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Market Square in Meiningen
|• Mayor||Fabian Giesder|
|• Total||59.46 km2 (22.96 sq mi)|
|Elevation||287 m (942 ft)|
|• Density||350/km2 (910/sq mi)|
|Time zone||CET/CEST (UTC+1/+2)|
|Vehicle registration||SM, MGN|
Meiningen is a town in central Germany, being located in the southern part of the state of Thuringia. Meiningen is the district seat of Schmalkalden-Meiningen. It is situated on the river Werra and lies about 30 kilometres (19 miles) east of Fulda, across the former frontier with East Germany.
Meiningen is considered the cultural, judicial and financial centre of southern Thuringia and is economically reliant on tourism and high-tech industry. The city lies in the linguistic area of Franconia.
Meiningen was first mentioned in 982. Emperor Henry II donated Meiningen in 1008 to the Roman Catholic Diocese of Würzburg, and it remained for 534 years part of Würzburg. The town was first mentioned in 1230 as a city. Meiningen in 1542 came to the House of Henneberg 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, Meinigen went to the Wettin family.
Between 1680 to 1918, it was the capital of the Duchy of Saxe-Meiningen. The fairy tale collector and writer Ludwig Bechstein was an archivist in Meiningen. 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 after her. The first Meiningen Court Theatre opened in 1831. The city was connected by the Werra Railway with the German railway network in 1858. By the beginning of the 20th Century, the existence of several large banks led to Meiningen becoming an important financial centre in Germany.
The Duchy was abolished at the end of the First World War. During the Second World War, Meiningen was the location of a prisoner of war hospital. A heavy air raid on Meiningen on February 23, 1945, by the USAAF caused 208 deaths, destroyed 251 houses and two bridges, and damaged 440 buildings in total. Meiningen was liberated by American armed forces in April 1945. In July 1945, the town was included in the Eastern occupation zone along with the rest of Thuringia, and thus was part of the German Democratic Republic (DDR) until 1990.
After German reunification, Meiningen became the district town of Schmalkalden-Meiningen. In the Dreißigacker district, new businesses and the new Meiningen Hospital were constructed. In 2003, the city was connected to the Autobahn No. 71.
- Schloss Elisabethenburg, castle, built 1692
- Landsberg Castle, built 1840
- Meiningen Court Theatre, built 1909
- Goetz-Höhle, guided cave tours
- Dampflokwerk Meiningen (Meiningen Steam Locomotive Works)
- The English Garden in the city center
- Protestant parish church of Our Lady, begun in the year 1000
- Little Palace, built 1823
- Great Palace, built 1823
- Neighborhood in the classic style
- Districts in the eclectic style
- Some half-timbered houses (Büchnersches Hinterhaus, Henneberger Haus, Hartungsche Haus, Rassmannsche Haus)
- Bechstein Fountain
- Emperor Henry II Fountain
- Fountain Chapel
- Monument to Johannes Brahms
The Meiningen Theatre offers musical theatre (opera, operetta, musicals), plays, symphony concerts, puppet shows, ballet and youth theatre. The Meiningen Court Theatre was opened on December 17, 1831. It was destroyed in a fire in 1908 and was replaced in 1909 by a neo-classical building. The theatre was called the Meininger. It featured plays and gave concerts, and travelled throughout Germany and Europe. The activity of the Theaterherzog Georg II, Duke of Saxe-Meiningen (1866–1914) led to international celebrity. Today its name is "Südthüringisches Staatstheater". It employs more than 300 people and provides a huge area for opera and drama. The Director is Ansgar Haag.
The Meiningen Court Orchestra is one of the oldest and most tradition rich orchestras in Europe. The now 68-member orchestra is part of the Meininger Theatre and performs, in addition to opera accompaniment, regular symphony concerts and youth concerts. Philippe Bach has been the Music Director since 2010.
The court orchestra was founded in 1690 by Duke Bernhard I. In October 1880 began the most successful period of the orchestra which developed into an elite European orchestra under the direction of Hans von Bülow. During the Hans von Bülow period, Johannes Brahms came to Meiningen to collaborate with the court orchestra and to conduct occasionally. Other notable directors included Richard Strauss from 1885 to 1886 and Max Reger from 1911 to 1914.
The “Kunsthaus Meiningen” is a cultural institution in the historic half-timbered house "Old Post Office". It presents exhibitions of contemporary fine art and offers workshops and job opportunities for local and foreign artists.
Meininger Museen ("Meiningen Museums") comprise six cultural and historical museums which house the largest art collection in Thuringia. The main museum is in Schloss Elisabethenburg (Elisabethenburg Palace), the former residence of the Dukes of Saxe-Meiningen.
The newest museum, opened in 1999, is the Theater Museum "Magic World of Scenery" in the former riding school near the palace. It offers an annually changing exhibit of historically important theatre stage backdrops and historical information on the European tours of the Meiningen Court Theatre.
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|PDS/Die Linke||30.4 %||26.6 %||31.9 %||32.2 %||21.8 %||29.9 %||33.8 %||30.7 %||29.7 %|
|CDU||27.2 %||26.2 %||34.6 %||26.0 %||24.8 %||20.8 %||26.2 %||30.1 %||24.2 %|
|SPD||11.0 %||18.0 %||16.8 %||19.3 %||40.1 %||32.1 %||18.0 %||16.9 %||15.6 %|
|Grüne||9.7 %||13.2 %||6.1 %||7.8 %||4.8 %||5.3 %||7.2 %||7.1 %||7.6 %|
|FDP||2.5 %||5.0 %||3.3 %||6.2 %||4.9 %||7.0 %||8.4 %||3.9 %||6.3 %|
|Freie Wähler||19.0 %||11.1 %||1.8 %||3.2 %||-||-||-||-||1.5 %|
|NPD||-||-||1.2 %||3.9 %||0.9 %||3.1 %||2.9 %||1.0 %||-|
|Voter turnout||41.2 %||45.9 %||41.0 %||43.1 %||60.2 %||60.9 %||49.5 %||40.9 %||39.6 %|
Twin towns – Sister cities
Meiningen is twinned with:
- Neu-Ulm , Germany, since 1988
- Bussy-Saint-Georges, France, since 2006
- Obertshausen , Germany, since 2007
- Meiningen (Vorarlberg) , Austria, since 2012
Friendly relations exist with the city of Adelaide in Australia because it was named after Queen Adelaide (Queen of the United Kingdom), born and raised in Meiningen as Princess Adelaide of Saxe-Meiningen.
People born in Meiningen
- Peretz Bernstein (1890 – 1971), Israeli politician
- Kurt May (1896 – 1992), Lawyer and campaigner against the Nazis
- Fritz Diez (1901 – 1979), actor and producer
- Paul Oestreicher (b. 1931), Anglican priest and canon emeritus in Coventry
- Georg II, Duke of Saxe-Meiningen
- Princess Adelaide of Saxe-Meiningen, queen consort of the United Kingdom and of Hanover as spouse of William IV of the United Kingdom.
- Ellen Franz (1839 – 1923) (as wife of the Duke: Helene Freifrau von Heldburg), pianist and actress
- Jean Paul (1763 – 1825), poet
- Ludwig Bechstein (1801 – 1860), poet
- Hans von Bülow (1830 – 1894), conductor
- Richard Strauss (1864 – 1949), conductor
- Josef Kainz (1858 - 1910), actor
- Albert Bassermann (1867 – 1952), actor
- Karl Korsch (1886 – 1961), Marxist
- Max Reger, composer, pianist and conductor
- Elisabeth Grümmer (1911 – 1986), operatic lyric soprano
- Friedrich Schiller, poet
- Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, poet
- Friedrich Mosengeil (1773 – 1839), stenographer
- Johannes Brahms, composer
- Adele Sandrock (1863 – 1937), actress
- Bjørn Bjørnson (1859 – 1942), actor and director
- Peter Borgelt (1927-1994), actor
- Eberhard Esche (1933-2006), actor
- Elīna Garanča (b. 1976), singer
- Ingrid van Bergen (b. 1931), actress
- "Bevölkerung der Gemeinden, erfüllenden Gemeinden und Verwaltungsgemeinschaften nach Geschlecht in Thüringen". Thüringer Landesamt für Statistik (in German). 13 July 2013.
- Thuringia under American Occupation (April until July 1945), http://www.thueringen.de/imperia/md/content/lzt/thuringia_under_american_occupation.pdf
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|Wikisource has the text of the 1920 Encyclopedia Americana article Meiningen.|