NORDHAUSEN, a town of Germany, in the province of Prussian Saxony. It is situated on the Zorge at the south base of the Harz Mountains, and at the west end of the Goldene Aue (Golden Plain), a fruitful valley watered by the Helme, 60 m. by rail W. of Halle, on the main line to Frankfort-on-Main and Cassel, and at the junction of railways to Erfurt and Blankenheim. Pop. (1885) 27,083; (1905) 29,882. It is built. partly on the slope of the mountains and partly on the plain, and the upper and lower parts of the town are connected by flights of steps. Among its eight churches the most noteworthy are the Roman Catholic cathedral, late Gothic with a Romanesque crypt, and the Protestant church of St Blasius, containing two pictures by Lucas Cranach. Near the medieval town hall stands a Roland's column, the ancient symbol of free commercial intercourse and civic liberty. The town has a museum of antiquities and various public monuments, notably a fountain by Ernst Rietschel in the corn market, and another to Luther in the market square. There are statues of the emperor Frederick III. and of Prince Bismarck. The chief importance of the place arises from its distilleries, which annually yield about io,000,000 gallons of "Korn Schnapps," a spirit somewhat akin to whisky. The breweries are also important and there are manufactures of leather, tobacco and cigars, cotton, linen goods, carpets, chicory, malt and chemicals. Nordhausen is sometimes called the Cincinnati of Germany on account of its extensive export trade in pork, corned beef, ham and sausages. There is also a large trade in corn.
Nordhausen is one of the oldest towns in North Germany. It possessed a royal palace in 874 and a convent was founded here in 962. It was destroyed by Henry the Lion, duke of Saxony, in 1180, but was soon rebuilt and was made a free imperial town in 1253. In this and the following century several diets and other assemblies were held here. The protector (Vogt) of the town was the elector of Saxony and later for a few years (1702-1715) the elector of Brandenburg. Nordhausen accepted the reformed doctrines in 1522. It was annexed by Prussia in 1803 and again in 1815, having in the meantime belonged to the kingdom of Westphalia.
See Forstemann, Urkundliche Geschichte der Stadt Nordhausen bis 1250 (Nordhausen, 1828-1840) and Kleine Schriften zur Geschichte der Stadt Nordhausen (Nordhausen, 1855); Lesser, Historische Nachrichten von Nordhausen, edited by Forstemann (Nordhausen 1860); J. Schmidt, Bauand Kunstdenkmaler der Stadt Nordhausen (Halle, 1886); T. Eckart, Gedenkblcitter aus der Geschichte der ehemaligen freien Reichsstadt Nordhausen (Leipzig, 1895); Heine, Nordhausen and Preussen (Nordhausen, 1902); and Girschner, Lokalfi hrer fiir Nordhausen and Umgebung (1891).
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