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This article is about Freiburg in Baden-Württemberg, Germany. There is also a village named Freiburg (Elbe) in northwestern Germany. Freiburg (Freiburg im Üechtland) is also the German name of the town of Fribourg, Switzerland.

Freiburg im Breisgau is a city in Baden-Württemberg, Germany, in the Breisgau region, on the western edge of the southern Black Forest (in German language: Schwarzwald) with about 200,000 inhabitants. It is situated at 47°59'43" north, 7°51'11" east. Popular opinion has it that Freiburg is the warmest, sunniest city in Germany. It straddles the Dreisam river, on the foothills of the Schlossberg. The city is surrounded by the Black Forest mountains Rosskopf and Bromberg in the east, and in the south and west by the Schönberg, Tuniberg and the Kaiserstuhl.



Freiburg was founded in the 12th century. In the mid-14th century Freiburg bought its liberty from a local count, and turned itself over to the protection of the Habsburgs, who allowed it to retain a large amount of freedom. Around 1200 the city began construction of its Münster on the site of an older parish church. The end of the Middle Ages and the beginning of the Renaissance was a time of both advances and tragedy for Freiburg.

In 1457 Duke Albrecht VI established Albert-Ludwigs-Universität, one of Germany's oldest universities.In 1520, the city undertook a set of legal reforms, widely known as the most progressive of the times. They attempted to create a balance between the old city traditions and old Roman Law. The reforms receive extensive acceptance, especially the sections dealing with civil process law, punishment and the city's constitution. Also in 1520, Freiburg decided against joining the Reformation and became an important center for Catholicism on the Upper Rhine.

In 1536, a strong and persistent belief in witchcraft lead to the city's first witchhunt. The need to find a reason for tragedies such as the Black Plague, which claimed 2000 area residents in 1564, lead to an escalation in witch hunting until it reached its peak in 1599.

The 17th, 18th and 19th centuries were turbulent times for Freiburg. Through battles in the Thirty Years War and other conflicts, the city belonged at various times to the Austrians, the French, the Swedish, the Spanish and various members of the German Confederacy. The city was heavily bombed during World War II. In 1940 German planes mistakenly dropped approximately 60 bombs on Freiburg near the train station. An Allied bombing of the city in 1944 damaged it further. Most of Freiburg's city centre was leveled, with the notable exception of the Münster. After the war, the city was rebuilt on its medieval plan. It became for a short time the site of government for the German state Badenia, which was merged into Baden-Württemberg soon after. It was occupied by the French Army, in 1945 They maintained a presence in the city until 1991, when the last tank division left the city.

On the site of the former French army base, a new carfree neighborhood of 5,000 people, Vauban, was begun in the late 1990s as a "sustainable model district". Solar power is used to power many of the households in this small community.


Because of its scenic beauty, relatively warm and sunny climate and easy access to the Black Forest, Freiburg is a hub for regional tourism. The longest cable car in Germany (3.6 km, or about 2.25 miles) runs from just outside the city to a nearby mountain called Schauinsland. The city has an unusual system of gutters (called Bächle) that run throughout its centre. These Bächle, once used to provide water to fight fires and refresh livestock, are constantly flowing with water diverted from the Dreisam. Local tradition has it that if you step in a Bächle, you will marry a Freiburger.

The Augustinerplatz is one of the central squares in the old city. Formerly the location of an Augustine monastery, it is now a beloved gathering place for Freiburg's residents. It has quite a few restaurants and bars, including "Feierling" a local brewery, which has a Biergarten that overlooks the square.

At the center of the old city is the its largest square, the Münsterplatz, home of a farmers' market every day except Sundays. This is the site of Freiburg's Münster, a gothic Minster Cathedral constructed of red sandstone, built between 1200 and 1530. The Freiburg Münster is noted for its flamboyant spire.

The Historisches Kaufhaus, or historical marketplace, is a Renaissance building constructed between 1520 and 1530 which was once the center of the financial life of the region. Its façade is decorated with the coat of arms of the Habsburgs.

The Altes Rathaus, or old city hall, was completed in 1559 and has a painted façade.

The Platz der alten Synagoge "Place of the Old Synagogue" is one of the more important squares on the outskirts of the historic old city. The square was the location of a Synagogue until it was destroyed on the Night of Broken Glass in 1938.

St George is the Patron Saint of Freiburg.


Freiburg is known as an "eco-city". In recent years it has attracted solar industries and research; the Greens have a stronghold here (the strongest in any major German city; up to 25% of the votes city-wide, in some neighbourhoods they reached 40% or more; figures from the 2002 national elections). The newly built neighbourhoods of Vauban and Rieselfeld were developed and built accordingly to the idea of sustainability. The citizens of Freiburg are known in Germany for their love of cycling and recycling.

Mayor: Dr. Dieter Salomon (Bündnis 90/Die Grünen, elected in 2002)

Freiburg has several sister-cities throughout the world:


Freiburg has an extensive pedestrian zone in the city centre where no automobiles are allowed. Freiburg also has an excellent public transit system, anchored by a continually expanding web of tram / streetcar routes known as the Stadtbahn.

Freiburg is on the main Frankfurt am Main - Basel train line with frequent and fast long-distance train services to major German and other European cities. Other train lines run east into the Black Forest and west to Breisach .

The city is also served by the A5 Frankfurt am Main - Basel motorway.

Freiburg is served by Basel-Mulhouse-Freiburg International Airport, actually located in France. The airport Karlsruhe/Baden-Baden (Baden Airpark) is situated approximately 120 km north of Freiburg and is served by, inter alia, the low-cost carrier Ryanair.


Freiburg is home to 1. Bundesliga football team SC Freiburg, managed by Volker Finke and playing in the Badenova-Stadion (formerly Dreisamstadion).

External Link

  • City of Freiburg and the Black Forest
  • Nightlife Freiburg
  • VAG Freiburg Freiburg Public Transit Authority

Last updated: 05-13-2005 07:56:04