Germany off the beaten track

Almost 1300 years of heritage make Erfurt a picture book example of German history. © Bjoern Rudek

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History

On the track of history

It 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.

/assetimage_2362_240w163.jpgErfurt'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.

/assetimage_2433_240w181.jpgFrom 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.



Discover Erfurt

See the best of Erfurt

Inspiration, discoveries, relaxation, family fun: whatever your mood and whoever you´re with, an escape to the beautiful and historic places makes a perfect day out.

Erfurt: city tour on your own

Discover Erfurt on your own and experience the city´s history and sights on foot by yourself. Select themes and routes according to the time on your hands and to your interests.

The Tourist Information provides you with detailed information on tours and sights, in addition a mobile audio guide is offered.

Further information

Martin Luther

He stayed for 10 years in Erfurt - as a student at the Erfurt University and as a monk at the Augustinian Monastery, which today is an international reformation center and guesthouse.