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View of Gelnhausen with the Marienkirche
|• Mayor||Thorsten Stolz  (SPD)|
|• Total||45.18 km2 (17.44 sq mi)|
|• Density||500/km2 (1,300/sq mi)|
|Time zone||CET/CEST (UTC+1/+2)|
|Vehicle registration||MKK, GN, SLÜ|
Gelnhausen is a town and the capital of the Main-Kinzig-Kreis, in Hesse, Germany. It is located approximately 40 kilometers east of Frankfurt am Main, between the Vogelsberg mountains and the Spessart range at the river Kinzig. It is one of the eleven towns (urban municipalities) in the district. Gelnhausen has around 22,000 inhabitants.
|Imperial City of Gelnhausen|
|Free Imperial City of the Holy Roman Empire|
|Historical era||Middle Ages|
|•||Founded by Frederick Barbarossa||1170|
|•||Pledged to Ld Hanau||1349–? 1170|
|•||Pledged to counties of Schwarzburg and Hohnstein||26 May 1349|
|•||Hohnstein share to Schwarzburg||22 July 1431|
|•||Schwarzburg sold to County of Hanau and Electorate of the Palatinate||26 May 1435|
|•||Hanau extinct; share to Lgvt Hesse-Kassel||28 March 1736|
|•||Palatinate share to Hesse-Kassel||1746 1803|
|•||Hesse-Kassel raised to electorate||1803|
Gelnhausen was founded by Emperor Frederick Barbarossa in 1170, it is therefore nicknamed "Barbarossastadt". The place was chosen because it was at the intersection of the Via Regia imperial road between Frankfurt and Leipzig and several other major trade routes. Frederick had three villages connected by streets and surrounded by a wall. At the same time Gelnhausen received town privileges and a Kaiserpfalz was erected on an island of the Kinzig river. The emperor also granted trade privileges like the staple right which forced traveling merchants to offer their goods in the town for three days.
Hence Gelnhausen initially was a thriving trade town and head of a league of 16 towns of the Wetterau region. However prosperity came to an end already in 1326 when Emperor Louis IV gave the town in pawn to the counts of Hanau, redeemed shortly afterwards. In 1349 Count Günther von Schwarzburg received Gelnhausen from Emperor Charles IV for renouncing his claims as elected King of the Romans, in condominium with the counts of Hohnstein, who sold their share to Schwarzburg in 1431. Schwarzburg was acquired in 1435 by Elector Palatine Louis III and the Hanau, since raised to a county.
Repeated plundering in the Thirty Years' War as depicted by Hans Jakob Christoffel von Grimmelshausen in his novel Simplicius Simplicissimus made it nearly uninhabitable. In 1736, the extinction of the comital line of Hanau meant the condominium share was inherited by the Landgraviate of Hesse-Kassel, who acquired the Palatinate's share ten years later.
The varying lords made continued attempts to challenge Gelnhausen's imperial immediacy, it however formally remained a Reichsstadt. During the German Mediatisation of 1803 the city became a part of the Landgraviate of Hesse-Kassel, which was raised to an electorate and, after the Austro-Prussian War of 1866, was annexed by Prussia. At this time Gelnhausen had completely recovered and with the Gründerzeit economic boom became a centre of the German rubber industry.
In 1996, the town hosted the 36th Hessentag state festival.
Arts and culture
- Medieval town center with historic buildings like the Gotisches Haus and the Romanisches Haus
- The castle, connected to the town's status as direct imperial palatinate town. It was erected at the time of Gelnhausen's foundation southeast of the town on an island in the Kinzig River. The groundwork is stabilized by 12,000 logs, driven into the earth. Today it is the best preserved Kaiserpfalz from this era.
- The Marienkirche, the most recognizable symbol of Gelnhausen. It shows both Romanesque and Gothic architecture elements.
- The Catholic church of Saint Peter. Its origins lie in the early 13th century; rich citizens of Gelnhausen planned to erect a church within the town, causing a conflict with the Selbold monastery that owned the clerical patronage for Gelnhausen. This conflict was escalated up to Pope Gregory IX who decided in favour of the monastery. From the 13th to the 15th century the church was used for weddings, baptisms, and funerals. After the Reformation, the building became the property of the town. It subsequently fell into ruin and was sold in 1830 to a local merchant. After the demolition of the second tower, a cigar factory was built in it. In 1920, the Catholic community of Gelnhausen bought the church and partly restored it over an 18-year period. A complete restoration took place in 1982–83.
Gelnhausen is twinned with:
Gelnhausen lies directly on the German autobahn A66. Gelnhausen station is located on the Kinzig Valley Railway, a major line between Frankfurt and Fulda. Regional services from Frankfurt to Fulda or Wächtersbach stop in Gelnhausen.
- August Brey, politician, member of the Weimar National Assembly, born 1 August 1864 at Gelnhausen, died 28 July 1937 at Ronnenberg
- Johann Heinrich Cassebeer, born 1784 at Gelnhausen, naturalist and mayor of Gelnhausen, died 21 April 1850 at Biebergemünd
- Hans Fischinger, film director, brother of Oskar, born 15 September 1909 at Gelnhausen
- Oskar Fischinger, film director, born 22 June 1900 at Gelnhausen, died 31 January 1967 in Los Angeles
- Hans Joachim Fröhlich, forestry scientist and conservationist, born at Meerholz, Gelnhausen, died 20 December 2008
- Jost Hoen, German teacher, pedagogue and statesman, born about 1500 in Gelnhausen, died 6 June 1569 in Dillenburg
- Tia and Tamera Mowry, actresses, both born 6 July 1978 at Gelnhausen
- Klaus Ploghaus, athlete (hammer throw, 3rd place in the 1984 Summer Olympics), born 31 January 1956 at Gelnhausen
- Johann Philipp Reis, inventor of one of the first telephones, born 7 January 1834 at Gelnhausen, died 14 January 1874 at Friedrichsdorf
- Friedrich Armand Strubberg (1806 –1889) Merchant, physician, colonist in North America. Direct descendant of Frederick I of Sweden. Buried in Gelnhausen.
- Hans Jakob Christoffel von Grimmelshausen, writer, born about 1622 in Gelnhausen, died 17 August 1676 in Renchen. In his work Simplicissimus, the sacking of Gelnhausen during the Thirty Years' War is graphically described.
- Wolfram Weimer, chief editor of the Cicero magazine, born 1964 at Gelnhausen
Like many American soldiers, in 1959 Colin Powell, then lieutenant of the 3rd Armored Division, served at Coleman Kaserne. A street was later named after him. During the Second Gulf War there was some discussion about renaming the street because of Germany's stance on the war. The mayor of Gelnhausen strongly objected.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Gelnhausen.|
|Wikisource has the text of the 1906 New International Encyclopedia article Gelnhausen.|