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Regensburg

 

Regensburg (from Latin Castra Regina; also Ratisbona and Ratispona) is the capital of the administrative district of Upper Palatinate with the seat of the government of the Upper Palatinate as well as the district administrator of the district of Regensburg and an independent city in Eastern Bavaria. Since July 13, 2006 the ensemble of the old town of Regensburg with Stadtamhof with its historical monuments has been a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

The city has 153,094 inhabitants (December 31, 2019) and is fourth among the major cities of the Free State of Bavaria after Munich, Nuremberg and Augsburg. Regensburg also ranks 55th among the largest cities in Germany.

It is the bishopric of the diocese of Regensburg, has three universities and is one of the three regional centers in Bavaria.

Regensburg is economically strongly influenced by the manufacturing industry (automobile construction, mechanical engineering, electrical engineering, microelectronics). Unemployment is below the Bavarian national average (January 2018: 2.7%; national average in November 2017: 2.9%). With 760 socially insured employees per 1000 inhabitants, Regensburg has a high job density.

 

History

Regensburg is one of the oldest cities in Germany and is located at the northernmost point of the Danube and at the mouths of the Naab and Regen. This exposed point was inhabited since the Stone Age. The latest excavations have opened Celtic graves from around 400 BC.

In written records, Regensburg appeared for the first time as a Roman cohort fort around 90 AD. In 179 AD the Roman legionary fort Castra Regina was built here, the main military base of the Roman province of Raetia. Around AD 400 the camp was slowly abandoned.

From around 500, Regensburg was the seat of the Bavarian dukes and was therefore called the first Bavarian “capital”. The diocese of Regensburg was founded in 739 by Saint Boniface, making it one of the oldest on German soil.

In the 9th century Regensburg was one of the most important cities in the East Franconian empire of the Carolingians. Due to long-distance trade as far as Paris, Kiev and Venice, Regensburg had its economic boom in the 12th and 13th centuries and was one of the most populous and prosperous cities. The construction of the Stone Bridge (around 1135-1146) is a sign of the prosperity of that time. In 1245 Emperor Friedrich II elevated Regensburg to the status of a Free Imperial City, which it remained until 1803.

From 1663 to 1803 the Reichstag met in Regensburg, as the territorial representation of the German states, a forerunner of today's Bundesrat. Since 1748 the princes of Thurn and Taxis resided as principal commissioners (representatives of the emperor at the Reichstag) in Regensburg.

By the Reichsdeputationshauptschluss of 1803 Regensburg became an electorate under the Imperial Chancellor Karl Theodor von Dalberg. After being conquered by Napoleon, Regensburg became part of Bavaria in 1810. Regensburg fell considerably behind in its political and economic importance. Industrialization thus largely bypassed Regensburg, but the medieval old town was largely preserved and the heavy bombing in World War II was mainly directed at the Messerschmitt aircraft factory in the west of the city, the railway facilities and the port. The destruction in the old town was less than 10%.

 

Regensburg only began to flourish again after the Second World War. The establishment of the university of applied sciences, the fourth Bavarian state university and the settlement of Siemens, Infineon Technologies, Continental, Siemens VDO and BMW made a significant contribution to this.

In 2004 Regensburg exceeded the population limit of 150,000, including second homes. The difference to the 129,000 residents with main residence is explained by the approximately 25,000 students who partly live here but have their main residence elsewhere.

Since 2005 Regensburg has also been the pope city, because Joseph Ratzinger spent a long time in Regensburg during his academic career, from 1969 he taught dogmatics and the history of dogma at the University of Regensburg. The so-called Papal House in Pentling is definitely worth a detour. In 2006, the year after his election, Pope Benedict XVI visited Regensburg as one of the first cities on his journey across Bavaria. He spent four days in the city that he himself describes as his home: “I'm really at home in Regensburg,” he said at the time. Among other things, the pontiff held a Holy Mass on the Islinger Feld, where the 16 m high cross built especially for this purpose still reminds of his visit.