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Marburg is the district town of the central Hessian district of
Marburg-Biedenkopf and lies on the Lahn. For the traditional
delimitation of Marburg an der Drau, the city was officially Marburg
an der Lahn or Marburg a. d. Lahn and then called Marburg (Lahn)
until the end of 1976.
Marburg is a university city and with 77,129 inhabitants the eighth largest city in Hesse. The urban area extends on both sides of the Lahn west into the Gladenbacher Bergland and east over the Lahn Mountains to the edge of the Amöneburg basin.
Marburg has had city rights since the 13th century. Today it fulfills the function of a regional center in the Gießen administrative district (Central Hesse). As a larger medium-sized town, Marburg, like six other medium-sized towns in Hesse, has a special status compared to the other municipalities belonging to the district. The city therefore takes on the tasks of the district, so that in many respects it resembles an independent city. With the Philipps University, founded in 1527, Marburg has the oldest still existing Protestant university in the world, which still shapes the cityscape today with its buildings and student life.
The city owes the name Marburg to the fact that the border ("mar [c]") between the territories of the Landgraves of Thuringia and the Archbishops of Mainz used to run here. The outstanding sights in Marburg are the Elisabeth Church, the Old University, the Landgrave's Castle and the old town below, which is called “Upper Town” in Marburg.
Tourist Information Marburg, Pilgrimstein 26, ☏ +49 6421 - 99 12-0, ✉ email@example.com. Monday - Fryday: 13.00 - 17.00, Saturday: 14.00 - 18.00, Sunday 13.00 - 17.00
“The old city, which has always been famous for the last stay,
death and burial of the holy Landgravine Elisabeth of Hesse, lies
crooked, crooked and humped under an old castle, down the mountain.”
That was the verdict of Marburg professor Johann more than 200 years
ago Heinrich Jung-Stilling on the city on the Lahn and at the same
time praised that the city's surroundings were "beautiful and very
Over the centuries almost unchanged in its essential components, the backdrop of the houses in the old town rises above the Lahn valley with the Marburg Castle as the city crown and the Elisabeth Church. This old town gives Marburg its characteristic appearance and is Marburg's tourist attraction.
Prehistory and early history
The first signs of settlement around Marburg are documented for the Würme Ice Age around 50,000 years ago. Scrapers and other tools were found both on the Lahn Mountains and in the area between the Neuhöfe and the Dammühle, which could indicate settlement during this period. There is also plenty of evidence for the Neolithic Age. During this period of transition of the population from hunters and gatherers to sedentary people who worked the soil, the natural spatial conditions of the Amöneburg Basin with its fertile soils provided an attractive basis for this. Ceramic finds indicate settlement at this time. According to Demandt, cultures such as the Rössen culture or the Michelsberg culture collided here several times. Further cultural overlays can be traced on the basis of finds from the individual grave culture, cord ceramics and the bell beaker culture. The continued settlement of the Marburg area in the Bronze Age is documented, among other things, by numerous barrows from this period. Remains of a grave from the Younger Bronze Age can be seen in the New Botanical Garden. A crescent-shaped, reinforced structure on the nearby Schanzenkopf, the so-called Heimburg, can be attributed to the late Merovingian period and indicates a settlement around 700 AD.
City foundation and the Middle Ages
The first beginnings of the castle complex extend into the 9th / 10th. Century back. The first documentary mention of Marburg is for 1138/39; as a town in 1222. The residents probably moved to Marburg from the surrounding, now desolate, towns of Aldenzhausen, Lamersbach, Walpertshausen, Ibernhausen and Willmannsdorf. Due to the close proximity to the castle, Weidenhausen and Zahlbach became suburbs. Early on, a ring of castle mansions formed below the castle. Today Wolfsburg is enthroned on the site of the former Berlepschen Hof.
The city only gained great importance when Landgravine Elisabeth of Thuringia chose Marburg as the widow's residence in 1228. She had a hospital built in which she sacrificed herself in caring for the sick and infirm. Although Elisabeth died in 1231 at the age of 24, she is still considered the most important person who ever worked in Marburg. Many legends are told about them. She was canonized as early as 1235, and in the same year the Teutonic Order began to build the Elisabethkirche over her grave, the first purely Gothic church in Germany. Pilgrims from all over Europe came to the saint's grave and helped Marburg to flourish as a city. The pilgrims' cemetery was at the St. Michael's Chapel, which is called Little Michel.
Marburg as the cradle of Hesse
Between 1248 and 1604 Marburg was - with a few interruptions - the residence of the Landgraves of Hesse-Marburg. After the Landgraves of Thuringia died out in 1247, the Landgraviate should initially fall to the Wettins, but Sophie von Brabant, the daughter of Saint Elisabeth, had her son Heinrich proclaimed Landgrave in 1247 on the Mader Heide near Fritzlar and in 1248 the citizens of Marburg her and Heinrich pay homage.
In the following War of the Hessian-Thuringian Succession
(1247–1264) Sophie fought for the independence of Hesse for
Heinrich. He became the first ruler of the new Landgraviate of
Hesse, raised to hereditary imperial prince status by King Adolf von
Nassau in 1292 and the Landgraviate of Hesse was officially
recognized under imperial law. The efforts to gain recognition were
reflected in particular in the expansion of the city into a
residence and fortress with the expansion of the city wall to
include today's upper town. Around 1250 the suburb of Weidenhausen
was given a stone bridge over the Lahn, which made it better
connected to the city. Forty-eight years after construction work
began on the Elisabeth Church, it was consecrated on May 1, 1283.
The completion of the two towers meanwhile took another 50 years.
Since the city continued to grow and the citizens of Marburg wanted
a more representative building, they built the parish church of St.
Mary as the third church after the castle church and the Elisabeth
church to replace the Kilian's chapel. The Gothic choir was
consecrated in 1297. There were also monasteries such as the
Franciscan monastery at Barfüßertor and the Dominican monastery at
Loss of importance in favor of Kassel
When Heinrich I died in 1308, he divided the landgraviate into two parts, Upper Hesse and Lower Hesse. Lower Hesse with the Kassel residence and the cities of Homberg (Efze), Melsungen and Rotenburg an der Fulda got his son Johann, Otto I got the area around Marburg, Gießen, Grünberg and Alsfeld with Upper Hesse. Since Johann died in 1311, Otto I reunited the two principal principalities and now resided alternately in Kassel and Marburg, so that Marburg lost its importance accordingly. In 1319, almost the entire city fell victim to a great fire. Otto I led a long feud against the Archbishop of Mainz, which his son Heinrich and his nephew Hermann II of Hesse continued and which ended in the Star Wars. Shortly after Otto I's death, under Heinrich II. In 1330 the hall of the Landgrave's Palace, whose prince's hall is considered the largest Gothic secular room in Germany, was built. As a result of the war armies moving through, the plague was brought into Marburg in 1348/49. At the end of the dispute with the Sterner-Ritterbund, under the leadership of Count von Ziegenhain, the latter attacked the town and castle without success in 1373. After the death of Ludwig I, the son of Hermann II, the landgraviate was divided again between 1458 and 1500. Henry III. resided in Marburg from 1458 to 1483, Wilhelm III. 1483 to 1500. Since he died childless, the landgraviate was reunited under his cousin Wilhelm II.
Reformation, University and the Thirty Years War
Philipp I was born in Marburg in 1504. Since his father, Landgrave Wilhelm II, died in 1509, he took over the reign at the age of 13. As a follower of Protestant doctrine, he became a champion of the Reformation in the German Empire. In 1527 the Landgrave founded the second Protestant university after Liegnitz (1526), which has since been the most important economic factor for the city and has remained so to this day. The Philippinum grammar school and the Hessian Scholarship Institution, which is considered to be the oldest German student residence, also belonged to it.
In 1529, at the invitation of Philip the Magnanimous, the Marburg Religious Discussion took place at the Marburg Castle in order to determine a common approach after the renewed confirmation of the Edict of Worms. Among other things, it was about the different views of Luther and Zwingli on the role of the Lord's Supper (see Lord's Supper dispute).
After the death of Philip I on March 31, 1567, the Landgraviate of Hesse was divided among his four sons according to the ancient hereditary rules in the Hessian princely house: Wilhelm received the northern part now called Hessen-Kassel, Ludwig received Hessen-Marburg, Philipp Hessen-Rheinfels and Georg the southern part of the country, now called Hessen-Darmstadt. Since Philipp and Ludwig died childless in 1583 and 1604, these territories fell to the Kassel and Darmstadt lines. Marburg became part of the Landgraviate of Hessen-Kassel.
The four-part division of Hesse became a de facto division into
two parts after 1604. The dispute over the succession of
Hessen-Marburg and the denominational differences between the
Lutheran Darmstadt and the Reformed Kassel line subsequently led to
bitter opposition that lasted for decades.
Since the Thirty Years War
For decades, Darmstadt and Kassel fought against each other over the Marburg legacy, partly in the larger context of the Thirty Years War, in which Kassel fought with Sweden and Darmstadt on the side of the emperor. In 1623 the city and fortress of Marburg were temporarily taken by the troops of Tilly. Even the "main chord" of 1627, which awarded the Darmstadt legacy, could not end the dispute permanently. The Kassel Landgravine Amalie Elisabeth began the Hessian War in 1645 with the siege of Marburg, which she was able to end victoriously three years later. Upper Hesse was permanently divided, Marburg fell to Kassel, Gießen and the Hessian hinterland with Biedenkopf to Darmstadt. Marburg's importance subsequently declined, it only played a role as an administrative seat and military base.
From 1807, the castle's fortifications were razed during the Napoleonic Wars. Marburg later becomes the capital of the Werra department as part of the Kingdom of Westphalia under Jérôme Bonaparte. The dissolution of the Teutonic Order in Marburg, which until then had had an immense influence on the city, also took place at this time.
The Kassel-Marburg railway line was opened in 1850 and extended to Frankfurt am Main from 1852 (Main-Weser Railway). This gave Marburg a train station on the east bank of the Lahn, which strongly promoted urban development.
In the Electorate of Hesse, annexed by Prussia in 1866, Marburg was the provincial capital of Upper Hesse from 1821 to 1868.
After the annexation of Kurhessen by Prussia in 1866, the university experienced a boom, which resulted in rapid growth of the city. Within a few decades, the number of residents tripled and the number of students increased tenfold. Quite a few Marburg citizens earned extra income by renting rooms to students. It was said: The people of Marburg live on a student under the roof and two goats in the cellar. The residents of the area mocked the citizens of Marburg.
With the annexation by Prussia, the city prospered. First parts of the city emerged outside the medieval city walls, but all of them to the right of the Lahn. After 1900 the until then exclusively agricultural areas on the left of the Lahn were also taken over. First allotment gardens were laid out there, followed by settlement buildings. I.a. The Marburger Spar- und Bauverein, founded in 1907, acquired land from the economist Hoffmann.
The connection to the other side of the Lahn was made by the Weidenhäuser Bridge built in the 13th century, the Elisabeth Bridge built in 1723 (later also called the Bahnhofsbrücke) and the Schützenpfuhl Bridge built in 1892. In addition, four wooden bridges were built in Marburg between the stone bridges, which are three kilometers apart.
time of the nationalsocialism
In the course of a district reorganization, Marburg became a district in 1929 and at the same time enlarged to include the district of Ockershausen. In the Reichstag election in March 1933, the NSDAP won 57.6% (Reich average 43.9%) in the new city district, the DNVP 11.1%, the SPD 13.5%, the center 5.8%, the KPD 4.8% and the DVP 3.6%. Immediately the National Socialists rigorously enforced the coordination of all clubs and associations in the city as well as the demonstrative book burning on Kämpfrasen. Nevertheless, on June 17, 1934, Vice Chancellor Franz von Papen gave the last public speech at the university, known as the “Marburg Speech”, against the extensive claim to power of National Socialism. Two weeks later, the speechwriter Edgar Julius Jung and another political advisor and confidante of Papens, Herbert von Bose, were murdered in the course of the Röhmputsch.
On the night of November 9-10, 1938, the synagogue on Universitätsstrasse was burned down by members of the Marburger SA. On the same night 31 Jews were arrested by the SA, mistreated and taken to the Buchenwald concentration camp. After months, 30 of them were released. In December 1941 and May and September 1942, the last 267 Jews from Marburg and the surrounding area were deported to concentration camps. The deportation of the Sinti and Roma from Marburg took place on March 23, 1943.
Marburg survived the Second World War with relatively little
damage. Allied bombs destroyed around 4% of the city, including 281
apartments. The main railway station was deliberately attacked as an
important railway junction and badly damaged in a bombing raid on
February 22, 1945, which is why there are relatively many houses
from the post-war period in the station district. There are still
numerous bomb craters on the Lahn Mountains. The chemical institute
of the university, several clinic buildings, including the eye
clinic and the surgical clinic, as well as the indoor riding arena
on Ortenberg were destroyed. A few days earlier, US scouts had
dropped leaflets with the following imprint: We want to protect
Marburg and Bad Nauheim, we want to live with you later.
On March 28, 1945 around noon, the VII US Corps of the 3rd US Armored Division of the 1st US Army under Major General Maurice Rose Marburg. The city was surrendered without a fight by the acting mayor Walter Voss in refusal of the order of the General Command in Kassel. The VII Corps had advanced from the Remagen / Rhine bridgehead over the Westerwald in the main thrust of today's B 255, and had already reached the Dill on March 27th. Early in the morning on March 29, Maundy Thursday, the 3rd US Panzer Division, which had advanced to a line Dillenburg - Marburg the day before, swiveled on four separate routes, mostly on side roads, northwards in the direction of Paderborn, around the Ruhr basin (from the German Wehrmacht so called) to enclose quickly from the south. From Marburg, route four led north via Wetter, Frankenberg, Bad Wildungen and Fritzlar. The city was then occupied by Combat Command B of the 1st US Army.
In order to protect the mortal remains of Paul von Hindenburg and his wife Gertrud as well as the Prussian kings Friedrich II ("the great") and Friedrich Wilhelm I ("soldier king") from the advancing Red Army in January 1945, the coffins were supposed to be used by the Wehrmacht be stored in a Thuringian salt mine. The Americans, who conquered large parts of Thuringia, brought the famous dead to Marburg, where Hindenburg and his wife were finally buried in the north tower chapel of the Elisabethkirche. The coffin of Friedrich Wilhelm I is now in the Kaiser Friedrich Mausoleum in Potsdam; Friedrich II has been buried in a crypt at Sanssouci Palace since 1991.
Development after the Second World War
As a result of the expulsions, Marburg had to accept a large number of refugees. Only since then has there been a large number of small and medium-sized industrial companies in the city. Due to the rapid population increase after the war and the resulting housing shortage, the Richtsberg development area for around 9,000 residents as well as the construction of the town hall, the large sports field and several schools were decided in 1963 at the municipal political level. In 1972, the redevelopment of the old town began with the formal definition of the first section. Since then, the historical structure of the old town has been carefully renovated. This is clearly visible in the cityscape through the still growing number of restored half-timbered buildings. In 1972 the 750th anniversary was celebrated and at the same time the Hessentag 1972.
As part of the regional reform in Hesse, Marburg lost its district freedom on July 1, 1974. At the same time, the official name of the city of Marburg an der Lahn or Marburg a. d. Lahn officially changed to Marburg (Lahn). The city became the center of the new greater Marburg-Biedenkopf district and grew by more than fivefold in area through the incorporation of 13 surrounding communities, based on the population of the city by a third to 70,922. Since January 1st, 1977 the city is called Marburg. With the sale of a corner piece of land on Biegenstrasse (where at the beginning of the 20th century the building contractor and speculator Weißkoopf had built apartment buildings near the university clinic, where medical lecturers such as Ferdinand Sauerbruch had moved in), the extensive redesign began in 1991 Marburg-Mitte area. These plans sparked heated discussions about the Biegeneck and the old slaughterhouse since the 1980s; this led to squatting and police operations.
With over 3900 employees and more than 21,000 students, the
university is still the most important economic factor in the city.
The associated university hospital, which has since been privatized
and merged with its Giessen counterpart, employs over 4200 people in
In 1982 a special rule introduced by the government coalition of the CDU and SPD in 1982, which excluded the DKP from the opinion-forming process, caused a stir. After the so-called Marburg 15-vote quorum had caused protests and lawsuits, it was replaced a year later.
In 2009 the 6th International Congress for Psychotherapy and Pastoral Care took place in Marburg, which aroused public controversy and in the run-up to which the “Marburg Declaration” was issued.
On May 25, 2009, the city received the title “Place of Diversity” awarded by the federal government.
On September 30, 2015, Marburg was the 40th city to be awarded the honorary title of “Reformation City of Europe” by the Community of Evangelical Churches in Europe.