Erfurt

Erfurt (/ˈɛərfɜːrt/ AIR-furt, /ˈɛərfʊərt/ AIR-foort;[3][4] German pronunciation: [ˈɛʁfʊʁt] (listen))[5] is the capital and largest city in the state of Thuringia, central Germany. It is located in the southern part of the Thuringian Basin, within the wide valley of the Gera river. It is located 100 km (62 mi) south-west of Leipzig, 300 km (186 mi) south-west of Berlin, 400 km (249 mi) north of Munich and 250 km (155 mi) north-east of Frankfurt. Together with a string of neighbouring cities Gotha, Weimar, Jena and others, Erfurt forms the central metropolitan corridor of Thuringia called Thüringer Städtekette (German "Thuringian city chain") with over 500,000 inhabitants.

Erfurt
clockwise: Cathedral Hill with Erfurt Cathedral and St Severus' Church at night, view over the city, Merchants' Bridge at night, Merchants' Bridge
Location of Erfurt within Thuringia
Erfurt
Erfurt
Coordinates: 50°59′0″N 11°2′0″E
CountryGermany
StateThuringia
DistrictUrban district
Founded1120
First mentioned742
Subdivisions53 districts
Government
  Lord mayor (201824) Andreas Bausewein[1] (SPD)
  Governing partiesSPD / Left / Greens
Area
  Total269.17 km2 (103.93 sq mi)
Elevation
194 m (636 ft)
Population
 (2020-12-31)[2]
  Total213,692
  Density790/km2 (2,100/sq mi)
Time zoneUTC+01:00 (CET)
  Summer (DST)UTC+02:00 (CEST)
Postal codes
99084-99099
Dialling codes0361
Vehicle registrationEF
Websitewww.erfurt.de/ef/en (in English)

Erfurt's old town is one of the best preserved medieval city centres in Germany.[6] Tourist attractions include the Krämerbrücke (Merchants' bridge), the Old Synagogue, the ensemble of Erfurt Cathedral and Severikirche (St Severus's Church) and Petersberg Citadel, one of the largest and best preserved town fortresses in Europe.[7] The city's economy is based on agriculture, horticulture and microelectronics. Its central location has led to it becoming a logistics hub for Germany and central Europe. Erfurt hosts the second-largest trade fair in eastern Germany (after Leipzig) as well as the public television children's channel KiKa.

The city is situated on the Via Regia, a medieval trade and pilgrims' road network. Modern day Erfurt is also a hub for ICE high speed trains and other German and European transport networks. Erfurt was first mentioned in 742, as Saint Boniface founded the diocese. Although the town did not belong to any of the Thuringian states politically, it quickly became the economic centre of the region and it was a member of the Hanseatic League.[8] It was part of the Electorate of Mainz during the Holy Roman Empire, and later became part of the Kingdom of Prussia in 1802. From 1949 until 1990 Erfurt was part of the German Democratic Republic (East Germany).

The University of Erfurt was founded in 1379,[9] making it the first university to be established within the geographic area which constitutes modern-day Germany. It closed in 1816 and was re-established in 1994, with the main modern campus on what was a teachers' training college. Martin Luther (1483–1546) was its most famous student, studying there from 1501 before entering St Augustine's Monastery in 1505.[10] Other noted Erfurters include the medieval philosopher and mystic Meister Eckhart (c. 1260–1328), the Baroque composer Johann Pachelbel (1653–1706) and the sociologist Max Weber (1864–1920).