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Torgau – 1

Yesterday I went to Torgau for the first time. The Silsdeners are surely asking where it is. Finger on a map of Berlin. Move it south through the state of Brandenburg and slightly to the left. You will come to a ‘corner’ where Brandenburg meets the state of Sachsen-Anhalt and the state of Saxony. It’s there in the north of Saxony.

Torgau is first recorded in AD973 as ‘Torgove’ meaning Market Place in the local slavic language. All of that area was then settled by slavic speakers including areas to the north aound Berlin. The Germanic tribes arrived later. In 1267 it was recorded as a town. It lies on the west bank of the river Elbe where there is a ford.

By the 1500s, it had a population of 6,000 and was part of the Kingdom of Saxony. The kings had a large castle built there overlooking the ford in the river. It is called Schloss Hartenfals. It was later renovated and extended to take on the appearance it has today.

Torgau played an important part in the Protestant Reformation and the Thirty Years War as a consequence.  The Battle of Mühlenberg tool place there in 1547. The protestant army was defeated by a catholic one. Isn’t it strange to describe armies and killing by religions! But so it was and unfortunately still is today!!

Martin Luther was often in Torgau where he preached and gave the opening service of the Schlosskirche on 5 October 1544. His wife Katharina von Bora died there in December 1552. She escaped from Wittenberg where the Black Death had broken out, but her horse and carriage had an accident enroute.

Here are photos of the town centre, the market square and town hall plus an unusual pig!