Mühlhausen, the city in the heart of Germany, is situated in northwestern Thuringia, between the mountain ridge of the Hainich and the Eichsfeld. The former Imperial City greets its visitors with numerous church steeples and an almost completely preserved city wall, an ideal place to experience history first hand.
Already from afar you can see the Marienkirche in the upper town, the largest church of Thuringia after the Erfurt cathedral. Here the radical reformer Thomas Müntzer preached, making Mühlhausen the center of the German Peasants’ War. The best overview over the old city with its medieval network of roads and alleys and its lovingly restored town houses can be had from the raven tower (Rabenturm) next to the Innere Frauentor, from which parts of the city wall can be accessed. Located at the lower market (Untermarkt) the Gothic hall church Divi Blasi is Mühlhausen’s second principal church. The church is closely connected to the name of Johann Sebastian Bach, the composer and church musician, who was employed here as organist from 1707 to 1708. The Schurke-organ from 1959 was built following the “Disposition” drawn up in 1708 by Bach himself.
Mühlhausen is renowned for its decades-long commitment to the preservation of its historic buildings. Churches in particular have been restored at great expense. For some churches new concepts of usage have been developed. St. Jakobi, for instance, today houses the city library, giving the once sacred room a completely new feel.
The town hall was the centre of the medieval Imperial City of Mühlhausen. The Gothic structure with its council chamber, whose walls have been embellished with splendid painting in the Renaissance era, also houses the municipal archive containing the records from the Imperial City period. Established in 1615 it has survived the times and today still houses the original furnishings containing the written records up to 1802, the period in which Mühlhausen was a free Imperial City. The most famous document in the archive is the Mühlhausen law code from the second quarter of the 13th century, the oldest of all German-language city statute books.