History of Ulm

Categories: Sightseeing, Cultural and History

Saint Georges Catholic church
Saint Georges Catholic church

[ source: Wikipedia]

The city of Ulm (Ulm vacation rentals | Ulm travel guide) is primarily known today as the home of the church with the tallest steeple in the world and as the birthplace of Albert Einstein. However, the history of Ulm, located in Baden-Wuerttemberg on the banks of the Danube River, extends far beyond these two facts. The first settlement in this region dates to about 5000 BC, but the city of Ulm itself was first established ca. 850. The city's prominence grew quickly over the next few centuries, and in 1181, Frederick Barbarossa conferred on Ulm the status of a Free Imperial City, answerable directly to the Holy Roman Emperor, not to intermediary princes or kings.

During the Middle Ages, the history of Ulm was linked to its prominence as a city of traders and craftsmen. In 1377, work on the Ulm Minster began. Reflecting the wealth of Ulm's citizenry, the church was financed by the citizens themselves, not the Roman Catholic hierarchy, symbolizing the autonomy of the citizens over and against the Church. This endeavor is all the more impressive when one considers that the huge church was designed to accommodate 20,000 congregants. In the 15th and 16th centuries, the history of Ulm became associated with its high-quality textiles, which were traded all across Europe. This period is considered Ulm's golden age. The city declined in subsequent centuries as the trading patterns across Europe shifted and as the Thirty Years' War ravaged the area.

In 1803, Ulm lost its historical status as a free city after the French Revolutionary Wars, and was absorbed into Bavaria. The city was shifted to Wuerttemberg in 1810. In the mid- 1800s, large-scale military fortifications were constructed at Ulm to provide a stronghold against future, possible French attacks.

During World War II, a camp for political opponents of the Nazi regime was operated on the edge of Ulm between 1933 and 1935. The only other major impact of the war came with the RAF bombing raids of the city in 1944 and 1945. The most destructive attack occurred in December 1944, and the raid killed about 700 residents and destroyed about 80% of the medieval city center. Of the 12,756 buildings in this area, only 1,763 were undamaged by the end of the attack.

The city was rebuilt in the 1950s and 1960s, and today there is much for visitors to see here. And take my word for it - the view from the Ulm Minster steeple will stay with you forever!

[ source: wikipedia.org ]

About this Article

Rachel Hildebrandt

This travel guide has been written by Rachel Hildebrandt.

Starting with her first trip to Germany at the age of 16, Rachel has traveled, worked, and studied in Germany extensively. Although her first encounter with German culture was in Lower Saxony, since that time the focus of her subsequent work as a freelance historian and translator has shifted eastward. Building on her graduate studies in Dresden, Rachel has worked for a variety of German foundations as a historian and translator, and is currently pursuing research pertaining to the Sorbs in Lusatia (eastern Saxony).

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Location: Ulm, Germany

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