Heilbad Heiligenstadt

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Heilbad Heiligenstadt
Saint Mary's Church, 14th century
Saint Mary's Church, 14th century
Coat of arms of Heilbad Heiligenstadt
Location of Heilbad Heiligenstadt within Eichsfeld district
Lower SaxonyHesseKyffhäuserkreisNordhausen (district)Unstrut-Hainich-KreisAm OhmbergAm OhmbergAm OhmbergArenshausenAsbach-SickenbergBerlingerodeBirkenfeldeBodenrode-WesthausenBornhagenBrehmeBreitenworbisBüttstedtBuhlaBurgwaldeDieterodeDietzenrode-VatterodeDingelstädtEcklingerodeEffelderEichstruthFernaFreienhagenFretterodeGeisledenGeismarGerbershausenGernrodeGlasehausenGroßbartloffHaynrodeHeilbad HeiligenstadtHeuthenHohengandernHohes KreuzKellaKellaKirchgandernKirchworbisKrombachKüllstedtLeinefelde-WorbisLenterodeLindewerraLutterMackenrodeMarthNiederorschelPfaffschwendeReinholterodeRöhrigRohrbergRustenfeldeSchachtebichSchimbergSchönhagenSchwobfeldSickerodeSteinbachSonnensteinSteinheuterodeTastungenTeistungenThalwendenUderVolkerodeWachstedtWahlhausenWehndeWiesenfeldWingerodeWüstheuterodeHeiligenstadt in EIC.svg
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Heilbad Heiligenstadt is located in Germany
Heilbad Heiligenstadt
Heilbad Heiligenstadt
Heilbad Heiligenstadt is located in Thuringia
Heilbad Heiligenstadt
Heilbad Heiligenstadt
Coordinates: 51°22′44″N 10°08′19″E / 51.37889°N 10.13861°E / 51.37889; 10.13861Coordinates: 51°22′44″N 10°08′19″E / 51.37889°N 10.13861°E / 51.37889; 10.13861
 • Mayor (2018–24) Thomas Spielmann[1]
 • Total70.88 km2 (27.37 sq mi)
255 m (837 ft)
 • Total16,899
 • Density240/km2 (620/sq mi)
Time zoneUTC+01:00 (CET)
 • Summer (DST)UTC+02:00 (CEST)
Postal codes
Dialling codes03606
Vehicle registrationEIC, HIG, WBS

Heilbad Heiligenstadt is a spa town in Thuringia, Germany. It is the capital of the Eichsfeld district.


Heiligenstadt is approximately 14 km east of the tripoint where the states of Thuringia, Hesse and Lower Saxony meet. It lies on the upper course of the river Leine (a tributary of the Aller) that flows through the town from east to west and is joined near the centre of the town by the Geislede.

South of the town is the Iberg, a 453.2 m tall peak located in the Heiligenstadt Stadtwald, which forms part of the Naturpark Eichsfeld-Hainich-Werratal.

Local subdivisions[edit]


  • Heiligenstadt was first mentioned in 973.
  • In 1022 it was acquired by the archbishop of Mainz.[3]
  • In 1227, the town received town rights from the archbishop of Mainz.
  • In 1333 it was destroyed by fire.[3]
  • In 1525 it was captured by Henry the Middle, Duke of Brunswick-Lüneburg.[3]
  • In 1540 Heiligenstadt became the capital of Eichsfeld.
  • In the Thirty Years' War of 1618–1648, the city was devastated several times.
  • In 1803 it came into possession of Prussia.[3]
  • In 1929 the salt-water hydropathic baths were built and in 1950 the town was designated a spa.
  • On 9 November 1938, the town synagogue was desecrated. The event is commemorated in a plaque on the building, which is now a residence.
  • In October 1989, demonstrations began in Heiligenstadt as part of the Peaceful Revolution in East Germany.
  • In 1994, Heiligenstadt became the capital of the new district of Eichsfeld, formed by the amalgamation of the districts of Heiligenstadt and Worbis.

Historical Population[edit]

Population (31 December):

  • 1825: 4,637
  • 1875: 5,193
  • 1890: 6,183
  • 1910: 8,229
  • 1925: 8,641
  • 1939: 9,973
  • 1950: 12,444
  • 1960: 12,500
  • 1971: 13,646
  • 1981: 15,524
  • 1988: 16,527
  • 1994: 17,379
  • 1995: 17,239
  • 1996: 17,170
  • 1997: 17,133
  • 1998: 17,077
  • 1999: 17,126
  • 2000: 17,291
  • 2001: 17,392
  • 2002: 17,283
  • 2003: 17,260
  • 2004: 17,151
  • 2005: 17,153
  • 2006: 17,103
  • 2007: 17,032
  • 2008: 16,856
  • 2009: 16,765
  • 2010: 16,610
  • 2011: 16,310
  • 2012: 16,188
  • 2013: 16,197
  • 2014: 16,337
  • 2015: 16,772
Data since 1994: Thüringian state office of statistics

Name of the town[edit]

Despite the official designation of the town as a spa in 1929 and a 1950 decision by the town council to append the word Soleheilbad (salt-water spa) to its name, it remained officially "Heiligenstadt" (literally Holy City) during the East German years. In 1990 the city government still used only Heiligenstadt.

However, the post office used Heilbad Heiligenstadt, as did postcard companies and the local savings bank. In fact between 1950 and 1990, the town had the distinction of being referred to in three different ways: as Heiligenstadt, Heilbad Heiligenstadt, or Heiligenstadt (Eichsf.) (for Eichsfeld).

In 1990, the town council and especially the mayor began expanding the spa business and it took on increasing importance. In addition, after German reunification, there were several Heiligenstadts in Germany. Initially the government declined to rename the town Heilbad Heiligenstadt because of a lack of evidence that it was a spa, but the town lodged an appeal and used the one and a half years before an official visit and the relative lack of oversight immediately after reunification to create spa facilities and integrate the word Heilbad into official usage. Permission for the renaming was then granted since the town was evidently a spa and using that name.

Statue of Theodor Storm in front of the Storm Literary Museum

Culture and sights[edit]


  • Eichsfeld Kulturhaus


Buildings and monuments[edit]

  • Mainz Schloss, seat of the administrator for Eichsfeld when it was a dominion of the Archbishopric of Mainz
  • Klausmühle (1748 Fachwerk mill on the site of the birthplace of Tilman Riemenschneider)
  • Einheitsdenkmal German Unity Monument in front of the town administration building, 2009

Churches and chapels[edit]

  • St. Aegidius, also known as the Neustädter Kirche (new-town church): begun in the 13th century
  • St. Mary's, also known as the Altstädter Kirche (old-town church), Liebfrauenkirche (Our Lady's) and Propsteikirche (abbey church): a 14th-century monastic foundation which replaced a 13th-century Romanesque building
  • St. Anne's chapel, possibly built as an ossuary, facing the north portico of St. Mary's
  • St. Martin's, also known as the Bergkirche (mountain church)[4]
  • Monastery of the Congregation of the Most Holy Redeemer and St. Gerhard's church, also known as the Paterkloster
  • St. Nicholas', also known as the Klausbergkirche
  • Klöppelsklus
  • Convent of the Sisters of Mary Magdalene Postel, with convent church and school church


  • The Jewish cemetery in Ibergstraße was last used for burial in 1940. The deportation of six Jewish residents to Theresienstadt concentration camp in September 1942 put an end to a Jewish community in the town which was first mentioned in writing in 1212 and which had built a synagogue and their own school in the 19th century.
  • The Soviet cemetery and monument in Dingelstädter Straße commemorate 70 Soviet prisoners of war and impressed workers who died in the town due to forced labour during World War II.


Regular events[edit]

Heiligenstadt, like the rest of Eichsfeld, is traditionally Roman Catholic, so there are several annual religious events, in particular the procession through the old town on Palm Sunday with life-size figures from the Passion of Christ, which attracts numerous believers from the region and the rest of Germany.


The Ibergrennen is an annual road race held since 1994 on the last weekend in June on Landesstraße 2022 (Holzweg) in the western foothills of the Iberg. Sponsored by the German Mountain Cup and German Mountain Championship, it has included sports and touring cars since 1998, when the road surface was renewed and the barriers reinforced. In 2000, the course was extended from 1.96 km to 2.05 km. The climb remains 200 m. It is thus one of the shortest mountain race routes in Germany, but not without challenges.

The drivers' encampment is traditionally set up near the centre of Heiligenstadt, next to a filling station and a supermarket which is open on Sundays.

The first race was held in 1925, but only for motorcycles.

Heiligenstadt around 1840, by Carl Duval

People associated with Heilbad Heiligenstadt[edit]

Honorary citizens[edit]


Johann Melchior Birkenstock


Athanasius Kircher in 1665
Johann Carl Fuhlrott


  1. ^ Gewählte Bürgermeister - aktuelle Landesübersicht, Freistaat Thüringen, accessed 14 July 2021.
  2. ^ "Bevölkerung der Gemeinden, erfüllenden Gemeinden und Verwaltungsgemeinschaften in Thüringen Gebietsstand: 31.12.2021" (in German). Thüringer Landesamt für Statistik. June 2022.
  3. ^ a b c d Chisholm, Hugh, ed. (1911). "Heiligenstadt" . Encyclopædia Britannica. Vol. 13 (11th ed.). Cambridge University Press. p. 212.
  4. ^ Thomas T. Müller, ed., Die St.-Martins-Kirche zu Heiligenstadt, Heiligenstädter Schriften 2, Heiligenstadt 2003 (in German)
  5. ^ H. Scholle, Ein Denkmal für den Ehrenbürger der Stadt Heiligenstadt Johann Wolf in Kreuzebra, Eichsfeld 9, Heimat- und Verkehrsverband Eichsfeld e.V, 1997 (in German)


  • Johann Vinzenz Wolf. Geschichte und Beschreibung der Stadt Heiligenstadt mit Urkunden. Göttingen: Beyersche Universitätsdruckerei, 1800. At Google Books
  • Hans Patze (Ed.) "Heiligenstadt". In: Thüringen: Handbuch der historischen Stätten Deutschlands, Volume 9. Stuttgart: Alfred-Kröner-Verlag, 1989. ISBN 3-520-31302-2. pp. 186–190.
  • Carl Duval. "Heiligenstadt". In: Das Eichsfeld. Repr. Hannover-Dören: Harro von Hirschheydt Verlag, 1979. ISBN 3-7777-0002-9. pp. 422–489.
  • Karl J. Hüther. Vom Jesuitenkolleg zum Staatlichen Gymnasium in Heiligenstadt. Heiligenstadt: F.W. Cordier,1995. ISBN 3-929413-25-6.
  • Enno Bünz. "Heiligenstadt als geistliches Zentrum des Eichsfeldes. Das Kollegiatstift St. Martin und seine Kanoniker". Zeitschrift des Vereins für Thüringische Geschichte 62 (2008) 9-48.
  • Bernhard Opfermann. Gestalten des Eichsfeldes: Ein biographisches Lexikon. Heiligenstadt: Cordier, 1999, ISBN 3-929413-37-X.

External links[edit]