This article is about the German town in North Rhine-Westphalia. For the Czech town in Southern Bohemia, see Vimperk
Winterberg is a town in the Hochsauerland district of North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany and a major winter sport resort of the Wintersport Arena Sauerland.
Winterberg is located in the middle of the Sauerland, at the source of the Ruhr and Lenne river.
Division of the town
After the local government reforms of 1975 Winterberg consists of 15 districts:
Winterberg is twinned with:
Winterberg was declared a city by Archbishop Konrad von Hochstaden (1238-’61) about 1270. The foundation of the city of Winterberg was presumably carried out together with the cloister in Küstelberg. Here indicates a document of 1276 in which the rights are regulated in the town between archbishop and cloister. In this document a church is mentioned in Winterberg whose precursor presumably goes back till the time about 1225. The city fortification seems to have granted in the 14th century first only very much restricted protection. The count von Waldeck conquered the town 1321. About 1357 Winterberg became destroyed by Gottfried IV. von Arnsberg during his war with the Cologne archbishop Wilhelm von Gennep . For the reconstruction the archbishop granted an at first ten-year-old tax freedom. This was extended in 1370 and 1374 in each case by other five years. At this time Winterberg owned the same town right like Hallenberg. Winterberg was a member of the Hanseatic League from the 13th until the 17th century. The town was in the middle of two trade roads, Heidenstrasse between Cologne and Kassel and Heerstrasse between Frankfurt am Main and Soest. The bad agricultural conditions led to the fact that trade played a central role as a life basis of the town.
Deserted Medieval Town
Between 1350 and 1500 the surrounding settlements village Wernsdorf, Merleheim, Haarfeld, Günninghausen and Elkeringhausen were given up by her inhabitants. They often moved to Winterberg and they maintained her possession rights in her old land pieces. The cause for give-up of the old settlements probably was due to the plague. The frequent feuds and lootings of this time was other cause. The towns offered a better protection against enemy troops. Only the cities of Winterberg, Hallenberg, Schmallenberg and Medebach were presumably settled at this time. The surrounding villages were presumably left completely.
Modern times till the end of Thirty Years' War (1500–1650)
By the acquisition of region "Marken" the area of Winterberg strongly extended. There were similar trends in neighbouring towns. At the beginning of the 16th century Winterberg expanded her farmland in the area of Astenberg. Thereby they got during conflict with the count of von Waldeck who owned rights in the neighbouring village Nordenau. From southwest her territorial claims overlapped with the county Wittgenstein. This quarrel stretched with both opponents up to the end of the 18th century. In a comparison with Wittgenstein 1783 the debatable area was split. During the Thirty Years' War the neighbouring town Medebach and Hallenberg were 1634 destroyed by Hessian troops. Both had to suffer very much from contributions, lootings and murders. Besides, still the plague broke out soon afterwards. Both towns thereby had to register big population losses. This destiny seems to have remained saved to the city of Winterberg to a great extent. An important clue for this is that in 1638/39 the town council could buy a new organ for 240 imperial talers. Vice versa this could be the trigger for a vain siege of the town about 1640. The Winterberger shooters repulsed therefore attacking Hessen and Sweden successfully.
As in many other places in the Duchy of Westphalia also found in Winterberg, between 16 and 18 Century witch trials and executions. The exact number is unknown because the source material is extremely poor. Documented witch trials in the years 1523, probably 1562, 1629 and modified 1728th. On November 19, 1993 at the site of the „Winterberger Halsgerichts“ a monument was opened as a memorial to the victims of the 16th Century witch hunts.
Points of interest
The second highest mountain of the Sauerland, the Kahler Asten in the Rothaargebirge, is located in the city area, which also contains the spring of the Lenne and Ruhr rivers.
The city is one of the winter sports centers of the Sauerland, best known probably for the bobsleigh, luge, and skeleton track. In 2003, there were the first official World Wok Championships, initiated by Stefan Raab.
Coat of arms
The arms show the city (the city walls only existed between 1261 and 1266) behind the patron of the city, Saint James, as Winterberg is located on one of the Ways of St. James.
- ^ "Amtliche Bevölkerungszahlen" (in German). Landesbetrieb Information und Technik NRW. 31 December 2011. http://www.it.nrw.de/statistik/a/daten/amtlichebevoelkerungszahlen/index.html.
- ^ wintersport-arena.de
Municipalities in the borough of Winterberg