Quedlinburg - Encyclopedia

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QUEDLINBURG, a town of Germany in the Prussian province of Saxony, situated on the Bode, near the N.W. base of the Harz Mountains, 12 miles S.E. by rail from Halberstadt on the line Magdeburg-Thale. Pop. (1905) 24,798, almost all Protestants. It consists of the old town, which is still partly surrounded by a turreted wall, the new town and four suburbs. On the west it is commanded by the castle, formerly the residence of the abbesses of Quedlinburg, connected with which is the interesting Schlosskirche, which was dedicated in 1129 and completely restored in 1862-82. The German king, Henry the Fowler, his wife Matilda, and Aurora, countess of KiMigsmark, the mistress of Augustus the Strong, are buried in the Schlosskirche. There are many interesting articles in the treasury. The Gothic town hall, a 14th-century building, restored and enlarged in 1900, contains a collection of antiquities, and near it stands a stone figure of Roland. The town also possesses a gymnasium founded in 1540 and now containing the abbey library and a municipal museum. It has a fine memorial of the war of 1870-71. Quedlinburg is famous for its nurseries and market gardens, and exports vegetable and flower seeds to all parts of Europe and America. Its chief manufactures are iron goods, machinery and cloth, and it has a trade in grain and cattle. Near the town is the church of St Wipertus, which dates from the 12th century, and has a crypt of the 10th century.

Quedlinburg was founded as a fortress by Henry the Fowler about 922, its early name being Quitlingen. Soon it became a favourite residence of the Saxon emperors and was the scene of several diets. It afterwards joined the Hanseatic League. The abbey of Quedlinburg was planned by Henry the Fowler, although its actual foundation is due to his son Otto the Great. It was a house for the daughters of noble Saxon families and was richly endowed; owning at one time a territory about 40 sq. m. in area. The abbesses, who were frequently members of the imperial house, the second of them being Otto's daughter Matilda, ranked among the princes of the empire, and had no ecclesiastical superior except the pope. The town at first strove vigorously to maintain its independence of them, and to this end invoked the aid of the bishop of Halberstadt. In 1477, however, the abbess Hedwig, aided by her brothers, Ernest and Albert of Saxony, compelled the bishop to withdraw, and for the next 200 years both town and abbey were under the protection of the elector of Saxony. In 1539 the townsmen accepted the reformed doctrines and the abbey was converted into a Protestant sisterhood. In 1697 the elector of Saxony sold his rights over Quedlinburg to the elector of Brandenburg for 240,000 thalers. The abbesses, however, retained certain rights of jurisdiction, and disputes between them and the Prussian government were frequent until the secularization of the abbey in 1803. The last abbess was Sophia Albertina (d. 1829), sister of King Charles XIII. of Sweden. After forming for a few years part of the kingdom of Westphalia, the abbey lands were incorporated with Prussia in 1815.

See the Urkundenbuch der Stadt Quedlinburg, edited by. Janicke (Halle, 1873-82); Ranke and Kugler, Beschreibung and Geschichte der Schlosskirche zu Quedlinburg (Berlin, 1838); Lorenz, Alt - Quedlinburg,1485-1698(Halle, 1900); and Huchs, Fiihrer durch Quedlinburg. For the history of the abbey see Fritsch, Geschichte des Reichsstifts and der Stadt Quedlinburg (Quedlinburg, 1828).

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