Place:Meiningen, Sachsen-Meiningen, Germany

Located inSachsen-Meiningen, Germany
Also located inSchmalkalden-Meiningen, Thüringen, Germany    
source: Family History Library Catalog

the text in this section is copied from an article in Wikipedia

Meiningen is a town in the southern part of the state of Thuringia, Germany. It is located in the region of Franconia and has a population of around 25,000 (2020). Meiningen is the capital and the largest town of the Schmalkalden-Meiningen district. From 1680 to 1920, Meiningen was the capital of the Duchy (and briefly of the Free State) of Saxe-Meiningen.

Meiningen is considered the cultural, judicial and financial centre of southern Thuringia and thus hosts the state theatre, justice center, state archives, bank buildings and many museums. It is economically reliant on mechanical engineering, high-tech industry and tourism. The dialect and language of the inhabitants is East Franconian.



the text in this section is copied from an article in Wikipedia

Through the Middle Ages

Meiningen originated during the formation of the Frankish Empire in the 6th or 7th century, which established trade routes, river crossings and boundary markers. An intersection of two trade routes and a ford was located at the present-day southern end of the old town near the Werra river.

Meiningen was first mentioned in 982 (extract certificate: "…in villis Meininga in Meiningermarca…"). The village was first a crown land in the Duchy of Franconia and later a possession of the king. Around the year 1000, construction of the Stadtkirche (town church) began. It was several times expanded and rebuilt over the centuries. German Emperor Henry II donated Meiningen in 1008 to the Roman Catholic Diocese of Würzburg, and for 534 years it remained part of Würzburg. To protect their property, the Bishops of Würzburg built a moated castle (today Schloss Elisabethenburg palace) in the 11th century. In 1153, the plague raged in Meiningen, which was also granted judicial rights (the first town-charter type of rights) that year by the rulers. In 1222, Würzburg and the House of Henneberg fought for possession of Meiningen, while the town suffered extensive damage. Meiningen was first mentioned in 1230 as a Stadt (town) and was granted wide-ranging autonomy in 1344. During this time the citizens built a powerful fortification with a double wall and three moats. From 1239 to 1242 the Friars Minor of the Franciscan Order built a monastery between the castle and the Lower Gate. In 1380, a fire destroyed around a quarter of the town, including the archives of the town council. The town joined together with ten other towns of the Bishopric of Würzburg and participated in 1396-1399 in the "Franconian town war" against the diocese. Würzburg troops besieged Meiningen, until it capitulated in 1399. In an uprising on 10 August 1432, the citizens destroyed the castle (Würzburger Burg or Burg Meiningen). In the years 1443-1455, the town church was enlarged in the Gothic style.

Early modern period

Meiningen had about 2,000 inhabitants in 1450. At the end of the 15th century two devastating fires destroyed almost the whole town. 26 people were killed. The town church was spared from the fire. Bishop Lorenz von Bibra built a new castle from 1509 to 1511. In the town textiles, metal working and trade became more important. In 1542, Meiningen came to the Henneberg family in exchange for the administrative district (Amt) of Mainberg from the Prince-Bishop of Würzburg, Conrad von Bibra. In 1583, with the extinction of the Henneberg family, the town went to the Wettin family. The Wettin family established its seat of transitional government for the County of Henneberg in Meiningen until 1660. The town experienced a great economic boom driven by the fustian- and linen weaving, dyeing and fabric trades, which lasted until the beginning of the 17th century, resulting in faster population increase to about 5,000. For example, in 1614 234 master craftsmen produced 37,312 pieces of cloth that were traded throughout Europe. This period was ended abruptly by the Thirty Years' War in 1634, when Croatian troops plundered the town. In 1641, Swedish troops besieged the town. Meiningen lost thousands of inhabitants to death or expulsion.

Residence of the Duchy of Saxe-Meiningen

Between 1680 and 1918, Meiningen was the capital of the Duchy of Saxe-Meiningen.[1] In 1682-92, the ducal palace Schloss Elisabethenburg was built and by 1690 the Court Orchestra had been created. From 1782, the Englischer Garten, an English landscape garden was created in the town center.

In 1813, a Russian army of 70,000 soldiers and 2,300 officers under Grand Duke Alexander in his campaign against Napoleon camped in and around Meiningen. The Tsar had his quarters in the inn Zum Braune Hirsch, which also served for the entrained Prussian Army as headquarters. In 1782, Friedrich Schiller had been a guest at the inn.

One of the princesses of Saxe-Meiningen, Adelheid Louise Theresa Caroline Amelia von Sachsen-Meiningen, became the wife of the future King William IV of Great Britain in 1818. The Australian city of Adelaide is named for her.

Georg II, Duke of Saxe-Meiningen, who became a great patron of the theatrical art, was born in 1826. The first Meiningen Court Theatre opened in 1831. The fairy tale collector and writer Ludwig Bechstein was an archivist in Meiningen. In 1858, the town was connected by the Werra Railway to the German railway network. In September 1874, a major fire destroyed a third of the town.[1] The reconstruction took place in Neoclassical style with the financial help of many German and Austrian cities. In the same year, the Schweinfurt–Meiningen railway opened. A new town hall was built in 1878.

By end of the 19th century and by the beginning of the 20th century, the existence of several large banks made Meiningen an important financial centre in Germany. During these decades, the town stretched out far beyond its ancient limits. New residential areas were built, and the population grew rapidly. Many lavish buildings were built at that time. 1889, the town church was enlarged in the Gothic Revival style. A large fire destroyed the Hoftheater (court theatre) in 1908, it was rebuilt in Neoclassical style and reopened in December 1909. In 1914, the Meiningen Steam Locomotive Works was built.

After 1918

The Duchy was abolished at the end of World War I in 1918. Meiningen then became the capital of the successor state Freistaat Saxony-Meiningen. From 1920, it was a district town in the newly created state of Thuringia. was founded in 1923. In 1927, , an airfield, was opened. In October 1931, airship LZ 127 Graf Zeppelin landed there before 100,000 spectators, followed by the airship LZ 130 Graf Zeppelin II on 9 July 1939. During World War II, Meiningen was the location of a prisoner of war hospital, and several German military hospitals. The Deutsche Dienststelle was based in the Drachenbergkaserne barracks from 1943 to 1945. A heavy air raid on Meiningen on 23 February 1945, by the USAAF caused 208 deaths, destroyed 251 houses and two bridges in total, and damaged 440 buildings. Meiningen was occupied by American armed forces on 5 April 1945.

In July 1945, the town was included in the Soviet occupation zone along with the rest of Thuringia, and thus later became part of the German Democratic Republic (DDR). To accommodate workers for a microelectronics plant, the Robotron Meiningen, the new district of Jerusalem (Meiningen) was created from 1967 to 1983 in the north between Helba and Welkershausen, eventually housing around 6,000 inhabitants. Meiningen was an important center of Die Wende in southern Thuringia in 1989. Among the many events were a total of 25 demonstrations with 1,000-25,000 participants.

After German reunification in 1990, Meiningen became the district town of Schmalkalden-Meiningen. In the Dreißigacker district, new businesses and the new Meiningen Hospital were constructed. In the 1990s, there was a new construction boom in the town, with many houses being renovated and embellished. In July 1994, Chancellor of Germany Helmut Kohl visited the town, Angela Merkel did so in April 2012. The new Justizzentrum (court house) was built in 2000. In 2003, the town was connected to the Bundesautobahn 71. With the opening of the new Kammerspiele in June 2008, the town created another theater venue, underlining its national significance as a cultural town. In 2013, the new industrial area Rohrer Berg near the motorway junction Meiningen-North was created.

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