Ilfeld is a municipality in the district of Nordhausen
Nordhausen (district)
Nordhausen is a Kreis in the north of Thuringia, Germany. Neighboring districts are Harz and Mansfeld-Südharz in Saxony-Anhalt, the district Kyffhäuserkreis, Eichsfeld in Thuringia and the districts Osterode and Goslar in Lower Saxony.-History:The district was created in 1815, when the Prussian...

, 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. It is situated at the south foot of the Harz
The Harz is the highest mountain range in northern Germany and its rugged terrain extends across parts of Lower Saxony, Saxony-Anhalt and Thuringia. The name Harz derives from the Middle High German word Hardt or Hart , latinized as Hercynia. The legendary Brocken is the highest summit in the Harz...

, at the entrance to the Bährethal, 8 miles (12.9 km) north from Nordhausen
Nordhausen is a town at the southern edge of the Harz Mountains, in the state of Thuringia, Germany. It is the capital of the district of Nordhausen...

 by the railway to Wernigerode
Wernigerode is a town in the district of Harz, Saxony-Anhalt, Germany. Until 2007, it was the capital of the district of Wernigerode. Its population was 35,500 in 1999....


Establishments in 1911

It contains a Lutheran church, a celebrated gymnasium, once a monasterial school, with a fine library. Until 1903 the Evangelical Lutheran State Church of Hanover ran a consistory in Ilfeld competent for the former County of Hohnstein. Furthermore there were manufactures of parquet-flooring, paper and plaster of Paris, while another industry in the town is brewing. It is also of some repute as a health resort.


Ilfeld and Neustadt in the Harz
Neustadt/Harz is a municipality in the district of Nordhausen, in Thuringia, Germany.-Culture and places of interest:The area around Neustadt is rich in places of interest, which are all accessible on footpaths. Of the three castle ruins Hohnstein Castle, the oldest in the entire Harz, is the most...

 were at the core of a County, first named Bilstein, then Ilfeld and from 1160 on – by marriage – County of Hohnstein. By the end of the 13th c. the Counts had split their territory among several lines, resulting from repeated divisions among the respective male heirs.

In 1154 the place was first mentioned as Ilevelt in a document by the Saxon Duke Henry the Lion
Henry the Lion
Henry the Lion was a member of the Welf dynasty and Duke of Saxony, as Henry III, from 1142, and Duke of Bavaria, as Henry XII, from 1156, which duchies he held until 1180....

. Under impressions of his pilgrimage to the Holy Land
Holy Land
The Holy Land is a term which in Judaism refers to the Kingdom of Israel as defined in the Tanakh. For Jews, the Land's identifiction of being Holy is defined in Judaism by its differentiation from other lands by virtue of the practice of Judaism often possible only in the Land of Israel...

 and Jerusalem in 1172, Count Elger II of Ilfeld(-Hohnstein) and his wife Lutrude founded in 1189 the Premonstratensian
The Order of Canons Regular of Prémontré, also known as the Premonstratensians, the Norbertines, or in Britain and Ireland as the White Canons , are a Catholic religious order of canons regular founded at Prémontré near Laon in 1120 by Saint Norbert, who later became Archbishop of Magdeburg...

 monastery in Ilfeld, as confirmed by the German King Henry VI
Henry VI, Holy Roman Emperor
Henry VI was King of Germany from 1190 to 1197, Holy Roman Emperor from 1191 to 1197 and King of Sicily from 1194 to 1197.-Early years:Born in Nijmegen,...

 in 1190.

Ilfeld, as a town, dates from the 14th century, when it sprang up round the monastery. This was reformed in 1545, and a year later converted into the school mentioned above, which under the rectorship of Michael Neander enjoyed a reputation for scholarship which it has maintained until today.

When 1593 the last Count Ernest VII of Hohnstein – ruling together the 3 fiefs of Klettenberg, Lohra as well as Scharzfeld and Lauterberg – died, the latter fief was reverted to the Guelphic Philip II, Duke of Brunswick and Lunenburg-Grubenhagen, who decided not to enfeoff a new dynasty with the County but to hold it in his own house. The former two territories had as heirs the comital families of Schwarzburg and Stolberg by legation, but were fiefs of the Prince-Bishopric of Halberstadt
Bishopric of Halberstadt
The Bishopric of Halberstadt was a Roman Catholic diocese from 804 until 1648 and an ecclesiastical state of the Holy Roman Empire from the late Middle Ages...

, whose Prince-Bishop Henry Julius, from the Guelphic ducal family of Brunswick and Lunenburg-Wolfenbüttel
Henry Julius, Duke of Brunswick-Lüneburg
Henry Julius was duke of Brunswick-Lüneburg and prince of Wolfenbüttel from 1589 until his death. In 1576 he had become the first rector of the Protestant University of Helmstedt.- Life :...

 withheld them with violence from the intestated heirs.

In 1632, after many litigations at the Reichskammergericht
The Reichskammergericht or Imperial Chamber Court was one of two highest judicial institutions in the Holy Roman Empire, the other one being the Aulic Council in Vienna. It was founded in 1495 by the Imperial Diet in Worms...

 finally the Counties of Lohra and Klettenberg were partially handed over to the heirs. Part of the county owned by the Stolbergs, including Ilfeld, became part of the Electorate of Brunswick and Lunenburg (colloquially called Electorate of Hanover after its capital) in 1803. Then it underwent several conquests first by France, then Prussia, then France again, whose ruler Napoléon Bonaparte allowed his brother Jérôme Bonaparte
Jérôme Bonaparte
Jérôme-Napoléon Bonaparte, French Prince, King of Westphalia, 1st Prince of Montfort was the youngest brother of Napoleon, who made him king of Westphalia...

 to annex it for his Kingdom of Westphalia
Kingdom of Westphalia
The Kingdom of Westphalia was a new country of 2.6 million Germans that existed from 1807-1813. It included of territory in Hesse and other parts of present-day Germany. While formally independent, it was a vassal state of the First French Empire, ruled by Napoleon's brother Jérôme Bonaparte...

 in 1807.

Ilfeld was restituted to Hanover in 1813. By an administrative reform Ilfeld became the capital of the meanwhile Royal Hanoveran
Kingdom of Hanover
The Kingdom of Hanover was established in October 1814 by the Congress of Vienna, with the restoration of George III to his Hanoverian territories after the Napoleonic era. It succeeded the former Electorate of Brunswick-Lüneburg , and joined with 38 other sovereign states in the German...

 Province of Hohnstein in 1815, later renamed into Department of Hohnstein . When in 1866 Prussia annexed Hanover Ilfeld stayed with the now Prussian Province of Hanover
Province of Hanover
The Province of Hanover was a province of the Kingdom of Prussia and the Free State of Prussia from 1868 to 1946.During the Austro-Prussian War, the Kingdom of Hanover had attempted to maintain a neutral position, along with some other member states of the German Confederation...

, becoming in 1885 the capital of the District of Ilfeld , combining the territorially unconnected former Hanoveran departments of Ilfeld and Elbingerode
Elbingerode is a town in the Harz district, in the German state of Saxony-Anhalt. Since 1 January 2010, it is part of the town Oberharz am Brocken. Elbingerode has 3.672 inhabitants ....

. By the Prussian reform of districts in 1932 the District of Ilfeld was dissolved and its two territorially unconnected parts were disentangled from Hanover and transferred to the Prussian Province of Saxony
Province of Saxony
The Province of Saxony was a province of the Kingdom of Prussia and later the Free State of Prussia from 1816 until 1945. Its capital was Magdeburg.-History:The province was created in 1816 out of the following territories:...

, with the Hohnstein section including Ilfeld becoming a part of the District of the County of Hohenstein (sic!), which comprised those parts of the ancient Hohnstein County, which had remained with the Prince-Bishopric of Halberstadt in 1632.

In July 1945 Ilfeld became part of the Soviet occupation zone. Big parts of the Province of Saxony, including Ilfeld, were integrated into the enlarged state of Thuringia in 1946.

Natural monuments

The Lange Wand is at the southern approach to the village on the steep bank of the Behre. The geological outcrop which is explained on an information board sheds light on the history of the formation of the Harz Mountains and the Harz Foreland.

Well-known natural monuments and walking destinations in the immediate vicinity of Ilfeld are the Gänseschnabel
The Gänseschnabel is a natural monument north of Ilfeld in Thuringia, Germany. It is a striking, free-standing rock pillar made of porphyry, which resembles the beak of a goose and from which there is a comprehensive view of the Behre valley looking towards Netzkater.There is a legend connected...

, the Nadelöhr and the Mönch.


  • Forstemann, Monumenta rerum Ilfeldensium (Nordhausen, 1843)
  • Michael Neander, Bericht vom Kloster Ilfeld, edited by Bouterwek
    Friedrich Bouterwek
    Friedrich Bouterwek , German philosopher and critic, was born to a mining director at Oker, today a district of Goslar in Lower Saxony, and studied law and philology under Christian Gottlob Heyne and Johann Georg Heinrich Feder at the University of Göttingen.After he had finished his studies he was...

    (Göttingen, 1873)
  • K. Meyer, Geschichte des Klosters Ilfeld (Leipzig, 1897).

External links

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