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Guide to Bach Tour
Gera
[V]

Contents

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

Description

Gera, the 3rd largest city in the German state of Thuringia (after Erfurt, the Thuringian capital, and Jena), lies in east Thuringia on the river Weiße Elster (literally the "White Magpie"), approximately 60 kilometres to the south of the city of Leipzig and 80 kilometers to the east of Erfurt.

Country: Germany | State: Thuringia | District: Urban district | Area: 151.93 km˛ | Population: 101,600 (December 2007)

History

The place name Gera originally referred to the area of the Elster river valley where the city later stood. The name likely originated before the European migration period, and the Slavic people who first settled the area during the 8th century adopted it. Gera was first mentioned in a document from 995. In 999, the "province" of Gera was assigned to the Quedlinburg Abbey, whose abbots assigned the protectorship of this area in 1209 to the Vogts of Weida (in German: Vögte von Weida) who served as its administrators. After a time as a settlement where the city center now stands, Gera acquired the rights of a city in the 13th century. At first it grew only slowly. In 1450, it was almost totally destroyed during the Saxon Fratricidal War. Through inheritance over the next centuries, Gera became part of the Reuss principalities.

At 1806, in one of the stages of the War of the Fourth Coalition, Napoleon placed his Imperial Headquarters at Gera. From there on October 12, 1806 the French Emperor addressed an arrogant and threatening letter to King Frederick William III of Prussia, which directly led to war and the crushing Prussian defeat at the Battle of Jena a few days later.

From 1848 to 1918 Gera served as the capital of the Reuss Junior Line principality. With the industrial revolution in the middle of the 19th century, Gera enjoyed rapid growth through its textile industry. Its wealth at that time shows in the many city villas of the era. One such mansion is the Schulenberg villa designed by the Belgian artist Henry van de Velde. The city became a railway center where many rail lines met - highlighting its importance.

In 1920 the city became part of the newly founded state of Thuringia. Aerial bombing destroyed some parts of the city in 1945.

The city became a part of the newly created District of Gera (Bezirk Gera) in 1952 as it then formed part of German Democratic Republic (East Germany). After the fall of the iron curtain in 1990 and German reunification, it became part of the restored state of Thuringia - one of three metropolitan centers (Oberzentren) along with Jena and Erfurt. Since 1998, the Vocational Academy of Gera has found its home here, as well as a private school for allied health sciences. The city hosted the biennial federal horticultural show (Bundesgartenschau) in 2007.

Chronicle of Events

995
999
1237
1401

1450
1487
1533
c1570
1595

1608

1724

1780
1833
1848
1858
1859
1892
1920

1926
1939
1944/45

1952
1959
1987
1990

1995

The name "Gera" was mentioned for the first time
The Kaiser Otto gave his sister Adelheid, the Abbess of Quedlingburg, an "area named Gera"
Gera officially became a town
Cloth trader ofGera were witnessed at the fair in Naumburg.
Since 1436 they also visited the fair in Leipzig pennanently
Siege and destruction of Gera in the Saxon fatricidal war
Confinnation of the statutes of the town, the oldest written town charter for Gera
Introduction of the Refonnation in Gera
The first Dutch nice-colourer settled in Gera
The Dutch merchant Nikolaus de Smit settled in Gera and established the publishing
industry in the province
Heinrich Posthumus created a foundation for the High school Rutheneum, a provincial school
which he founded
J.S. Bach controlled the organ at the Salvator-Church made by the organ master builder from
Saalfeld J.G. Finke
The big fire destaroyed almost the whole town
The first steam-driven was installed
Gera became Capital- and Residencetown of the princedom Reuß, younger line
Installation of the first mechnicallooms in Gera
Opening of the railway line Weißenfels-Zeitz-Gera
Inauguration of the electric streetcars
The people's state Reuß formed with 6 thuringian single states Thuringia.
Weimar became capital
Opening of the airport Gera
The first overhead cable line of Thuringia was installed
Several air-raids destroyed the trainsystem, fabrics and houses in the inner city and at the castle
Osterstein heavily
The state Thuringia is parted into the provinces Erfurt, Gera and Suhl. Gera became district city
Gera became a city with 100, 924 inhabitants
Festival week for the 750-year jubilaeum with big procession
Reconstruction of the state Thuringia, capital became Erfurt, the state colours are white and red,
the state coat of arms became the thuringian lion with 8 surrounding stars
Gera celebrated 1000-years first mentioning

 

Bach Connection

J.S. Bach stayed in Gera in 1724. He inspected the two newly installed organs in the Johannis Church and in the Salvator Church. Both churches burned down in 1780 and the Salvator Church was rebuilt. On the north of the wall of the nave hangs a memorial plaque. In the Ratskeller of the historic Town Hall, the ‘Thomas Cantor, Joh. S. Bach” is also listed as a famous guest of the town.

Events in Life History of J.S. Bach

Date/Year

Event

Leipzig (1723-1730)

June 25, 1724

Organ examination in Johanniskirche and Salvatorkirche, Gera

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

Bach Festivals & Cantata Series: None.

 

Features of Interest

Town Hall (1576, Renaissance)
Market Square with Simson-fountain
Osterstein Castle, Gera (largely destroyed 1945)
Salvatorkirche (St. Salvator Church; Baroque with Art Nouveau interior decoration)
Johanniskirche (St. Johannis Church; Neo-Gothic)
St. Marien church (Late Gothic)
St. Trinitatis church (Late Gothic)
City Pharmacy
Theater (1902)
Villa Schulenburg, designed by Henry van de Velde
Old beer cellars called "Geraer Höhler"
Zoo Gera (since 1973)
City Museum
Otto Dix House
Art Galley "Orangerie"
Museum of Natural History ("Schreiber House", oldest building in the city), with its adjacent botanical garden, the Botanischer Garten Gera
Museum for Applied Arts ("Ferber House")

Information & Links

Gera-Tourismus e.V.
07545 Gera, Heinrichstraße 35,
Tel: +49-365-8 30 44 80 / Fax: +49-365-8 30 44 81
E-mail: info@gera-tourismus.de
Homepage: Gera Tourismus

Gera (Official Website) [German]
Gera (Wikipedia) [various languages)
Cityreview: Thüringen > Gera [German]
Gera (Meinestadt) [German]
Meine Stadt Gera [German]

 

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 30, 2009 ý01:13:11