On the track of historyIt was not far from the "Erphesfurt" - a ford through the river Erphe - as it was called in the Middle Ages, that the missionary bishop Boniface founded a bishopric in 742. This is the first time that the name "Erfurt" appears on record.
Erfurt's cityscape is dominated by the Dom St. Marien (St. Mary's Cathedral) and the Severikirche (St Severus Church), the Krämerbrücke (Merchants' Bridge), with houses built on it in which people still reside. The 120-meter long bridge is the longest of its kind in Europe. The University of Erfurt is more than 600 years old.
Many richly decorated traditional Renaissance residences as well as other fascinating historical buildings show visitors that Erfurt became a center of culture and prosperity in those days. In the 17th Century, commercial gardening prepared the way for Erfurt's blossoming economy and renewed prosperity. And until today Erfurt as the Blumenstadt (City of Flowers) is known not only in Germany but also throughout Europe.
The young Martin Luther spent 10 years of his life in Erfurt. As the economic, intellectual, cultural and political center of Thuringia, Erfurt attracted other important persons such as Goethe, Schiller, Bach, Humboldt, Tsar Alexander and Napoleon Bonaparte during its varied history.
From ancient times this settlement had been at the crossroads of important trade and military roads; the via regia running from West to East (from Paris to Novgorod) and the Nuremberg Geleitstrasse from North to the South, connecting Northern Germany with Italy. In that time Erfurt developed into a powerful commercial and university town. In the Middle Ages, the woad plant (Latin: Isatis tinctoria), cultivated for its blue dye, was the source of Erfurt's development and prosperity.
In 1991, Erfurt became capital of the State of Thuringia in reunited Germany.