Büraburg is a prominent hill with historic significance, overlooking the Eder
The Eder is a 177 km long river in Germany, and a tributary of the Fulda River. It was first mentioned by the Roman historian Tacitus as the Adrana in the territory of the Chatti....

 river near the town of Fritzlar
Fritzlar is a small German town in the Schwalm-Eder district in northern Hesse, north of Frankfurt, with a storied history. It can reasonably be argued that the town is the site where the Christianization of northern Germany began and the birthplace of the German empire as a political entity.The...

 in northern Hesse
Hesse or Hessia is both a cultural region of Germany and the name of an individual German state.* The cultural region of Hesse includes both the State of Hesse and the area known as Rhenish Hesse in the neighbouring Rhineland-Palatinate state...

Germany , officially the Federal Republic of Germany , is a federal parliamentary republic in Europe. The country consists of 16 states while the capital and largest city is Berlin. Germany covers an area of 357,021 km2 and has a largely temperate seasonal climate...


In 723 AD the Anglo-Saxon missionary Winfrid – later called St. Boniface, apostle of the Germans – arrived in the area on his mission to convert the central and northern German tribes to Christianity
Christianity is a monotheistic religion based on the life and teachings of Jesus as presented in canonical gospels and other New Testament writings...

 and made Büraburg, then a fortified Frankish
The Franks were a confederation of Germanic tribes first attested in the third century AD as living north and east of the Lower Rhine River. From the third to fifth centuries some Franks raided Roman territory while other Franks joined the Roman troops in Gaul. Only the Salian Franks formed a...

 settlement, his temporary base. Seeking to demonstrate the superiority of the Christian God over the Germanic gods, he and his followers felled a sacred oak dedicated to Thor
In Norse mythology, Thor is a hammer-wielding god associated with thunder, lightning, storms, oak trees, strength, the protection of mankind, and also hallowing, healing, and fertility...

 by the local tribe of the Chatten/Chatti
The Chatti were an ancient Germanic tribe whose homeland was near the upper Weser. They settled in central and northern Hesse and southern Lower Saxony, along the upper reaches of the Weser River and in the valleys and mountains of the Eder, Fulda and Weser River regions, a district approximately...

. When Thor failed to hurl a lightning bolt at Boniface and his companions, as the locals had expected, they agreed to be baptized
In Christianity, baptism is for the majority the rite of admission , almost invariably with the use of water, into the Christian Church generally and also membership of a particular church tradition...

. This event thus marked the beginning of the Christianization
The historical phenomenon of Christianization is the conversion of individuals to Christianity or the conversion of entire peoples at once...

 of the Germans.

Using the wood of the oak, Boniface erected a small chapel at a site nearby in what soon became the important religious, intellectual and trade center of Fritzlar. Boniface subsequently (742) elevated Büraburg to a bishopric, the first in Germany east of the Roman Limes
Limes Germanicus
The Limes Germanicus was a line of frontier fortifications that bounded the ancient Roman provinces of Germania Inferior, Germania Superior and Raetia, dividing the Roman Empire and the unsubdued Germanic tribes from the years 83 to about 260 AD...

, but after the death of the only bishop, Witta
Witta may refer to:*Witta , a witchcraft tradition created by author Edain McCoy*Witta of Büraburg, a missionary and bishop in 8th-century Germany*Witta, son of Wecta, a Jutish chieftain in 5th-century sub-Roman Britain...

, in 748 the bishopric was incorporated by Lullus
Saint Lullus was the first permanent archbishop of Mainz, succeeding Saint Boniface, and first abbot of the Benedictine Hersfeld Abbey.-Monk to archbishop:...

, Boniface's successor as archbishop of Mainz
Mainz under the Holy Roman Empire, and previously was a Roman fort city which commanded the west bank of the Rhine and formed part of the northernmost frontier of the Roman Empire...

, into his own diocese. From 747 to 786 Büraburg was administered by an auxiliary bishop, Meginoz, but this post was not filled again after Meginoz's death.

Excavations have unearthed extensive fortifications from the 7th and 8th century AD on the hilltop, remnants of a major settlement at this important site located where Frankish and Saxon territories then bordered each other. During the Saxon wars
Saxon Wars
The Saxon Wars were the campaigns and insurrections of the more than thirty years from 772, when Charlemagne first entered Saxony with the intent to conquer, to 804, when the last rebellion of disaffected tribesmen was crushed. In all, eighteen battles were fought in what is now northwestern Germany...

 of Charlemagne
Charlemagne was King of the Franks from 768 and Emperor of the Romans from 800 to his death in 814. He expanded the Frankish kingdom into an empire that incorporated much of Western and Central Europe. During his reign, he conquered Italy and was crowned by Pope Leo III on 25 December 800...

, it was an important fortified base of the Franks
The Franks were a confederation of Germanic tribes first attested in the third century AD as living north and east of the Lower Rhine River. From the third to fifth centuries some Franks raided Roman territory while other Franks joined the Roman troops in Gaul. Only the Salian Franks formed a...

, but with the final submission of the Saxons in 804 it lost its military significance. Today, a small parish church stands at the site, containing parts of the original church building.
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