Heilbad Heiligenstadt
Heilbad Heiligenstadt is a spa town
Spa town
A spa town is a town situated around a mineral spa . Patrons resorted to spas to "take the waters" for their purported health benefits. The word comes from the Belgian town Spa. In continental Europe a spa was known as a ville d'eau...

 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....

, 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 Eichsfeld
Eichsfeld (district)
Eichsfeld is a district in Thuringia, Germany, and part of the historical region of Eichsfeld. It is bounded by the districts of Nordhausen, Kyffhäuserkreis and Unstrut-Hainich, and by the states of Hesse and Lower Saxony .-History:In medieval times the Eichsfeld, which is larger than the...

Districts of Germany
The districts of Germany are known as , except in the states of North Rhine-Westphalia and Schleswig-Holstein where they are known simply as ....



Heiligenstadt is approximately 14 km east of the tripoint
A tripoint, or trijunction , is a geographical point at which the borders of three countries or subnational entities meet....

 where the states of Thuringia, 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...

 and Lower Saxony
Lower Saxony
Lower Saxony is a German state situated in north-western Germany and is second in area and fourth in population among the sixteen states of Germany...

 meet. An upper reach of the River Leine
The Leine is a river in Thuringia and Lower Saxony, Germany. It is a left tributary of the Aller river and 281 km in length.The river's source is located close to the town of Leinefelde in Thuringia...

, a tributary of the Aller
The Aller is a river, long, in the states of Saxony-Anhalt and Lower Saxony in Germany. It is a right-hand, and hence eastern, tributary of the River Weser and is also its largest tributary. Its last form the Lower Aller federal waterway...

, flows through the town from east to west and is joined near the centre of the town by the River Geislede.

South of the town is the Iberg, a 453.2 m tall peak located in the Heiligenstadt Stadtwald, which forms part of the Naturpark Eichsfeld-Hainich-Werratal.

Local subdivisions

  • Kalteneber
  • Rengelrode
  • Günterode
  • Flinsberg
    Flinsberg is a suburb of Heilbad Heiligenstadt, district of Eichsfeld, Thuringia, Germany.Flinsberg is the geographical centre of Germany....

    , the geographical centre of Germany.


  • Heiligenstadt was first mentioned in 973.
  • In 1227, the town received town rights from the archbishop of Mainz.
  • In 1540 Heiligenstadt became the capital of Eichsfeld
    The Eichsfeld is a historical region in the southeast of Lower Saxony and northwest of Thuringia in the south of the Harz mountains...

  • In the Thirty Years' War
    Thirty Years' War
    The Thirty Years' War was fought primarily in what is now Germany, and at various points involved most countries in Europe. It was one of the most destructive conflicts in European history....

     of 1618–1648, the city was devastated several times.
  • In 1929 the salt-water
    Brine is water, saturated or nearly saturated with salt .Brine is used to preserve vegetables, fruit, fish, and meat, in a process known as brining . Brine is also commonly used to age Halloumi and Feta cheeses, or for pickling foodstuffs, as a means of preserving them...

     hydropathic baths were built and in 1950 the town was designated a spa.
  • On 9 November 1938, the town synagogue was desecrated. The event is commemorated in a plaque on the building, which is now a residence.
  • In October 1989, demonstrations began in Heiligenstadt as part of the Peaceful Revolution
    Die Wende
    marks the complete process of the change from socialism and planned economy to market economy and capitalism in East Germany around the years 1989 and 1990. It encompasses several processes and events which later have become synonymous with the overall process...

     in the GDR.
  • In 1994, Heiligenstadt became the capital of the new district of Eichsfeld, formed by the amalgamation of the districts of Heiligenstadt and Worbis.

Name of the town

Despite the official designation of the town as a spa in 1929 and a 1950 decision by the town council to append the word Soleheilbad (salt-water spa) to its name, it remained officially simply Heiligenstadt throughout the GDR years. In 1990 the city government still used only Heiligenstadt.

However, the post office used Heilbad Heiligenstadt, as did post card companies and the local savings bank. In fact between 1950 and 1990, the town had the distinction of being referred to in 3 different ways: as Heiligenstadt, Heilbad Heiligenstadt, or Heiligenstadt (Eichsf.) (for Eichsfeld).

In 1990, the town council and especially the mayor began expanding spa business and it took on increasing importance. In addition, after German reunification
German reunification
German reunification was the process in 1990 in which the German Democratic Republic joined the Federal Republic of Germany , and when Berlin reunited into a single city, as provided by its then Grundgesetz constitution Article 23. The start of this process is commonly referred by Germans as die...

, there were several Heiligenstadts in Germany. Initially the government declined to rename the town Heilbad Heiligenstadt because of a lack of evidence that it was a spa, but the town lodged an appeal and used the one and a half years before an official visit and the relative lack of oversight immediately after reunification to create spa facilities and integrate the word Heilbad into official usage. Permission for the renaming was then granted since the town was evidently a spa and using that name.


  • Theodor Storm
    Theodor Storm
    Hans Theodor Woldsen Storm , commonly known as Theodor Storm, was a German writer.-Life:Storm was born in Husum, at the west coast of Schleswig than an independent duchy and ruled by the king of Denmark...

     Literary Museum
  • Eichsfeld Heimatmuseum (local history collection)
  • Heiligenstadt (Ost) Station Museum

Buildings and monuments

  • Mainz Schloss, seat of the administrator for Eichsfeld when it was a dominion of the Archbishopric of Mainz
  • Klausmühle (1748 Fachwerk mill on the site of the birthplace of Tilman Riemenschneider
    Tilman Riemenschneider
    Tilman Riemenschneider was a German sculptor and woodcarver active in Würzburg from 1483. He was one of the most prolific and versatile sculptors of the transition period between late Gothic and Renaissance, a master in stone and limewood.- Biography :Tilman Riemenschneider was born between 1459...

  • Einheitsdenkmal German Unity Monument in front of the town administration building, 2009

Churches and chapels

  • St. Aegidius, also known as the Neustädter Kirche (new-town church): begun in the 13th century
  • St. Mary's, also known as the Altstädter Kirche (old-town church), Liebfrauenkirche (Our Lady's) and Propsteikirche (abbey church): a 14th-century monastic foundation which replaced a 13th-century Romanesque building
  • St. Anne's chapel, possibly originally an ossuary, facing the north portico of St. Mary's
  • St. Martin's, also known as the Bergkirche (mountain church)
  • Monastery of the Congregation of the Most Holy Redeemer
    Congregation of the Most Holy Redeemer
    The Congregation of the Most Holy Redeemer is a Roman Catholic missionary Congregation founded by Saint Alphonsus Liguori at Scala, near Amalfi, Italy for the purpose of labouring among the neglected country people in the neighbourhood of Naples.Members of the Congregation, priests and brothers,...

     and St. Gerhard's church, also known as the Paterkloster
  • St. Nicholas', also known as the Klausbergkirche
  • Klöppelsklus
  • Convent of the Sisters of Mary Magdalene Postel, with convent church and school church


  • The Jewish cemetery in Ibergstraße was last used for burial in 1940. The deportation of 6 Jewish residents to Theresienstadt concentration camp
    Theresienstadt concentration camp
    Theresienstadt concentration camp was a Nazi German ghetto during World War II. It was established by the Gestapo in the fortress and garrison city of Terezín , located in what is now the Czech Republic.-History:The fortress of Terezín was constructed between the years 1780 and 1790 by the orders...

     in September 1942 put an end to a Jewish community in the town which was first mentioned in writing in 1212 and built a synagogue and their own school in the 19th century.
  • The Soviet cemetery and monument in Dingelstädter Straße commemorate 70 Soviet prisoners of war and impressed workers who died in the town due to forced labour during World War II.

Regular events

Heiligenstadt, like the rest of Eichsfeld, is traditionally Roman Catholic, so there are several annual religious events, in particular the procession through the old town on Palm Sunday
Palm Sunday
Palm Sunday is a Christian moveable feast that falls on the Sunday before Easter. The feast commemorates Jesus' triumphal entry into Jerusalem, an event mentioned in all four Canonical Gospels. ....

 with life-size figures from the Passion of Christ, which attracts numerous believers from the region and the rest of Germany.


The Ibergrennen is an annual road race held since 1994 on the last weekend in June on Landesstraße 2022 (Holzweg) in the western foothills of the Iberg. Sponsored by the German Mountain Cup and German Mountain Championship, it has included sports cars as well as touring cars since 1998, when the road surface was renewed and the barriers reinforced. In 2000, the course was extended from 1.96 km to 2.05 km. The climb remains 200 m. It is thus one of the shortest mountain race routes in Germany, but not without challenges.

The drivers' encampment is traditionally set up near the centre of Heiligenstadt, next to a filling station and a supermarket which is open on Sundays.

The first race was held in 1925, but only for motorcycles.

Honorary citizens

  • Johann Vinzenz Wolf (1743–1826), Jesuit historian
  • 1855: Josef Nolte (1781–1863), Archiepiscopal representative
  • 1991: Hugo Dornhofer, Christian labour union official and CDU politician
  • 2004: Paul J. Kockelmann, local administrator 1967–1995


  • Tilman Riemenschneider
    Tilman Riemenschneider
    Tilman Riemenschneider was a German sculptor and woodcarver active in Würzburg from 1483. He was one of the most prolific and versatile sculptors of the transition period between late Gothic and Renaissance, a master in stone and limewood.- Biography :Tilman Riemenschneider was born between 1459...

     (c. 1460–1531), sculptor
  • Johann Melchior Birkenstock (1738–1809), Austrian politician and school reformer
  • Josepha von Siebold (1771–1849), gynaecologist, the first credentialled midwife in Germany.
  • Adolf Werneburg (1813–1886), genealogist and forester
  • Eduard Strecker (1822–1894), politician
  • Ludwig Loewe (1837–1886), politician
  • Helene Keßler (1870–1957), writer, under the pseudonym Hans von Kahlenberg
  • Siegfried Loewenthal (1874–1951), chief justice in West Berlin
    West Berlin
    West Berlin was a political exclave that existed between 1949 and 1990. It comprised the western regions of Berlin, which were bordered by East Berlin and parts of East Germany. West Berlin consisted of the American, British, and French occupation sectors, which had been established in 1945...

     1945–1951, honorary citizen of Heiligenstadt 1948–1951
  • Alfred Mock (1908–2006), Catholic priest
  • Horst Sannemüller (1918–2001), violinist and leader
    The concertmaster/mistress is the spalla or leader, of the first violin section of an orchestra. In the UK, the term commonly used is leader...

     of the Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra
  • Wilhelm Friese (1924–2008), professor of Scandinavian studies
  • Karl H. Steinberg (born 1941), politician
  • Wolfgang Thüne (born 1949), Olympic medallist in gymnastics
  • Joachim Knape (born 1950), professor of rhetoric
  • Bernhard Germeshausen
    Bernhard Germeshausen
    Bernhard Germeshausen is an East German bobsledder who competed from the mid 1970s to the early 1980s...

     (born 1951), Olympic medallist in bobsleigh
  • Dietrich Klinge (born 1954), sculptor and graphic designer
  • Angelika Weiz (born 1954), singer
  • Dieter Althaus
    Dieter Althaus
    Dieter Althaus is a German politician of the Christian Democratic Union .Althaus was teaching Physics and Mathematics at the Polytechnic Secondary School in Geismar, Thuringia, from 1983 to 1989, where he became deputy headteacher in 1987.Since 1985 Althaus has been a member of the CDU, remaining...

     (born 1958), politician (CDU) Ministerpresident of Thuringia 2003–09
  • Peter Pysall (born 1960), handball player and coach
  • Sebastian Haupt
    Sebastian Haupt
    Sebastian Haupt is a German skeleton racer who has competed since 2001. He won the gold medal in the mixed bobsleigh-skeleton team event at the 2008 FIBT World Championships in Altenberg, Germany.Haupt also finished ninth in the men's skeleton event at the 2006 Winter Olympics in...

     (born 1985), skeleton racer


  • Saint Aureus of Mainz (5th century), Bishop of Mainz: some of his remains were reinterred in Heiligenstadt and he is the patron saint
    Patron saint
    A patron saint is a saint who is regarded as the intercessor and advocate in heaven of a nation, place, craft, activity, class, clan, family, or person...

     of the town.
  • Burchard of Worms
    Burchard of Worms
    Burchard of Worms was the Roman Catholic bishop of Worms in the Holy Roman Empire, and author of a Canon law collection in twenty books, the "Collectarium canonum" or "Decretum".-Life:...

     (c. 965–20 August 1025), consecrated Bishop of Worms in Heiligenstadt in 1000.
  • Adolf I of Nassau (1353–1390), Archbishop of Mainz, died in Heiligenstadt.
  • Athanasius Kircher
    Athanasius Kircher
    Athanasius Kircher was a 17th century German Jesuit scholar who published around 40 works, most notably in the fields of oriental studies, geology, and medicine...

     (1602–1680), Jesuit scholar, taught in Heiligenstadt.
  • Hadrian Daude (1704–1755), Jesuit theologian, taught in Heiligenstadt.
  • Friedrich Christian Adolf von Motz (1775–1830), Prussian statesman, was Director of Finance in Heiligenstadt.
  • Heinrich Heine
    Heinrich Heine
    Christian Johann Heinrich Heine was one of the most significant German poets of the 19th century. He was also a journalist, essayist, and literary critic. He is best known outside Germany for his early lyric poetry, which was set to music in the form of Lieder by composers such as Robert Schumann...

     (1797–1856), poet and journalist, was baptised a Protestant in Heiligenstadt in June 1825.
  • Johann Carl Fuhlrott
    Johann Carl Fuhlrott
    Prof. Dr. Johann Carl Fuhlrott was born December 31, 1803 in Leinefelde, Germany, and died October 17, 1877 in Elberfeld, . He is famous for recognizing the significance of the bones of Neanderthal 1, a Neanderthal specimen discovered by German laborers who were digging for limestone in Neander...

     (1803–1877), natural historian, taught in Heiligenstadt.
  • Heinrich Maria Waldmann (1811–1896), theologian and teacher in Heiligenstadt, a representative in the Frankfurt Parliament
    Frankfurt Parliament
    The Frankfurt Assembly was the first freely elected parliament for all of Germany. Session was held from May 18, 1848 to May 31, 1849 in the Paulskirche at Frankfurt am Main...

     of 1848/49.
  • Theodor Storm
    Theodor Storm
    Hans Theodor Woldsen Storm , commonly known as Theodor Storm, was a German writer.-Life:Storm was born in Husum, at the west coast of Schleswig than an independent duchy and ruled by the king of Denmark...

     (1817–1888), author, judge in Heiligenstadt from 1856 to 1864.
  • Friedrich Wilhelm Grimme (1827–1887), author and botanist, was director of the Catholic gymnasium
    Gymnasium (school)
    A gymnasium is a type of school providing secondary education in some parts of Europe, comparable to English grammar schools or sixth form colleges and U.S. college preparatory high schools. The word γυμνάσιον was used in Ancient Greece, meaning a locality for both physical and intellectual...

    in Heiligenstadt.
  • Werner Hagedorn (1831–1894), surgeon, educated in Heiligenstadt.
  • Anton Thraen
    Anton Thraen
    Anton Karl Thraen was a German astronomer and named two minor planets, 442 Eichsfeldia and 443 Photographica.-Biography:...

     (1843–1902), astronomer, educated in Heiligenstadt.
  • Karl Wisniewski (1844–1904), composer, worked in Heiligenstadt from 1885 on.
  • Hermann Iseke
    Hermann Iseke
    Dr. Hermann Iseke was a German doctor.- Biography :...

     (1856–1907), poet
  • Martin Weinrich (1865–1925), Catholic educator and author, educated in Heiligenstadt.
  • Andreas Huke (1876–1962), politician, worked and lived in Heiligenstadt.
  • Walter Möllenberg (1879–1951), historian, died in Heiligenstadt
  • Ludolf Hermann Müller (1882–1959), Protestant Bishop of Saxony, previously was a minister in Heiligenstadt.
  • Karl Paul Haendly (1891–1965), author and politician, died in Heiligenstadt.
  • Karl Hackethal (1901–1990), politician, educated in Heiligenstadt.
  • Herbert Haselwander (1910–1940), Nazi district leader in Heiligenstadt.
  • Erich Gerberding (1921–1986), actor, member of the Heiligenstadt theatre.
  • Horst Keitel (born 1928), actor, member of the Heiligenstadt theatre from 1946 to 1951.
  • Rudolf Richwien (born 1928), neurologist, retired to Heiligenstadt.
  • Johannes Dyba (1929–2000), Bishop of Fulda, educated in Heiligenstadt.
  • Joachim Meisner (born 1933), Archbishop of Cologne, previously chaplain at St. Egidius' church in Heiligenstadt.
  • Georg Sterzinsky (born 1936), Archbishop of Berlin, previously chaplain at St. Egidius' church in Heiligenstadt.
  • Heinz-Josef Durstewitz (born 1945), Catholic dissenter in the GDR, currently Provost of Heiligenstadt.
  • Reinhard Hauke (born 1953), Auxiliary bishop
    Auxiliary bishop
    An auxiliary bishop, in the Roman Catholic Church, is an additional bishop assigned to a diocese because the diocesan bishop is unable to perform his functions, the diocese is so extensive that it requires more than one bishop to administer, or the diocese is attached to a royal or imperial office...

    of Erfurt, previously chaplain at St. Egidius' church in Heiligenstadt.
  • Manfred Grund (born 1955), politician, active in Heiligenstadt.


  • Johann Vinzenz Wolf. Geschichte und Beschreibung der Stadt Heiligenstadt mit Urkunden. Göttingen: Beyersche Universitätsdruckerei, 1800. At Google Books
  • Hans Patze (Ed.) "Heiligenstadt". In: Thüringen: Handbuch der historischen Stätten Deutschlands, Volume 9. Stuttgart: Alfred-Kröner-Verlag, 1989. ISBN 3-520-31302-2. pp. 186–190.
  • Carl Duval. "Heiligenstadt". In: Das Eichsfeld. Repr. Hannover-Dören: Harro von Hirschheydt Verlag, 1979. ISBN 3-7777-0002-9. pp. 422–489.
  • Karl J. Hüther. Vom Jesuitenkolleg zum Staatlichen Gymnasium in Heiligenstadt. Heiligenstadt: F.W. Cordier,1995. ISBN 3-929413-25-6.
  • Enno Bünz. "Heiligenstadt als geistliches Zentrum des Eichsfeldes. Das Kollegiatstift St. Martin und seine Kanoniker". Zeitschrift des Vereins für Thüringische Geschichte 62 (2008) 9-48.
  • Bernhard Opfermann. Gestalten des Eichsfeldes: Ein biographisches Lexikon. Heiligenstadt: Cordier, 1999, ISBN 3-929413-37-X.

External links

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