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Eisenach is the sixth largest city in Thuringia and is located in the west of Thuringia. It is one of the so-called Luther cities. The Mittelstadt has been an independent city since 1998 and is the center of western Thuringia and the adjacent north-eastern Hessian areas. In spatial planning, the city assumes the position of a medium-sized center with partial functions of a regional center and is assigned to the planning region of Southwest Thuringia. Eisenach is located on the Hörsel on the northern edge of the Thuringian Forest.

Eisenach is known for the Wartburg above the city, which is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and was the seat of the Landgraves of Thuringia in the Middle Ages. There Martin Luther translated the New Testament from Greek into German in the autumn of 1521. In 1817 the Wartburg Festival took place there, one of the most important events of Vormärz. Eisenach has been a university town since February 2017, unofficially the town is nicknamed Wartburgstadt.

The composer Johann Sebastian Bach was born in Eisenach in 1685.

Industrialization began in Eisenach in the second half of the 19th century. In 1896, for example, the Eisenach vehicle factory was founded, which belonged to BMW from 1928 and later built the Wartburg as the Eisenach automobile factory. The tradition of automobile construction was continued after 1990 by Adam Opel AG. The factories of the automotive industry such as Opel and Bosch employ over 4,000 people today, which makes Eisenach an industrial center in Thuringia.



Wartburg Castle



The oldest traces of settlement go back around 5500 years. Traces of the band ceramists were found at the Eisenach brickworks west of Mühlhäuser Chaussee. They lived in rectangular post houses. Further archaeological finds from the area of ​​the former clay pits indicate that arable farming and livestock were also practiced here. In the 2nd millennium BC Celts settled the Eisenach area.

End of the 1st millennium BC The Germanic Hermundurs settled in the region, their and the Celtic settlements were on the rivers near Hörschel, Stregda, Stockhausen and Sättelstädt. The Thuringian Museum in Eisenach contains the artifacts from these excavations.

Until 531 the settlement area belonged to the Kingdom of Thuringia. In older research it was assumed that the Thuringians ("Toringi") appearing in the sources in late antiquity were partly derived from groups of the Hermunduren, but this is now denied. After the Thuringian Empire was broken up by the Franks, it is said to have been Frankish settlers who settled on the banks of the Hörsel near the Petersberg in the 8th century. This settlement is considered to be the origin of today's city of Eisenach.

According to legend, Ludwig the Springer had the Wartburg built in 1067. At that time, the Ludowingians, from whom the count was descended, tried to consolidate and expand their territorial power by building castles. In 1080 the Wartburg was first mentioned in a document by the Saxon chronicler Bruno von Merseburg. The name Eisenach first appeared in a written source in 1150 when a knight Berthold de Isenacha was about to be buried.

From the civitas to the main residence of the Landgraves of Thuringia (until the middle of the 13th century)
Eisenach was first mentioned in a document in the 1180s as a landgrave's civitas near an already existing village on Petersberg. The origins of the city of Eisenach can be traced back to three (customs) separate market settlements: the Saturday market (today Karlsplatz), the Wednesday market (on Frauenplan) and the Monday market on today's market square. The city's location at the crossroads of long-distance trade routes enabled the rapid development of trade and commerce, which were protected by the Eisenach city wall, which was built in the second half of the 12th century. The Nikolaitor, one of the oldest city gates in Thuringia, is reminiscent of these fortifications.

In addition to the right to build the city fortifications, Eisenach was given the (limited) administrative right, the right to hold markets and collect taxes, a city coat of arms and the right to mint as characteristics of the city's development. The parallel and right-angled alleys, the placement of the churches and the layout of the craftsmen's quarters point to a planned construction of the city.

At the end of the 12th century, the Wartburg became the main residence of the Landgraves of Thuringia. Eisenach occupied a central position within the Ludowingian dominion, it was the link between the Hessian and Thuringian areas. The court of Landgrave Hermann I of Thuringia was considered the center of minstrel singing and poetry in the empire. In 1206 the legendary Singers' War is said to have taken place on the Wartburg.

From 1211 Elisabeth of Thuringia lived as the wife of Landgrave Ludwig IV on the Wartburg. She appeared in Eisenach as a benefactor and, among other things, founded a hospital in which she devoted herself to the poor, sick and lepers. After the death of Ludwig IV, Elisabeth left the Wartburg in 1228 and was taken over by Pope Gregory IX in 1235. canonized.

Ludwig's successor Heinrich Raspe donated the preacher's monastery in Eisenach in her honor. In 1246 Heinrich Raspe confirmed the city of Eisenach's rights and freedoms. In 1247 he died in the Wartburg and was buried in Eisenach.

War of Succession, Wettin rule, town charter (mid-13th century to late 14th century)
With Heinrich's death, the Ludowinger dynasty became extinct, leading to the Thuringian-Hessian War of Succession between the grandson of Hermann I, the Meissen margrave Heinrich the Illustrious, to whom Heinrich Raspe had promised the contingent loan in the event of his death in 1243, and Sophie von Brabant, a daughter of Ludwig IV. Led. After the end of the war (1264) Eisenach fell to the Wettin Heinrich the illustrious. As a direct consequence of this war, the areas that have since been known as the Landgraviate of Hesse and other parts of the rulership were lost.