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Guide to Bach Tour
Zerbst
[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 | Town Guide
Photos: Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 | Maps

 
 Description
 Zerbst is a town in the district of Anhalt-Bitterfeld, in the state of Saxony-Anhalt, Germany. Until the administrative reform of 2007, Zerbst was the capital of the Anhalt-Zerbst district.

Country: Germany | State: Saxony-Anhalt | District: Anhalt-Bitterfeld | Area: 78.33 km˛ | Population: 15,500 (December 2006)

History

It is not clear when was it founded; however, a region by the name Ciervisti was mentioned as early as 949. The town is first mentioned as Zirwisti urbs in the chronicle of the Thietmar of Merseburg in 1018.

In 1307 Albrecht I acquired the city of Zerbst from the von Barby Family, starting a centuries-long rule by the House of Ascania.

Following the Reformation, Zerbst became a Calvinist centre. From 1582 to 1798 the Francisceum Gymnasium illustre was an important Calvinist college.

From 1603 to 1793 Zerbst was the Residence Town of the Zerbst Principality, whose rule included among others also Jever. From 1722 to 1758 the important baroque composer Johann Friedrich Fasch resided here and was employed as a Hofkapellmeister. To honour his memory, the Fasch Fesivals take place in the city since 1983.

In 1745 princess Sophie Auguste Friederike von Anhalt-Zerbst married Peter III, successor to the Russian throne. As Catharine II (the Great) she herself reigned as Empress of Russia from July 9 [or June 28], 1762 until November 17 [or November 6], 1796. In 1797 Zerbst became a component of the Anhalt-Dessau Principality.

From 1891 to 1928 a horse-drawn streetcar was operated in Zerbst, one of the longest surviving among such streetcars in Germany.

In the later part of World War II a Nazi labour camp was established on the edge of the military airfield, housing so-called "First Degree Hybrids" and "Jüdisch Versippte" (i.e., people with some Jewish blood, enough in Nazi terms to justify badly mistreating them but not killing them outright). 700 inmates from there were used for hard labour in road and airport construction as well as peat digging. On April 16, 1945 - just a few weeks before the final surrender of Nazi Germany - some eighty percent of Zerbst was destroyed in an Allied air raid.

The Old Town was rebuilt in the following decades with an fundamental change of the townscape, only few historical structures being preserved.

On July 1, 2006 the town of Zerbst was renamed Zerbst/Anhalt. A year later, on July 1, 2007, the city of Zerbst/Anhalt was icorporated together with several other municipalities of the Zerbst administrative district, making the renewed Anhalt-Bitterfeld Administrative District with its capital at Köthen.

Notable People

Johann Friedrich Fasch (1688-1758), composer

 

Bach Connection

In 1732, while he was serving at the Köthen court, J.S. Bach gave a guest performance in Zerbst celebrating the birthday of Prince Johann August of Anhalt-Zerbst.

Anna Magdalena Wilcken (1701-1760), J.S. Bach's second wife, was an able singer at an early age. The stories that she was a public figure, having sung at Köthen and the other local courts since the age of 15, have been discredited; they are said to have arisen through confusion with her elder brother, a trumpeter. However, she was paid for singing, with her father, in the chapel at Zerbst on some occasion between Easter and midsummer 1721. By September 1721, aged just 20, she was at Köthen, well acquainted with J.S. Bach (aged 36), and ready to marry him on 3 December.

Events in Life History of J.S. Bach

Date/Year: Event

Köthen (1717-1723)

Aug 9, 1722: Guest performance in Zerbst: birthday of Prince Johann August of Anhalt-Zerbst

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

Bach Festivals & Cantata Series: None.

 

Features of Interest

Schloss Zerbst

See detailed description at: Town Guide

Information & Links

Tourist Information
Stadt Zerbst
Schloßfreiheit 12
39261 Zerbst
Tel/Fax: +49-3923-2351 | Fax: +49-3923-784466

Stadt Zerbst (Official Website) [German]
Schloss Zerbst [German]
Fördeverein Schloss Zerbst [German]
Landkreises Anhalt-Zerbst [German]
Cityreview: Sachsen Anhalt > Zerbst [German]
Zerbst (Meinestadt) [German]
Zerbst/Anhalt (Wikipedia) [German]
Zerbst (Wikipedia) [English]

 

Prepared by Aryeh Oron (March 2004 - December 2009)

Guide to Bach Tour: Main Page | Life History of J.S. Bach | Performance Dates of Bach’s Vocal Works | Maps | Route Suggestions | Discussions
Maps of Bach Places | Videos of Bach Places | Symbols (Coats of Arms) of Bach Places | Organs in Bach Places
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 24, 2009 ý16:38:46