Goslar - Encyclopedia

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GOSLAR, a town of Germany, in the Prussian province of Hanover, romantically situated on the Gose, an affluent of the Oker, at the north foot of the Harz, 24 m. S.E. of Hildesheim and 31 m. S.W. from Brunswick, by rail. Pop. (1905) 17,817. It is surrounded by walls and is of antique appearance. Among the noteworthy buildings are the "Zwinger," a tower with walls 23 ft. thick; the market church, in the Romanesque style, restored since its partial destruction by fire in 1844, and containing the town archives and a library in which are some of Luther's manuscripts; the old town hall (Rathaus), possessing many interesting antiquities; the Kaiserworth (formerly the hall of the tailors' gild and now an inn) with the statues of eight of the German emperors; and the Kaiserhaus, the oldest secular building in Germany, built by the emperor Henry III. before 1050 and often the residence of his successors. This was restored in 1867-1878 at the cost of the Prussian government, and was adorned with frescoes portraying events in German history. Other buildings of interest are: - the small chapel which is all that remains since 1820 of the old and famous cathedral of St Simon and St Jude founded by Henry III. about 1040, containing among other relics of the cathedral an old altar supposed to be that of the idol Krodo which formerly stood on the Burgberg near Neustadt-Harzburg; the church of the former Benedictine monastery of St Mary, or Neuwerk, of the 12th century, in the Romanesque style, with wall-paintings of considerable merit; and the house of the bakers' gild now an hotel, the birthplace of Marshal Saxe. There are four Evangelical churches, a Roman Catholic church, a synagogue, several schools, a natural science museum, containing a collection of Harz minerals, the Fenkner museum of antiquities and a number of small foundations. The town has equestrian statues of the emperor Frederick I. and of the German emperor William I. The population is chiefly occupied in connexion with the sulphur, copper, silver and other mines in the neighbourhood. The town has also been long noted for its beer, and possesses some small manufactures and a considerable trade in fruit.

Goslar is believed to have been founded by Henry the Fowler about 920, and when in the time of Otto the Great the mineral treasures in the neighbourhood were discovered it increased rapidly in prosperity. It was often the meeting-place of German diets, twenty-three of which are said to have been held here, and was frequently the residence of the emperors. About 1350 it joined the Hanseatic League. In the middle of the 14th century the famous Goslar statutes, a code of laws, which was adopted by many other towns, was published. The town was unsuccessfully besieged in 1625, during the Thirty Years' War, but was taken by the Swedes in 1632 and nearly destroyed by fire. Further conflagrations in 1728 and 1780 gave a severe blow to its prosperity. It was a free town till 1802, when it came into the possession of Prussia. In 1807 it was joined to Westphalia, in 1816 to Hanover and in 1866 it was, along with Hanover, re-united to Prussia.

See T. Erdmann, Die alte Kaiserstadt Goslar and ihre Umgebung in Geschichte, Sage and Bild (Goslar, 1892); Crusius, Geschichte der vormals kaiserlichen freien Reichstadt Goslar (1842-1843); A. Wolfstieg, Verfassungsgeschichte von Goslar (Berlin, 1885); T. Asche, Die Kaiserpfalz zu Goslar (1892); Neuburg, Goslars Bergbau bis 1 55 2 (Hanover, 1892); and the Urkundenbuch der Stadt Goslar, edited by G. Bode (Halle, 1893-1900). For the Goslarische Statuten see the edition published by Goscheh (Berlin, 1840).

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