Admin. region Upper Franconia
Elevation 470-600 m (−1,500 ft)
Area 58.02 km²
Population 47,275 (31 Dec 2008)
District Urban District
Time zone CET/CEST (UTC+1/+2)
Local time Monday 7:13 AM
|Weather -2°C, Wind SW at 5 km/h, 82% Humidity|
University University of Applied Sciences Hof
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Hof is a town located on the banks of the Saale in the northeastern corner of the German state of Bavaria, in the Franconian region, at the Czech border and the forested Fichtelgebirge and Frankenwald upland regions.
- Hof bavaria germany part 2 of 2
- Map of Hof Germany
- Hof bavaria germany part 1 of 2
- Administrative divisions
- Roman Period
- Sorbish Frankish Conflicts c 600 1080
- Andechs Merania and Vgte of Weida 1080 1373
- Rekkenze Other Historic Names of Hof
- House of Andechs Merania
- Vgte of Weida
- Brandenburg Period 1373 1792
- Hussite Wars 1419 1434
- Rebuilding of Hof
- Margrave Albert Alcibiades
- Thirty Years War 1618 1648
- Postal Link
- Fire of 1743
- Prussian Rule 1791 1805
- Napoleonic Conflicts 1805 1810
- Fire of 1823
- World War II
- Modern Era
- Margraves of Kulmbach and Bayreuth
- Mayors First Mayors and Lord Mayors
- Sister Cities
- Weather and Geography
- Sons and daughters of the town
- Those associated with Hof
- Points of interest
Map of Hof, Germany
The town of Hof is enclosed by, but does not belong to the Bavarian district of Hof; it is nonetheless the district's administrative seat.
The town's most important work of art, the Hofer altar, dates from about 1465 and is exhibited in the Alte Pinakothek in Munich today. The Heidenreich organ in the parish church of St. Michaelis, completed in 1834, is considered one of Bavaria's finest.
Hof is known for two local "delicacies", namely Schnitz, a kind of hotpot, and sausages boiled in a portable, coal-fired brass cauldron, which are sold in the streets by the sausage man (Wärschtlamo in the local dialect). There is also a particularly strong beer (Schlappenbier), which is available only on the first Monday after Trinity Sunday (Schlappentag). This tradition dates back to the establishment of the town militia which forced all shooters to take part in a special shooting training each year. To avoid penalties, a lot of shooters rushed out to the training area in the morning of the very last possible day, without even enough time to get dressed and thus still wearing their clogs (Schlappen).
The Hof Theatre (Theater Hof) is a multi-purpose theatre whose construction was completed in 1994. It serves as an opera house and drama theatre, and hosts the city's ballet company and a youth theatre. The Hofer Symphoniker, Hof's symphony orchestra, plays as opera orchestra at the theatre and gives concerts at the Freiheitshalle Hof.
Hof bavaria germany part 1 of 2
The town of Hof consists of the following districts in particular:
Hof is located in between the areas of the Frankenwald (Franconian Forest), the Fichtelgebirge and the Vogtland.
Hof in the Middle Ages was located in the Provincia Variscorum and was known in Latin as Curiae Variscorum or Curiae Nariscorum meaning "Court of the Varisci/Narisci." It is assumed then that Hof was the place where the chief(s) of the Varisci (or Narisci) tribe of the Suebi people held court (and/or perhaps a pagan temple or hall). The Varisci appear briefly in Tacitus' Germania (Chapter 42) as participants in the Marcomannic Wars. Their chief, Valao, was killed during battle around 167 AD and it is possible that these ancient peoples were then transplanted to Italy by Marcus Aurelius and lost their identity. A few centuries later (4th or 5th century) the obscure Armalausi peoples appear where the Varisci once lived, however the Latin name of Varisci stuck to the region. This is evidenced by nearby Plauen being called Plavia Variscorum and Hof: Curia Variscorum. The name Curiae Variscorum has been used to denote the city of Hof in numerous documents and publications throughout the years. This legacy remains even to this day as the word 'Hof' is German for 'court', just as 'curiae' is Latin for 'court'.
Sorbish-Frankish Conflicts (c. 600 - 1080)
Sometime around the 6th century AD the Slavic Sorbs began arriving near the Saale River which runs through Hof. They are first mentioned in 631 A.D., when Fredegar’s Chronicle described them as "Surbi" and as under the rule of a Dervan, an ally of Samo. The Frankish Kingdom of Charlemagne and his descendants were determined to Christianize the pagan Slavs and various campaigns were waged against them. The Annales Regni Francorum state that in 806 A.D. Sorbian Duke Miliduch fought against the Franks and was killed by Charles the Younger the son of Charlemagne around nearby modern-day Weißenfels.
The region where Hof is located first came under the ecclesiastic control of the Dioceses of Würzburg during this time period. Then in 1007 the region which contains Hof came under the Bishopric of Bamberg which was established out of the Dioceses of Würzburg to further spread Christianity throughout this area.
While the area around Hof remained terra incognita during this time period it was not isolated from the rest of the world. Although not home to a king or prince, Hof was on located on a somewhat protected, and very important trade route; the Via Imperii. This route led from Italy to the Baltic Sea and Hof was well situated to be a place of rest for travelers and traders as the flourishing markets of Leipzig, Zwickau, and Nuremberg began to develop. The budding mining industry of silver and tin from the nearby Erzgebirge would also contribute to the development of trade in this region.
Andechs-Merania and Vögte of Weida (1080 - 1373)
It appears that the missionary efforts of Bamberg were fairly successful in Hof as sometime around 1080 a group of farmers (possibly Sorbish) settled parts of modern-day Hof had built a chapel on Klausenberg an der Saale. They called their settlement "Rekkenze" which appears to be derived from the Western Slavic word "Rekavica" meaning "river." Rekkenze was first mentioned in a document written by one Pastor Albertus of St. Lorenzkirche in 1214 to the Bishop of Bamberg.
The Slavic language has left many marks on the geography of this region and to this day there are two waterways known as "Regnitz" near Hof: the Upper/Southern Regnitz (which flows in the south of Hof on the east side of the Saale River) and the Lower/Northern Regnitz (which flows in the north and east side of the Saale). Also of note, the area around Hof, the southern Bavarian-Bohemian part of the Vogtland, was known as the Regnitzland.
Rekkenze & Other Historic Names of Hof
This Rekkenze settlement, which later became Hof, went by this and many other names through the years. For example, Hof is also called "curia Reckenize" (court of Reckenize) and "schlosz Reckenitz" (Castle Reckenitz) in a document of the Vögte of Weida in the year 1276. It has been suggested that the name "Hof" is the shortened form of "Stadt am Regnitzhof" meaning "City on the Court at the Regnitz". Other names for Hof have included: Curia Bavarica (Variscorum), Curiae Nariscorum, Curiae Regnitianae, Curiae Regnitianae ad Salam, Curiae Variscorum, Hoff, Hofii, Hof an der Saale, and Hoff im Voitlande to name but a few.
House of Andechs-Merania
In 1098 Count Berthold II of Andechs inherited his father's lands including those in modern-day Upper Franconia. In the 1130s he built Plassenburg Castle in Kulmbach and from 1137 he styled himself as 'Count of Plassenburg". He thus strengthened his influence in and around the nearby Regnitzland.
Around 1230, Count Berthold's great-grandson, the Crusader Duke Otto I von Andechs-Merania fortified the area north of the Rekkenze farming settlement (Altstadt) at the area downstream now known as Neustadt (New City).
Vögte of Weida
By 1248 the royal house of Andechs-Merania dies out with Duke Otto II. Soon after the Vögte of Weida acquired the Regnitzland including Hof. Vogt Henry VIII of Weida (1258 -1279) earned the city of Hof and Regnitzland. He was married to Sophie, daughter of Count Hermann II of Orlamünde and Beatrix of Andechs-Merania (daughter of Count Otto I).
Under the guidance of the Vögte of Weida the first city wall and the foundation of the poor hospital (Armenspitals) were built (c. 1260). Also, in 1270 there is the first mention of a castle at Hof and in 1278 the beginnings of the Klarissenkloster was established under the aid of the Vogt. The Convent was blessed by the first Franciscan Pope Nicholas IV in 1291 and came under the Franciscan Monastery of the Holy Cross in 1292.
In 1299 75% of the city (both Old and New Hof) was destroyed by a fire and the population was left destitute. It took over 30 years to rebuild Hof, however during the rebuilding process (1319) the Vogt Heinrich XII the Younger (der Jüngere) of Weida (1302–1324) confirmed traditional rights and privileges upon the City of Hof. These rights officially made Hof a city.
In 1373, Vogt Heinrich XVI of Weida sold the Regnitzland to Burgrave Friedrich V of Nürnberg. However, due to this early history with the Vögte of Weida, Hof is still considered part of the geographical region known as the Vogtland. To this day the Wappen (Shield) of Hof has the lion of the Vögte emblazoned in remembrance of the fact it was once owned by the Vögte. The name of the Museum Bayerisches Vogtland in Hof today also pays homage to this history.
Brandenburg Period (1373 - 1792)
Burgrave Friedrich V died on January 21, 1398, and his lands were split between his two sons, Johann III and Friedrich IV, thus creating what has been called the Principality of Bayreuth. Hof was under this Hohenzollern Principality until December 2, 1791 and during this time was known as the Hochfürstlich-Brandenburgische Hauptstadt Hoff im Voigtlande (the "Princely Brandenburg capital city of Hof in the Vogtland").
Hussite Wars (1419 - 1434)
Close to the end of the Hussite Wars between the 4th and 5th Crusade against them Hof was sacked by the Hussite followers of Jan Hus. In 1430, during the period the Hussites called the Spanilé jízdy (or "beautiful rides") they raided and devastated the city of Hof. on the 25th of January they burnt Plauen and then turned their attention to Hof. From the end of January into February they attacked and finally broke through killing many Hofers and looted and burned Hof. They also took away inhabitants of Hof as booty.
Rebuilding of Hof
In 1432 a militia was organized to defend Hof. The organization of this Shooter's Guild is still celebrated in Hof annually in festival called Schlappentag [see description above].
in 1464 the Hospital and Hospital Church (Hospitalkirche) were rebuilt.
1487 a foundation in Niclaskirche for pilgrims on the Jacobsweg was built near the modern day St. Marienkirche. Jacobsweg is part of the famous Camino de Santiago which ends in at Cathedral of Santiago de Compostela in Galicia, Spain. There is a plaque on the wall of Marienkirche that commemorates this pilgrim inn that is now lost.
In 1498 a watch tower was constructed to add to the defenses of Hof.
The Hof born Theologian, Mathematician, and School Master, Nikolaus Medler invited Pastor Kaspar Löhner to Hof early on in the Reformation. They were both students of Martin Luther, and were instrumental in introducing the Reformation to Hof. The first Evangelical (Lutheran) communion service in Hof was held at St. Michaeliskirche on September 5, 1529. This public act marked the point at which Hof became Protestant.
Pastor Kaspar Löhner was a leading theologian and writer and he wrote a church liturgy (Gottesdienstordnung), catechism, and a hymnal among other writings. While in Hof he married Margarethe Felitscher, daughter of the Mayor (Bürgermeister) of Hof by which he became the father of John Joshua Löner and the great-grandfather of the famous Lutheran theologian and hymn writer Joshua Stegmann.
Being acquainted with Martin Luther, both Pastor Löhner and Schoolmaster Medler received a letter from him addressed from Wittenberg on June 7, 1531 which begins:
→"Martin Luther an die verehrten Brüder in Christo und treuen Bürger der Stadt Hof, Kaspar Löner, Pfarrer, und Nikolaus Medler, Schullehrer."
→Translation: "[From] Martin Luther, to the venerable brothers in Christ and faithful citizens of the city of Hof, Kaspar Löner, Pastor, and Nicholas Medler, School Master."
In 1532 Pastor Löhner was followed at St. Michaeliskirche in Hof by the famous Theologian and Church Reformer Stephan Agricola.
From this time forward the Catholic population in Hof was severely limited, but held on for a few more decades. After the Monastery was abolished in 1564 in Hof, Catholicism did not really regain ground in the city again until after Catholic Bavaria purchased Franconia in 1810. It wasn't until 1837 that the Catholic population of Hof received their own priest and 1844 until a small church was built (Marienkirche).
Margrave Albert Alcibiades
In 1546, Margrave Albert Alcibiades of Brandenburg-Kulmbach founded a Grammar School in Hof, which is today known as the Jean-Paul Gymnasium, in honor of the most famous student that attended there: Jean Paul Friedrich Richter. Jean-Paul Gymnasium is one of the oldest schools in Upper Franconia.
On August 7, 1553 Hof came under a 7-week siege known as the Siege of Hof. The siege was one of the major battles of the Second Margrave War and Hof was finally taken from Margrave Albert Alcibiades by Heinrich IV of Plauen on September 28, 1553. Albert was able to briefly retake Hof on October 11, but it fell back into the hands of those allied against Margrave Albert on November 27. Some 18,236 stone cannonballs are said to have been shot into Hof during this siege with some cannonballs still visible today lodged in walls throughout Hof. For example, from the Saale River looking back one can still see a cannonball lodged in one of the towers of St. Michaeliskirche from the siege of 1553.
Aftermath: St. Lorenzkirche was looted and burned during the siege and the old Watch Tower was also burned out. The Hospitalkirche, which was used as a war camp by the attackers, was attacked and destroyed by the city's defenders. Also, the end of the last Roman Catholic stronghold in Hof; 'Das Kloster der Klarissen" occurred during this siege as Abbess Amalie of Hirschberg escaped with her nuns to Cheb (Eger). The Cloister was looted and later turned into a school. After the siege, Henry IV briefly put Georg Wolf of Kotzau (who had once served Margrave Albert) in charge of the governance of Hof. Finally, Albert's cousin, Margrave Jürgen Friedrich of Brandenburg-Ansbach (reign of 1557 - 1603) took power and ruled over Hof and rebuilt it along with much of his Margraviate which had been ransacked during the war.
Thirty Years War (1618 - 1648)
Regional Prelude: Brandenburg-Ansbach to Brandenburg-Bayreuth
After the death of the childless Margrave Jürgen Friedrich of Brandenburg-Ansbach in 1603, his margraviate was given to Karsten, the son of Elector Johann Jürgen of Brandenburg. This was done in accordance with House Treaty of Gera set in place in 1599 to provide for a peaceful transition of power to the heirless Jürgen Friedrich.
Margrave Karsten took power over Brandenburg-Ansbach after Jürgen Friedrich’s death in 1603. In 1604, he moved his capital from Kulmbach to Bayreuth, thus changing the name of the margraviate to Brandenburg-Bayreuth. This Margraviate had been a member of the Franconian Circle since 1500 and Margrave Karsten was elected Colonel (German: Kreisobrist) of the Franconian Circle in 1606. He was also one of the founding members of the Protestant Union founded in 1608 as a way of giving teeth to the Peace of Augsburg (1555). Karsten was Margrave of Brandenbug-Bayreuth which oversaw the governance of Hof when the 30 Years War broke out ten years later in 1618.
Fire of 1625
On November 6 a fire broke out in Hof that destroyed 174 houses. Hof was again left destitute and it took 40 years before widespread re-construction could be financed. During this time period Hof was left vulnerable, especially to the pillaging of the mercenary Heinrich Holk's notorious cavalry unit, "Holk's Horse" (see below).
Heinrich Holk's Raids
In 1632 and 33 Heinrich Holk's cavalry unit of Croatian and Polish forces ravaged the surrounding region (especially the neighboring Electorate of Saxony). On 23 Jan 1633, 8 companies of Holk's Horse plundered Hof. The raiding, raping, looting, and destruction continued also in later raids on June 13 and August 11 of the same year. Fortunately for the distraught citizens of Hof Heinrich Holk's forces were politically stymied after the Battle of Lützen on November 16.
Margrave karsten in the War and Aftermath
During the war, Margrave Karsten formed an alliance with Sweden, although the Swedes sacked Hof on 29 May 1640. Emperor Ferdinand II tried to depose him as ruler of Bayreuth in 1635; however, he continued in office. All of Europe was deeply affected by these wars. Disease, starvation, and warfare took a terrible toll on infrastructure, livestock, farmlands, and human dignity. After the 30 Years War it is estimated that one half of the population of Brandenburg was lost and in some areas as many as two-thirds. One can only imagine the joy when the wars ended and Margrave Karsten called a general festival of thanksgiving for peace which was celebrated throughout his Principality in February 1639. Hof seems to have recovered quickly under Margrave Karsten and it became a refuge for displaced Protestants, especially from Austria and Bohemia.
Fire of 1743
In 1743 the Hof Castle burned down and was not rebuilt, although several walls of the castle are still visible in modern-day Hof.
Prussian Rule (1791 - 1805)
Hof came under Prussian rule on December 2, 1791 when Margrave Karl Alexander, the last Margrave of Brandenburg-Ansbach and Brandenburg-Bayreuth, sold it to King Friedrich Wilhelm II of Prussia, a fellow member of the House Hohenzollern.
Napoleonic Conflicts (1805 - 1810)
On November 3, 1805 the Prussians had signed the Treaty of Potsdam, agreeing to enter the War of the Third Coalition against Napoleon if he didn't agree to peace within four weeks. This treaty came to nothing after the Battle of Austerlitz on December 2, 1805, when Napoleon decisively crushed the Third Coalition. This forced the Prussian envoy, Count Karsten of Haugwitz, to negotiate a treaty of friendship called The Convention of Schönbrunn (15 December 1805) proclaiming an alliance between Prussia and France. As part of this treaty Prussia was forced to give up Brandenburg-Ansbach.
In February 1806 Haugwitz went to Paris to ratify this Treaty of Schönbrunn and to attempt to secure some modifications in favour of Prussia. He was received with a storm of abuse by Napoleon, who insisted on tearing up the treaty and drawing up a fresh one, which doubled the amount of territory to be ceded by Prussia and forced her to a breach with Great Britain by binding her to close the Hanoverian ports to British commerce. The treaty, signed on 15 February, left Prussia wholly isolated in Europe and led Prussia into war with Napoleon later that year.
In the War of the Fourth Coalition (1806-1807) Hof was then briefly held by General Bogislav Friedrich Emanuel von Tauentzien of the Prussian Army. Tauentzein more or less abandoned Hof on October 8, 1806 and Hof was easily taken by light cavalry from Napoleon's Marshal General Jean-de-Dieu Soult's IV Corps that same day. Hof's geographic position made it an ideal 'jumping off' point of Napoleon's Campaign in Saxony which quickly resulted in the French-won Battle of Schleiz the next day and soon thereafter the famous Napoleon victory at the Battle of Jena.
Napoleon sold Hof to the Kingdom of Bavaria on June 30, 1810.
Fire of 1823
On September 4, 1823, the town was virtually destroyed by a fire as 9 out of 10 buildings were destroyed.
World War II
In 1945, Hof suffered minor destruction due to aerial attacks.
From 1945 to 1990 Hof lay very close to the border between East Germany and West Germany. In 1989 thousands of East German citizens, who had demanded the right to travel or emigrate to West Germany and had been allowed to do so, first arrived on western soil at Hof's railway station, having been placed on a special train and officially "expelled" by the East German government. Hof is located near the old Berlin-Munich autobahn, which was thought to be a possible invasion route by Warsaw Pact forces had the Cold War ever turned into armed (see Fulda Gap).
Margraves of Kulmbach and Bayreuth
Mayors (First Mayors and Lord Mayors)
(since the introduction of the Bavarian Municipal Code in 1818)
Hof has established connections to its following sister cities around the world:
Weather and Geography
Hof is also known as Bavarian Siberia because temperatures are usually several degrees lower than in most other parts of Bavaria, particularly in winter, and because civil servants were often transferred to Hof as a punishment.
Wargamers might know Hof from the game Hof Gap published by Simulations Publications, Inc. (SPI) in 1980. The game, which simulates the early stages of WWIII in Germany, was not well received in Hof itself. SPI confused Hof Gap with the Fulda Gap, further north. Operationally Hof was in the US Army's 2nd Squadron/2nd Armored Cavalry's sector, maintaining border operations in this region, and it was referred to as the Hof Corridor. A letter to SPI in early 1981 did not persuade them to change the name of the game, however. Despite that, the game was popular among 2/2 ACR troopers who enjoyed conflict simulations.
Actually, the Hof Gap was also a planned Warsaw Pact approach into West Germany. There are many published post-Cold War articles supporting this. The anticipated actions in defense of West Germany included the cavalry covering force action which was to delay, allowing the arrival of US and Bundeswehr heavy units. SPI made no error or confusion in this case and actually covered a less well known, but just as critical, possible Soviet approach route. The layman who was interested in the 70's and 80's knew about Fulda, only those assigned to relieve the cavalry at Hof were aware of its importance. Review of the unit designations in both the Fulda and Hof Gap games SPI released and their coverage becomes readily apparent.
An interesting note about the coat-of-arms of Hof is that it is a red shield with two white towers against which leans a black shield with a gold lion. 322 miles away the town of Heimbach where Hengebach castle is located (former capital of the Duchy of Jülich) the coat-of-arms is almost the reverse: a black shield with a red roof on a white tower against which leans a gold shield with a black lion. Although Hof is 322 miles away from Heimbach, the two cities do have some interesting associations. The castle of Hengebach in Heimbach is actually located in the section that was the former village of Schmidt and there lived a branch of the baronial dynasty of von Schmidt auf Altenstadt until they emigrated in 1749 and the seat of the barons von Altenstadt was very near Hof, in a part of the municipality of Gattendorf known as Kirchgattendorf, where the ruins of the von Altenstadt castles can be seen today. But the coincidences do not stop there: the family arms of the von Schmidts auf Altenstadt were a swan and the arms of Gattendorf are a swan.
The barons von Schmidt auf Altenstadt, as barons of the village Gattendorf in the environs of Hof were a significant part of social and aristocratic life in Hof. In the nineteenth century, Christoph August von Schmidt, after having served as a Provost at the University of Saint Petersburg, Russia where he was ennobled by the Tsar and awarded the orders of St Stanislaus and Sts Ann-and-Vladimir, erected a monument describing his adventure and bearing the simplified, swan version of his coat-of-arms which today has been adopted by the village of Gattendorf as its municipal arms.
Hof provided Anthony Hope (author of "The Prisoner of Zenda") with his inspiration for Strelsau, capital of his fictitious kingdom of Ruritania. Although the book locates Ruritania along the railway line between Dresden in Sachsen (Saxony) and Prague, capital of Bohemia (modern day Czech Republic), one can see Hof in the descriptions of Strelsau. Among the clues there is the name "Altstadt" for the "old town"—similar to "Altenstadt"—the older part of Strelsau where "Black Michael", the Duke of Strelsau, was popular. And one can see elements of Hof's medieval beauty in the atmosphere of Strelsau.
Climate in this area has mild differences between highs and lows, and there is adequate rainfall year round. The Köppen Climate Classification subtype for this climate is "Cfb" (Marine West Coast Climate/Oceanic climate).
|source 1 = DWD
|source 2 = European Climate Assessment and Dataset
Hof is also home to the University of Applied Sciences Hof which has around 2300 students and the University of Applied Sciences for Administration and Legal Affairs in Bavaria which has around 500 students.
Hof was in cold war times of special interest as it was near the frontier to Czechoslovakia and the GDR. On Hohe Saas, there was a radar site. A border camp of the American 2nd Armored Cavalry Regiment was near the town, and the regiment had a border resident office which was manned by military intelligence personnel. Between 1949 and 1993, Hof was also the site of an RIAS transmitting station.
Buses are run by HofBus, which currently runs 12 lines in the town.
Hof has a regional airport.