Thuringia Erfurt

Erfurt is the capital of the State of Thuringia, which was formed after the reunification of Germany. With a population of 217,000, Erfurt is the city of flowers.

Founded in the eighth century, in 742, St. Boniface founded the bishopric of "Erphesfurt". Erfurt became rich through trade of woad, a plant use to produce blue dye. In the fourteenth century Erfurt was the commercial powerhouse of Thuringia and also the largest city in Germany, with about 18,000 inhabitants. Well into the 17th Century Erfurt developed into one of Germany's largest and most prosperous cities. The university was founded in 1392 and became one of the most prominent centers of higher learning in Germany. Erfurt was the third university established in Germany, preceded by Heidelberg and Cologne. The old part of the city is an architectural museum, with many Patrician houses, churches and monasteries, St. Severin's church and the medieval "Kramerbrucke", or tradesmen's bridge lined on both sides by old houses. The city is graced with an ensemble of delicately restored Renaissance and half-timbered homes which endow it with one of the best preserved Middle Age town centers in the country. The baroque citadel of Petersberg is the only city fortress of its kind in Central Europe.

The most impressive secular structure from this age is the Krämerbrücke (Merchant Bridge). It is the longest house and shop lined bridge in Europe. Completed in stone 1325, the bridge is part of a medieval Trade Route which stretched from France via Erfurt to Russia. Trade (staple market), manufacture and marketing of woad (Isatis tinctoria) made Erfurt a rich town. The woad plant, which was used for producing blue pigment, was desired in whole Europe. It was grown in rural districts around Erfurt and because of the mild climate there usually was an abundant harvest.

Erfurt University was refounded in 1994.