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(rā`gənsbo͝orkh), city (1994 pop. 125,337), Bavaria, SE Germany, a port at the confluence of the Danube (Donau) and Regen rivers. In English it is known as Ratisbon. The city is a commercial, industrial, and transportation center; its manufactures include electronics, wood products, and motor vehicles. There are shipyards in the city, and the ports are a busy interchange along the Danube.

Regensburg, one of the oldest German cities, is a cultural center with many historic monuments. Dating back, as Radasbona, to Celtic times, it was an important Roman frontier station, known as Castra Regina. An abbey was founded there in the mid-7th cent., and St. Boniface established an episcopal see in 739. Regensburg was captured (788) by Charlemagne when he subjugated Bavaria. The city was one of the most prosperous commercial centers of medieval Germany, trading especially with India and the Middle East. In 1245, Regensburg was made a free imperial city; part of the adjacent countryside, however, remained in ecclesiastical hands.

The city proper accepted the Reformation in the 16th cent., but soon thereafter it was strongly influenced by the Roman Catholic Counter ReformationCounter Reformation,
16th-century reformation that arose largely in answer to the Protestant Reformation; sometimes called the Catholic Reformation. Although the Roman Catholic reformers shared the Protestants' revulsion at the corrupt conditions in the church, there was present
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 (late 16th cent.). Its commerce declined in the 15th and 16th cent., as a result of the shifting of international trade routes. In the Thirty Years War, Regensburg, garrisoned by Bavarian troops, was bombarded and captured (1633) by the Protestant general Bernhard of Saxe-Weimar, but it was recovered (1634) by imperial forces under Ferdinand of Hungary and Bohemia (later Emperor Ferdinand III).

Regensburg was frequently the meeting place of the imperial dietdiet,
parliamentary bodies in Japan, Poland, Hungary, Bohemia, the Scandinavian nations, and Germany have been called diets. In German history, the diet originated as a meeting of landholders and burghers, convoked by the ruler to discuss financial problems.
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 from 1532, and from 1663 to 1806 it was the permanent seat of the diet. The diet that met there from 1801 to 1803 under the influence of Napoleon Bonaparte completely reorganized the moribund Holy Roman Empire. The city and the bishopric of Regensburg (later raised to an archbishopric) were given, with Aschaffenburg, to K. T. von DalbergDalberg, Karl Theodor, Freiherr von
, 1744–1817, German statesman, of an ancient noble family prominent in imperial service. He was archbishop-elector of Mainz (1802–3) and, as such, archchancellor of the Holy Roman Empire.
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. In 1810 the city passed to Bavaria and became the capital of the Upper Palatinate. Regensburg was bombed extensively by the Allies in World War II, largely because it was an airplane-manufacturing center; most of its medieval buildings survived with surprisingly little damage.

Noteworthy structures of the city include the Gothic cathedral (13th–16th cent.); parts of the Porta Praetoria, a Roman gate (built A.D. 179); the Schottenkirche St. Jakob, a 12th-century church; an 11th-century chapel (with later decoration in the rococo style); the old city hall (14th–18th cent.), where the imperial diet met; and St. Emmeram, the episcopal residence (a former Benedictine convent founded in the 7th cent.). The church of the Benedictine convent, with foundations dating from the 8th cent. to the 12th cent. and with an 18th-century baroque interior, contains the tombs of Emperor Arnulf and of Louis the Child. Regensburg is the seat of a university (founded 1965) and schools of engineering and church music. The city was a residence of the painter Albrecht Altdorfer and the astronomer Johannes Kepler, both of whom died there.

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The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.



a city in the Federal Republic of Germany, in the Land of Bavaria; located at the point where the Regen River empties into the Danube. Population, 133,500 (1975). Regular navigation on the Danube begins at Regensburg; in 1972 the port’s cargo turnover totaled about 3 million tons. Regensburg is a railroad and highway junction. The city has electrical-engineering, chemical, general machine-building, shipbuilding, food-processing (including brewing), printing, and building-materials industries. Its university was founded in 1962.

Regensburg arose on the site of the Celtic settlement of Ra-dasbona (Ratisbon) and the Roman military fortress of Castra Regina. During the Early Middle Ages it was the residence of the Bavarian dukes and the Carolingians. From 1245 to 1803 it was an imperial city and a major trade center (in particular, for trade with the Eastern European countries). Between 1663 and 1806 the city was the seat of the Imperial Diet (the “eternal” or “permanent” Reichstag). In 1810, Regensburg was incorporated into Bavaria.

The old town grew both inside and around the former ancient Roman camp (the northern gate has been preserved), partially on the left bank of the Danube. Architectural landmarks in the Romanesque style include the churches of St. Emmeram (eighth to 13th centuries) and St. James (1150–1200) and the Old Chapel (1002). Gothic structures include the Cathedral of St. Peter (c. 1250–1525, with towers dating from the mid-19th century) and the Old Town Hall (1356). Also surviving are Romanesque and Gothic houses of patricians (12th through 14th centuries) and Renaissance and baroque churches. Regens-burg’s museums include the Museum of the City of Regensburg (with art from the 11th through 19th centuries), the gallery of 20th-century art of the Palace Museum of the Princes of Thurn and Taxis, and the State Gallery (paintings from the 16th through 18th centuries).


Boll, W. Regensburg. 3rd ed. [Munich-Berlin] 1969.
The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.


a city in SE Germany, in Bavaria on the River Danube: a free Imperial city from 1245 and the leading commercial city of S Germany in the 12th and 13th centuries; the Imperial Diet was held in the town hall from 1663 to 1806. Pop.: 128 604 (2003 est.)
Collins Discovery Encyclopedia, 1st edition © HarperCollins Publishers 2005
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Located about 80 miles northeast of Munich, Regensburg has a history that spans 2,000 years, and that helped earn its designation as a UNESCO World Heritage site.
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