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State Service Flag
Image:Flag of Thuringia (state).svg
Civil Flag
Image:Flag of Thuringia.svg
State Coat-of-Arms
Image:Coat of arms of Thuringia.svg
Capital: Erfurt
Area: 16,171 km²
Inhabitants: 2 392 000 (2003)
pop. density: 148 people/km²
ISO 3166-2: DE-TH
Minister-president: Dieter Althaus (CDU)
Ruling party: CDU
Image:Germany Laender Thueringen.png

The Free State of Thuringia (German: Freistaat Thüringen) lies in central Germany and is among the smaller of the country's sixteen Bundesländer (federal states), being eleventh in size with an area of 16,200 km² and twelfth most populous with 2.45 million inhabitants. The capital is Erfurt.



Thuringia borders on (from the north and clockwise) the German states of Lower Saxony, Saxony-Anhalt, Saxony, Bavaria and Hesse. The major cities include Erfurt (200,000), Gera (110,000), Jena (103,000), Weimar (64,000), Gotha (50,000), Suhl (46,700), Nordhausen (45,000), and Eisenach (44,200).

The most conspicuous geographical feature of Thuringia is the Thuringian Forest (Thüringer Wald), a mountain chain in the southwest. In the northwest Thuringia includes a small part of the Harz mountains. The eastern part of Thuringia is generally a plain. The Saale river runs through these lowlands from south to north.

See also List of places in Thuringia.

Thuringia is divided into 17 districts (Landkreise): Image:Thuringia map.png

  1. Altenburger Land
  2. Eichsfeld
  3. Gotha
  4. Greiz
  5. Hildburghausen
  6. Ilm-Kreis

  1. Kyffhäuserkreis
  2. Nordhausen
  3. Saale-Holzland
  4. Saale-Orla
  5. Saalfeld-Rudolstadt
  6. Schmalkalden-Meiningen

  1. Sömmerda
  2. Sonneberg
  3. Unstrut-Hainich
  4. Wartburgkreis
  5. Weimarer Land

Furthermore there are six independent cities, which don't belong to any district:

  1. Erfurt
  2. Eisenach
  3. Gera
  4. Jena
  5. Suhl
  6. Weimar


Named after the Thuringian people who occupied it around 300 AD, Thuringia came under Frankish domination in the 6th century, forming a part (from 1130 a landgravate) of the subsequent Holy Roman Empire.

After the extinction of the reigning Ludowing line of counts in 1247 and the War of the Thuringian Succession (1247-64), the western half became independent under the name of Hesse, never to become a part of Thuringia again. Most of the remaining Thuringia came under the rule of the Wettin dynasty of the nearby Margravate of Meißen, the nucleus of the later duchy and kingdom of Saxony. With the division of the house of Wettin in 1485, Thuringia went to the senior Ernestine branch of the family, which subsequently subdivided the area into a number of smaller states, according to the Saxon tradition of dividing inheritance amongst male heirs. These were the Saxon Duchies. They consisted, among others, of the states of Saxe-Weimar, Saxe-Eisenach, Saxe-Jena, Saxe-Meiningen, Saxe-Altenburg, Saxe-Coburg, and Saxe-Gotha. 'Thuringia' became merely a geographical concept.

Thuringia generally accepted the Reformation. The Catholic Faith was abolished as early as 1520, priests that remained loyal were driven away and churches and monasteries were largely destroyed, especially during the Peasants War of 1525. In Mulhausen and elsewhere, the Anabaptists found many adherents. Thomas Munzer, the founder of this sect was active in this city. Within the borders of Thuringia the Catholic Faith was maintained only in the district called Eichsfeld, which was ruled by the Archbishop of Mainz, and to a small degree in the city and vicinity of Erfurt.

Within the Napoleonic Confederation of the Rhine organized in 1806, some reordering of territories began, confirmed at the Congress of Vienna (1814-15) with the creation of the German Confederation. The so-called Thuringian states within the German Empire were Saxe-Weimar-Eisenach, Saxe-Meiningen, Saxe-Altenburg, Saxe-Coburg-Gotha, Schwarzburg-Sondershausen, Schwarzburg-Rudolstadt and the two principalities of Reuß.

In 1920, during the Weimar Republic that followed World War I, these small states merged into one state, called Thuringia; only Saxe-Coburg voted to join Bavaria instead. Weimar became the new capital of Thuringia.

After July 1945, the state of Thuringia came under Soviet occupation, and was expanded to include parts of the Prussian Province of Saxony, such as the areas around Erfurt, Mühlhausen, and Nordhausen. Erfurt became the new capital of Thuringia.

In 1952, the German Democratic Republic dissolved its states, and created districts (Bezirke) instead. The three districts that shared the territory of Thuringia were based in Erfurt, Gera and Suhl.

The State of Thuringia was restored with slightly altered borders during Germany's reunification in 1990.


List of Minister-presidents of Thuringia

  1. 1920 - 1921: Arnold Paulssen (DDP)
  2. 1921 - 1923: August Frölich (SPD)
  3. 1924 - 1928: Richard Leutheußer (DVP)
  4. 1928 - 1929: Karl Riedel (DVP)
  5. 1929: Arnold Paulssen (DDP)
  6. 1930 - 1932: Erwin Baum (Landbund)
  7. 1932 - 1933: Fritz Sauckel (NSDAP)
  8. 1933 - 1945: Willy Marschler (NSDAP)
  9. 1945: Hermann Brill (SPD)
  10. 1945 - 1947: Rudolf Paul (no party, then LDPD)
  11. 1947 - 1952: Werner Eggerath (SED)
  12. 1990 - 1992: Josef Duchac (CDU)
  13. 1992 - 2003: Bernhard Vogel (CDU)
  14. since 2003: Dieter Althaus (CDU)

June 13, 2004 state election

See also: Thuringia state election, 2004

Party Party List votes Vote percentage Total Seats Seat percentage
Christian Democratic Union (CDU) 434,088 43.0% 45 51.1%
Party of Democratic Socialism (PDS) 263,717 26.1% 28 31.8%
Social Democratic Party (SPD) 146,297 14.5% 15 17.0%
Alliance '90/The Greens 45,649 4.5% 0 0.0%
The Republicans 19,797 2.0% 0 0.0%
Free Democratic Party (FDP) 36,483 3.6% 0 0.0%
Free Voters in Thuringia 26,302 2.6% 0 0.0%
National Democratic Party (NPD) 15,695 1.6% 0 0.0%
All Others 22,549 2.2% 0 0.0%
Totals 1,010,578 100.0% 88 100.0%

Image:2004 thuringia landtag result.png

See also

External links

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