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(ĕr`fo͝ort), city (1994 pop. 200,800), capital of ThuringiaThuringia
, Ger. Thüringen, state (1994 pop. 2,533,000), 6,273 sq mi (16,251 sq km), central Germany. It is bordered on the south by Bavaria, on the east by Saxony, on the north by Saxony-Anhalt and Lower Saxony, and on the west by Hesse.
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, central Germany, on the Gera River. It is an industrial and horticultural center and a rail junction. Industries include metalworking and the manufacture of electrical apparatus, shoes, and clothing. The city is also a major exporter of processed foods and seeds. Erfurt is one of the oldest cities of Germany. It was mentioned by St. Boniface in the 8th cent., and Charlemagne later made it a center for trade with the Slavs. Martin Luther studied (1501–5) at its university (opened 1392, closed 1816), and he took his vows as an Augustinian friar at its monastery. Erfurt was a free imperial city and a member of the Hanseatic League. It passed (1664) to the electors of Mainz and (1802) to Prussia. In 1808, Napoleon I and Czar Alexander I met there at the Congress of Erfurt, and the Franco-Russian alliance concluded at Tilsit in 1807 was renewed. At a congress held at Erfurt in 1891 the German Social Democratic party adopted the Erfurt Program (see Socialist partiesSocialist parties
in European history, political organizations formed in European countries to achieve the goals of socialism. General History

In the late 19th cent.
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), which closely followed Marxist theories. Noteworthy buildings of the city include the cathedral (12th–15th cent.) and the 13th-century Church of St. Severus.
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The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.



a district in the southwestern German Democratic Republic (GDR). Area, 7,300 sq km. Population, 1.2 million (1975). The capital is the city of Erfurt.

Erfurt is a highly developed industrial and agricultural region. In 1975 industry, including construction and handicrafts, employed 51.7 percent of the labor force, and agriculture and forestry 12.3 percent. The district accounts for over 7 percent of the value of the industrial output of the GDR, including about 12 percent of the output of the electrical engineering, electronics, and instrument-making industry, 8 percent of the output of general and transportation machine building, about 10 percent of the output of the food-processing industry, and about 10 percent of the output of the textile industry.

Other important branches of industry in Erfurt are the printing industry, which includes the publication of geographic maps and atlases, the furniture and leather industries, and the extraction of potassium salt and common salt. The main industrial centers are Erfurt, Gotha, Weimar, Arnstadt, Sommerda, Eisenach, Apolda, Nordhausen, and Sondershausen. Agriculture includes livestock raising for dairy products and meat and the cultivation of wheat, barley, sugar beets, forage grasses, and root crops. There is also market gardening and flower growing.



a city in the German Democratic Republic, on the Gera River. Capital of Erfurt District. Population, 204,000 (1975).

Erfurt, a major industrial center and transportation hub, produces electrical and electronic equipment and office equipment, including electric typewriters and computers; the city also has a footwear industry and a clothing industry. Erfurt is the site of the International Horticultural Exhibition. It has a medical academy and a higher pedagogical school.

The first mention of Erfurt in historical sources dates from the early Middle Ages. The city was made a bishopric in 741. In the ninth century it was a center for barter between the Franks and the Slavs. The city was self-governing from the 13th to 17th centuries. Erfurt’s university, which was founded in 1392 and existed until the 19th century, became a center of German humanism. The city was annexed by Prussia in 1802; occupied by Napoleon in 1806, it was returned to Prussia by the Congress of Vienna of 1814–15.

Erfurt grew around a fortified hill that dominates the city and is the site of a Gothic cathedral (mid-12th century; rebuilt in the 15th century) and St. Severus Church (1278 to the late 14th century). Other architectural monuments include Gothic churches, notably the Dominican church (first half of the 14th century) and the Franciscan church (1285; choir completed in 1316; destroyed in 1944), and Renaissance and baroque buildings, such as the guild houses on the Fischmarkt (second half of the 16th century). In the 1950’s and 1960’s residential complexes were built on the periphery of the city, notably the Stolzestrasse (1957, architect F. Ollertz).


Piltz, G., and F. Hege. Erfurt, Stadt am Kreuzweg (album). Dresden, 1955.
The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.


an industrial city in central Germany, the capital of Thuringia: university (1392). Pop.: 201 645 (2003 est.)
Collins Discovery Encyclopedia, 1st edition © HarperCollins Publishers 2005
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