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Guide to Bach Tour
Erfurt
[V] [F]

Contents

Description | History
J.S. Bach: Connection | Events in Life History | Performance Dates of Vocal Works | Festivals & Cantata Series
Features of Interest | Information & Links | City Guide
Photos: Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 | Maps

Description

Erfurt is the capital city of Thuringia and is the main city nearest to the geographical centre of Germany, located 100 km South-West of Leipzig, 150 km North of Nürnberg and 180 km South-East Hannover. Erfurt Airport can be reached by plane via Munich. It lies in the southern part of the Thuringian Basin, within the wide valley of Gera River, a tributary of the Unstrut. To the south, the city is surrounded by the hilly forest of Steigerwald.

Country: Germany | State: Thuringia | District: Urban district | Area: 269.17 km˛ | Population: 202,900 (December 2007)

History

Erfurt was first mentioned in 742 under the name of "Erphesfurt". It was an important trading town during the Middle Ages near a ford across the Gera river. Together with the other five Thuringian woad-towns of Gotha, Tennstedt, Arnstadt and Langensalza it was the centre of the German woad trade.

In 1349, during the wave of pogroms which followed the Black Death across Europe, the Jews of Erfurt were rounded up, with more than 100 killed and the rest driven from the city. Recently, the medieval synagogue has been discovered beneath newer buildings, and is being restored (completion expected 2009). In 1392, the University of Erfurt, where Martin Luther was matriculated, was founded. One of the leading German universities for many centuries, it fell upon hard times in the early 19th Century, and was forced to close in 1816. It was refounded in 1994 by the Thuringian state parliament and has regained its status as a leading German academic and research institution.

In 1664, the city and surrounding area were brought under the dominion of the Electorate of Mainz. Erfurt became part of the Kingdom of Prussia in 1802, part of the First French Empire in 1806 as Principality of Erfurt, and was returned to Prussia in 1815 after the Napoleonic Wars. Although enclosed by Thuringian territory in the west, south and east, the city remained part of the Prussian Province of Saxony until 1944. The city was the site of the failed Erfurt Union of German states in 1850.

Bombed as a target of the Oil Campaign of World War II, Erfurt suffered only limited damage and was captured on April 12, 1945, by units of Patton's Third United States Army. On July 3, American troops left the city and the city became part of the Soviet Zone of Occupation and East Germany. After German reunification, Erfurt became the capital of the re-established state of Thuringia.

Chronicle of Events

742
c754
805
c1000
1168
1331
1392
1432- 1446
1458
1472

The town is first mentioned as a bishopric is founded by St. Boniface
Erfurt bishopric becomes part of the bishopric of Mainz
Charlemagne makes Erfurt a commercial centre on the border of his realm and grants it staple privilege
Erfurt is given as a royal gift to the archbishopric of Mainz
The city is enclosed by a first ring of double walls with a ward
Emperor Louis awards Erfurt right to hold trade fairs
City council opens university
Construction of outer city wall
Jews are expelled from city, right to take residence is not granted until 1810
A fire destroys more than half the houses

1501-1505
1505-1511
1509/1510
1521-1525

Martin Luther is a student in Erfurt
M. Luther lives as a monk at the Augustinian hermits monastery
Year of unrest with public anger over city debts
M. Luther's Reformation begins to find support in Erfurt

1631-1649



1685

Swedish occupation with several visits by Swedish King Gustav II Adolf
Archbishop Johann Philipp von Schonborn of Mainz conquers Erfurt, which is outlawed in the
emperor's name at the time; resulting in Erfurt losing its independence, its Petersberg hill being
made a citadel, and government being in the hands of governors from Mainz
Beginnings of market gardening

1802
1806-1813
1808
1847
1850
1873
1891

Erfurt passes to Prussia
French occupation
The Congress of Erfurt, Napoleon splitting up Europe
Erfurt is linked to the railways
Erfurt Union Parliament conference takes place at the Augustinian church
Removal of fortification after German Empire is formed
Social Democratic Party Erfurt Congress

1906
1925
1938
1945
1970
1991
1994

Erfurt population reaches 100,000
Fist air-strip opens at Am Roten Berg
Pogrom night in which synagogue is destroyed and Jewish citizens are deported
Occupation first by American, then by Soviet troops
Federal Chancellor Willi Brandt and GDR Chief Minister Willi Stoph hold meeting at "Erfurter Hor" hotel
Erfurt becomes capital of the state of Thuringia in reunited Germany
Erfurt University is founded again

Notable Musicians

Johann Rudolf Ahle (1625-1673), composer, organist, writer on music and poet
Caspar von Stieler (1632-1707), composer, poet and playwright
Johann Pachelbel (1653-1706), composer; organist of the Predigerkirche in Erfurt in 1678-1689
Johann Heinrich Buttstett (1666-1727), composer
Andreas Armsdorff (1670-1699), composer and organist
Johann Gottfried Walther (1684-1748), music theorist, organist, composer, and lexicographer of the Baroque era
Memberrs of the Bach Family

 

Bach Connection

Erfurt can look back on a long family tradition of the Bachs. Three of Hans Bach's [2] (1550-1626) sons, the "Music Player of Wechmar", founded the tradition as early as the 17th century: Johann Bach [4] (1604-1673), Christoph Bach [5] (1613-1661) and Heinrich Bach [6] (1615-1692) were town pipers and council musicians and Johann Bach was organist at the same time at the Prediger Church. His son Johann Aegidius Bach [8] (1645-1713) later had the office in the Kaufmann Church and the Church of St. Michael. Heinrich Bach then went to Arnstadt, and Christoph Bach, J.S. Bach's grandfather had three sons in Erfurt: Georg Christoph Bach [10] (1642-1697), Johann Christoph Bach [12] (1645-1693) and Johann Ambrosius Bach [11] (1645-1695), the father of J.S. Bach. He married Elisabeth Lämmerhirt in 1668 in the Kaufmann Church. She was related to the mother of the Weimar organist Johann Gottfried Walther, who was later befriended with Bach.

J.S. Bach himself was here once in 1716 to test the organ in the Augustiner Church and probably more often to visit his relatives. For in Erfurt too, the traditional family get-togethers took place. However, a longer stay of J.S. Bach here is not known.

It was not only the musicians the Bach family who worked here. Johann Georg Ahle, whose office as organist at the Blasius Church in Mühlhausen It was that Bach took over, was Kantor for a time at the Andreas Church and Johann Pachelbel was organist at the Prediger Church. J.S. Bach's brother Johann Christoph Bach [22] (1671-1721) was one of his pupils and so indirectly he may have influenced the young J.S. Bach.

How rich the music culture must have been in the whole of Thuringia and particulary in Erfurt can be documented in a quote from Michael Altenburg, Kantor, organist and priest at the Andreas Church and himself writer of numerous church compositions: "There is hardly any small village in Thuringia, where music, both vocal and instrumental, is not well cultivated, excellent and sensitive, and which Is not prospering at those places". Even smaller villages afforded themselves their own church choirs, church musicians and instrumental groups when arranging their church services.

The typical Thuringlan tradition came about of the so-called adjutants. The village of Udestedt, where J.S. Bach's eldest nephew Tobias Friedrich Bach [40] (1695-1758) was cantor from 1721 to 1768, still owns valuable old sheet music and manuscripts. These "Treasures from the Udestedt Music Cupboards" appear every year In spec!al concerts within the framework of the Thüringer Bachwochen.

Today, the State captial of Erfurt, with Its lovingly restored medieval town structure, Its numerous churches, including the unique ensemble of the Cathedral and St. Severl, and the famous Krämerbrücke (Shop Keeper's Bridge) which is completely built on and inhabited, belongs to one of the most beautiful towns In Germany. A walk through the historic old part of the town Is an experience, not only whilst following the tracks of J.S. Bach and his family. Stone witnesses of the past remain from many epochs.

Events in Life History of J.S. Bach

Date/Year

Event

Prior J.S. Bach’s Birth (1600-1685)

1642-1654

Service of Christoph Bach (J.S. Bach’s grandfather) as court musician in Erfurt

Feb 22, 1645

Birth of twins Johann Ambrosius Bach (J.S. Bach’s father) & Johann Christoph, sons of Christoph Bach and Maria Magdalena, née Grabler

Apr 16, 1667

Apointment of Ambrosius as violinist in Erfurt town music

Apr 8, 1668

Marriage of Johann Ambrosius Bach with Maria Elisabeth Lämmerhirt at Pediger Church, Erfurt

Weimar (1708-1717)

Jul 31, 1716

Organ examination in Augustinerkirche, Erfurt

Performance Dates of J.S. Bach’s Vocal Works: None.

Bach Festivals & Cantata Series

Festival (Link to Website)

Artistic Director

Years

Months

Place

BCW

Erfurter Bachtage

Hubertus Röder

2004-

Mar-Apr

Erfurt, Thuringia, Germany

BCW

Thüringer Bachwochen

Christoph Drescher

2005-

Mar-Apr

Thuringia, Germany

BCW

 

Features of Interest

Erfurt has preserved an intact medieval city centre. The city is known for its two churches, Erfurt Cathedral (Mariendom) and Severikirche, which stand side by side and together form the emblem of the city. Both churches tower above the townscape and are accessible via huge open stairs called Domstufen. Another remarkable site is the Krämerbrücke, a bridge crossing the narrow Gera River. The bridge is covered with 32 inhabited buildings. It was built in 1325 with a church on either bridgehead, one of which, the Ägidienkirche, is still functional. The Augustinerkloster is an old Augustinian monastery. Martin Luther studied at the university and lived in the Augustinerkloster for a few years after 1505.

The 11th century Erfurt Synagogue is thought to be the oldest synagogue building still standing in Europe. It is now a museum displaying the Erfurt Treasure.

Predigerkirche (Pediger Church): where J.S. Bach’s parents gor married in 1668
Augustinerkirche (or Augustinerkloster): where J.S. Bach examined the organ in 1716
Kauffmans Church
Houses of numerous members of the Bach family:
- “Zum Schwarzen Roß” (The Black Horse)
– “Zum Güldenen Kelch” (The Golden Cup)
– “Zur Güldenen Kanne” (The Golden Pot, Krämerbrücken)
Cathedral Hill: with St. Mary Cathedral and the Church of St. Severus
Krämerbrücke (Merchant Bridge)
Augustinian Monastery
Town Citadel Petersberg
Imperial Hall

See detailed description and photos at: City Guide

Information & Links

Tourismus GmbH Erfurt
Fischmarkt 27
D-99084 Erfurt
Tel: +49-361/6640-0 / Fax: +49-361/6640-290

Erfurt (Official Website) [German/English]
Erfurt Tourist Info [German/English]
Erfurt (Wikipedia) [various languages]
Cityreview: Thüringen > Erfurt [German]
Erfurt (Meinestadt) [German]

On the Traces of J.S. Bach: Erfurt (Germany Tourism)

 

Prepared by Aryeh Oron (October 2003 - December 2009)

Guide to Bach Tour: Main Page | Life History of J.S. Bach | Performance Dates of J.S. Bach’s Vocal Works | Maps | Route Suggestions | Bach Organs | Discussions of Bach Tour
Places: Altenburg | Ammern | Arnstadt | Bad Berka | Berlin | Brandenburg | Bückeburg | Celle | Collmen | Dörna | Dornheim | Dresden | Eisenach | Erfurt | Gehren | Gera | Gotha | Halle | Hamburg | Heiligengrabe | Jena | Karlsbad | Kassel | Kleinzschocher | Köthen | Langewiesen | Leipzig | Lübeck | Lüneburg | Meiningen | Merseburg | Mühlhausen | Naumburg | Ohrdruf | Pomßen | Potsdam | Ronneburg | Sangerhausen | Schleiz | Stöntzsch | Störmthal | Taubach | Wechmar | Weimar | Weißenfels | Weißensee | Wiederau | Zeitz | Zerbst | Zschortau

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Last update: ýDecember 28, 2009 ý16:59:58