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St. Wendel is the district town of the district of the same name in the northeast of Saarland. It is located around 36 km northeast of the state capital Saarbrücken and is named after the holy Wendelin.
St. Wendel is located on the Blies at the foot or west of the Bosenberg at an altitude of 286 m above sea level. NN. (Fruit market). The highest point is the Bosenberg at 485 m, the deepest point at 260 m is the point where the Blies leaves the city for Ottweiler.
St. Wendel includes 16 districts, these are Bliesen, Bubach, Dörrenbach, Hoof, Leitersweiler, Marth, Niederkirchen, Niederlinxweiler, Oberlinxweiler, Osterbrücken, Remmesweiler, Saal, Urweiler, Werschweiler, Winterbach and the core town of St. Wendel.
The annual precipitation is 941 mm and is thus in the upper fifth of the values recorded by the measuring points of the German Weather Service. Over 81% indicate lower values. The driest month is April; it rains most in December. In the wettest month, around 1.6 times more rain falls than in the driest month. The seasonal fluctuations in precipitation are in the middle third. In 53% of all locations, the monthly precipitation fluctuates less.
Coat of arms
The city coat of arms provides key points about the city's history. The shield is divided into four fields by a cross; in each there is a lily. The origin of the cross of the former electoral sovereignty is very likely, as is the borrowing of the lilies from the Scottish coat of arms. This was supposed to emphasize the origins of the city saint, Wendelin, as well as his royal descent. In 1840 the colors of the coat of arms were not known. The following blazon has been in effect since 1907: In blue, golden cross, in each of the four corners a silver lily.
From the beginning to the middle of the 19th century
The center of the town of St. Wendel was probably formed by the court of a landlord from the Merovingian era (late 6th century) named Baso. This is how the place name Basonevillare, d. H. Baso estate. This name would probably have evolved into Bosenweiler in our time - had it not been for the veneration of Wendalinus. Baso's farm was on the shoulder of the Bosenberg, between the Todbach and the Bosenbach. In the middle of the 7th century, the Bishop of Verdun, Paulus, bought Basonevillare. He also inherited the Tholey Foundation (at that time still without a monastery) from a Frankish nobleman, Adalgisil, nicknamed Grimo. In this way the area of St. Wendel came to Verdun for centuries. Around 600 a man probably lived here who was greatly revered by the population after his death. This gave rise to the cult of St. Wendelin (lat. Wendalinus). As a result of this veneration, an extensive pilgrimage developed in the centuries after his death, which ultimately led to the old settlement name Basonevillare being replaced by St. Wendel in the 11th and 12th centuries.
The Counts of Blieskastel, whose possessions stretched from northern Lorraine on both sides of the Blies across the Hunsrück to Bernkastel on the Moselle, today's Bernkastel-Kues, laid in the Blies lowlands (today the area of the underground car park in Mott) possibly a moated castle that served to protect the ambitious place of pilgrimage. This water castle typically consisted of a heaped mound of earth with a residential tower, surrounded by a palisade fence and a moat. Such a plant was called a moth. The presence of the field name "Mott" in St. Wendel leads to conclusions about this early castle complex; Otherwise there is no evidence or evidence for this.
In the 9th or early 10th century a church was built on the site of today's basilica, in which the relic "Saint Wendalinus" is kept today. Several markets arose parallel to the pilgrimage, including Wendelsmarkt, the central market in the entire area for cattle, clothing and everyday objects. Castle, courtyard and church did not gradually grow together until the 14th century.
In 1326/28 the Elector and Archbishop of Trier Baldwin of Luxembourg acquired the castle and village of St. Wendel. With the acquisition of St. Wendels by Baldwin, the settlement gradually developed into a medieval town. Jakob (Jacomin) von Montclair (Monkler) was the first electorate bailiff (burgrave) of the St. Wendel office. As a representative of the elector, he had a new castle built after 1328. It is believed that at Archbishop Balduin's behest, construction of the new pilgrimage church began. At the Reichstag in Nuremberg in 1332, Baldwin received from Emperor Ludwig the Bavarian the so-called collecting privilege for 29 cities, villages, castles and chapels in his area, which he was able to equip with the rights contained in the Frankfurt city charter. The St. Wendel historian Max Müller interpreted this document as a "town charter for St. Wendel" in his standard work on the history of St. Wendel (up to the First World War) (this misinterpretation continues to have an effect, although it was already considered false by experts in Müller's time recognized). St. Wendel became a town in the 14th century, but no formal granting of town charter is known. Balduin's successor, Archbishop Werner von Falkenstein, had a 650 meter long wall built around the city in 1388; At that time, access to the city center was formed by a single gate (today upper Balduinstrasse at the level of the Bernhard Salon). At that time around 500 people lived in St. Wendel.
Today's fruit market has always been a marketplace; In 1440 it
received an increase when the archbishop of Trier at the time gave
the place, called “Kaff”, to the parish with the stipulation that a
large department store be built there; this later became the first
town hall. The middle class (mostly craftsmen and traders) settled
in the houses around the parish church. Guilds were formed and the
lay judges gave them a say in the city administration. In 1455 the
St. Wendeler Hospital was established as a private foundation; In
1460, the parish church was completed under the pastor Nikolaus von
Cues. In the middle of the 15th century the population had risen to
In 1512, Emperor Maximilian visited the city of St. Wendel during his stay at the Trier Reichstag. In September 1522, the city experienced the only siege in its history by the troops of Franz von Sickingen. After two days of continuous bombardment on the wall (which held up) and three unsuccessful storms by Sickingen's troops, the Kurtrier garrison (60 riders) capitulated. While Franz moved on to Trier, his son Johann stayed in the city. The siege of Trier had to be broken off on September 14th, and parts of the army withdrew via St. Wendel. Thereupon two companies of Trier infantry and a pennon of horsemen appeared in front of the city and asked for the surrender. The following night, Johann von Sickingen fled through “a breach in the city wall”. This point, which could never be precisely located, is still called “Sickinger Hole” today (this hole probably didn't even exist in the wall, as the wall had not collapsed anywhere). An inscription and a walled-in cannonball on a buttress on the south side of the Wendalinus basilica commemorate the siege, but it was only installed there in 1922.
In 1514 and 1589 large parts of the city were burned to rubble and ashes. Almost 50 years later billeting and contributions (contributions to the maintenance of occupation troops) brought the city to the brink of ruin during the Thirty Years' War (1618-1648).
On February 2, 1677, all houses were burned down by French troops under General Comte de Bissy, Turenne's successor, with a few exceptions (Candlemas 1677). The city wall was razed. The old town hall and the electoral castle were also devastated.
During the War of the Spanish Succession (1701–1714), the city was again occupied and looted. For a long time, trade and industry could not recover. The clean-up work could not begin until 1714.
In the War of the Polish Succession (1733–1736), the War of the Austrian Succession (1741–1748) and the Seven Years War (1756–1763), troops marched through St. Wendel, and contributions had to be made.
The urban development of the city had long been characterized by a great contrast between the very high residential density in the walled area of the old town and the low residential density outside. The city wall disappeared towards the end of the century and the city began to expand a little. The trades, especially the wool and leather industries, revived. There were large companies with over 100 looms. Merchants from Saarbrücken and Strasbourg met their need for good cloths here, while the tanneries brought their leather products to the Frankfurt fair. A wealthy upper class soon formed, and numerous splendid residential and farm buildings were built. The Wendelsdom was provided with a three-tiered baroque dome in 1753. In addition, numerous urban development measures took place (for example the construction of roads, development of the castle grounds, relocation of the cemetery from the basilica in front of the upper gate of the city).
During the Revolutionary Wars, St. Wendel suffered from looting and billeting by troops on both sides from 1792 onwards. The introduction of the freedom of trade abolished the old guild regulations, whereby many masters became unemployed, as there were no more price fixings and botchers worked under price. From 1798 the canton St. Wendel belonged to the arrondissement Saarbrücken in the Saar department. Gradually some prosperity came back into the slowly but steadily expanding city. The lower city gate in Kelsweilerstraße was demolished (1774) and a bridge over the Todtbach (1809) and a bridge over the Blies built in what is now Bahnhofstraße (1820); the Bahnhofstrasse in an early form was laid out. On January 9, 1814, Field Marshal von Blücher proclaimed the resumption of free trade between the Saardepartement and the area on the right bank of the Rhine in St. Wendel.
In 1816 Duke Ernst I of Saxe-Coburg-Saalfeld was assigned the
cantons of St. Wendel, Grumbach and Baumholder (together around
20,000 inhabitants) for his services in the Wars of Liberation
(against Napoleon). From 1819 he named this area the Principality of
Lichtenberg, the boundaries of which are still largely unchanged
today in those of the Evangelical Church District of St. Wendel. The
ducal government was successful in financial and economic policy (on
behalf of the duke, who was always short of money, they tried to
squeeze the population to the limit, but in return they failed to
invest), but they tried to take over the judiciary subject to state
control by appointing judges and administrative officials in
personal union. The confidence of the Lichtenbergers in an
independent judiciary dwindled. After the formation of a district
administrator, the population hoped to have a say in legislation,
tax policy, etc., but Duke Ernst made decisions on his own in many
cases, in which, for example, he no longer convened the district
administrator. The population became increasingly dissatisfied,
which led to unrest. In the course of the liberal movement after the
Hambach Festival in 1832, the disputes escalated. The mini-revolts
of the population were put down with the help of Prussian troops
from Saarlouis. In 1834 the Duke sold the land to the Kingdom of
Prussia. St. Wendel became a district town in the Trier
administrative district, which was part of the Rhine province.
The Prussian state made St. Wendel a garrison location. By the end of the 19th century, many citizens from the St. Wendel region emigrated to America.
1850 to 1918
In the middle of the 19th century the town of St. Wendel and the nearby towns of Alsfassen and Breiten gradually grew together. Today's Bahnhofstrasse, which led to Niederweiler (in the area around today's train station), was built on, as did Brühlstrasse and Kelsweilerstrasse, which led to Breiten and Alsfassen. In 1859 St. Wendel, Alsfassen and Breiten were merged to form the town of St. Wendel. Further structural measures: street lighting, relocation of the hospital to today's Hospitalstrasse (1818), second relocation of the cemetery to the “Sprietacht” district in Werschweilerstrasse (1814), construction of the Protestant church (1841). The economic situation in St. Wendel only changed in 1860 with the opening of the Rhine-Nahe Railway between Bingen and Saarbrücken, from which the city benefited as a train station and through the construction of the railway workshop. At that time a Jewish community emerged again in St. Wendel. In 1868, St. Wendel became the seat of a Landwehr district command, an institution that not only had considerable military importance, but also significantly increased the central local importance of the city and the district office. Out of gratitude, the city awarded the commanding General Eberhard Herwarth von Bittenfeld, who had campaigned for the St. Wendel location, honorary citizenship a year later.
In 1898 the Steyler Mission Society (religious name: Societas Verbi Divini, SVD) founded in the Netherlands in 1875 began to establish a branch in St. Wendel; she bought the 320 hectare "Langenfelderhof" (also called "Cettos Hof") for 350,000 Reichsmarks and renamed it "Wendelinushof". The previous owner was the then Rhine Province. The farm, whose origins go back to the 15th century, was, in addition to self-sufficiency, a training center for technical and agricultural professions.
In several construction phases from 1901 to 1914 the mission house with living quarters and school wings were built for training as a friar and religious priest. In 1912 the mission house church was completed. More than 500 priests and brothers were trained here until it was dissolved and expropriated by the Nazis. From 1941 to 1945 the mission house was a Napola, an elite boarding school for the next generation of National Socialist leaders.
At the turn of the century, in response to the change in the
economic and social structure, extensive urban expansion began. As a
result, the residential building area more than doubled between 1910
and 1937. During the Nazi era, a large barracks complex was built on
the western outskirts of the city on both sides of the arterial road
to Winterbach in 1937/38; the owners of the required land were more
or less expropriated.
1918 until the end of the Second World War
After the Versailles Treaty came into force in 1920, the city of St. Wendel and the south-western part of the St. Wendel district remained in the Saar area and thus under the administration of the League of Nations. As a result, after the National Socialists came to power in 1933 in the German Reich, unlike in the Reich territory, opposition members and Jewish fellow citizens were initially spared from being attacked by National Socialist persecution. The influence of the National Socialist ideology, however, became more and more massive even before the Saar referendum on January 13, 1935 and the subsequent annexation to the German Reich. On May 14, 1933, the TV St. Wendel voluntarily joined the German gymnastics association (TD), which resulted in the exclusion of all Jewish members. On October 13, 1934, the city council decided to rename Bahnhofstrasse to Adolf-Hitler-Strasse and the Schlossplatz to Adolf-Hitler-Platz.
After the annexation to the German Reich in 1935, most of St. Wendel's 136 Jewish citizens fled abroad for fear of persecution. Protected by the "Roman Agreement" valid in the former Saar area, which guaranteed legal emigration under protection of property, almost all St. Wendel Jews sold their property (mostly significantly below their value) and left Germany. The St. Wendel Synagogue, newly built in 1902, was destroyed on the Night of the Crystal in 1938, and around 50 Jewish citizens of St. Wendel were murdered as part of the Nazi persecution.
On March 19, 1945 American troops of the 3rd US Army under George S. Patton (10th Armored Division and 80th Infantry Division) occupied the city and set up a provisional military administration under Captain Stanley R. Jacobs. On July 10, 1945, the city was taken over by French troops.
After the Second World War, with the economic miracle, there was another strong expansion in residential development. But the return to the Federal Republic of St. Wendel initially brought a negative development, as in 1960 a large employer had to close with the traditional tobacco factory Marschall. A French garrison was housed in the barracks complex on Tholeyer Strasse from 1951 to July 1999.
Despite all the wars, there was still a lot of historical building stock in the town center of St. Wendel in the 1960s. However, under the post-war mayors Franz Josef Gräff and Jakob Feller, a lack of historical awareness and economically oriented renovation destroyed numerous buildings by the early 1980s. The mayors were known as advocates of the philosophy of area renovation as part of urban development, which was widespread at the time. During her tenure, a number of historically and town-planning important buildings in the St. Wendel town center were demolished in order to be replaced by modern functional buildings. As a result, the originally very well-preserved cityscape in the core area was considerably damaged. Traces of the medieval city can only be seen near the Wendalinus basilica.
The central square of the city, Schlossplatz, was particularly affected by the renovation. There, under Mayor Klaus Bouillon, the entire old house front was torn down on the north side and replaced by historicizing, modern buildings, which only partially reproduce the original house front. This caused a considerable loss of authenticity in the square.
St. Wendel has around 27,000 inhabitants today due to the territorial reform of 1974, when several villages in the surrounding area were moved to the urban area.
Up until the end of the 18th century, the present-day towns in the city belonged to different rulers: the Princes of Trier, Nassau-Saarbrücken, Pfalz-Zweibrücken; the former Nassau and Palatinate towns are still predominantly evangelical. From 1816 to 1834 St. Wendel belonged to the Principality of Lichtenberg, which was subordinate to the Duchy of Saxony-Coburg, and then to Prussia, in whose Rhine province the area was incorporated as the district of St. Wendel. The Bavarian-Palatinate towns of Osterbrücken, Hoof, Niederkirchen, Marth, Saal and Bubach (Kusel district) have belonged to the St. Wendel district since 1947 and became part of the town of St. Wendel in 1974 with the municipal reorganization.
In the course of the conversion of the barracks site, the
building complexes of the former barracks were structurally changed
considerably. The southern part of the barracks was used to expand
the adjacent industrial area. A golf course belonging to the network
of the Weiland golf courses was laid out on the adjacent practice
On December 1, 2000, the name Sankt Wendel was officially changed to St. Wendel.
While the upper Bliestal, including the main town of St. Wendel, is predominantly Catholic (until 1784, only Catholics were allowed to settle in the Electoral Trier office of St. Wendel), the rest of the Bliestal has roughly equal Protestant and Catholic proportions. The Ostertal is predominantly evangelical. In the area of the city center there are the two Catholic parishes of St. Wendelin and St. Anna (which will be merged with other Catholic parishes in the surrounding areas in 2011 to form a parish community) and the Protestant parish. Jews can be traced back to St. Wendel as early as the 14th century. After they were expelled by the Archbishop of Trier, Otto von Ziegenhain (1418–1430), it was not until 1861 (Samuel Daniel) that Jews settled here again. The Jewish community existed until the Nazi regime. Their synagogue (built in 1902) was on Kelsweilerstrasse; it was set on fire in 1938 and finally demolished in 1943. The town's old Jewish cemetery is located on the road to Baltersweiler at the Elsenbach (Urweiler) junction - already under Urweiler ban.
There is a chapel of the New Apostolic Church in Gregor-Wolf-Straße.