Wildeshausen

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Wildeshausen
Coat of arms of Wildeshausen
Coat of arms
Wildeshausen is located in Germany
Wildeshausen
Wildeshausen
Coordinates: 52°54′N 8°26′E / 52.900°N 8.433°E / 52.900; 8.433Coordinates: 52°54′N 8°26′E / 52.900°N 8.433°E / 52.900; 8.433
Country Germany
State Lower Saxony
District Oldenburg
Government
 • Mayor Prof. Dr. Kian Shahidi
Area
 • Total 89.47 km2 (34.54 sq mi)
Elevation 19 m (62 ft)
Population (2013-12-31)[1]
 • Total 18,868
 • Density 210/km2 (550/sq mi)
Time zone CET/CEST (UTC+1/+2)
Postal codes 27793
Dialling codes 0 44 31
Vehicle registration OL
Website www.wildeshausen.de

Wildeshausen (Low Saxon: Wilshusen) is a town and the capital of the Oldenburg district in Lower Saxony, Germany. It is situated by the river Hunte.

History[edit]

In 1648, Wildeshausen and the surrounding district was ceded to Sweden, in the Peace of Westphalia, where it was given as a fief to Gustav Gustavsson af Vasaborg, an illegitimate son of King Gustavus Adolphus, as a part of the Swedish Dominion of Bremen-Verden. In 1679, following the Treaty of Nijmegen, it was pawned, to the Prince-Bishop of Münster, in exchange for a loan of 100,000 Riksdaler.

Sights[edit]

The most impressive sights are the many stone monuments, old burial places going back far into the third millennium BC. One of these old areas, Kleinenkneter Steine, was reconstructed in the 1930s. It is a favorite place for walking excursions, or bicycle tours. The local Tourist Center, located in the old Rathaus (Townhall) has maps for many different tours and walks.

Kurpark[edit]

The "Kurpark" with fountain, concert-shell and a wading pool) is like a special jewel in the Luftkurort (fresh air park) Wildeshausen. The view from the adjoining Burgberg is especially beautiful, it shows the complete combined "ensemble" near the Hunte river. The river completes the overall picture with many colorful canoes and row boats. During the summer month concerts take place every Sunday morning at 11 a.m. An imposing event is the tattoo (or tabs) on Pfingst Sonntag, (Pentecost Sunday) at night, when the "Schützengilde" from 1403 presents a spectacular firework to open the traditional "Gildefest".

St.Peter Church[edit]

An ecumenical ceremony on November 27, 1998 re-opened the St. Peter Church for divine services. From August 2, 1997 until then the Roman Catholic Church enjoyed the facilities of the Alexander Church by invitation. The church had to be closed because of structural problems. 16 month were needed for re-construction. It is worth it to take a short look at St. Peter’s history: From 1699 on the Alexander Church was used for evangelic Lutheran services. During this year Sweden became the ruling faction. The Catholics bought a house with several additional buildings and out of a barn "a church like building" was developed. During 1700 to 1803 Hannover ruled, Catholics were not allowed to build a new church. Only 1810, when Oldenburg took over Wildeshausen the Catholics were finally allowed freedom to follow their religion. They built their church, which opened its doors on November 24, 1811. The church had to be closed again due to structural mistakes, making it unsafe. In 1824 the current church was finally built, without a tower. The tower was erected in 1910. This short overview shows unmistakably a long period of difficult co - existence between the religions - also here in Wildeshausen. As the ecumenical opening ceremony of St. Peter proofs both communities in Wildeshausen have bridged their differences successfully. A promising sign of actual ecumenical unity and an encouragement to continue this successful relationship. "The times of division between the religious communities are, thank God, over now" (R. Gryczan/H.Holtmann).

Marketplace[edit]

The middle of historic Wildeshausen is the marketplace with its characteristic configuration. The pointed gables of the surrounding houses faced the street. On the remaining houses stone façades have replaced the former wooden gables. The "Markt Brunnen"(fountain), build 1747 by master Theophil from Bremen, gives character to the marketplace. This fountain was used for drinking by men and animals alike. Wildeshausen was located on an old trade route. In historic pagan times an "Irmen Säule " stood here. After the town was "captured by Münster" in 1529 the Mayor Jakob Lickenberg was executed here. A stone by the Market Brunnen in the Market Place reminds of this tragedy. In 1990 Wildeshausen erected a new Townhall with "Glockenspiel" and moving figures. That completed a united appearance once more.

Waltbert[edit]

In the "Westerstraße" we notice a mighty sculpture, Waltbert. The year 851 was in the history of Wildeshausen of great importance. Waltbert, a grandson of Widukind, brought the relics of St. Alexander from Rome to Wildeshausen to further Christianity in the sparsely populated area. The sculpture shows Waltbert on his horse, in his hands the relic of St. Alexander. Then follows his name, the year 851 and the word "translatio". The "translatio Alexandri" once was described thoroughly by the monks of Fulda. The sculpture by the Bremen artist Efeu is an outstanding work of art within the Reorganization of our towns appearance.

Witsun: "Gildefest"[edit]

......days till Witsun (Pfingsten). Many a Wildeshauser can complete this sentence anytime flawlessly. Pfingsten means for Wildeshausen the "Gildefest", a week-long festival (since 1403). The "Gilde" has a special connection to the tradition of the town up to this day. The Mayor is always the General of the Guild. The town director is the chief of protocol (Major). An old expression: "The town of Wildeshausen is the "Schützengilde" and the Schützengilde is the town of Wildeshausen" is well known. A work of art, the granite sculpture, called "cylinder", by A. Boldt represents the Schützengilde in the newly developed inner city.

Alexander Church[edit]

Alexander Church

The founding of the Alexander - Church goes back to 814. In 807 Waltbert, a grandson of Duke Wittekind, brought the relics of the sainted Alexander from Rome by way of the Alpine mountains to Wildeshausen. Alexander died, as well as his mother and 6 brothers, as martyrs during the persecution of Christians in the first century. They were executed. Waltbert donated a "Chorherren Stift" (it is a sort of monastery, where the cleric lived to the rules of the Benedictines) named "Alexander Kapitel". It was to be used as a mission for the surrounding area (called Lerigau, or Largau). Wildeshausen became an important place of pilgrimage, which gave the town an economic upswing. Church and "Stift" owned many valuable treasures. The church and "Kapitel" were richly decorated with pictures. Before the completion in 1270 a long time of construction must have preceded it. During renovation artistic and historic frescos were discovered. The Alexander - Church is the only basilica in the area of Oldenburg. The style documents the transition from the late Roman to the early gothic style of the 13th century. The Alexander Church is the greatest work of art in Wildeshausen, well known far beyond the area. Connoisseurs of church music appreciate the organ concerts on the newly installed (1970) Kleuker Organ.

Pestruper Burial Ground[edit]

In the Bronze Age, when bronze replaced the hard to produce stone tools, the inhabitants of this area remained here. They began to en-tomb their dead now in burial grounds.

The Pestruper Burial Ground is the only preserved such structure in Europa. It is situated about 800 meters from the river Hunte.500 tombs, different in form and size, are evidence of the settlement that 600 years B.C. buried their urns with the ashes there. For each individual urn a hill would be erected, created with sods of grass. During the examination of the "kings tombs (Königshügel) traces of the earlier stone age. Ritual plough traces from the Bronze Age were discovered. 1100-700 B.C.

The 'kings tombs' (Königshügel) consist of burials from different ages (late Bronze Age to pre-Roman Iron Age). The farmers, breeders, hunters and fishermen were contemporaries of "Ötzi" from the ice age. Lets just call them: Wildi and Geesta from the Wildeshausen Geest.

People from Wildeshausen[edit]

International relations[edit]

Twin towns – Sister cities[edit]

Wildeshausen is twinned with:

References[edit]