precipitation is one of the lowest in Germany, which has an annual average close to 700 millimetres. In August 2010 Quedlinburg was the driest place in Germany with only 72,4 liter per square-meter.

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Demographics

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Transport

Air

The nearest airports to Quedlinburg are Hannover 120 km north-west, and Leipzig/Halle Airport 90 km south-east. Much closer, but only served by a few airlines, is Magdeburg-Cochstedt. An airfield is located at Ballenstedt-Assmussstedt for general aviation.

Train

File:Verkehrsknoten Quedlinburg.jpg
Narrow gauge steam train of the Selke Valley Railway connects with Veolia Harz-Berlin-Express train on the line from Magdeburg at Quedlinburg station

Regional trains run on the standard gauge Magdeburg–Thale line by Deutsche Bahn and the private company Connex connect Quedlinburg with Magdeburg, Thale and Halberstadt.

In 2006 the Selke Valley branch of the Harz Narrow Gauge Railways was extended into Quedlinburg from Gernrode, giving access to the historic steam narrow gauge railway, Alexisbad and high Harz plateau.

Bus

Quedlinburg is connected by regional buses to the surrounding villages and small towns.

Additionally there are also buses to Berlin, run by the company BerlinLinienBus.

Notable people

Jordanus of Quedlinburg was a 14th-century preacher and monk wrote texts about contemporary devoutness.

In 18th century Dorothea Erxleben was the first female medical doctor in Germany. Friedrich Gottlieb Klopstock was a contemporary German poet of Johann Wolfgang von Goethe.

Sister cities

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References

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Further reading

External links

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Template:World Heritage Sites in Germany Template:Cities and towns in Harz (district) Template:Hanseatic League





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