1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Brunswick (German city)

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BRUNSWICK, a city of Germany, capital of the duchy of that name, situated in a fertile and undulating country, on the Oker, 37 m. S.E. from Hanover and 53 N.W. from Magdeburg, on the main line of railway from Berlin. Pop. (1900) 128,226; (1905) 136,423, of which number about 9000 were Roman Catholics and 1000 Jews. Brunswick is an interesting place and retains much of its medieval character. The fortifications which formerly environed it were dismantled in 1797, and have given place to a regular circle of gardens and promenades, which rank among the finest in Germany. Within them lies the old town, with somewhat narrow and crooked streets, remarkable for its numerous ancient houses, with high gables and quaintly carved exteriors. In picturesqueness it vies with Lübeck and Lüneburg among North German towns. Among its churches, the cathedral, St Blasius, or Burgkirche, a Romanesque structure begun by Henry the Lion about 1173 and finished in 1194, is of interest. The chancel is decorated with 12th-century frescoes by Johannes Gallicus, and contains the tombs of the founder and his consort, with beautiful effigies in relief, and also that of the emperor Otto IV. In the vault beneath rest the remains of the Guelphs of the Brunswick line (since 1681). Remarkable among other churches are the Magnikirche (consecrated in 1031; the present edifice being built between the 13th and 15th centuries and restored in 1877); the Martinikirche, with Romanesque towers, originally a Romanesque basilica (1180-1190), enlarged in the 13th century in early Gothic by the addition of vaulted aisles and a choir (1490-1500), and remarkable further for the splendid late Gothic Annenkapelle (1434) and three magnificent portals; the Katharinenkirche, with a fine tower, begun by Henry the Lion in 1172, added to in 1252 and finished (choir) in 1500; the Brüderkirche (1361-1451, restored 1869-1870), formerly the church of a Franciscan house, the refectory of which (1486) is now used for military stores; the Andreaskirche (1200, 1360-1420), partly transitional, partly late Gothic, with a tower 318 ft. high; and the Aegidienkirche (1278-1434), now used for exhibitions and concerts.

In secular buildings, both ancient and modern, Brunswick is also rich. The most noticeable of these is the town hall (14th and 15th centuries), a gem of Gothic architecture. In front of it is a beautiful Gothic leaden fountain of the early 15th century. Close by the cathedral is the Dankwarderode, a two-storeyed Romanesque building, erected in 1884 on the site of the ancient citadel of the same name which was destroyed by fire in 1873; the cloth merchants' hall (Gewandhaus) of the 13th century, with a richly ornamented facade in Renaissance style, now occupied by the chamber of commerce; the restored Huneborstelsche Haus with its curious and beautiful oak carving of the 16th century. The ducal palace is a fine modern structure, erected since 1865, when most of the previous building, which dated only from 1831, was destroyed by fire. The famous Quadriga of Rietschel, which perished at the same time, has been replaced by a copy by Georg Howaldt (1802-1883). The theatre lies on a spacious square close to the ducal gardens, and immediately outside the promenades; to the south is the handsome railway station. Among other numerous buildings of modern erection may be mentioned the new town hall (1895-1900) and the ministry of finance, both in early Gothic style. The scientific and art collections of Brunswick are numerous. The ducal museum contains a rich collection of antique and medieval curiosities, engravings and pictures. There are also a municipal museum, a museum of natural history, a mineralogical collection, a botanical garden and two libraries. The educational and charitable institutions of Brunswick are many. Of the former may be mentioned the Collegium Carolinum, founded in 1745, the technical high school, two gymnasia and an academy of forestry. Among the latter are a deaf and dumb institution, a blind asylum, an orphanage and various hospitals and infirmaries. A monument, 60 ft. high, to Duke Frederick William, who was slain at Quatre Bras, gives its name to the Monumentsplatz. Another to the south-east of the town perpetuates the memory of Schill Ferdinand (1776-1809) and his companions. There are also statues of Franz Abt, the composer, of Lessing and of the astronomer K.F. Gauss.

The industries of the town are considerable. Especially important are the manufacture of machinery, boilers, gasometers, pianos, preserves, chemicals, beer and sausages. Brunswick is also a leading centre of the book trade. The communications between the inner town and the extensive suburbs are maintained by an excellent service of electric tramways.

Brunswick is said to have been founded about 861 by Bruno, son of Duke Ludolf of Saxony, from whom it was named Brunswick (from the Old High German Wich, hamlet). Afterwards fortified and improved by Henry the Lion, it became one of the most important cities of northern Germany. For a long time its constitution was rather peculiar, as it consisted of five separate townlets, each with its own walls and gates, its own council and Rathaus—a condition traces of which are still evident. In the 13th century it ranked among the first cities of the Hanseatic League. After this era, however, it declined in prosperity, in consequence of the divisions of territory among the branches of the reigning house, the jealousy of the neighbouring states, the Thirty Years' War, and more recently the French occupation, under which it was assigned to the kingdom of Westphalia. During the time of the Reformation the sympathies of the citizens were with the new teaching, and the city was a member of the League of Schmalkalden. In 1830 it was the scene of a violent revolution, which led to the removal of the reigning duke. In 1834 it attained municipal self-government.

See[edit]

  • F. Knoll, Braunschweig und Umgebung (1882).
  • Sack, Kurze Geschichte der Stadt Braunschweig (1861).
  • H. Dürre, Geschichte der Stadt Braunschweig im Mittelalter (1875).