Typical old housing in Salzwedel
|• Mayor||Sabine Danicke|
|• Total||304.53 km2 (117.58 sq mi)|
|Elevation||19 m (62 ft)|
|• Density||80/km2 (210/sq mi)|
|Time zone||CET/CEST (UTC+1/+2)|
|Postal codes||29410, 29413, 29416|
|Dialling codes||03901, 039032, 039033, 039037, 039038|
Salzwedel (German pronunciation: [ˈzaltsveːdəl], officially known as Hansestadt Salzwedel, is a town in Saxony-Anhalt, Germany. It is the capital of the district (Kreis) of Altmarkkreis Salzwedel, and has a population of approximately 21,500. Salzwedel is located on the German Timber-Frame Road.
Salzwedel is situated at the Jeetze River in the northwestern part of the Altmark. It is located between Hamburg and Magdeburg. Distances from Uelzen are 44 km (27 mi) E, 12 km (7 mi) S of Lüchow, 41 km (25 mi) N of Gardelegen and 24 km (15 mi) W of Arendsee. In 1968 test drillings reveal a significant reservoir of natural gas near the city.
The castle of Salzwedel in the Altmark was first documented in 1112. As part of the Margraviate of Brandenburg, the settlement was first mentioned as a town in 1233. To the northeast of the old town (Altstadt), a new town (Neustadt) began development in 1247. In the Middle Ages Salzwedel belonged to the Hanseatic League from 1263 to 1518. As to religion Salzwedel belonged to the Diocese of Verden (till 1648).
The city from 1247 began developing as a reestablishment from the old part of the town. In 1701 it became part of the Kingdom of Prussia. In 1713, the two towns Altstadt and Neustadt became one. Salzwedel became part of the Prussian Province of Saxony in 1815 after the Napoleonic Wars. In 1870 it received a railroad connection. The medieval part of the town remains the commercial and administrative center of the town until today.
In 1943, the Neuengamme concentration camp built a female subcamp in Salzwedel, capable of holding more than 1,000 female prisoners. Eventually more than 3,000 women were held there, both Jews and non-Jews. The guard staff at the camp included sixty SS men and women. One Aufseherin is known today by name, Lieselotte Darnstaedt, who was born in 1908. Darnstaedt also served at Ravensbrück before coming to Salzwedel. On April 29, 1945, the US Army liberated the Salzwedel women's subcamp, and also a men's camp nearby for male non-German political prisoners. They were shocked to find more than ninety corpses of women who had died of typhus, dysentery and malaria. At the beginning of 1945, prior to the arrival of American ground forces, Allied war planes attacked the main train station of Salzwedel, killing 300 people. The US Army eventually turned over control of the city to the Soviet Red Army, causing Salzwedel to eventually become part of the German Democratic Republic.
On November 9, 1989 the East-West German border crossing near Salzwedel was opened, along with East-West border crossings in the rest of the country, allowing East Germans residing in Salzwedel and elsewhere to travel freely to West Germany for the first time since the building of the Berlin Wall. In 1990 Salzwedel received its first democratically elected city government.
The official name of the city was changed into Hansestadt Salzwedel on 1 April 2008, in reference to its history as a member of the Hanseatic League.
Culture and sights
|This section requires expansion. (June 2008)|
Salzwedel's sites of interest include the historic part of town, encompassed by the historic city wall and town gates. The city also contains the birth house of Jenny von Westphalen, later the wife of Karl Marx.
- numerous half-timbered houses
- town gates (Neuperver Gate, Stonegate) and medieval city fortifications
- remains of a castle (Castle Tower and Garden)
- Townhall (former monastery)
- Townhall Tower
- The Monk Church
- gothic Brickchurches St.Marien, St.Katharina und St.Lorenz
- another churches: St. Georg and Holy-Spirit-Church
- former Townhall, today's local court of Salzwedel
- Fairy-Tale Garden
- "Baumkuchen" Bakeries
- Parkfestival, music event taking part in a 2-year-rhythm with the participation of national and international artists like Die Prinzen, Nina Hagen, Joe Cocker, Reamon, Heather Nova, Leningrad Cowboys, Madsen, Blackmail, City and so on.
- Smack-Festival, one of the biggest Hard-Rock-Festivals in Saxony-Anhalt.
The delicacies of the town are Baumkuchen, Salzwedeler (Altmärker) Wedding-Soup and Tiegelbraten (mutton).
Salzwedel is accessed by route 71 (north to south) and 248 (west to east). Access to the nearest autobahn is A39 which is 59 kilometres (37 miles) away in Wolfsburg, the A250 is 80.9 km (50.3 mi) away in Lüneburg, the A24 in Dreieck and the A241 is 81.4 km (50.6 mi) away. Salzwedel station is on the Stendal–Uelzen railway, part of the America Line (Amerikalinie), which was restored in the 1990s linking Berlin and Bremen. The line connects Stendal and Uelzen. Other stations are in Wittenberge near Arendsee and in Oebisfelde.
- Stephan Praetorius (1536–1604), pastor
- Jenny von Westphalen (1814–1881), wife of Karl Marx
- Friedrich Meinecke (1862–1954), historian
- Doris Maletzki (born 1952), sprinter
Salzwedel is twinned with:
- Wesel, Germany, since 1990
- San Vito dei Normanni, Italy, since 1990
- Felixstowe, United Kingdom, since 1994
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