The Roman Emperor Augustus founded Augsburg over 2000 years ago, making it one of the oldest cities in Europe and Germany. It grew from a military supply town to a major hub of trade and finance during the late Middle Ages and into the Renaissance. It was the Augsburg merchant families of Fugger and Weiser, who replaced the Medici’s in being an influence on the world in business and culture. Today, you can still see evidence of the incredible wealth of this time period in the buildings, statues and bridgeworks still in use. The building currently used as the town hall, was the former city residence of the Fuggers, which more than eloquently conveys the extent of their wealth and power.
Augsburg wasn’t all business and trade, though, yet it is because of its orientation on commerce that allowed a strong community of artisans to begin to settle in the area. These were craftsmen who worked with the finest precious metals of gold and silver, as well as designers and producers of textiles. While German through and through, Augsburg is often affectionately referred to as the northernmost city of Italy because of the old town lay out, market squares and shopping districts that are so similar to Italian city planning styles.
Augsburg has a place in history for religious reasons and cities, schools and churches around the world have adopted the name to honour the “Confessio Augustana”. This was the Lutheran Profession of Faith that broke the sect from the Catholic Church at the Imperial Diet of 1530. Augsburg also hosted the first political settlement of Christian faiths in 1555, called the “Religious Peace of Augsburg”. It is still celebrated as a citywide holiday to this day, closing businesses and schools, and giving Augsburg the distinction of having one more holiday than any other city in Germany.
The tradition of wealth and art combined to make the city a natural centre for the creative and their patrons. The painter Holbein called Augsburg home, as did Berthold Brecht. Augsburg was also the birthplace and primary home of Leopold Mozart, whose son, Amadeus, was known to visit.
Located in the Southern tip of Germany, in the Bavarian region, Augsburg has always played an important role in the area as a military centre. Today, it hosts the German military, UN representation and the 34th General Hospital of the United States Army. It is easy to travel to other major German cities from Augsburg and to reach Paris and Amsterdam by rail. It is popular with tourists not just for its historical holdings, but because of its place on the “Romantic Road, “a travel path through Europe that passes features such as the Alps and other places of profound beauty.
Modern Augsburg has a resident population of 260,000 with almost 13% being of foreign birth. While it is known as a “university town” because of the presence of two large and respected modern universities, the Hochschule Augsburg and the University of Augsburg; its economy is not based on students or tourists alone. It remains a major hub of commerce and business with several major global companies having their offices and manufacturing facilities here. The main roster of established businesses in Augsburg includes names such as Fujitsu Siemens, EADS, KUKA, MAN and the International Paper Group, and UPM Kymmene. Environmental Research and Engineering initiatives have brought a major boost to the economy in both the public and private sectors. The Environmental Sciences have a heavy representation in the area, courtesy of the focus of the University of Augsburg.
Students considering studying in Augsburg will discover that there is more to the city than just the universities. Augsburg is a vibrant modern city with one foot planted firmly in the past that holds dear all that is German, while welcoming and accommodating a varied immigrant population. It has a bright economy, strong business sector, quality entertainment and is affordable. Best of all, as a hub of major transportation rail lines, it is easy to branch out and see more of Germany and the continent while studying in Augsburg.
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