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Osterwieck is a town in the Harz district in Saxony-Anhalt (Germany). The city lies on the southern slope of the Großer Fallstein and on the right bank of the Ilse.
According to the widely handed down official legend, the place
was first mentioned when Charlemagne crossed the Oker in his
campaigns against the pagan Saxons in 780 and founded a church “in
the place Saligenstede”. This first church is said to have been
dedicated to St. Stephen and to have become the seat of a mission
center, of which Hildegrim was supposedly appointed director.
Hildegrim is attested as a deacon for 796 and only became bishop of
Chalons in 803. The mission center is said to have moved from
Seligenstadt to Halberstadt around 804.
According to recent research, this founding myth is based on the Gesta episcoporum Halberstadensium, the level "H" of which was written during the last years of Bishop Hildeward's episcopate. A clergyman close to Hildeward is assumed to be the author, although there are indications that the bishop himself may have had a share in the chronicles. The text analysis shows that the presentation of the 10th century is based on the orally transmitted memories of the bishops, while there were no traditions for the 8th and 9th centuries and the author embellished the chronicle to exaggerate the importance of the Diocese of Halberstadt .
In 974, Emperor Otto II gave the diocese "coins and customs in Seligenstadt". The certificate of April 1, 974 became the basis for the 1000th anniversary celebration in 1974. Otto II also granted the town market and traffic rights (mercatus), and it also became the oldest mint in the Halberstadt diocese. Freedom from tariffs and the right to collect tariffs were other significant privileges. The place was called Ostrewic, then called "common Asterwiek". The new name appears in writing for the first time in 1073 in a letter from Archbishop Liemar von Bremen to Bishops Hezilo von Hildesheim and Burchard II von Halberstadt. It is about his feud with the Bishop of Verden and Count Hermann von Lüneburg.
Allegedly the city was almost completely burned down in 1511, but there is no written evidence of this. In the town book, which has been kept since 1353, the Osterwieck town clerk recorded a great flood of water for 1495, but there is no report of a devastating fire of 1511. It can be assumed that there were individual fires, but that the city never completely burned down. Many of the houses built in the following time survived the subsequent conflagrations, most recently in 1844, when around 30 houses were destroyed. The core of the city center was renovated in the 1970s: 100 houses were listed, and the entire city with its 400 half-timbered houses is now protected. In addition to the twin town of Hornburg, which is only ten kilometers away, the municipality with almost 4,000 inhabitants is one of the most beautiful half-timbered towns in Germany today. The city has an almost completely closed downtown ensemble of all Lower Saxon half-timbered styles from 500 years: the Lower Saxon style offers braided ribbons and ship throats, at the time of the Renaissance, in addition to Latin verses, inextricable magic knots, runes and trees of life were the fashion. The fact that the common Lower Saxon half-timbered tradition connects, shows the official inclusion of Osterwieck and Wernigerode in the German half-timbered street, the course of which already included such important places as Celle, Quedlinburg and Goslar.
In the 18th and 19th centuries, the glove industry in Osterwieck played a major role. After the reunification, most of the companies closed their doors, only the paint factory is still in operation. Great hope is now associated with tourism.
On January 1, 2010, the seven member communities of the Osterwieck-Fallstein administrative community, the communities of Aue-Fallstein, Berßel, Bühne, Lüttgenrode, Rhoden, Schauen, Wülperode and the city of Osterwieck merged to form the new city of Osterwieck. The earlier municipalities - the localities of this municipality near Aue-Fallstein - became the localities of Osterwieck. The area of the city increased from 22.05 km² to 212.67 km², the population from 3,735 to 12,348 (as of December 31, 2008).