Altenburg's Town Chronicle

Altenburg can look back on a chequered history. Wars, repeated rebuilding of the town after frequent fires, changes in ruler, visits by the Emperor - these are just some of the events experienced by the inhabitants of the former royal residence town. A brief chronicle lists some of these events below.

976

First mention of Altenburg by Emperor Otto II.


around 1000

Building of a Romanesque residential and refuge tower, the so-called "bottle" on the northern fortress site.


1132

Mention of Altenburg Imperial Palace as "Castrum Plysn"


1165-1188

Emperor Frederick I visits Altenburg six times.


around 1170

The Romanesque hall church of St. Bartholomew's is built.


1172

Dedication of the Augustinian Canons Monastery of "Our Dear Lady St. Mary" on the hill, called the Hill Monastery (Red Points) by Emperor Frederick I "Barbarossa".


1192

Today's marketplace is mentioned as the "New Market".


around 1200

Building of St. Nikolai Tower as a watchtower.


1204

Mention of Altenburg's town wall.


1256

Confirmation of Altenburg's town charter by Henry the Illustrious.


1307

King Albrecht I loses the battle of Lucka against Frederick the Undaunted. Shortly afterwards, Altenburg and the Pleisse land are taken over by the Wettin dynasty.


1356

Renewal of Altenburg town charter by Frederick III.


1430

Siege of the town by the Hussites; almost half of the town is burnt down.


1455

Saxon "Theft of the Princes"; the knight Kunz von Kauffungen kidnaps Ernst and Albrecht, the two sons of Elector Frederick the Gentle, from Altenburg Castle in an effort to enforce his demands against the Elector.


1474

Mention of a theatre play in Altenburg.


1485

The so-called "Leipzig Land Division" between Elector Ernest and Duke Albrecht takes place. Altenburg is assigned to Elector Ernest.


1522

Instigation of the Reformation in Altenburg.


1528

Georg Spalatin performs the first parish inspection.


1538

Building of the first Wasserkunst pumping plant at the Little Pond.


1547

Schmalkaldian War; the town remains in the hands of the Albertines until 1554.


1562-1564

Building of Renaissance Town Hall in the marketplace, designed by the Weimar Court Architect Nikolaus Grohmann.


1588

Lightning destroys the northern tower and three-nave basilica of the Hill Monastery Church (Red Points). The church has been a ruin ever since. Only the northern tower was rebuilt.


1593

The laying-out of the Castle Gardens begins.


1603

Thirty Years' War; the most cruel war years for the town's residents are between 1632-1634; the majority of citizens do not survive.


1659-1660

Collapse of the northern tower of St. Bartholomew's Church, after which the Romanesque double towers are dismantled.


1668

The new Baroque tower of St. Bartholomew's Church is completed.


1672

On the death of Frederick William III of Saxony-Altenburg, the oldest line of the ducal dynasty comes to an end and the county falls to Duke Ernest the Pious of Saxony-Gotha.


1695

The town is given a new market charter.


1702-1744

A number of alterations are made to the Ducal castle.


1702-1730

Building of the tea house, the orangery and the "Schönhaus" in the castle gardens.


1706-1744

The Residence Castle is given its present design by the two dukes Frederick II and Frederick III.


1724

Town Architect Johann Georg Hellbrunn builds the Seckendorff Palace on Brühl for Friedrich Heinrich von Seckendorff, Field Marshal General and Count of the Holy Roman Empire.


1725

Altenburg Local Court is built in Burgstraße.


1735-1738

Installation of the Trost organ in Altenburg's Castle Church.


1762-1769

The Great Pond and the promenade around it are given their present design.


1788

Creation of the Thümmelsche Garden.


1802-1804

Construction of the Lodge Building on Johannisgraben.


1806

Billeting of French soldiers in the town; by joining the Rhine Confederation, Altenburg becomes an ally of Napoleon.


1810-1818

The card game of Skat is invented.


1813

This is a year greatly affected by war. General Blücher takes up residence in the guest house "Stadt Gotha" in Johannisstraße and generals Scharnhorst and Gneisenau are also resident in Altenburg.


1813

Grand Princess Maria Pavlovna, the Russian Tsar Alexander, the Austrian Emperor Frances and the King of Prussia stay in the town.


1826

As a result of the Hildburghausen Division Treaty, Altenburg falls to the former Duke of Hildburghausen, who makes a festive entry into the town as Duke Frederick I of Saxony-Altenburg.


1831

Introduction of a new town charter.


1832

The Bechstein brothers' playing card factory is founded.


1842

Accompanied by great festivities, a railway train makes a test run from the Bavarian Railway Station in Leipzig to Altenburg on 6th September; regular services begin on 19th September 1842.


1844

Complete rebuilding of the Wasserkunst pumping plant.


1856-1859

Construction of the Regional Court building on Pauritzer Platz.


1868

Devastating fire at the Castle, to which the Princes' Palace and the Grain House fall victim and during which six firemen die.


1869-1871

Building of the theatre designed by Town Building Officer Enger in Italian Renaissance style.


1873-1875

The Lindenau Museum is built.


1876-1879

The new railway station is built in Wettinerstraße.


1892-1895

Construction of the Ministry for the Duchy of Saxony-Altenburg, now the home of the District Government.


1895

The Altenburg tram system starts operation.


1903-1906

The Duchess Agnes Memorial Church is built.


1905

Construction of the Brothers' Church is completed.


1907-1908

The "Mauritianum" Natural Science Museum is built in art nouveau style to designs by Town Building Officer A. H. Wanckel.


13.11.1918

The last Altenburg ruler, Duke Ernest II of Saxony-
Altenburg, resigns from government.


1920

The tram system discontinues operation. The former Duchy of Saxony-Altenburg becomes part of the Free State of Thuringia on 1st May 1920.


1921-1923

Building of the new gas works.


1922

New local and county regulations take effect.


1923

Building of the Sparkasse bank in the marketplace.


1924

The Reichswehr armed forces leave Altenburg.


1925

Building of the Island Bridge.


1926

First visit by Hitler.


1928

Building of the "Capitol" cinema.


1928-1929

Building of the Crematorium.


1930

Building of one-family homes in the Thomas-Mann-Siedlung.


1932

Hitler speaks at a mass rally.


1934

Construction of the south open-air swimming pool.


1935-1936

Building of the playing card factory


1937

Hitler's birthday is celebrated on Schützenanger and by Gottesacker Church.


1938

The Kristallnacht - "Night of Broken Glass" - arrest and maltreatment of Jewish citizens. Building of the HASAG ammunition factory as a concentration camp for 2000 prisoners.


1939

Demolition of the Insel Tavern.


End of 1940/Early 1941

Hitler is in Altenburg with fighter squadron no. 153.


1940-1941

Several air attacks on Altenburg.


1942

The Skat Fountain is melted down by the Nazis for war use.


1944

Air attack on railway station and HASAG


15.04.1945

Occupation by American troops.


01.07.1945

Altenburg region is handed over to the Red Army.


1946

The Playing Card Museum is declared to be Soviet war booty; 46 boxes disappear from Altenburg and have never been returned.


1952

As part of a district and administrative reform, Altenburg is allocated to the District of Leipzig.


1955

The Skat Fountain on Brühl is rebuilt.


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Saxon "Theft of the Princes"