Aschaffenburg is known as the Tor zum Spessart or "gate to the Spessart". It is also called the Bayerische Nizza or "Bavarian Nice" due to its relatively mild climate for a Bavarian city and Mediterranean gardens overlooking the Main.
Although it is within Bavaria, the town's inhabitants claim to be Franconians, not Bavarians. This is consistent with the attitude of the inhabitants of other parts of Franconia, all of which lies within the state of Bavaria. However, Aschaffenburg was never part of historical Franconia, as it belonged to the Archbishopric of Mainz. The inhabitants speak neither Bavarian nor Franconian but rather Central Hessian.
Aschaffenburg counts 10 districts:
Nilkheim and Leider are the only districts located on the left bank of the river Main.
Johannesberg, Glattbach, Goldbach, Haibach, Bessenbach, Sulzbach am Main, Niedernberg, Großostheim, Stockstadt am Main and Mainaschaff.
The town suffered greatly during the Thirty Years' War, being held in turn by the various belligerents. It formed part of the electorate of the Archbishop of Mainz, and in 1803 was made over to the chancellor, Archbishop Charles of Dalberg as the Principality of Aschaffenburg. In 1810 it was merged into the new Grand Duchy of Frankfurt, although Dalberg retained Aschaffenburg as his residence. In 1814 the city was transferred to the Kingdom of Bavaria by an Austrian-Bavarian treaty. In 1817 it was included within Bavarian Lower Franconia.
From 1842–49, King Ludwig I of Bavaria built a country house to the west of town. It was named Pompejanum after its model, the house of Castor and Pollux at Pompeii. In 1866 the Prussian Army inflicted a severe defeat on the Austrians in the neighbourhood during the Austro-Prussian War.
In World War II, Aschaffenburg was heavily damaged by Allied area bombing, including Schloss Johannisburg which was completely restored several years later. In the decades following the war, Aschaffenburg and the surrounding region experienced robust economic prosperity, partially due to its close proximity to Frankfurt am Main.
According to an online 2002 survey in Stern (magazine),[Stern 14/2002], 82 percent of residents living in the "Bayerischer Untermain" region where Aschaffenburg is located were satisfied with the place where they lived. This was the highest level recorded in the survey making this region the #1 place to live in Germany, based on several factors including employment opportunities in the region, educational facilities, public services, transportation, recreational options, shopping, cultural facilities/events, climate, etc.
Aschaffenburg was the location of several United States Army installations throughout the Cold War. The US Army occupied facilities formerly used and controlled by the Wehrmacht. The installation sites were known as Ready Kaserne, Smith Kaserne, Graves Kaserne, Fiori Kaserne, Engineer Kaserne and Jaeger Kasern, housing armour, infantry, engineer, maintenance and artillery elements of the US Army 3rd Brigade, 3rd Infantry Division and various VII Corps elements including the 9th Engineer Brigade. Much of the US Army presence in Aschaffenburg ended in 1992 with the ending of the Cold War. The last buildings, which were primarily used for housing, were handed back in 2007.
Aschaffenburg's chief buildings are the Schloss Johannisburg, built 1605–14 by Archbishop Schweikard von Kronberg, which contains a library with a number of incunabula, a collection of engravings and paintings; the Pompejanum, a replica of a Roman town house discovered in Pompeii commissioned by King Ludwig I. and opened in 1850; the Stiftskirche basilica, founded in 974 by Otto of Swabia, duke of Bavaria, but dating in the main from the early 12th century on, in which are preserved various monuments by the Vischers, a sarcophagus with the relics of Saint Margaret, and a famous painting by Matthias Grünewald; the Capuchin hospital; a theatre, which was formerly a house of the Teutonic Order; several mansions of the nobility; and the beautiful, historical "Altstadt" (the oldest section of Aschaffenburg).
RoadsAschaffenburg is located on Bundesautobahn 3 between Frankfurt am Main and Würzburg. The southern terminus of Bundesautobahn 45 is located just west of the city. Bundesstraßen B 8 and B 26 pass through the city. Three road bridges cross the river Main at Aschaffenburg: Ebert Bridge (a new span opened in 2008), Willigis Bridge and Adenauer Bridge.
The final section of the limited-access Innenstadtring or "inner-city-ring" road is currently under construction in the district of Damm and will be completed by 2011. It will allow motorists to bypass the stadtmitte (city center) and reduce traffic congestion in Aschaffenburg, which has been a problem in recent years. A section of the road has already opened.
ParkingThere are about 7,000 parking spaces in the ten districts of Aschaffenburg and 5 parking garages open to the public.
Public transportAschaffenburg has a comprehensive bus network serving all districts and the surrounding region. The 15 main bus lines which serve the districts of Aschaffenburg are run by Stadtwerke Aschaffenburg. There are several other bus lines which link Aschaffenburg with the surrounding region. Those lines are run by other companies, including the Deutsche Bahn. A new bus terminal adjacent to the Aschaffenburg Hauptbahnhof (main railway station) is currently under construction and will be completed in 2009.
TaxisTaxis can be found at the following locations:
The normal way to obtain a taxi is to either call one of the numerous taxi operators in Aschaffenburg or go to one of the locations listed above.
Railway stations and stops
All passenger train service is provided by the Deutsche Bahn.
HarborAschaffenburg has an active port along the Main with railway access. In 2005, 2.8 million tons of cargo passed through the port.
AirportsA small general aviation airport (Flugplatz Aschaffenburg, ICAO-Code: EDFC) is located in nearby Großostheim. Frankfurt Airport is located 46 kilometers (30 miles) from Aschaffenburg and offers connections to destinations all over the world. The trip to and from the airport takes about 30 minutes by motor vehicle or approximately 45 minutes by InterCityExpress train.
City GalerieThe City Galerie, opened in 1974 and located in the city center (Stadtmitte), is the largest shopping mall in Northern Bavaria. It was one of the first indoor shopping malls to open in Germany. It was first renovated in 1984. From 1997 to 1999, it was expanded and modernized. Stores include C&A, Galeria Kaufhof, GameStop, H&M, Media Markt City (electronics) and Mueller.
FußgängerzoneAschaffenburg also has a pedestrian shopping zone (fußgängerzone in German) closed to motor vehicles, except for deliveries. It is located in the city center (Stadtmitte). Several upscale stores have opened in this zone in recent years. There are also several restaurants and cafes. The following streets & alleys are included in this zone: Roßmarkt, Herstallstraße, Steingasse and Sandgasse.
FrohsinnstrasseThis street, located close to the Hauptbahnhof (main railway station), has a variety of different stores.
Culture and recreational
Cultural eventsAschaffenburg hosts numerous festivals, fairs, exhibitions, markets and concerts throughout the year including the annual Stadtfest, held on the last weekend in August.
Theaters and entertainment venues
Museums and galleries
ParksAschaffenburg has numerous parks including the following:
RecreationalA large recreational complex is located in the district of Leider. It includes an indoor and outdoor swimming pool complex as well as an indoor ice rink and tennis courts, which are open to the general public. There's also a marina on the Main between the Willigis and Adenauer bridges.
Viktoria Aschaffenburg is the primary football (soccer) club. The club was formed on June 24, 1904 out of the merger of FC Aschaffenburg (August 6, 1901) and FC Viktoria Aschaffenburg (April 12, 1902). It was re-named Sportverein Viktoria 01 Aschaffenburg on June 3, 1906. Their homefield is Stadion am Schönbusch (Schönbusch stadium), a modern stadium located in the Nilkheim district.
American footballIn 1996, the Aschaffenburg Stallions began playing American football at Schönbusch stadium. A cheerleader squad also exists.
EducationThere are about 55 various types of schools in Aschaffenburg serving approximately 18,000 students from the city and surrounding region.
MedicalThe three primary medical centers in Aschaffenburg are:
There are approximately 789 hospital beds, 159 doctors, 68 dentists and 38 pharmacies in the districts of Aschaffenburg.
Local and regional media
Radio and television
Town twinningAschaffenburg is twinned with:
In 2006, Aschaffenburg and Perth celebrated the 50th anniversary of their partnership.