|• Mayor||Matthias Strejc (SPD)|
|• Total||65.85 km2 (25.42 sq mi)|
|Elevation||132 m (433 ft)|
|• Density||130/km2 (340/sq mi)|
|Time zone||CET/CEST (UTC+1/+2)|
Bad Frankenhausen (officially: Bad Frankenhausen/Kyffhäuser) is a spa town in the German state of Thuringia. It is located at the southern slope of the Kyffhäuser mountain range, on an artificial arm of the Wipper river, a tributary of the Unstrut. Because of the nearby Kyffhäuser monument dedicated to Emperor Frederick Barbarossa, it is nicknamed Barbarossastadt. The municipality includes the villages of Seehausen, Udersleben and (since 2007) Esperstedt.
Frankenhausen was first attested as a Frankish settlement in the 9th century in deeds of the Abbey of Fulda. It received town privileges in 1282 and from 1340 on was part of the County of Schwarzburg.
On May 15, 1525 it was the location of the Battle of Frankenhausen, one of the last great battles of the German Peasants' War, when the insurgent peasants under Thomas Müntzer were defeated by troops of the allied Duke George of Saxony, Landgrave Philip I of Hesse and Duke Henry V of Brunswick-Lüneburg. Müntzer was captured, tortured and finally beheaded at Mühlhausen on May 27.
With the partition of Schwarzburg County in 1599, Frankenhausen became the capital of the Unterherrschaft subdivision of the County of Schwarzburg-Rudolstadt, which in 1710 was raised to a principality. Prince Günther Victor was the last German monarch to abdicate, on November 23 (as Prince of Schwarzburg-Rudolstadt) and November 25, 1918 (as Prince of Schwarzburg-Sondershausen). The succeeding short-lived Free State of Schwarzburg-Rudolstadt merged into the newly created Thuringia in 1920.
Since 1818 a saline water well that had been used for centuries to extract salt has been used for saline baths and medical purposes. Therefore in 1927 Frankenhausen received the official title of a spa town (Bad). In the 19th century the town was also famous for the manufacture of pearl buttons. Today it mainly depends on tourism and spa vacation.
Peasants' War Panorama
Based on Friedrich Engels' 1850 book The Peasant War in Germany, Thomas Müntzer as an early revolutionary became an icon of historical materialism in East Germany. At the 450-years jubilee of the battle, the Socialist Unity Party of Germany (SED) charged the rector of the Leipzig Academy of Visual Arts, Professor Werner Tübke, with the creation of a monumental panorama painting. The work in a specially erected rotunda was finished in 1987. It is 123 m/404 ft in length and 14 m/46 ft in height and depicts more than 3000 individuals.
Despite the Politburo's plans modelled on the Battle of Borodino panorama at Poklonnaya Hill in Moscow, Tübke realised a rather pessimistic vision of a resigned Müntzer standing alone among battling troops, a Bundschuh flag on the ground at his side. The panorama was inaugurated by Kurt Hager and Margot Honecker as deputy for her husband on September 14, 1989, thus eight weeks before the fall of the Berlin Wall.
- Frankenhausen Castle, with medieval foundations from the 14th century on, served as a residence of the House of Schwarzburg. Heavily damaged during the Peasants' War, it was rebuilt in Renaissance style between 1533 and 1536. Today it houses a museum of local history.
- The church of Our Dear Lady at the Mountain, colloquially called Oberkirche (Upper Church), built in 1382, is known for its spire, which precariously inclines to the side. The imbalance caused by sinkholes of the nearby salt mines had already started to affect it in the 17th century, for the Baroque top partly equalises the slant of the tower. When last measured, it leant at 4.8°, increasing 6 cm/2.4 ins a year, and thus is the second most leaning tower of Germany (after the spire of the Suurhusen Church) and leaning to a greater extent than the Tower of Pisa.
- The Kyffhäuser mountain range north of the town is the site of the Kyffhäuser Monument, a huge sculpture in celebration of German national unity built from 1890 to 1896 to plans by Bruno Schmitz on the ruins of a former Kaiserpfalz.
- Sethus Calvisius, composer, born February 21, 1556 in Gorsleben, died November 24, 1615 in Leipzig, grew up in Frankenhausen
- Selmar Schonland, botanist and a founder of Rhodes University, born August 15, 1860 in Bad Frankenhausen
- Martin Gottfried Weiss, commander of the Dachau concentration camp, born June 3, 1905 in Weiden in der Oberpfalz, died May 29, 1946 in Landsberg am Lech, studied electrical engineering in Bad Frankenhausen
- Ludwig Elsbett, inventor of the Elsbett Engine, born November 8, 1913 in Salz, Bavaria, died there March 28, 2003, studied engineering in Bad Frankenhausen
- Doris Schade, actress, born May 21, 1924 in Frankenhausen
- Christa Wolf, novelist, born on March 18, 1929 in Landsberg an der Warthe (now Gorzów Wielkopolski), died December 1, 2011 in Berlin, finished school in Bad Frankenhausen
- Eva Padberg, fashion model, born January 27, 1980 in Bad Frankenhausen.
- "Bevölkerung der Gemeinden, erfüllenden Gemeinden und Verwaltungsgemeinschaften nach Geschlecht in Thüringen". Thüringer Landesamt für Statistik (in German). 13 July 2013.
- Christoph Seidler, "Built on Salt: The Leaning Tower of Bad Frankenhausen", Der Spiegel 29 April 2010.
- Bojan Pancevski, Colin Freeman, Malcolm Moore, "Churches Challenge Leaning Tower of Pisa", Sunday Telegraph, 22 July 2007.
- Deutscher Städteatlas; Band: IV; 2 Teilband. Acta Collegii Historiae Urbanae Societatis Historicorum Internationalis - Serie C. Im Auftrag des Kuratoriums für vergleichende Städtegeschichte e. V. und mit Unterstützung der Deutschen Forschungsgemeinschaft, hrsg. von Heinz Stoob, Wilfried Ehbrecht, Jürgen Lafrenz und Peter Johannek. Stadtmappe Bad Frankenhausen, Author: Heinz Stoob. ISBN 3-89115-032-6; Dortmund-Altenbeken, 1989.