[ source: Wikipedia ]

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Minden Overview

Minden is the historic political center of the Minden countryside (Mindener Land). It is widely known for the intersection of the Mittellandkanal over the river Weser. The over 1,200 year old town contains many buildings in the Weserrenaissance style, as well as the architecturally symbolic 1,000 year old cathedral.

Minden is located in the northeast of North Rhine-Westfalia north of the Porta gap separating the Wesergebirge and the Wiehengebirge ridges. Here the Weser leaves the Weser Uplands and flows into the North German Plain.

Minden is located on the Weser river in view of the Weser Uplands to its south and reaches the ridge of the Wiehengebirge in the town districts of Dützen and Haddenhausen. The town center lies 5 km north of this ridge, on the plateau of the western shore of the Weser. The plateau edge marks the transition from the middle Weser valley to the so-called Lübbecker loess country. This marked change in the terrain traverses the town landscape and divides the upper town from the lower town, as well as separating the two ecological zones. The formation of the town was strongly influenced by the Prussian fortress of Minden, whose demolished fortifications now provide a green belt around the town center.

Minden is located 40 km to the northeast of Bielefeld (Bielefeld vacation rentals | Bielefeld travel guide), 55 km to the west of Hanover, 100 miles south of Bremen (Bremen vacation rentals | Bremen travel guide) and 60 km east of Osnabrück (Osnabrück vacation rentals | Osnabrück travel guide). It provides the historic and political focus for the larger Minden countryside.

Things to See in Minden

The Stadttheater (town theater) Minden celebrated its 100 year anniversary in 2008 and now has a fixed venue. The town supports the Nordwestdeutsche Philharmonie for regular symphony concerts. Further theater and cultural events occur with private sponsorship and are held in such locations as the Bürgerzentrum (civic center) and the Theater am Weingarten. There are theater groups without fixed performance venues.

Minden is the founding site and locale of the nationally known amateur cabaret "Mindener Stichlinge". Its 1996 founding makes it the oldest active cabaret in Germany. The town awards a prize to support literary-political cabarets. The 4,000 Euro prize is awarded every two years, is named "Kabarett-Förderpreis Mindener Stichling" , and is sponsored by the Melitta company as well as the Sparkasse (savings bank) Minden-Lübbecke.

Minden has a community archive and two significant museums. The "Preußenmuseum Minden" is one of two Prussian museums in Westfalia. It is quartered in old barracks on the Simeons platz (square). The building served the old Fortress Minden which influenced the town until its break-up in 1873.

The second is the "Mindener Museum für Geschichte (history) Landes (country)- und Volkskunde (civic affairs)". The exhibits are located in a Weser Weserrenaissance style row of patrician houses. The attached "Kaffee(coffee)-Museum" focuses on the 100 year old coffee producer Melitta.

The "Puppenmuseum" (doll museum) is a private initiative.

The "Westfälische Mühlenstraße (mill route)" is the first example of its kind and connects the many windmills located in the flatland of the Minden Countryside. These were already recognized and preserved as technical monuments in the 1960s. Most of these relics of the 19th Century are restored.

The Mindener Museumseisenbahn (museum railway) operates with old Prussian rolling stock on the old tracks of the Mindener Kreisbahn. It is famous for harking back to traditional Prussia.

The 1,200 year old town possesses a scenic old-town surrounding the cathedral of St. Gorgonius. Many buildings stem from the economically active 16th Century. Some are built in the regional Weserrenaissance style while other hark back to the time when Minden was a fortified town.

The cathedrals western entrance facade is in romanesque style while the early gothic nave and aisles date from the 11th to the 13th Century. The early settlement was on the lower town terrace surrounding the cathedral. The rebuilt town hall from the 13th Century with its picturesque arcade is located 150m to the west. The view between the two buildings is partly blocked by a town hall addition dating from the post World War II urban renewal. The town hall's historic arcade survived the major bomb attack of WWII. The market square possesses more historic buildings with impressive facades including the "Schmiedingsche Haus".

The climb to the upper terrace of the old-town is aided by the "Martinitreppe" (St. Martins steps). The rise of the upper terrace was used architecturally to enhance the distant view of the churches located there. These include St. Martini built after 1300, St. Marien (St. Marys church) located on the steep scenic "Hufschmiede" (horseshoe-smithy), and high steepled St Simionis built after 1305. The red sandstone "Proviant-Magazin" (Granary) and adjacent bakery originally supported the Prussion fortress garrison. The "Alte Münze" (old mint) is the oldest stone building in Westfalia. Across the street is the "Windloch" (wind-hole) a trapezoidal half-timbered house that is one of the smallest in Minden. It is named for the wind that church-goers encountered in the adjacent alleyway. Further on are the Weserrenaissance style row of buildings housing the historiical museum of the town. The "Schwedenschänke" (Swedish tavern) is a reminder of the Swedish occupation during the 30 Year War and is now a restaurant-tavern.

The town expanded within the fortress walls to the north on the lower terrace. Here is the site of "St. Johannis" (St. John's church). The "Wesertor" (old bridgehead gate) experienced considerable urban renewal and the construction of two new department stores. These are located on the pedestrian shopping street called "Bäckerstraße" (bakers street). The "Fischerstadt" (fishermans town) lies along the Weser to the north of the old town core. Remnants of the old town fortification wall still exist here. All other fortification walls were demolished and replaced by the green belt of the "Glacis". The dissolution of the fortification allowed the slow development of prestigious residential houses in the areas outside the old walls.

The impressive facade of "Haus Flamme/Schmieding" on the market square obtained a twice daily clock display in 2010. It features Duke "Weduking", the last Saxon leader, shaking hands with Charlemagne. They give the oath: "diese Burg soll nun min und din sein" (this fort shall now be mine and thine), thus naming Minden.

Minden contains significant buildings in the Weserrenaissance style, such as the Administration Building of the old Minden Region, the "Haus Hill" on the Bäckerstraße and "Haus Hagemeyer" located on the "Scharn".

The "Schloss Haddenhausen" is a 17th Century Weserrenaissance style manor house located on the outskirts of the town.

The second largest water crossing in Germany is located north of the town center. The Mittellandkanal passes over the Weser on a double aqueduct. Two systems of locks allow passage of ships from one level to the other. A larger lock is under construction.

The "Kampa-Halle" is a large complex for sports and other events. It is the home venue for "Grün-Weiß Dankersen Minden" a handball club that is a member of the national league (Handballbundesliga).

The town of Minden contains several monuments harking back to Prussian history. The monument of the Great Elector (Denkmal des Großen Kurfürsten) stands alongside the Weser bridgehead to commemorate the first Prussian ruler of Minden.

The monument of the Battle of Minden is located in the Todtenhausen quarter of the town. It commemorates the decisive victory of the allied forces of Great Britain, Hanover, Hesse-Kassel, Brunswick-Wolfenbuettel and Schaumburg-Lippe led by Duke Ferdinand of Brunswick over a French and Electorate of Saxony army led by the Marquis de Contades.

The botanical garden is centrally located on the site of the old cemetery and features old tree specimens and thematic gardens. The site for burials was transferred in 1904 to a new site on the Weser north of the towncenter. The "Glacis" stems from the Fortress Minden. The present wooded parklike green belt was started after the demolition of the fortress walls. The post Napoleonic fortifications had replaced older walls stemming from the Middle Ages.

[ source: wikipedia ]

More about the History of Minden

Findings of settlements in various areas of the town lead to the assumption that Minden has been settled since the 3rd Century. The Minden area demonstrates continuing settlement activity from the 1st to the 3rd Century. The area belonged to the rhine-weser-Germanic development sphere at this time. This is apparent from the imperial age burial fields Minden-Römerring and, Porta Westfalica-Costedt.

The introduction of the Protestant Reformation to Minden in 1529 created much conflict in the town, leading to the formation of a 36-man unit that took over the role of town regiment. Nicholas Krage announced Minden's new evangelical church order from the pulpit of the St. Martins church (Martinikirche) on February 13, 1530. There were 128 prosecutions for witchcraft between 1603 to 1684. As in nearby regions, almost all these prosecutions were against women.

The Prussian era was very influential for Minden. This is apparent both in the townscape and town layout. Many buildings remain from this era. The first Fortress Commander was Ernst Michael von Schwichow. The town remained a Prussian fortress until 1873, when the Reichstag (Imperial German Parliament) passed the law to lift the fortress status of Minden along with Stettin, Erfurt (Erfurt vacation rentals | Erfurt travel guide), Wittenber, Kosel, Graudenz, Kolberg and Stralsund (Stralsund vacation rentals | Stralsund travel guide). The fortress walls were only razed at this time permitting the town to catch up economically. However, it was never able to regained its former political and economic importance.

On January 1, 1973, the communities of Aminghausen, Bölhorst, Dankersen, Dützen, Haddenhausen, Hahlen, Häverstädt, Kutenhausen, Leteln, Meißen, Päpinghausen, Stemmer, Todtenhausen as well as parts of Barkhausen, Hartum and Holzhausen (Holzhausen vacation rentals | Holzhausen travel guide) II were incorporated into the town of Minden. Previously independent communities thereby became parts of the town of Minden. The new Kreis Minden-Lübbecke was born simultaneously out of the old Kreis Minden and old Kreis Lübbecke. Minden remains the capital of the Kreis. The framework for this action was the area reform spelled out in the 'Bielefeld law(Gesetz)'. A new Kreis administration building is being constructed south of the town center on the grounds of an old barracks, with the old Kreis building finding further use as a community archive.

The shoreline of the Weser was improved in 1976 by extendending the promenade from the Fisherstadt (fisherman village). The Glacis, a parklike open area in front of the old fortifications, which was important as a green belt, was reformatted and made more accessible. The old town wall fronting the Fisherstadt was restored to its former height. The departure of British troops in 1994 allowed the integration of the old engineer troop training site on the Weser into the Glacis. This enhanced this close-by recreation area. The opposing shore area (called Kanzlers Weide) has been made accessible through a foot bridge. This improves access to a large parking area and festival site.

[ source: wikipedia ]

Minden is a town of approximately 83,000 inhabitants located in the north-east of North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany. The town extends on both sides of the river Weser. It is the capital of the Kreis (district) of Minden-Lübbecke which is part of the Detmold (region).

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