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Map of Germany showing Saarbrücken

Saarbrücken [ˈzaːɐ̯ˈbrʏkn̩] is the capital of the Saarland Bundesland in Germany. Geographical location Template:Coor dm. Population 209,104.

The city is the industrial and transport centre of a great coal basin; factories here produce iron and steel, sugar, beer, pottery, optical instruments, machinery, and construction materials.

Historic landmarks in the city include the stone bridge across the Saar (1546), the Gothic church of St Arnual, the 18th century Saarbrücker Schloss (castle) and the old part of the town, the St. Johanner Markt. In 1815 Saarbrücken came under Prussian control, and for two periods in the 20th century (1919-1935 and 1945-1957) it became part of the Saar territory under French administration. For this reason, coupled with its proximity to the French border, it retains a certain French influence.

The Saar area was incorporated into the Roman Empire in the 1st century BC, and later came under control of the Franks. In 925 it became part of the Holy Roman Empire, but a strong French influence continued. From 1381 to 1793 the counts of Nassau-Saarbrücken were the main local rulers. Often a prize contended for by its stronger neighbours, the area came under French domination in the 16th century and was incorporated into France in the 1680s. France was forced to relinquish the Saar in 1697, but from 1793 to 1815 regained control of the region. After 1815 much of the area was part of the Prussian Rhineland Province. During the 19th century the coal and iron resources of the region were developed.

Under the Treaty of Versailles (1919) the Saar coal-mines were made the exclusive property of France for a period of 15 years as compensation for the destruction of French mines during the war. The treaty also provided for a plebiscite, at the end of the 15-year period, to determine the territory's future status, and in 1935 more than 90 per cent of the electorate voted for reunification with Germany. The Saar subsequently rejoined Germany.

Heavily bombed in World War II and made part of the French Zone of Occupation in 1945, the area was made a separate zone in 1946. Throughout the late 1940s and early 1950s, the French tried to make the Saar a separate state. In 1956 the area requested early incorporation into Germany, and on January 1, 1957, the Saar, under the name Saarland, became a state of the Federal Republic of Germany.

The city suffered severe damage in World War II. Parts of Saarbrücken were flooded following record rainstorms in December 1993.

The city is served by Saarbrücken-Ensheim Airport (SCN) and is also the home of the Saarland University (Universität des Saarlands).

Some of the closest big cities are Trier, Luxembourg, Nancy, Metz, Karlsruhe and Mannheim. Saarbrücken is also connected by the city's public transport network to the town of Sarreguemines in France, allowing easy crossing of the border between one country and the other. It is also connected to the satellite town of Völklingen, where the old steel works were the first industrial monument to be declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 1994 - the Völklinger Hütte.

Nowadays, the Saarland's industrial legacy is belied by its wonderfully green scenery and natural serenity.

Sister Cities

External links

es:Saarbrücken eo:Saarbrücken fr:Sarrebruck it:Saarbrücken nl:Saarbrücken ja:ザールブリュッケン no:Saarbrücken pl:Saarbrücken pt:Saarbrücken simple:Saarbrücken sv:Saarbrücken

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