|• Mayor||Martin Henkel (CDU)|
|• Total||71.75 km2 (27.70 sq mi)|
|Elevation||318 m (1,043 ft)|
|• Density||65/km2 (170/sq mi)|
|Time zone||CET/CEST (UTC+1/+2)|
Geisa is a town in the Wartburgkreis district, in Thuringia, Germany. It is situated in the Rhön Mountains, 26 km northeast of Fulda. The near border with Hesse was the border between West Germany and the GDR during the Cold War. Thus, Geisa was in the East German border restriction area of the former inner German border, which meant that until reunification access to the town was limited. The town is the westernmost municipality in what was formerly East Germany.
Suburbs and their population:
- Town overall: 3390
- City of Geisa (approx. 2260)
- Suburb Borsch (approx. 690)
- Suburb Bremen (approx. 320)
- Suburb Geblar (approx. 60)
- Suburb Otzbach (approx. 140)
- Suburb Wiesenfeld (approx. 180)
Geisa's oldest area of settlement is located on Gangolfiberg, which is also the highest point of the little town and the only surviving medieval place of jurisdiction in Thuringia, the so-called Zentgericht - dating from the 11th century. The deed of town ordinances and privileges was lost, the first notation as civitas is from 1302. As an administration centre of the Benedictine abbey of Fulda, Geisa was a Catholic-dominated region. Athanasius Kircher was born on May 2 in either 1601 or 1602 in Geisa.
Because of wars and fires in the past, only a modicum of historic buildings is present. In the heart of the town is the Catholic Parish Church (Stadtpfarrkirche) of St Philip and St James, which was built between 1489 and 1504. It is the only surviving Gothic church in the Geisa region. A rarity is the carillon, a special kind of 49 bronze bells on the church tower.
Above the marketplace is the listed Geisa castle ensemble. The Schlossplatz, the square in front of the castle, is formed by the local courthouse (1540), a former prison, the Stadtschloss (1700–1714) - a building by Johann Dientzenhofer, a number of commercial buildings, and the Protestant church (1860).
Until 1990, the inner German border passed between Geisa and Rasdorf (Hesse). Geisa thus was in a restriction zone the East German authorities maintained on their side of the border and which limited access to the area after 1952. East Germans from outside the restriction zone had to apply for passes to enter it. West Germans were barred from visiting. Farmwork close to the border was allowed only once an official permit had been issued. Inhabitants of the restriction zone had to carry identification at all times. In the so-called Aktion Ungeziefer (de) in the summer of 1952, the East German authorities selected 39 families from Geisa for forced resettlement. They were given one day's notice to have all their belongings ready for transport. 25 of the 39 families fled to West Germany in response.:42–44
There is now a memorial site (Haus auf der Grenze) with an exhibition on the history of the border. Just across the border, in what was previously West Germany, lies a former US observation camp - in military notation Point Alpha - that had sometimes been referred to as one of the "hottest spots of the Cold War". It was located in a very exposed position in the so-called Fulda gap, right in the path of a possible attack by the forces of the Warsaw Pact. Today the camp offers an exhibit on the presence of US armed forces and a memorial.
Since 2008, the headquarters of the Point Alpha Foundation have been located in the castle in Geisa, in addition to the municipal museum.
- "Point Alpha" is the name of a memorial place at the former inner German border.
- A well-preserved Jewish cemetery is on the outskirts of Geisa.
- Athanasius Kircher (1602–1680), German Jesuit scholar
- Peter Philipp von Dernbach (1619–1683), Prince-Bishop of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Bamberg and Roman Catholic Diocese of Würzburg
- Adalbert Geheeb (1842–1909), pharmacist
- Moritz Goldschmidt (1863–1916), botanist
- Paul Geheeb (1870–1961), Progressive educationalist
- Eugene Buechel (1874–1954), missionary, linguist and ethnologist
- "Bevölkerung der Gemeinden, erfüllenden Gemeinden und Verwaltungsgemeinschaften nach Geschlecht in Thüringen". Thüringer Landesamt für Statistik (in German). 13 July 2013.
- Keune, Mira (2013). Point Alpha – Vom heißenOrt im Kalten Krieg zum Lernort der Geschichte (German). Point Alpha Stiftung.
- "Gedenkstätte "Point Alpha" (German)". Gemeinde Rasdorf. Retrieved 29 April 2013.
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