From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
Zerbst Bartholomäikirche.jpg
Coat of arms of Zerbst
Coat of arms
Zerbst   is located in Germany
Coordinates: 51°58′5″N 12°5′4″E / 51.96806°N 12.08444°E / 51.96806; 12.08444Coordinates: 51°58′5″N 12°5′4″E / 51.96806°N 12.08444°E / 51.96806; 12.08444
Country Germany
State Saxony-Anhalt
District Anhalt-Bitterfeld
 • Mayor Andreas Dittmann (SPD)
 • Total 467.65 km2 (180.56 sq mi)
Elevation 67 m (220 ft)
Population (2012-12-31)[1]
 • Total 22,242
 • Density 48/km2 (120/sq mi)
Time zone CET/CEST (UTC+1/+2)
Postal codes 39261
Dialling codes 03923
Vehicle registration ABI, AZE, BTF, KÖT, ZE
Website www.stadt-zerbst.de

Zerbst is a town in the district of Anhalt-Bitterfeld, in Saxony-Anhalt, Germany. Until the administrative reform of 2007 Zerbst was the capital of the Anhalt-Zerbst district. After the 1 January 2010 local government reform Zerbst counted about 24,000 inhabitants. At 467,65 km², it is the fifth largest town in Germany by size.


It is not clear when Zerbst was founded; however, a region by the name Ciervisti was mentioned as early as 949. The chronicle Thietmar of Merseburg recorded the first mention of the town as Zirwisti urbs in 1018.[2]

In 1307 Albrecht I acquired the city of Zerbst from the von Barby family, starting a centuries-long rule by the House of Ascania.

Following the Reformation Zerbst became a Calvinist centre. From 1582 to 1798 the Francisceum Gymnasium Illustre was an important Calvinist college.

From 1603 to 1793 Zerbst was the Residence Town of the Zerbst Principality, whose rule included among others also Jever. From 1722 to 1758, the important baroque composer Johann Friedrich Fasch resided here and was employed as a Hofkomponist and later Hofkapellmeister. To honour his memory, the Fasch Festivals take place in the city since 1983.

In 1745, princess Sophie Auguste Friederike von Anhalt-Zerbst married Peter of Holstein-Gottorp, the heir apparent to the Russian throne. As Catharine II (the Great) she herself reigned as Empress of Russia from 9 July [O.S. 28 June] 1762 until 17 November [O.S. 6 November] 1796).

In 1797 Zerbst became a component of the Anhalt-Dessau Principality.

From 1891 to 1928 a horse-drawn streetcar was operated in Zerbst, one of the longest surviving among such streetcars in Germany.

In the later part of the Second World War a Nazi labour camp was established on the edge of the military airfield, housing so-called "First Degree Hybrids" and "Jüdisch Versippte" (i.e., people with some Jewish blood, enough in Nazi terms to justify badly mistreating them but not killing them outright). 700 inmates from there were used for hard labour in road and airport construction as well as peat digging.

On April 16, 1945 - just a few weeks before the final surrender of Nazi Germany - some eighty percent of Zerbst was destroyed in an Allied air raid.

The Old Town was rebuilt in the following decades with a fundamental change of the townscape, only a few historical structures being preserved.

On July 1, 2006 the town of Zerbst was renamed Zerbst/Anhalt. A year later, on July 1, 2007, the city of Zerbst/Anhalt was incorporated together with several other municipalities of the Zerbst administrative district, making the renewed Anhalt-Bitterfeld administrative district with its capital at Köthen.

See also[edit]

Zerbst Town Hall


  1. ^ "Bevölkerung der Gemeinden 31.12.2012". Statistisches Landesamt Sachsen-Anhalt (in German). January 2014. 
  2. ^ Thietmari Mersebu rgensis episcopi Chronicon, post editionem Ioh. M. Lappenbergii recognovit Fridericus Kurze (1889)

External links[edit]

  • Media related to Zerbst at Wikimedia Commons