Kempten im Allgäu
Kempten is the largest town in Allgäu
The Allgäu is a southern German region in Swabia. It covers the south of Bavarian Swabia and southeastern Baden-Württemberg. The region stretches from the prealpine lands up to the Alps...

, a region in the south-west of Bavaria
Bavaria, formally the Free State of Bavaria is a state of Germany, located in the southeast of Germany. With an area of , it is the largest state by area, forming almost 20% of the total land area of Germany...

, 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...

. The population was ca 61,000 in 2006. The area was possibly settled originally by Celt
The Celts were a diverse group of tribal societies in Iron Age and Roman-era Europe who spoke Celtic languages.The earliest archaeological culture commonly accepted as Celtic, or rather Proto-Celtic, was the central European Hallstatt culture , named for the rich grave finds in Hallstatt, Austria....

s, but was later overtaken by the Romans
Ancient Rome
Ancient Rome was a thriving civilization that grew on the Italian Peninsula as early as the 8th century BC. Located along the Mediterranean Sea and centered on the city of Rome, it expanded to one of the largest empires in the ancient world....

, who called the town Cambodunum. Archaeologists consider Kempten one of the oldest urban settlements in Germany.


The Greek geographer Strabon mentions in 50 BC a town of the Celtic Estiones
named Kambodunon. This is considered the oldest written reference of any German city. So far no archaeological evidence could be found that this Celtic settlement really existed.

Roman era

In 15 BC
15 BC
Year 15 BC was either a common year starting on Tuesday, Wednesday or Thursday or a leap year starting on Wednesday of the Julian calendar and a common year starting on Monday of the Proleptic Julian calendar...

 Roman troops led by Nero Claudius Drusus
Nero Claudius Drusus
Nero Claudius Drusus Germanicus , born Decimus Claudius Drusus also called Drusus, Drusus I, Nero Drusus, or Drusus the Elder was a Roman politician and military commander. He was a fully patrician Claudian on his father's side but his maternal grandmother was from a plebeian family...

 and his brother Tiberius
Tiberius , was Roman Emperor from 14 AD to 37 AD. Tiberius was by birth a Claudian, son of Tiberius Claudius Nero and Livia Drusilla. His mother divorced Nero and married Augustus in 39 BC, making him a step-son of Octavian...

 conquered and destroyed an existing Celtic city. Later the settlement was named Cambodunum.
In the following years the city was rebuilt on a classical Roman city plan with baths, forum and temples. Initially in wood, the city was later rebuilt in stone after a devastating fire that destroyed almost the entire city in the year AD 69. The city possibly served as provincial capital of Raetia
Raetia was a province of the Roman Empire, named after the Rhaetian people. It was bounded on the west by the country of the Helvetii, on the east by Noricum, on the north by Vindelicia, on the west by Cisalpine Gaul and on south by Venetia et Histria...

 during the first century before Augsburg
Augsburg is a city in the south-west of Bavaria, Germany. It is a university town and home of the Regierungsbezirk Schwaben and the Bezirk Schwaben. Augsburg is an urban district and home to the institutions of the Landkreis Augsburg. It is, as of 2008, the third-largest city in Bavaria with a...

 took over this role. Extensive archeological excavations at the end of the 19th century and again during the 1950s at what were then the outskirts of Kempten unearthed the extensive structural foundations.

The city was again destroyed in AD 233 by the Alemanni, a Suebi
The Suebi or Suevi were a group of Germanic peoples who were first mentioned by Julius Caesar in connection with Ariovistus' campaign, c...

c tribe. The original site of Cambodunum was then abandoned and moved to a strategically safer location on the Burghalde hill overlooking the river Iller
The Iller is a river in Bavaria, Germany. It is a right tributary of the Danube, 147 km in length.The source is located near Oberstdorf in the Allgäu region of the Alps, close to the Austrian border. From there it runs northwards, passing the towns of Sonthofen, Immenstadt, and Kempten...


Only in 488 the last Roman troops left the area and the city was entirely overtaken by the Alemanni.

Middle Ages

After the Romans abandoned the settlement, it was moved from the hill down to the plains located next to the river Iller. In written sources, the town appears as Cambidano. Being still predominantly Alemannic, the town once more was destroyed by 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...

 in 683 as a consequence of the city’s support of an uprising against the Frankish kingdom.

Around 747, the first missionary cell was founded by the Irish
Irish people
The Irish people are an ethnic group who originate in Ireland, an island in northwestern Europe. Ireland has been populated for around 9,000 years , with the Irish people's earliest ancestors recorded having legends of being descended from groups such as the Nemedians, Fomorians, Fir Bolg, Tuatha...

 monks Magnus and Theodore sent from the Abbey of St. Gall
Abbey of St. Gall
The Abbey of Saint Gall is a religious complex in the city of St. Gallen in present-day Switzerland. The Carolingian-era Abbey has existed since 719 and became an independent principality during the 13th century, and was for many centuries one of the chief Benedictine abbeys in Europe. It was...

 in Switzerland
Switzerland name of one of the Swiss cantons. ; ; ; or ), in its full name the Swiss Confederation , is a federal republic consisting of 26 cantons, with Bern as the seat of the federal authorities. The country is situated in Western Europe,Or Central Europe depending on the definition....

 to evangelize the area. In the following years a monastery — Kempten Abbey — was built, the first in the Allgäu region. Audogar was the first abbot of the new Benedictine monastery. Through the financial and lobbyist support 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...

’s wife Hildegard, an Allemanic princess, the monastery managed to become one of the most privileged monasteries of the Frankish Empire
Frankish Empire
Francia or Frankia, later also called the Frankish Empire , Frankish Kingdom , Frankish Realm or occasionally Frankland, was the territory inhabited and ruled by the Franks from the 3rd to the 10th century...


After several ravages by the Magyars, Ulrich of Augsburg
Ulrich of Augsburg
Saint Ulrich , sometimes spelled Uodalric or Odalrici, was Bishop of Augsburg and a leader of the Roman Catholic Church in Germany. He was the first saint to be canonized.-Family:...

, bishop of Augsburg
Bishop of Augsburg
The Bishop of Augsburg is the Ordinary of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Augsburg in the Ecclesiastical province of München und Freising.The diocese covers an area of 13,250 km².The current bishop is Konrad Zdarsa who was appointed in 2010....

 and also abbot of Kempten, began the rebuilding of the monastery and the city in 941.

In 1213, Holy Roman Emperor
Holy Roman Emperor
The Holy Roman Emperor is a term used by historians to denote a medieval ruler who, as German King, had also received the title of "Emperor of the Romans" from the Pope...

 Frederick II declared the abbots members of the Reichstag
Reichstag (Holy Roman Empire)
The Imperial Diet was the Diet, or general assembly, of the Imperial Estates of the Holy Roman Empire.During the period of the Empire, which lasted formally until 1806, the Diet was not a parliament in today's sense; instead, it was an assembly of the various estates of the realm...

 and granted the abbot the right to bear the title of Duke. However in 1289, King Rudolf of Habsburg also granted special privileges to the urban settlement in the river valley, making it an Imperial City
Free Imperial City
In the Holy Roman Empire, a free imperial city was a city formally ruled by the emperor only — as opposed to the majority of cities in the Empire, which were governed by one of the many princes of the Empire, such as dukes or prince-bishops...

. In 1525 the last property rights of the abbots in the Imperial City were sold in the so-called “Great Purchase”, marking the start of the co-existence of two independent cities bearing the same name next to each other. More conflict arose after the Imperial City converted to Protestantism
Protestantism is one of the three major groupings within Christianity. It is a movement that began in Germany in the early 16th century as a reaction against medieval Roman Catholic doctrines and practices, especially in regards to salvation, justification, and ecclesiology.The doctrines of the...

 in direct opposition to the Catholic
The word catholic comes from the Greek phrase , meaning "on the whole," "according to the whole" or "in general", and is a combination of the Greek words meaning "about" and meaning "whole"...

 monastery (and Free City) in 1527.

Renaissance and Baroque to Modern Age

During the turmoil of 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....

 (1632–33), both cities were destroyed by the imperial forces and the Swedish troops respectively.

Only shortly after the war the Duke-Abbot Roman Giel of Gielsberg commissioned the two architects Michael Beer and Johann Serro from Graubünden
Graubünden or Grisons is the largest and easternmost canton of Switzerland. The canton shares borders with the cantons of Ticino, Uri, Glarus and St. Gallen and international borders with Italy, Austria and Liechtenstein...

 to build a new parish church and monastery church including a representative Residence for the Duke-Abbots. This church is acknowledged as the first major church construction in 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...

 after the Thirty Years' War.

During the Napoleonic Wars
Napoleonic Wars
The Napoleonic Wars were a series of wars declared against Napoleon's French Empire by opposing coalitions that ran from 1803 to 1815. As a continuation of the wars sparked by the French Revolution of 1789, they revolutionised European armies and played out on an unprecedented scale, mainly due to...

 the Duke-Abbey and Imperial City came under Bavarian rule (1802–03). Finally, in 1819, the two rivalling cities were united into a single communal entity.

The city was the location of a subcamp of the Dachau concentration camp during World War II
World War II
World War II, or the Second World War , was a global conflict lasting from 1939 to 1945, involving most of the world's nations—including all of the great powers—eventually forming two opposing military alliances: the Allies and the Axis...


Main sights

  • The St. Lorenz Basilica minor
  • The St. Mang Church
  • The Burghalde Castle
  • The Duke-Abbots' Residence
  • The Archaeological Park Cambodunum
  • The City Hall and Square
  • The medieval Keck Chapel


Kempten is well connected with the region through the A 7 autobahn (Würzburg
Würzburg is a city in the region of Franconia which lies in the northern tip of Bavaria, Germany. Located at the Main River, it is the capital of the Regierungsbezirk Lower Franconia. The regional dialect is Franconian....

Ulm is a city in the federal German state of Baden-Württemberg, situated on the River Danube. The city, whose population is estimated at 120,000 , forms an urban district of its own and is the administrative seat of the Alb-Donau district. Ulm, founded around 850, is rich in history and...

Füssen is a town in Bavaria, Germany, in the district of Ostallgäu situated from the Austrian border. It is located on the banks of the Lech river. The River Lech flows into the Forggensee...

). Bundesstraße
Bundesstraße , abbreviated B, is the denotation for German and Austrian national highways.-Germany:...

n B 12 (partly as A 980 autobahn), B 19 and B 309 are also intersecting in Kempten.

The city is on the Allgäu Railway, opened as part of the Ludwig South-North Railway
Ludwig South-North Railway
The Ludwig South-North railway , built between 1843 and 1854, was the first railway line to be constructed by Royal Bavarian State Railways...

 in 1852, and currently boasts good InterCity
InterCity is the classification applied to certain long-distance passenger train services in Europe...

 and EuroCity
EuroCity, abbreviated EC, denotes an international train service within the European inter-city rail network. In contrast to trains with the "IC" label, "EC" trains are international trains that meet certain criteria. The EuroCity label replaces the older Trans Europ Express name for...

 rail connections.

The city bus system is operated by Kemptener Verkehrsbetriebe, which operates over 20 lines.


The Kempten University of Applied Sciences
Kempten University of Applied Sciences
The Kempten University of Applied Sciences or Hochschule Kempten is a University of applied sciences in Kempten im Allgäu, Germany.-Faculties:The Kempten University of Applied Sciences has the following faculties:...

 started in the winter semester of 1978–79 with 89 students and since then expanded and now accommodates more than 2800 students in eight degree courses:
  • Business Administration
  • Computer Science
  • Electrical Engineering
  • Industrial Engineering – Electronic and Information Technology
  • Industrial Engineering – Mechanical Engineering with Distribution Management or Information Technology
  • Mechanical Engineering
  • Social Management
  • Tourism and Hospitality Management

There are also three Grammar Schools (Allgäu-Gymnasium, Hildegardis-Gymnasium, Carl-von-Linde-Gymnasium) offering education to the entire region of the Allgäu.

Notable people

Notable people from Kempten include:
  • Claudius Dornier
    Claudius Dornier
    Claude Honoré Desiré Dornier born in Kempten im Allgäu was a German airplane builder and founder of Dornier GmbH...

    , plane constructor
  • Ernst W. Mayr, biologist
  • Heide Schmidt
    Heide Schmidt
    Heide Schmidt is an Austrian politician.A lawyer and formerly a prominent member of Jörg Haider's Austrian Freedom Party , in 1993 Schmidt was one of a group of politicians who, because of Haider's increasingly right-wing verbal politics, seceded from the FPÖ and founded the Liberal Forum.From...

    , Austrian politician
  • Ignaz Kiechle
    Ignaz Kiechle
    Ignaz Kiechle was a German politician of the Christian Social Union of Bavaria....

    , politician
  • İlhan Mansız
    Ilhan Mansiz
    İlhan Mansız is a former Turkish football player.-Career:He attracted much attention from female fans due to his fashionable dressing style and hairdo, being listed among other football players such as David Beckham who are often categorized as metrosexuals...

    , Turkish
    Turkey , known officially as the Republic of Turkey , is a Eurasian country located in Western Asia and in East Thrace in Southeastern Europe...

  • Günther Dollinger
    Günther Dollinger
    Günther Dollinger is a German physicist and professor at the Bundeswehr University Munich.- Life :Dollinger completed his doctoral studies in physics at the University of Technology Munich...

    , German physicist and professor

Partner cities

Bad Dürkheim
Bad Dürkheim
Bad Dürkheim is a spa town in the Rhine-Neckar urban agglomeration, and is the seat of the Bad Dürkheim district in Rhineland-Palatinate, Germany.- Location :...

, Rhineland-Palatinate
Rhineland-Palatinate is one of the 16 states of the Federal Republic of Germany. It has an area of and about four million inhabitants. The capital is Mainz. English speakers also commonly refer to the state by its German name, Rheinland-Pfalz ....

, 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...

, since 2001 Quiberon
Quiberon is a commune in the Morbihan department in Brittany in north-western France.It is situated on the southern part of the Quiberon peninsula, the northern part being the commune of Saint-Pierre-Quiberon...

, Morbihan
Morbihan is a department in Brittany, situated in the northwest of France. It is named after the Morbihan , the enclosed sea that is the principal feature of the coastline.-History:...

, 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...

, since 1971 (initially with the municipality St. Mang) Sligo
Sligo is the county town of County Sligo in Ireland. The town is a borough and has a charter and a town mayor. It is sometimes referred to as a city, and sometimes as a town, and is the second largest urban area in Connacht...

, County Sligo, Ireland
Ireland is an island to the northwest of continental Europe. It is the third-largest island in Europe and the twentieth-largest island on Earth...

, since 1990 Sopron
In 1910 Sopron had 33,932 inhabitants . Religions: 64.1% Roman Catholic, 27.8% Lutheran, 6.6% Jewish, 1.2% Calvinist, 0.3% other. In 2001 the city had 56,125 inhabitants...

, Győr-Moson-Sopron
Győr-Moson-Sopron is the name of an administrative county in north-western Hungary, on the border with Slovakia and Austria. It shares borders with the Hungarian counties Komárom-Esztergom, Veszprém and Vas. The capital of Győr-Moson-Sopron county is Győr...

, Hungary
Hungary , officially the Republic of Hungary , is a landlocked country in Central Europe. It is situated in the Carpathian Basin and is bordered by Slovakia to the north, Ukraine and Romania to the east, Serbia and Croatia to the south, Slovenia to the southwest and Austria to the west. The...

, since 1987 Trento
Trento is an Italian city located in the Adige River valley in Trentino-Alto Adige/Südtirol. It is the capital of Trentino...

, Trentino, Italy
Italy , officially the Italian Republic languages]] under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages. In each of these, Italy's official name is as follows:;;;;;;;;), is a unitary parliamentary republic in South-Central Europe. To the north it borders France, Switzerland, Austria and...

, since 1987

See also

  • Ausgewählte Akten Persischer Märtyrer
    Ausgewählte Akten Persischer Märtyrer
    Ausgewählte Akten Persischer Märtyrer is a book by Oskar Braun which was published in 1915 in Kempten. It contains biographical material regarding several saints, including:*Mar Abba*Simon of Bet-Titta-References:...

  • Carolingian architecture
    Carolingian architecture
    Carolingian architecture is the style of north European Pre-Romanesque architecture belonging to the period of the Carolingian Renaissance of the late 8th and 9th centuries, when the Carolingian family dominated west European politics...

  • Carolingian art
    Carolingian art
    Carolingian art comes from the Frankish Empire in the period of roughly 120 years from about AD 780 to 900 — during the reign of Charlemagne and his immediate heirs — popularly known as the Carolingian Renaissance. The art was produced by and for the court circle and a group of...

  • List of Carolingian monasteries

External links

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