Schwäbisch Gmünd

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Schwäbisch Gmünd
View from Mt. Zeiselberg
View from Mt. Zeiselberg
Coat of arms of Schwäbisch Gmünd
Coat of arms
Schwäbisch Gmünd   is located in Germany
Schwäbisch Gmünd
Schwäbisch Gmünd
Coordinates: 48°48′N 9°48′E / 48.800°N 9.800°E / 48.800; 9.800Coordinates: 48°48′N 9°48′E / 48.800°N 9.800°E / 48.800; 9.800
Country Germany
State Baden-Württemberg
Admin. region Stuttgart
District Ostalbkreis
Government
 • Lord Mayor Richard Arnold
Area
 • Total 113.78 km2 (43.93 sq mi)
Elevation 321 m (1,053 ft)
Population (2012-12-31)1
 • Total 58,293
 • Density 510/km2 (1,300/sq mi)
Time zone CET/CEST (UTC+1/+2)
Postal codes 73525–73529
Dialling codes 07171
Vehicle registration AA, GD
Website www.schwaebisch-gmuend.de

Schwäbisch Gmünd (German pronunciation: [ˈʃvɛːbɪʃ ˈɡmʏnt], until 1934: Gmünd) is a town in the eastern part of the German state of Baden-Württemberg. With a population of around 60,000, the town is the second largest in the Ostalb district and the whole East Württemberg region after Aalen. The town is a Große Kreisstadt since 1956, i.e. a chief town under district administration; it was the administrative capital of its own rural district until the local government reorganisation on 1 January 1973.

Geography

Market place on a spring day

Schwäbisch Gmünd is situated within the northern foothills of the Swabian Jura Mountains on the Rems river, about 50 kilometres (31 miles) east of the state capital Stuttgart. The municipal area comprises the localities (Ortschaften) of Bargau, Bettringen, Degenfeld, Großdeinbach, Herlikofen, Hussenhofen, Lindach, Rechberg, Rehnenhof-Wetzgau, Straßdorf, and Weiler.

History

From about 85 AD, the Neckar-Odenwald line was part of the northern frontier of the Roman Empire. The Romans built the Limes Germanicus to secure this border, i.e. a line of fortifications in regular distances, which included a small castrum on the site of the present-day Schirenhof field in Schwäbisch Gmünd. A first major settlement in this area arose around the 2nd century AD, when Roman soldiers were deployed near the Upper Germanic Limes. From 223 onwards the border lines were assaulted and taken by the Alemanni, who settled down in the areas abandoned by the Romans.

In the 8th century a counterfeit document in the name of Charlemagne, prepared at the Abbey of St Denis near Paris mentioned a monk's cell called Gamundias built by Abbot Fulrad of St Denis. Whether or not this refers to Gmünd is uncertain. There are no archaeological indications for a cell of this type in Gmünd.

Schwäbisch Gmünd, ca. 1750

The town of Gmünd was first mentioned in a 1162 deed issued at nearby Lorch Abbey, then under the rule of the Hohenstaufen emperor Frederick Barbarossa. The self-proclaimed Stauferstadt achieved the status of an Imperial City in 1268, which it held until 1803, when it was mediatised to the Electorate of Württemberg.

By the end of the 14th century, the name "Etzel castle" was used for the remains of the Roman fort, which had been built to protect the Neckar-Odenwald border of the Roman Empire. In a Baroque chronicle of the city of Schwäbisch Gmünd, written by the councillor Friedrich Vogt (1623–1674), the "Castle" was mentioned in ancient writings as "Etzel castle". Even at the time of Vogt, the Roman remains were cheaper than stones from quarry, and these were thus removed to the ground. Only parts of the moat would still be visible.

The demesne officer, wine expert and archaeologist Carl Friedrich Christoph Gok (1776–1849), a half brother of the poet Friedrich Hölderlin, suspected in 1847, that the alleged castle on the Schirenhof manor had probably once been a Roman fort.2 The first modern and scientific excavations took place under the guidance of retired army chief of staff of the Württemberg army, General Eduard von Kallee and by Major Heinrich Steimle in the years 1886 to 1888, i.e. before the Empire-Limes-Commission (Reichslimeskommision) had been set up. The so-called Schirenhof Castrum is now part of the UNESCO World Heritage Site Limes Germanicus.

Institutions

Imperial City of [Swabian] Gmünd
Reichsstadt [Schwäbisch] Gmünd
Free Imperial City of the Holy Roman Empire
House of Hohenstaufen
1268–1802
Capital Schwäbisch Gmünd
Government Republic
Historical era Middle Ages
 -  Founded mid-12th century
 -  Gained Reichsfreiheit 1268
 -  Mediatised to
    Württemberg
 
1802 1802

From 1963 to May 1991, the United States Army's 56th Field Artillery Brigade, equipped with Pershing missiles, was headquartered at the Bismarck Kaserne along with the A, and D firing batteries of the 1/41 FA Battalion. Family housing and the commissary was across the street from the Hardt Kaserne and overlooked a hill above Bismarck Kaserne. The Hardt Kaserne, formerly Adolf Hitler Kaserne, which was finished in 1937 and used to train officers for the war, was home to the 1st Battalion, 41st Field Artillery (Pershing), Headquarters, B, C and Service Batteries, 1/41st FA Battalion, 56th FA Brigade, After the closure of the base, which often attracted protests, the University of Maryland University College opened a four-year German campus on the Bismarck Kaserne in 1992, which closed in 2002 due to financial difficulties and a lack of students.3 Festival Europäische Kirchenmusik was established in 1989.

In 2004, the state of Baden-Württemberg opened the Landesgymnasium für Hochbegabte (State Grammar School for the Highly Gifted) in some of the renovated buildings of the Bismarck Kaserne.4

The 3d Battalion, 17th Field Artillery was stationed here, at Hardt Kaserne, until late 1963. The units mission was reinforcing fires for the 7th Army Light and medium Artillery units. The 8", M-55 Howitzer (SP) was considered the most accurate weapon in the Army's arsenal.

Local industry

Since the 17th century, Schwäbisch Gmünd has been home to producers of gold and silver handicrafts. An almost forgotten craft was the so-called "Silberporzellan", "Metallporzellan" or "Silberbelagwaren". Today it is known as Silver overlay and Schwäbisch Gmünd was home of inventor Friedrich Deusch who began to decorate not only porcelain but also glass with this unique technique in the end of 19th century. All the important items which are dealt on the art market today are originated in Schwäbisch Gmünd. The town is also home to the Forschungsinstitut für Edelmetalle und Metallchemie, an institute for precious metal work and surface technology. Other important industries include automotive suppliers, manufacturers of machinery and glass, and a large subsidiary of the Swiss toiletries and medicine producer Weleda.5

Notable people

Twin towns – Sister cities

Imperial Eagle and unicorn coat of arms on display at the town hall

Schwäbisch Gmünd is twinned with:

References

  1. ^ Statistisches Bundesamt – Gemeinden in Deutschland mit Bevölkerung am 31.12.2012 (XLS-Datei; 4,0 MB) (Einwohnerzahlen auf Grundlage des Zensus 2011) "Gemeinden in Deutschland mit Bevölkerung am 31.12.2012"]. Statistisches Bundesamt (in German). 12 November 2013. 
  2. ^ Hans Ulrich Nuber: Schwäbisch Gmünd in frühgeschichtlicher Zeit. In: Geschichte der Stadt Schwäbisch Gmünd. Konrad Theiss Verlag, Stuttgart 1984, ISBN 3-8062-0399-7, S. 26.
  3. ^ Schwäbisch Gmünd Closure, from the University of Maryland University College, on the Wayback Machine
  4. ^ Landesgymnasium für Hochbegabte Schwäbisch Gmünd
  5. ^ See Weleda (Unternehmen) on the German Wikipedia
  6. ^ "Town twinning Information about town twinning". Barnsley Metropolitan Borough Council. 12 November 2012. Retrieved 2013-07-14. 
  7. ^ Bozsoki, Agnes. "Partnervárosok Névsora Partner és Testvérvárosok Névsora" [Partner and Twin Cities List]. City of Székesfehérvár (in Hungarian). Archived from the original on 2012-12-08. Retrieved 2013-08-05. 

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