Nuremberg is a city in the German state of Bavaria, in the administrative region of Middle Franconia. Situated on the Pegnitz river and the Rhine–Main–Danube Canal, it is located about north of Munich. It is the second-largest city in Bavaria (after Munich), and is the largest in Franconia. The population as of December 2011, is 510,602, which makes it Germany's fourteenth largest city. The "European Metropolitan Area Nuremberg" has 3.5 million inhabitants.
, according to the first documentary mention of the city in 1050, the location of an Imperial castle between the East Franks and the Bavarian March of the Nordgau. From 1050 to 1571, the city expanded and rose dramatically in importance due to its location on key trade routes. King Conrad III established a burgraviate, with the first burgraves coming from the Austrian House of Raab but, with the extinction of their male line around 1190, the burgraviate was inherited by the last count's son-in-law, of the House of Hohenzollern. From the late 12th century to the Interregnum (1254–73), however, the power of the burgraves diminished as the Hohenstaufen emperors transferred most non-military powers to a castellan, with the city administration and the municipal courts handed over to an Imperial mayor from 1173/74. The strained relations between the burgraves and the castellan, with gradual transferral of powers to the latter in the late 14th and early 15th centuries, finally broke out into open enmity, which greatly influenced the history of the city.
In 1298, the Jews of the town were accused of having desecrated the host, and 698 of them were killed in one of the many Rintfleisch Massacres. Behind the massacre of 1298 was also the desire to combine the northern and southern parts of the city, which were divided by the Pegnitz river. The Jews of the German lands suffered many massacres during the plague years. In 1349, Nuremberg's Jews were subjected to a pogrom. They were burned at the stake or expelled, and a marketplace was built over the former Jewish quarter.
The plague returned to the city in 1405, 1435, 1437, 1482, 1494, 1520 and 1534.
In 1349 the members of the guilds unsuccessfully rebelled against the patricians in the Handwerkeraufstand (Craftsmen's Uprising), supported by merchants and some councillors, leading to a ban on any self-organisation of the artisans in the city, abolishing the guilds that were customary elsewhere in Europe; the unions were then dissolved, and the oligarchs remained in power while Nuremberg was a free city. Charles IV conferred upon the city the right to conclude alliances independently, thereby placing it upon a politically equal footing with the princes of the empire. Frequent fights took place with the burgraves without, however, inflicting lasting damage upon the city. After the castle had been destroyed by fire in 1420 during a feud between Frederick IV (since 1417 margrave of Brandenburg) and the duke of Bavaria-Ingolstadt, the ruins and the forest belonging to the castle were purchased by the city (1427), resulting in the city's total sovereignty within its borders. Through these and other acquisitions the city accumulated considerable territory. The Hussite Wars, recurrence of the Black Death in 1437, and the First Margrave War led to a severe fall in population in the mid-15th century. At the beginning of the 16th century, siding with Albert IV, Duke of Bavaria-Munich, in the Landshut War of Succession led the city to gain substantial territory, resulting in lands of , becoming one of the largest Imperial cities.
Early modern age
The cultural flowering of Nuremberg, in the 15th and 16th centuries, made it the centre of the German Renaissance. In 1525, Nuremberg accepted the Protestant Reformation, and in 1532, the religious Peace of Nuremberg, by which the Lutherans gained important concessions, was signed there. During the 1552 revolution against Charles V, Nuremberg tried to purchase its neutrality, but the city was attacked without a declaration of war and was forced into a disadvantageous peace. At the Peace of Augsburg, the possessions of the Protestants were confirmed by the Emperor, their religious privileges extended and their independence from the Bishop of Bamberg affirmed, while the 1520s' secularisation of the monasteries was also approved.
After the Thirty Years' War, Nuremberg attempted to remain detached from external affairs, but contributions were demanded for the War of the Austrian Succession and the Seven Years' War and restrictions of imports and exports deprived the city of many markets for its manufactures. The Bavarian elector, Charles Theodore, appropriated part of the land obtained by the city during the Landshut War of Succession, to which Bavaria had maintained its claim; Prussia also claimed part of the territory. Realising its weakness, the city asked to be incorporated into Prussia but Frederick William II refused, fearing to offend Austria, Russia and France. At the Imperial diet in 1803, the independence of Nuremberg was affirmed, but on the signing of the Confederation of the Rhine on 12 July 1806, it was agreed to hand the city over to Bavaria from 8 September, with Bavaria guaranteeing the amortisation of the city's 12.5 million guilder public debt.
After the Great French War
After the fall of Napoleon, the city's trade and commerce revived; the skill of its inhabitants together with its favourable situation soon made the city prosperous, particularly after its public debt had been acknowledged as a part of the Bavarian national debt. Having been incorporated into a Catholic country, the city was compelled to refrain from further discrimination against Catholics, who had been excluded from the rights of citizenship. Catholic services had been celebrated in the city by the priests of the Teutonic Order, often under great difficulties. After their possessions had been confiscated by the Bavarian government in 1806, they were given the Frauenkirche on the Market in 1809; in 1810 the first Catholic parish was established, which in 1818 numbered 1,010 souls.
In 1817, the city was incorporated into the district of Rezatkreis (named for the Franconian Rezat river), which was renamed to Middle Franconia on 1 January 1838. The first German railway, the Bavarian Ludwigsbahn, from Nuremberg to nearby Fürth, was opened in 1835. The establishment of railways and the incorporation of Bavaria into Zollverein (the 19th-century German Customs Union), commerce and industry opened the way to greater prosperity. In 1852, there were 53,638 inhabitants: 46,441 Protestants and 6,616 Catholics. It subsequently grew to become the most important industrial city of Bavaria and one of the most prosperous towns of southern Germany. In 1905, its population, including several incorporated suburbs, was 291,351: 86,943 Catholics, 196,913 Protestants, 3,738 Jews and 3,766 members of other creeds.
Nuremberg held great significance during the Nazi Germany era. Because of the city's relevance to the Holy Roman Empire and its position in the centre of Germany, the Nazi Party chose the city to be the site of huge Nazi Party conventions – the Nuremberg rallies. The rallies were held 1927, 1929 and annually 1933-1938 in Nuremberg. After Adolf Hitler's rise to power in 1933 the Nuremberg rallies became huge Nazi propaganda events, a centre of Nazi ideals. The 1934 rally was filmed by Leni Riefenstahl, and made into a propaganda film called Triumph des Willens (Triumph of the Will). At the 1935 rally, Hitler specifically ordered the Reichstag to convene at Nuremberg to pass the anti-Semitic Nuremberg Laws which revoked German citizenship for all Jews and other non-Aryans. A number of premises were constructed solely for these assemblies, some of which were not finished. Today many examples of Nazi architecture can still be seen in the city. The city was also the home of the Nazi propagandist Julius Streicher, the publisher of Der Stürmer.
Nuremberg was a heavily fortified city that was captured in a fierce battle lasting from 17 to 21 April 1945 by the US 3rd Infantry Division, 42nd Infantry Division and 45th Infantry Division, which fought house-to-house and street-by-street against determined German resistance, causing further urban devastation to the already bombed and shelled buildings. Despite this intense degree of destruction, the city was rebuilt after the war and was to some extent, restored to its pre-war appearance including the reconstruction of some of its medieval buildings. However, the biggest part of the historic structural condition of the old Imperial Free City was lost forever.
Between 1945 and 1946, German officials involved in war crimes and crimes against humanity were brought before an international tribunal in the Nuremberg trials. The Soviet Union had wanted these trials to take place in Berlin. However, Nuremberg was chosen as the site for the trials for specific reasons: