Our City

Weißenstadt city is located in the eastern part of the administrative district of Upper Franconia in Wunsiedel county. It is part of planning region 5 (eastern Upper Franconia).

The dis­trict (42.21 km²) is home to 3,407 cit­izens (as of Decem­ber 2019), who are spread across 21 muni­cip­al­it­ies. Weißen­stadt itself con­tains 75% of that pop­u­la­tion.

His­tor­ic­al devel­op­ment

1299 First doc­u­mented men­tion.
1348 Weißen­stadt is ruled by bur­grave of Nurem­berg, who later became mar­grave of Ans­bach-Bayreuth.
1410 City lake is dammed up.
1429 Destruc­tion by Hus­sits.
1462 Destruc­tion by Bohemia.
1529 Reform­a­tion.
1618–1648 Thirty Years’ War.
1787 Install­ment of an imper­i­al post office
1791 The mar­gravate of Ans­bach-Bayreuth arrives in Prus­sia
1806–1810 French occu­pa­tion
1810 The former mar­gravate arrives in Bav­aria.
1812 The city lake is drained.
1823 Great fire swept through the city.
1899 Open­ing of the Kirchen­lam­itz-Weißen­stadt rail­way.
1929 Estab­lish­ment of the pub­lic pool.
1976 Flood­ing of the restored Weißen­stadt Lake.
1978 Dur­ing the pro­cess of reform­ing the gov­ern­ment, new muni­cip­al­it­ies are added to Weißen­stadt: Franconia, Voit­sumra, Frohnlohe and Grub.
1986 Renew­al of the old town begins.
1991–1994 A spa park is cre­ated to serve as a link between the lake and the city.
2007 Open­ing of the health resort “Kur­zen­trum” by the lake.
2009 The spring sup­ply­ing the health resort with water con­tain­ing radon is awar­ded the title of medi­cin­al spring.
2016 The renewed and much improved mine Zin­ner­erz­grube Werra is now open for vis­it­ors.
2016 Open­ing of the Sieben­quelll® Gesun­dZeitRe­sort. A ****S‑Hotel includ­ing ther­apy- and spa-areas, a gym & a pub­lic pool as well as a sauna.

His­tory

Char­le­magne him­self used the mil­it­ary road lead­ing through Fichtel­ge­birge when he was mov­ing against Bohemia. It is safe to assume that people were liv­ing in the area even before the great set­tle­ment expan­sion of Gien­gen-Vohburgs, around 1050, brought Bav­ari­an set­tlers to the area. Because of the loc­al franconi­an accent, it is spec­u­lated that set­tlers must have come from the west as well.

A doc­u­ment from 1299 calls the area „Circa Albam Eccle­siam“, which roughly trans­lates to „the vil­lage around the white church“. This is how the name „Weißen­kirchen“ came to be (white=weiß, church=kirche).Weißenstadt or Weißen­kirchen was part of the Wald­sas­sen mon­as­tery in 1133. Later, up until 1347, the “Amt Rudolf­stein mit Weißen­kirchen” (office of Rudolf­stein includ­ing Weißen­kirchen) belonged to the Lords of Hirschberg who lived atop Rudolf­stein. In 1348 the Hohen­zollern bur­grave of Nurem­berg bought the area and elev­ated Weißen­kirchen from vil­lage to city. They were the ones to set up one of the six offices in the city, that used to man­age the area that is now Wun­siedel. The Hohen­zollern remained as mar­graves of Ans­bach-Bayreuth until 1791. When their line ended the land was passed on to the Prus­si­an line of suc­ces­sion. When the French occu­pa­tion (1806–1810) ended the area offi­cially belonged to Bav­aria.

Weißen­stadt prospered in the Middle Ages due to tin-min­ing and wild wood bee­keep­ing. Spe­cial tin and wild bee courts that served all Fichtel­ge­birge were seated in the city. As time went on, hand weav­ing and nail smith­ing grew to be import­ant occu­pa­tions in the area.

Dur­ing times of peace, the trade route Nurem­berg-Eger greatly sup­por­ted and pro­moted trades, but proved to be a ter­rible dis­ad­vant­age dur­ing wars. In 1429 the hus­sits des­troyed the city. But there were many more march throughs, occu­pa­tions and pil­lages dur­ing the Thirty Years’ War.

Because the rail­way Kirchen­lam­itz-Ost/­Weißen­stadt con­nec­ted to the Hof-Marktred­witz route, the indus­tri­al­iz­a­tion of Weißen­stadt was accel­er­ated. Because nail­s­mithes were eco­nom­ic­ally replaced by steel- and iron wire indus­tries, the gran­ite industry grew instead. The most import­ant stone pro­cessing plant is the GRASYMA (gran­ite — syen­ite — marble). Hand-weav­ing was quickly sub­sti­tuted by mech­an­ic­al weav­ing mills. The indus­tri­al­iz­a­tion led to a redis­cov­ery and thereby intense use of the forest as a source of resources. Factor­ies for indus­tri­al wood pro­cessing, excel­si­or and excel­si­or spin­ning arose, while barely any basic wood pro­cessing was done in the area. Since the demand for machines skyrock­eted, machine factor­ies star­ted emer­ging and sup­ply­ing them loc­ally. At the end of the 19th and begin­ning of the 20th cen­tury, Weißen­stadts loc­al eco­nomy was tem­por­ar­ily boos­ted by this development.The gran­ite pro­cessing plants Kleemann and Ack­er­mann (now GRASYMA), the weav­ing mill Spiegel and Ruck­däschel, the por­cel­ain factor­ies Dür­rbe­ck and Ruck­däschel, a brick fact­ory, an excel­si­or plant, a lum­ber mill, a steel wire fact­ory, a ham­mer mill, a win­dow fact­ory and a tin- and urani­um mine were the basis of the Weißen­stadt eco­nomy. Des­pite this eco­nom­ic reviv­al, the city could nev­er emu­late its former wealth.

Apart from the pro­duc­tion industry, tour­ism was soon dis­covered as a source of income. Once the rail­way was com­pleted, Weißen­stadt grew more and more pop­u­lar as a hol­i­day resort for its sax­on neigh­bors. In 1929, the biggest pub­lic pool in the whole area was opened, the Bay­er­s­wei­h­er was pre­pared for boats and a ski jump­ing hill was built. The war and its dev­ast­at­ing after­math (but espe­cially the con­struc­tion of the wall) stopped the fur­ther expan­sion of the tour­ism sec­tor.

Only dur­ing the 70s the poten­tial of that branch was redis­covered, which led to the lake being restored once more. The former Grasyma premises were turned into a resort. Some parts of the build­ings remain in their ori­gin­al state and now serve as a back­drop for vari­ous events. With the open­ing of the resort right by the Weißen­stadt lake in 2007 began the expan­sion towards med­ic­al tour­ism.

The entire his­tor­ic­al cen­ter of Weißen­stadt was put under pro­tec­tion for his­tor­ic­al monu­ments. Because the cit­izens want to pass the unique barns and rock cel­lars on to future gen­er­a­tions, they decided on urb­an rehab­il­it­a­tion.

Agri­cul­ture

51.6% of the land, which totals 2176 ha, is cur­rently used for farm­ing.
While in 1971, Weißen­stadt had 157 agri­cul­tur­al oper­a­tions, the num­ber stead­ily fell to 65 back in 1997, effect­ively cut­ting the num­ber in half.
Today, 28 agri­cul­tur­al oper­a­tions use a sur­face area of more than 3 ha.
The trend leads to big plot of land which facil­it­ate a sens­ible man­age­ment style. This, how­ever, dimin­ishes the vari­ety of wild­life near close to nature struc­tures.

Forestry

With a total sur­face area of 1451 ha, 34% of the urb­an area is covered by forests.
This is just slightly lower than the upper franconi­an aver­age of 39%.
The main tree spe­cies is, like in the rest of the dis­trict, the spruce in fresh to peat soil areas​.In areas with dry­er soils pine trees are very com­mon. The amount of fir trees in Fichtel­ge­birge has drastic­ally decreased and there are only a few of them left. The con­di­tions are very oppor­tune for decidu­ous trees, here, how­ever, their growth is insuf­fi­cient for forestry. The occur­rence of beech atop Buch­berg, east of Weißen­stadt is espe­cially oppor­tune. The forests in the west­ern parts from Rup­perts­grün to Tor­f­moormühle are, accord­ing to the func­tion plan of the woods, are areas espe­cially import­ant for the water sup­ply of the pub­lic. Apart from that he forests are also per­fect for recre­ation. Vast parts of the woods are offi­cially recre­ation­al forest. The emer­gence of a mixed forest would be espe­cially bene­fi­cial for the envir­on­ment as well as help­ful for recre­ation­al pur­poses.

Trans­port Con­nec­tion

Neither high­ways nor inter­states lead dir­ectly through Weißen­stadt.
The nearest motor­way access to the A9 is about 15km (9.3 miles) away, near Gefrees/ Münch­berg. The nearest motor­way access to the A93 Regens­burg-Weiden-Hof is about 15km (9.3 miles) away, near Thier­sheim. State road 2180, going from west to east, leads dir­ectly through Weißen­stadt and con­nects the two high­ways. The state road is now where an ancient trad­ing route used to lead from Frank­furt to Prague.

Alti­tude

Weißen­stadt is loc­ated about 630 meters above sea level. The rolling coun­tryside is tra­versed by flood­plains, rivers and streams. The horse-shoe-shaped ridge of the Fichtel­ge­birgs­massiv around the plat­eau reaches alti­tudes of up to 1000 meters above sea level.

Alti­tude of the city cen­ter of Weißen­stadt: 612–630 meters above sea level

Land­scape

The many hills and val­leys that are home to the rivers Eger (west- east) and Birken­bach (north — south) are a char­ac­ter­ist­ic fea­ture of the area.
The plants by the river­side thread through the area like a green rib­bon.
Weißen­stadt lake, which has a size of about 50 ha and which is clearly vis­ible from all dir­ec­tions, stands out among the oth­er­wise rather unstruc­tured farm­land.
The farm­land on the elev­ated areas and the mead­ows in the dips clearly mark a very rur­al and rus­tic area. Small set­tlings and farms emphas­ize the import­ance of farm­ing. Most of the vil­lages are loc­ated on the hill­side, espe­cially in the areas that offer access to well­springs.  A mosa­ic of mead­ows, woods and ponds form the area north of Weißen­stadt lake. The area appears much more lively than the repet­it­ive farm­lands to the west and north-east of the lake. Towards the edges in the north and south, the ter­rain rises up and is covered mostly with dense woods.
Rudolphsteins lis­ted sum­mit sticks out with an alti­tude of 866m. This cre­ates the impres­sion that Weißen­stadt is loc­ated in a dip, pro­tec­ted in all dir­ec­tions by moun­tain ranges. Espe­cially where the forest area begins, some lovely pan­or­a­mas can be found, over­look­ing the whole area. The rough elev­ated forest areas form a stark con­trast to the soft mead­ows and hills closer to the muni­cip­al dis­trict.
The his­tor­ic­al cen­ter of Weißen­stadt can be spot­ted from the hill­tops to the north and south (Hex­en­stein) of the city cen­ter. The lis­ted rock cel­lars, of which about 200 still exist all over the city, and the barns on the edge of town add to the unique char­ac­ter of Weißen­stadt.

Wild­life

The bird life near Weißen­stadt is espe­cially diverse. The close prox­im­ity of dry and moist, warm and brisk areas plays a big part in this. The white stork breed­ing pair of Weißen­stadt is of great nation­wide sig­ni­fic­ance. Their horst is loc­ated atop a chim­ney near the out­skirts of town. Since the neigh­bor­ing wet mead­ow of the Egeraue offers food to the storks, it is imper­at­ive that the area be main­tained in order to make sur­viv­al easi­er for the storks.

Geo­logy

The geo­lo­gic­al land­scape in Weißen­stadt is, like in most parts of the Fichtel­ge­birge, dom­in­ated by gran­ite. A broad stripe of por­phyry gran­ite com­ing from the Weißen­stadt-Markleuth­ner-Massivs runs from the south­west­ern to the north­east­ern parts of the area. A thin stripe of shist con­nects to the gran­ite towards the north. A wider stripe of mus­cov­ite-like stone grazes the muni­cip­al dis­trict in the north. The Weißen­haid area con­tains por­phyry gneiss, which is con­tained with­in shist.
Down the Schnee­berg towards Franconia, pew­ter gran­ite can be found. The stone changes to horn­fels the closer you get to Franconia. The south­east­ern regions around Mei­er­hof are mostly fea­ture orthogneiss. The hills are covered in dilu­vi­al soli­fluc­tion soils and soli­fluc­tion clays. The val­leys con­tain qua­tern­ary val­ley sed­i­ments such as sand, gravel, allu­vi­al loam or clay.