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Altstadt of Tübingen
Stralsund, a city regarded World Heritage status by UNESCO. German old towns are often recognizable by their density, small alleys and buildings from different eras, mostly even going back to Gothic times.
Altstadt of Rothenburg ob der Tauber in 1900...
... and in 2008

Altstadt is the German language word for "old town", and generally refers to the historical town or city centre within the old town or city wall, in contrast to younger suburbs outside. Neustadt (new town), the logical opposite of "Altstadt", mostly stands for a part of the "Altstadt" in modern sense, sometimes only a few years younger than the oldest part, sometimes a late medieval enlargement.

Most German towns have an Altstadt, even though the ravages of war have destroyed many of them, especially during the Thirty Years' War (1618-1648). In the "War of the Palatinian Succession" of 1688, the order to Brûlez le Palatinat! was executed by Mélac, devastating many cities and large parts of South Western Germany, like the Heidelberg Castle.

Allied Strategic bombing during World War II destroyed nearly all large cities, with the exception of Regensburg and Heidelberg. Many smaller towns remained intact, for example Bamberg, Konstanz, Passau, Tübingen, Dinkelsbühl, Quedlinburg and Wismar. Some Altstadt parts in Freiburg, Erfurt, Rothenburg ob der Tauber, Weimar and others have been restored. But most destroyed bigger German old towns were not reconstructed. Important old towns like those of Hildesheim, Braunschweig, Frankfurt, Kassel and Pforzheim were largely lost or only reconstructed in limited areas.

Recent efforts of Altstadt reconstructions can be found in Dresden (Neumarkt area), Potsdam (the old market and city palace) and Frankfurt (Römerberg around the Cathedral).

Examples of Altstadt districts in cities and towns[edit]




Other towns[edit]

Notable Altstadt districts in cities that used to be inhabited also by a German-speaking population

Notable Altstadt districts in cities and towns that were destroyed

Staryi Sambir - "Old Sambir" was also known as Altstadt, equivalent to the Polish Staremiasto.

Image gallery[edit]

Coordinates: 47°29′56″N 8°43′43″E / 47.49889°N 8.72861°E / 47.49889; 8.72861