Celle 03Juni 2012

Celle (German pronunciation: [ˈtsɛlə]) is a town and capital of the district of Celle, in Lower Saxony, Germany. The town is situated on the banks of the River Aller, a tributary of the Weser and has a population of about 71,000. Celle is the southern gateway to the Lüneburg Heath, has a castle (Schloss Celle) built in the renaissance and baroque style and a picturesque old town centre (the Altstadt) with over 400 timber-framed houses, making Celle one of the most remarkable members of the German Timber-Frame Road. From 1378 to 1705, Celle was the official residence of the Lüneburg branch of the dukes of Brunswick-Lüneburg (House of Welf) who had been banished from their original ducal seat by its townsfolk
Middle Ages
Celle was first mentioned in a document of A.D. 985 as Kiellu[3] (which means Fischbucht[4] or fishing bay). It was granted the right to mint and circulate its own coins (Münzrecht [minting privileges]) during the 11th century and several coins were found in the Sandur hoard in the Faroes. In 1292 Duke Otto II the Strict (1277–1330), a Welf who ruled the Principality of Lüneburg from 1277 to 1330 left Altencelle, where there had been a defences in the form of a circular rampart (the Ringwall von Burg) since the 10th century, and founded a rectangular settlement by the existing castle (Burg) 4 kilometres (2.5 mi) to the northwest. In 1301 he granted Celle its town privileges,[5] and in 1308 started construction on the town church.
In 1378 Celle became the Residenz of the dukes of Saxe-Wittenberg and, in 1433, the princes of Lüneburg took up residence in the castle (Schloss). The ducal palace was situated on a triangle between the River Aller and its tributary, the Fuhse. A moat connecting the rivers was built in 1433, turning the town centre into an island. In 1452 Duke Frederick the Pious of Lüneburg founded a Franciscan monastery. In 1464 the corn shipping monopoly generated an economic upturn for the town.
Early modern period
In 1524 the Reformation was introduced into Celle. In 1570 Duke William the Younger built the castle chapel which was consecrated in 1585. From 1665 to 1705 Celle experienced a cultural boom as a Residenz under Duke George William. This has been particularly put down to his French wife, Eleonore d'Olbreuse, who brought fellow Hugenot Christians and Italian architects to Celle. During this time the French and Italian Gardens were laid out and the baroque castle theatre built.
In 1705 the last duke of the Brunswick–Lüneburg line died and Celle, along with the Principality of Lüneburg, passed back to the Hanover line of the Welfs. By way of compensation for the loss of its status as a Residenz town numerous administrative institutions were established in Celle, such as the Higher Court of Appeal (Oberappellationsgericht), the prison and the State Stud Farm. That began its development into an administrative and judicial centre. Even today the Lower Saxony-Bremen State Social Security Tribunal and the High Court responsible for most of Lower Saxony are based in Celle, amongst others. Celle is also still home to a prison (the Justizvollzugsanstalt Celle or JVA Celle) with its satellite at Salinenmoor about 12 km north of the town centre. That the citizens of Celle once − in a vote − choose to have a prison in Celle rather than a university in order to protect the virtue of their daughters, is not verifiable, but it has remained a persistent anecdote in popular folklore.
In August 1714, George Elector of Hanover, Duke of Brunswick–Lüneburg (King George I) ascended to the British throne. Between then and 1866, when the town became Prussian during the Austro-Prussian War as part of the province of Hanover, Celle was a possession of the British Hanoverian line.
In 1786 Albrecht Thaer founded the first German Agricultural Testing Institute in the meadows at Dammasch (today Thaer's Garden). The Albrecht-Thaer School is nowadays part of a vocational centre in the Celle sub-district of Altenhagen.

Modern period
In 1842 the Cambridge Dragoons Barracks (Cambridge-Dragoner-Kaserne) for the homonymous regiment named after the Hanoveran Viceroy Prince Adolphus, Duke of Cambridge was built in Celle. After being extended in 1913 and partially rebuilt after a fire in 1936, it was renamed Goodwood Barracks in 1945 and from 1976 to 1996 was the headquarters of Panzerbrigade 33 in the German armed forces, the Bundeswehr. In 1989 it was renamed again to Cambridge-Dragoner-Kaserne. Since 1996 the land has mainly been used to house one of the largest youth centres in Lower Saxony.
From 1869 to 1872 an infantry barracks was built for the 77th Infantry Regiment. In 1938 it was renamed the Heidekaserne ("Heath Barracks"). After the Second World War the barracks was used by British troops until 1993. Today the New Town Hall (Neue Rathaus) and Celle Council Offices are housed in the restored brick building. Residential buildings and a town park have been established on the rest of the terrain.

In 1892 − with the help of numerous citizens' donations − the present-day Bomann Museum with its important folkloric and town history collections was founded. In 1913 the 74 metre high clock tower was built on the town church, its clockwork underwent a major restoration in 2008. In the 1920s the silk mill was built. It was merged in 1932 with the one in Peine to become the Seidenwerk Spinnhütte AG. This concern expanded itself during the Nazi era into an armaments centre under the name of "Seidenwerk Spinnhütte AG". A subsidiary founded in 1936, the "Mitteldeutsche Spinnhütte AG", which led war preparations through its branches in the central German towns of Apolda, Plauen, Osterode, Pirna and Wanfried. Its only product was parachute silk that was needed for the paratroopers of the Wehrmacht.[6]
In September 1929 Rudolph Karstadt opened a Karstadt department store in Celle town centre, the facade of which was identical with that of the Karstadt store on Berlin's Hermannplatz. The Celle branch was demolished in the 1960s and replaced by a controversial new building, whose aluminium braces were meant to represent Celle's timber framed houses.

© All rights reserved – Georg Behrendt

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Uploaded: June 06, 2012
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