10 largest cities in Germany
Frankfurt am Main




Erfurt is the capital of the Free State of Thuringia. With a population of around 214,000 (2018), it is also the largest city in Thuringia and, alongside Jena and Gera, one of the country's three regional centers. The most important institutions besides the state authorities are the Federal Labor Court, the University and University of Applied Sciences Erfurt, the Catholic diocese of Erfurt, whose cathedral is the Erfurt Cathedral, and the regional church office of the Evangelical Church in Central Germany. In addition to the Krämerbrücke, the unique ensemble of cathedral and Severikirche is one of the main attractions of the city. In addition, the city has an almost three square kilometer medieval old town with around 25 parish churches, the baroque Petersberg citadel, the oldest surviving synagogue in Central Europe and numerous half-timbered houses - and other town houses.

Erfurt was first mentioned in a document in 742 in connection with the establishment of the diocese of Erfurt by Bonifatius - even then as a large settlement. Shortly afterwards it developed into the center of the Thuringian area, even though it was not politically part of the country for a long time. In the Middle Ages the city had a high degree of autonomy. That changed with the violent submission by the Mainz in 1664. In 1802 Erfurt became part of Prussia (with the exception of the period from 1806 to 1814, when it was under French rule as the Principality of Erfurt) and remained so until 1945. The university was opened in 1392 opened, closed in 1816 and re-established in 1994. This makes it the third university to be opened in Germany, but thanks to a founding privilege from 1379 it can also be considered the oldest. Martin Luther was her most famous student.

The city's economy is characterized by administration and services. Erfurt is also the location of various companies in mechanical and plant engineering and in microelectronics. Furthermore, due to the low wage costs and the central location in Germany, an important logistics branch has established itself. After Leipzig, Erfurt is the city with the second largest trade fair in the eastern German states. With the main station, Erfurt is an important railway junction for passenger traffic. Erfurt is also known for its horticulture (egapark, German Horticultural Museum, Federal Garden Show 2021) and as a media center (headquarters of the children's channel KiKA, several radio stations and daily newspapers).

The city is located in the wide Gera valley in the hilly, agriculturally intensively used southern Thuringian basin.


Tourist Information (Touristeninformation), Benediktsplatz 1, ☏ +49 361 66400. M-Sa 10:00-18:00, Su holidays 10:00-15:00. They also offer guided city tours.