Quedlinburg (ˈkveːdlɪnbʊʁk) is a town located north of the Harz mountains, in the district of Harz in the west of Saxony-Anhalt, Germany. In 1994 the medieval old town was set on the UNESCO world heritage list.
After Henry's death in 936, his widow Saint Mathilda founded a religious community for women ("Frauenstift") on the castle hill, where daughters of the higher nobility were educated. The main task of this collegiate foundation, Quedlinburg Abbey (there were Annals of Quedlinburg compiled), was to pray for the memory of King Henry and the rulers that came after him. The first abbess was Mathilde, granddaughter of Henry and Saint Mathilde.
The Quedlinburg castle complex, founded by Henry the Fowler and build up by Otto I the Great in 936, was an imperial palatinate of the Saxon emperors. The palatinate with a men's convent was in the valley, where nowadays the Roman Catholic church of St Wiperti is situated, while the women's convent worked on the castle hill.
In 961 and 963 a Canon's monastery was established in St Wiperti south of the castle hill. It was abandoned in the 16th century, and at one time the church, which boasts a magnificent crypt from the 10th century, was even used as a barn and a pigsty before being restored in the 1950's.
In 973 shortly before the death of Otto I the Great a Reichstag (Imperial Convention) was held at the court of emperor Otto I the Great where many nobles, including Mieszko, duke of Poland and Boleslav, duke of Bohemia, and even nobles from as far away as Byzantium and Bulgaria, gathered to pay homage to the emperor. It was here that Otto the Great introduced his new daughter-in-law Theophanu, a Byzantine princess whose marriage to Otto II brought hope for recognition and continued peace between the rulers of the Eastern and Western empires.
In 994 Otto III granted the right of market, tax and coining and established the first market place to the north of the castle hill.
The town became a member of the Hanseatic League in 1426. Quedlinburg Abbey frequently disputed the independence of Quedlinburg, which sought the aid of the Bishopric of Halberstadt. In 1477 Abbess Hedwig, aided by her brothers Ernest and Albert, broke the resistance of the town and expelled the bishop's forces. Quedlinburg was forced to leave the Hanseatic League and was subsequently protected by the Electorate of Saxony. Both town and abbey converted to Lutheranism in 1539 during the Protestant Reformation.
In 1697 Elector Frederick Augustus I of Saxony sold his rights to Quedlinburg to Elector Frederick III of Brandenburg for 240,000 thalers. Quedlinburg Abbey contested Brandenburg-Prussia's claims throughout the 18th century, however. The abbey was secularized in 1802 during the German Mediatisation and Quedlinburg passed to the Kingdom of Prussia as part of the Principality of Quedlinburg. Part of the Napoleonic Kingdom of Westphalia from 1807-13, it was included within the new Prussian Province of Saxony in 1815.
During the Nazi regime, the memory of Henry I became a sort of cult, as Heinrich Himmler saw himself as the reincarnation of the "most German of all German" rulers. The collegiate church and castle were to be turned into a shrine for Nazi Germany. Quedlinburg was administered within Bezirk Halle while part of the Communist East Germany from 1949 to 1990. It became part of the state of Saxony-Anhalt upon German reunification in 1990.
During Quedlinburg's Communist era as part of the GDR (1949-1990), restoration specialists from Poland were called in during the 1980s to carry out repairs on the old architecture. As in all German cities the Altstadt old city medieval sectuions, are the most popular attractions of any town.
During the last months of World War II, the United States Military occupied Quedlinburg. In the 1980s, upon the death of one of the US Military men, the Theft of medieval art from Quedlinburg came to light.
In 2006 the Harzer Schmalspurbahnen Selketal branch was extended into Quedlinburg from Gernrode giving access to the historic steam narrow gauge railway, Alexisbad and high Harz plateau.
Additionally there are also buses to Berlin, run by the company BerlinLinienBus
Since December 1994 the old town of Quedlinburg and the castle mount with the collegiate church are listed as one of UNESCO's World Heritage Sites. Quedlinburg is one of the best-preserved medieval and renaissance towns in Europe, having miraculously escaped major damage in World War II.
Until 2007 Quedlinburg was the capital of the district of Quedlinburg.