Eisenach — History


Eisenach is a town in Thuringia, Germany. It is situated between the northern foothills of the Thuringian Forest and the Hainich National Park. Its population in 2006 was 43,626.

The history of Eisenach is linked with the Wartburg Castle, which was built according to legend in 1067. There were at least three settlements below the castle, that merged to a common city in the second half of the 12th century. This town, Eisenach, was first mentioned in 1180.

Several now legendary events took place on the Wartburg in the following decades, best known is the «Singers’ Contest on the Wartburg» (Sängerkrieg, which is part of the Tannhäuser legend).

After the Thuringian War of Succession (1247–1264) Eisenach became subject to the Wettin dynasty of Meißen. Later several mini states were established in what is now Thuringia, and Eisenach became a principality on its own in 1521. In 1809 Eisenach became part of the duchy of Saxe-Weimar-Eisenach.

Eisenach is famous as the place where Martin Luther lived as a child, although he was not born there, and later was protected by Frederick the Wise after having been pursued for his religious views. It was while staying at Wartburg Castle that he translated the New Testament into German. It is also notable as the birthplace of Johann Sebastian Bach.

The Social Democratic Party of Germany was founded in 1869 in Eisenach.

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