Erfurt (German pronunciation: [ˈɛʁfʊʁt]) is the capital city of Thuringia and the main city nearest to the geographical centre of Germany, located 100 km SW of Leipzig, 150 km N of Nuremberg and 180 km SE of Hannover. Together with the neighbour-cities Weimar and Jena it forms the central metropolitan area of Thuringia with approximately 500,000 inhabitants. Notable institutions in Erfurt are the Federal Labour Court of Germany, the University of Erfurt and the FachhochschuleErfurt as well as the Roman Catholic Diocese of Erfurt with the Erfurt Cathedral as one of the main sights. Further famous buildings are the Krämerbrücke, a bridge completely covered with dwellings, and the oldest Synagogue still standing in Europe, established in 11th century. Furthermore, the medieval city centre consists of old timber-framed houses and about 25 gothic churches. Erfurt was first mentioned in 742, as Saint Boniface founded the Diocese. Although the town did not belong to one of the Thuringian states politically, it quickly became the economic centre of the region. Until the Napoleonic era it was part of theElectorate of Mainz and afterwards it belonged to Prussia until 1945. The university was founded in 1392, closed in 1816 and reestablished after the German reunification in 1994. It was the third university working in what is Germany today, but with an older privilege from 1379, some historians argue that it is the oldest university in Germany. Martin Luther was the most famous student of the institution. The citys economy is effected by administration and governance, services and microelectronics industry. Caused by the central position within Germany, Erfurt became an important location of logistics in Germany and Central Europe during the last years. Another traditional economic sector is horticulture. Besides Erfurt is the city with the second-largest trade fair (after Leipzig) in eastern Germany and an important hub in rail and road transportation. The KiKa, the German public television channel for children, is also located in Erfurt. The city lies in the southern part of the Thuringian Basin within the wide valley of Gera River.


*source „Erfurt“, http://, 10.06.2013