County of Vogtland, County of Greiz
|Status||State of the Holy Roman Empire|
|Capital||Weida (Osterburg), Gera, Plauen|
(East Franconian German, North Bavarian)
|Historical era||Middle Ages|
• Land exchange with
Margraviate of Meissen
• Power struggles with
Electorate of Saxony
• Restored to Vögte
after Battle of Mühlberg
• Annexed to Saxony
|Today part of|
Vogtland (German pronunciation: [ˈfoːktlant] ; Czech : Fojtsko) is a region spanning the German states of Bavaria, Saxony and Thuringia and north-western Bohemia in the Czech Republic. It overlaps with and is largely contained within Euregio Egrensis. The name alludes to the former leadership by the Vögte ("advocates" or "lords protector") of Weida, Gera and Plauen.
The landscape of the Vogtland is sometimes referred to as idyllic, bearing in mind its fields, meadows and wooded hilltops. In the south and southeast, Vogtland rises to a low or mid-height mountain range also called Oberes Vogtland, or Upper Vogtland. Here, monocultural coniferous forest is the predominant form of vegetation. The Vogtland's highest mountain is Schneehübel, reaching 974 metres; another remarkable landmark is the Schneckenstein, 883 m above sea level, which gained some renown for its (falsely) alleged unique abundance of topaz crystals. Its mountains spread from Ore Mountains in the south-east to Fichtelgebirge in the south-west, some peaks also belonging to Elstergebirge.
Neighbouring regions are Frankenwald, Ore Mountains, Thüringer Schiefergebirge (Thuringian Slate Mountains) and Fichtelgebirge. The south-eastern part of the Vogtland belongs to Ore Mountain/Vogtland Nature Park , a protected area comparable to a national park.
In its northern part, which averages around 250 m above sea level, the landscape is marked by several river valleys, as the White Elster, the Zwickauer Mulde and the Göltzsch have their spring in the Vogtland, while the Saale flows through Bavaria and Thuringia in the west of Vogtland.
The river valley geography in Vogtland's north made it necessary to build comparatively big bridges to channel railroad and automobile traffic streams. Particularly famous are the Göltzsch Viaduct between Reichenbach im Vogtland and Netzschkau, the world's largest bridge built of bricks, and her "little sister", the Elster Viaduct . Both of them are in use as railroad bridges closing the gap between Dresden and Nuremberg.
As road bridges are concerned, the major bridges forming part of the A 72 near Hof, Pirk and Weißensand are the most important ones, while one urban bridge poses as a rarity: The Syratal Viaduct is Europe's biggest mono-arch bridge made of chunked natural stone - to be found in Plauen, commonly called Friedensbrücke.
Integral part of the Vogtland landscape are its reservoirs, the shores of which mostly are popular holiday and camping destinations.
Plauen is the largest city and seat of the Vogtlandkreis county and informally known as the "capital of the Vogtland". A university city, Gera is the largest city of the historical Vogtland region, yet, also a link in the Thüringer Städtekette (Thuringia city chain) ranging eastwards from Eisenach via Erfurt, Weimar, and Jena to Gera.
Other towns of regional significance are:
The larger settlemental region surrounding Gera has been recorded in documents as early as the year 1000. It is thought to have been inhabited since late 7th or early 8th century by Slavic Settlers who tribally belonged to the Sorbs. Large portions of the Vogtland, however, were still covered with pristine forests and were not settled before the High Middle Ages, especially until the period called the Deutsche Ostsiedlung . Those settlers arrived mainly in eleventh and twelfth centuries, ethnically being Slavic or German, coming from areas of traditionally older settlement like Franconia, Thuringia and Saxony. Even today this can be traced along lines dividing dialectal areas, providing linguistic differences at close distances of settlement while demonstrating peculiar commonalities with varieties spoken in more distant regions of Germany. For instance, in a number of villages of the upper Vogtland even nowadays a dialect is spoken similar to that in Oberpfalz (/ou/ sounds instead of /u:/ as in Kou (en. cow) etc.).
The place name Vogtland (formerly also known as Voigtland, terra advocatorum) originates in the rule of the Vogts in this region from the eleventh to the sixteenth century AD, specifically in reference to the Vogts of Weida, Gera and Plauen. In the 12th century, Kaiser Barbarossa appointed the first Vogts as administrators of his imperial forest areas in the East to facilitate his rule. Their headquarters was the Osterburg at Weida, thus giving it the reputation as the cradle of the Vogtland. Among the privileges of the Vogts were the endowment over minerals still unextracted from the ground ( Bergregal ) and the entitlement to regulating mint and coinage affairs ( Münzregal ), which were both handed down to them by Kaiser Frederick II in 1232.
As in the 14th century claims to power by the Margraves of Meißen emerged, Henry of Plauen submitted to the tenure-based regnancy of the Bohemian Crown, excepting only the dominion of Voigtsberg, that stayed tenured to the Reich. In 1349, his equinomic son Henry also handed Voigtsberg over to Bohemian tenure; thus the whole Vogtland had become a Reichsafterlehn (a specific status of tenure). In 1357 an exchange of territories was agreed with by the Margraviate of Meißen, effectually making Wiedersberg, Liebau, Adorf, Pausa, Neuenkirchen and Hirschberg (among others) Meißenian while Borna, Geithein and Kohren were handed to the Vogt. The exchange was heavily disputed by branch line cousins of Henry's. The Lords of Plauen, as they called themselves, retrieved Auerbach, Pausa and Liebau as Meißenian tenure in 1379. Since 1426 the Lords of Plauen were Burggraves of Meißen and found themselves in constant power struggles with the Saxonian Kurfürsts.
King George of Podiebrad took the burning of the royal castle of Graslitz due to fights between Henry II of Plauen and his enemies to be an occasion to withdraw his tenure and have the Vogtland occupied by Ernest in 1466. Henry II von Plauen had fallen into disgrace with him for his open opposition against nobility. Thus, Ernest received tenure over the Vogtland which, at the occasion of the Leipziger Teilung in 1485, was transferred to the House of Ernest while keeping the Bergregal under joint control. In 1547, after the Battle of Mühlberg, the Ernestines forfeited the tenure over the Vogtland and Kaiser Ferdinand I handed it down to his Chancellor Henry IV of Plauen, making Maurice, Elector of Saxony co-tenant to the Vogtland tenure. Henry V and Henry VI could not settle up their debts towards Augustus, Elector of Saxony. Due to arrears in Tithe and other liabilities the Brothers impawned the Vogtland to Kursachsen in 1559.
With Heinrich VI the rule of the Vogts of Plauen over the Vogtland ended, as he could not redeem the pawn any more. In 1566, Augustus acquired the office and towns of Voigtsberg, Oelsnitz, Plauen and Pausa. Matters were furtherly resettled in 1657, among other transactions assigning office over Plauen, Voigtsberg and Pausa to the Duchy of Saxe-Zeitz while schriftsässige Rittergüter and the town of Schöneck remained in Kursaxon possession. In 1718, after the Duchy of Saxe-Zeitz line had vanished, the areas in concern reverted to Kursachsen. Asides from the Kursaxonian share, the forests around Auerbach and Schöneck remained an exceptional area being both Kursaxonian and ducal at the same time.
Two major motorways (A 72 and A 9) serve the Vogtland with connection to the surrounding regions and cities. Providing connections locally within the region and beyond state and national borders, Vogtlandbahn is a private railway company which operates the Vogtland Express. Vogtlandbahn services includes direct connections to Leipzig, Regensburg and Berlin independently from Deutsche Bahn and cooperates with Bohemian (Czech) railway company Viamont as well as with Bavaria-based Alex train services to provide further connections to Munich, Prague and further destinations of note in Euregio Egrensis and beyond. There is a bus service that runs from Vogtland to Berlin.
While the European Union develops into a Europe of Regions, Vogtland could experience an increase of significance for transiting traffic and tourism for the region of Euregio Egrensis, independently from the political meaning of Vogtlandkreis.
Reuss was the name of several historical states located in present-day Thuringia, Germany. Its rulers, the House of Reuss, named all of their male children Heinrich after the end of the 12th century in honour of Henry VI, Holy Roman Emperor (1190–1197), to whom they owed the estates of Weida and Gera. The head of each branch of the family bore the German title Fürst (Prince) as did their male children.
The Vogtlandkreis is a Landkreis in the southwest of the Free State of Saxony, Germany, at the borders to Thuringia, Bavaria, and the Czech Republic. Neighboring districts are Hof, Saale-Orla, Greiz, Zwickau and Erzgebirgskreis.
Greiz is a Kreis (district) in the east of Thuringia, Germany. Neighboring districts are Saale-Holzland, Saale-Orla, district-free city Gera, the Burgenlandkreis in Saxony-Anhalt, Altenburger Land, and the two Saxon districts Zwickauer Land and Vogtlandkreis.
Plauen is, with around 65,000 inhabitants, the fifth-largest city of the Free State of Saxony, Germany after Leipzig, Dresden, Chemnitz and Zwickau, the second-largest city of the Vogtland after Gera, as well as the largest city in the Saxon Vogtland. The city lies on the Whiter Elster River, in the Central Vogtlandian Hill Country. Plauen is the southwesternmost city of a string of cities sitting in the densely populated foreland of the Elster and Ore Mountains, stretching from Plauen in the southwest via Zwickau, Chemnitz and Freiberg to Dresden in the northeast. It is the capital of the Vogtland District. Plauen borders Thuringia to the north, and it is also situated near the Saxon border with Bavaria (Franconia) and the Czech Republic (Bohemia).
Auerbach is a town in the Vogtlandkreis, Saxony, Germany. It is the regional centre of the eastern Vogtland. The economy is mainly based on textile manufacturing, food processing and machine industry. After Plauen and Reichenbach, Auerbach is the third most populous town in the Vogtlandkreis.
Reichenbach im Vogtland is a town in the Vogtlandkreis district of Saxony in eastern Germany. With a population of 20,108, it is the second-largest town in the Vogtlandkreis after Plauen. It is located close to the A72 between Plauen and Zwickau.
Greiz is a town in Thuringia, and it is the capital of the district of Greiz. Greiz is situated in eastern Thuringia on the river White Elster.
Adorf is a small town and municipality in the Vogtlandkreis to the south-west of the Free State of Saxony, Germany. Gettengrün, a village within the municipality, borders on the Czech Republic.
Mylau is a town and a former municipality in the Vogtlandkreis district, in the Free State of Saxony, Germany with about 2600 citizens. Since 1 January 2016 it is part of the town Reichenbach im Vogtland. It is situated in the valleys of the river Göltzsch and the Raumbach, a stream flowing from Reichenbach im Vogtland that is locally known as the Soap Stream because of the textile painting factories that had been built by its banks. The town lies 6 km southeast of Greiz, and 20 km southwest of Zwickau. Mylau has the smallest area of any town ("Stadt") in what was formerly East Germany, although there are 10 towns in what was formerly West Germany that are even smaller in area.
Die Länderbahn GmbH (DLB), formerly Vogtlandbahn GmbH, is a German rail transport company based in Viechtach, operating transport services originally only in the Vogtland, but now also on a regional basis. Die Länderbahn is a subsidiary of Regentalbahn AG, which is owned by Ferrovie dello Stato subsidiary Netinera. The term vogtlandbahn remains in use as a trademark of Die Länderbahn in Vogtland.
Vogtlandian is an East Franconian dialect, spoken in Vogtland.
The Leipzig–Hof railway is a two-track main line in the German states of Saxony, Thuringia and Bavaria, originally built and operated by the Saxon-Bavarian Railway Company. It runs from Leipzig through Altenburg, the Werdau wye junction, Reichenbach and Plauen to Hof. The Werdau–Hof section is part of the Saxon-Franconian trunk line (Sachsen-Franken-Magistrale), the line connecting Dresden and Nuremberg. Its first section opened in 1842 and it is one of the oldest railways in Germany.
Reichenbach (Vogtland) Oberer Bahnhof(Upper station) is the main railway station of Reichenbach im Vogtland in the German state of Saxony. It is the only remaining station in Reichenbach, which once had three stations, and is located on the Saxon-Franconian trunk line between Nuremberg and Dresden. It is also the last major station before the junction with the main line to Leipzig from the direction of Nuremberg and Plauen. Together with Plauen station, it used to be one of two DB Fernverkehr stations in Vogtland.
The Gera Süd–Weischlitz railway is a main railway line in the German federal states of Thuringia and Saxony, which was originally built and operated by the Saxon-Thuringian Railway Company. It runs in the valley of the White Elster from Gera via Greiz and Plauen to Weischlitz.
The Göltzsch Viaduct is a railway bridge in Germany. It is the largest brick-built bridge in the world, and for a time it was the tallest railway bridge in the world. It spans the valley of the Göltzsch River between the Reichenbach im Vogtland district of Mylau and the adjacent town of Netzschkau in the German Free State of Saxony.
Henry V of Plauen was Burgrave of Meissen and Lord of Plauen and Voigtsberg.
Henry IV of Plauen, was Colonel Chancellor of the Kingdom of Bohemia, Burgrave of Meissen, Lord of Plauen, Gera, Greiz, Schleiz and Bad Lobenstein, Lord of Toužim, Hartenštejn Castle, Andělská Hora Castle and Žlutice. He also used the traditional title of Lord of Lázně Kynžvart and, apart from an intermezzo in 1547, he was Lord of Bečov nad Teplou as well.
Henry VI of Plauen was Burgrave of Meissen, Lord of Plauen and Lord of Schleiz and Lobenstein.
The Voigtland State Railway was originally one of the lines of the Royal Saxon State Railways that was built in Vogtland, now in the German state of Saxony and the Czech Republic. The line began from the junction station of Herlasgrün on the Saxon-Bavarian Railway and ran via Falkenstein, Oelsnitz and Bad Elster to Cheb. Only the Herlasgrün–Falkenstein and Oelsnitz–Cheb sections are still operating.
Vogtlandkreis is an electoral constituency represented in the Bundestag. It elects one member via first-past-the-post voting. Under the current constituency numbering system, it is designated as constituency 166. It is located in southwestern Saxony, comprising the Vogtlandkreis district.