Gotha (town)
Gotha is a town in Thuringia
The Free State of Thuringia is a state of Germany, located in the central part of the country.It has an area of and 2.29 million inhabitants, making it the sixth smallest by area and the fifth smallest by population of Germany's sixteen states....

, within the central core of Germany
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...

. It is the capital of the district of Gotha
Gotha (district)
Gotha is a Kreis in the middle of Thuringia, Germany. Neighboring districts are Unstrut-Hainich, Sömmerda, the district-free city Erfurt, Ilm-Kreis, Schmalkalden-Meiningen and the Wartburgkreis.-History:...



The town has existed at least since the 8th century, when it was mentioned in a document signed by 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...

 as Villa Gotaha ("Good Waters"). Its importance derives from having been chosen in 1640 as the capital of the Duchy of Saxe-Gotha
Saxe-Gotha was one of the Saxon duchies held by the Ernestine of the Wettin dynasty in the former Landgraviate of Thuringia. The ducal residence was erected at Gotha....

. In the 18th century, an extended stay by the French philosopher Voltaire
François-Marie Arouet , better known by the pen name Voltaire , was a French Enlightenment writer, historian and philosopher famous for his wit and for his advocacy of civil liberties, including freedom of religion, free trade and separation of church and state...

 turned the court into one of the centres of the Enlightenment
Age of Enlightenment
The Age of Enlightenment was an elite cultural movement of intellectuals in 18th century Europe that sought to mobilize the power of reason in order to reform society and advance knowledge. It promoted intellectual interchange and opposed intolerance and abuses in church and state...

 in Germany. From 1826 to 1918, Gotha was one of the two capitals of the Duchy of Saxe-Coburg-Gotha.

Gotha has played an important role in the German workers' movement. The German socialist
Socialism is an economic system characterized by social ownership of the means of production and cooperative management of the economy; or a political philosophy advocating such a system. "Social ownership" may refer to any one of, or a combination of, the following: cooperative enterprises,...

 party (SPD
Social Democratic Party of Germany
The Social Democratic Party of Germany is a social-democratic political party in Germany...

) was founded in Gotha in 1875, through the merger of two organizations: the Social Democratic Workers' Party, led by August Bebel
August Bebel
Ferdinand August Bebel was a German Marxist politician, writer, and orator. He is best remembered as one of the founders of the Social Democratic Party of Germany.-Early years:...

 and Wilhelm Liebknecht
Wilhelm Liebknecht
Wilhelm Martin Philipp Christian Ludwig Liebknecht was a German social democrat and a principal founder of the SPD. His political career was a pioneering project combining Marxist revolutionary theory with practical, legal political activity...

, and the General German Workers' Association
General German Workers' Association
The General German Workers' Association, in German Allgemeiner Deutscher Arbeiterverein, ADAV) was founded on 23 May 1863 in Leipzig, Kingdom of Saxony by Ferdinand Lassalle and existed under this name until 1875, when it combined with August Bebel and Wilhelm Liebknecht's SDAP to form the...

, founded by Ferdinand Lassalle
Ferdinand Lassalle
Ferdinand Lassalle was a German-Jewish jurist and socialist political activist.-Early life:Ferdinand Lassalle was born on 11 April 1825 in Breslau , Silesia to a prosperous Jewish family descending from Upper Silesian Loslau...

. A compromise known as the Gotha Program
Gotha Program
The Gotha Program was the name given to the party platform adopted by the nascent German Social Democratic Party at its initial party congress, held in the town of Gotha in 1875. The program called for universal suffrage, freedom of association, limits on the working day, and for other laws...

 was forged, although it had been strongly criticized by Karl Marx
Karl Marx
Karl Heinrich Marx was a German philosopher, economist, sociologist, historian, journalist, and revolutionary socialist. His ideas played a significant role in the development of social science and the socialist political movement...

 for its reformist bias in his Critique of the Gotha Program
Critique of the Gotha Program
The Critique of the Gotha Program is a document based on a letter by Karl Marx written in early May 1875 to the Eisenach faction of the German social democratic movement, with whom Marx and Friedrich Engels were in close association...


This is the city where the famous psychologist and anthropologist Theodor Waitz
Theodor Waitz
Theodor Waitz , was a German psychologist and anthropologist.Waitz was born at Gotha and educated at Leipzig and Jena. He made philosophy, philology and mathematics his chief studies, and in 1848 he was appointed professor of philosophy in the University of Marburg...

 was born in 1821.

Gotha also has been a centre of publishing. The firm Justus Perthes
Justus Perthes
Justus Perthes Publishers in Gotha, Germany was established in 1785. Justus Perthes was Publisher of geographic atlases, ‘’Petermann’s Geographische Mitteilungen’’ and also the Almanach de Gotha,...

 (now called Hermann Haack) began the publication in 1763 of the Almanach de Gotha
Almanach de Gotha
The Almanach de Gotha was a respected directory of Europe's highest nobility and royalty. First published in 1763 by C.W. Ettinger in Gotha at the ducal court of Frederick III, Duke of Saxe-Gotha-Altenburg, it was regarded as an authority in the classification of monarchies, princely and ducal...

, an authoritative directory of the world's major ruling dynasties and Europe's high nobility.

From 1949 to 1990, Gotha was part of the German Democratic Republic
German Democratic Republic
The German Democratic Republic , informally called East Germany by West Germany and other countries, was a socialist state established in 1949 in the Soviet zone of occupied Germany, including East Berlin of the Allied-occupied capital city...



  • The main attraction in the town is the Schloss Friedenstein, the former ducal palace, built in 1643–1655. This imposing rectangular structure, with low square towers on the corners, is Germany’s oldest early Baroque palace. The Palace Museum is home to valuable historic collections of art and cultural artifacts. The palace also houses the Museum of Regional History including the historic Ekhof Theatre, the oldest preserved baroque theatre in the world.
  • Town Hall, built between 1567 and 1577 in Renaissance style, noteworthy for a richly decorated north façade.
  • A market place (Hauptmarkt) surrounded by restored patrician houses with baroque doorways.
  • Augustinian Church (Gothic, 13th century), with former abbey.
  • St Margaret’s Church (Margarethenkirche), from the end of the 15th century.
  • Gotha is host to the annual Freakstock
    Freakstock is an annual Christian festival held by members of the German Jesus Freaks movement. First held in Wiesbaden in 1995, the festival was moved to Gotha in 1997. Over 8000 people attend annually...

     Christian music festival.
  • One of Europe's first working crematories
    A crematory is a machine in which cremation takes place. Crematories are usually found in funeral homes, cemeteries, or in stand-alone facilities. A facility which houses the actual cremator units is referred to as a crematorium.-History:Prior to the Industrial Revolution, any cremation which took...

     was built here in 1878.

International relations

Gotha is twinned
Town twinning
Twin towns and sister cities are two of many terms used to describe the cooperative agreements between towns, cities, and even counties in geographically and politically distinct areas to promote cultural and commercial ties.- Terminology :...

 with: Martin
Martin, Slovakia
Martin is a city in northern Slovakia, situated on the Turiec river, between the Malá Fatra and Veľká Fatra mountains, near the city of Žilina. The population numbers approximately 58,000, which makes it the eighth largest city in Slovakia...

, Slovakia
The Slovak Republic is a landlocked state in Central Europe. It has a population of over five million and an area of about . Slovakia is bordered by the Czech Republic and Austria to the west, Poland to the north, Ukraine to the east and Hungary to the south...

 Gastonia, North Carolina
North Carolina
North Carolina is a state located in the southeastern United States. The state borders South Carolina and Georgia to the south, Tennessee to the west and Virginia to the north. North Carolina contains 100 counties. Its capital is Raleigh, and its largest city is Charlotte...

 USA Kielce
Kielce ) is a city in central Poland with 204,891 inhabitants . It is also the capital city of the Świętokrzyskie Voivodeship since 1999, previously in Kielce Voivodeship...

, Poland
Poland , officially the Republic of Poland , is a country in Central Europe bordered by Germany to the west; the Czech Republic and Slovakia to the south; Ukraine, Belarus and Lithuania to the east; and the Baltic Sea and Kaliningrad Oblast, a Russian exclave, to the north...

Romilly-sur-Seine is a commune in the Aube department in north-central France.-Population:-Twin towns:Romilly-sur-Seine is twinned with: Milford Haven, United Kingdom Gotha, Germany Lüdenscheid, Germany Medicina, Italy Uman, Ukraine-References:*...

, France
The French Republic , The French Republic , The French Republic , (commonly known as France , is a unitary semi-presidential republic in Western Europe with several overseas territories and islands located on other continents and in the Indian, Pacific, and Atlantic oceans. Metropolitan France...

Salzgitter is an independent city in southeast Lower Saxony, Germany, located between Hildesheim and Braunschweig. Together with Wolfsburg and Braunschweig, Salzgitter is one of the seven Oberzentren of Lower Saxony...

, Germany
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...

External links

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