|Free State of Thuringia
|— State of Germany —|
|• Minister-President||Christine Lieberknecht (CDU)|
|• Governing parties||CDU / SPD|
|• Votes in Bundesrat||4 (of 69)|
|• Total||16,171 km2 (6,244 sq mi)|
|• Density||140/km2 ( 360/sq mi)|
|Time zone||CET (UTC+1)|
|• Summer (DST)||CEST (UTC+2)|
|ISO 3166 code||DE-TH|
|GDP/ Nominal||€49.87 billion (2010)|
The Free State of Thuringia (German: Freistaat Thüringen, pronounced [ˈfʁaɪʃtaːt ˈtyːʁɪŋən]; English //) is a federal state of Germany, located in the central part of the country. It has an area of 16,171 square kilometres (6,244 sq mi) and 2.29 million inhabitants, making it the sixth smallest by area and the fifth smallest by population of Germany's sixteen states. Most of Thuringia is within the watershed of the Saale, a left tributary of the Elbe. Its capital is Erfurt.
Thuringia has been known by the nickname of "the green heart of Germany" (das grüne Herz Deutschlands) from the late 19th century, due to the dense forest covering the land.
Thuringia is known in Germany for nature and winter sports. It is home to the Rennsteig, Germany's most famous hiking trail, and the winter resort of Oberhof. Germany has won more Winter Olympics gold medals than any other country in the last 20 years, and half of Germany's gold medals have been won by Thuringian athletes.
Johann Sebastian Bach spent the first part of his life (1685-1717) and important further stages of his career in Thuringia. In the classical period, Goethe and Schiller lived at Weimar. Both worked also in the famous University of Jena nearby, which now hosts the most important centre of science in Thuringia. Other Universities of this federal state are the TU Ilmenau, the University of Erfurt, and the Bauhaus University of Weimar.
From the northwest going clockwise, Thuringia borders on the German states of Lower Saxony, Saxony-Anhalt, Saxony, Bavaria and Hesse. The ridges of the western Harz Mountains divide the region from Lower Saxony on the north-west, while the eastern Harz similarly separates Thuringia from the state of Saxony-Anhalt to the north-east. To the south and southwest, the Thuringian Forest effectively separates the ancient region of Franconia, now the northern part of Bavaria, from the rolling plains of most of Thuringia. The central Harz range extends southwards along the western side into the northwest corner of the Thuringian Forest region, making Thuringia a lowland basin of rolling plains nearly surrounded by ancient somewhat-difficult mountains. To the west across the mountains and south is the drainage basin of the Rhine River.
The most conspicuous geographical feature of Thuringia is the Thuringian Forest, a mountain chain in the southwest. The Werra River, a tributary of the Weser River, separates this mountain chain from the volcanic Rhön Mountains, which are partially in Thuringia, Bavaria, and Hesse. In the northwest, Thuringia includes a small part of the Harz. The eastern part of Thuringia is generally a plain. The Saale River runs through these lowlands from south to north.
See also List of places in Thuringia.
Thuringia is divided into 17 districts (Landkreise):
Furthermore there are six urban districts (not numerated in the map):
Each of the urban districts contains a town of the same name (see table below, "Towns in Thuringia").
|Towns in Thuringia|
|31 December 1970||31 December 2000||30 June 2005|
(formed on 16 March 2004)
(formed on 1 March 2006)
(formed on 1 April 1919)
|Duchy (Landgraviate) of Thuringia
Herzogtum (Landgrafschaft) Thüringen
|Pagan kingdom, Frankish duchy,
then State of the Holy Roman Empire
|Historical era||Middle Ages|
|-||Comital line extinct||1247|
|-||War of the Thuringian
Thuringia became a landgraviate in 1130. After the extinction of the reigning Ludowingian line of counts and landgraves in 1247 and the War of the Thuringian Succession (1247–1264), the western half became independent under the name of "Hesse", never to become a part of Thuringia again. Most of the remaining Thuringia came under the rule of the Wettin dynasty of the nearby Margraviate of Meissen, the nucleus of the later Electorate and Kingdom of Saxony. With the division of the house of Wettin in 1485, Thuringia went to the senior Ernestine branch of the family, which subsequently subdivided the area into a number of smaller states, according to the Saxon tradition of dividing inheritance amongst male heirs. These were the "Saxon duchies", consisting, among others, of the states of Saxe-Weimar, Saxe-Eisenach, Saxe-Jena, Saxe-Meiningen, Saxe-Altenburg, Saxe-Coburg, and Saxe-Gotha; Thuringia became merely a geographical concept.
Thuringia generally accepted the Protestant Reformation. The Catholic faith was abolished as early as 1520; priests that remained loyal were driven away and churches and monasteries were largely destroyed, especially during the German Peasants' War of 1525. In Mühlhausen and elsewhere, the Anabaptists found many adherents. Thomas Müntzer, a leader of some non-peaceful groups of this sect, was active in this city. Within the borders of Thuringia the Catholic faith was maintained only in the district called Eichsfeld, which was ruled by the Archbishop of Mainz, and to a small degree in the city and vicinity of Erfurt.
Some reordering of the Thuringian states occurred during the German Mediatisation from 1795–1814, and the territory was included within the Napoleonic Confederation of the Rhine organized in 1806. The 1815 Congress of Vienna confirmed these changes and the Thuringian states' inclusion in the German Confederation; the Kingdom of Prussia also acquired some Thuringian territory and administered it within the Province of Saxony. The Thuringian duchies which became part of the German Empire in 1871 during the Prussian-led unification of Germany were Saxe-Weimar-Eisenach, Saxe-Meiningen, Saxe-Altenburg, Saxe-Coburg-Gotha, Schwarzburg-Sondershausen, Schwarzburg-Rudolstadt and the two principalities of Reuss Elder Line and Reuss Younger Line. In 1920, after World War I, these small states merged into one state, called Thuringia; only Saxe-Coburg voted to join Bavaria instead. Weimar became the new capital of Thuringia. The coat of arms of this new state was simpler than they had been previously.
After briefly being controlled by the US, from July 1945, the state of Thuringia came under the Soviet occupation zone, and was expanded to include parts of Prussian Saxony, such as the areas around Erfurt, Mühlhausen, and Nordhausen. Erfurt became the new capital of Thuringia.
In 1952, the German Democratic Republic dissolved its states, and created districts (Bezirke) instead. The three districts that shared the territory of Thuringia were centered in Erfurt, Gera and Suhl.
The State of Thuringia was restored with slightly altered borders during Germany's reunification in 1990.
List of Minister-presidents of Thüringen
August 30, 2009 state election
|Party||Party list votes||Vote % (change)||Total Seats (change)||Seat %|
|Christian Democratic Union (CDU)||329,241||31.2% (−11.8)||30 (−15)||34.1%|
|The Left||288,932||27.4% (+1.3)||27 (−1)||30.7%|
|Social Democratic Party (SPD)||195,353||18.5% (+4)||18 (+3)||20.5%|
|Free Democratic Party (FDP)||80,511||7.6% (+4)||7 (+7)||8.0%|
|Alliance '90/The Greens (Grüne)||64,889||6.2% (+1.7)||6 (+6)||6.8%|
|National Democratic Party (NPD)||45,401||4.3% (+2.7)||–||–|
|Free Voters in Thuringia||40,834||3.9% (+1.3)||–||–|
Turnout was 56.2%. SPD and CDU formed a coalition seven weeks after the election.
Since the Protestant Reformation, the largest religion in Thuringia has been Lutheranism. Under Communist rule, church membership was strongly discouraged and today over half of the population is religiously unaffiliated. As of 2009 the Evangelical Church in Germany remains the largest faith in the state, adhered to by 24.0% of the population. Members of the Catholic Church form 7.8%. 68.2% of the Thuringians are irreligious or adhere to other faiths.
Transportation↑Jump back a section
- "Bevölkerung nach Gemeinden, erfüllenden Gemeinden und Verwaltungsgemeinschaften". Thüringer Landesamt für Statistik (in German). 2 July 2012.
- A. Trinius (1898)
- CDU and SPD form Thuringia state coalition, The Local; 19 October 2009.
- Statistisches Jahrbuch Thüringen 2011 - PDF, 4,3 MB
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to: Thuringia|
- Official government site
- Tourist website for Thuringia (German)
- Official Directory (German)
- Another Tourist website for Thuringia
- Historical Overview
- Tourist website with many pictures of thuringian landscapes (German)
- Alternative Tourist website for Thuringia (German) (English)
- Thuringia at the Open Directory Project
- Thuringian flags at
- Search engine for Thuringia with videos (German)
- Geographic data related to Thuringia at OpenStreetMap
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