Augsburg, counting 270,000 residents, is Bavaria’s third-biggest and second-oldest city, as well as it is the capital of Swabia.
The Renaissance was Augsburg’s golden age, as it was one of Europe’s most prominent centers of commerce. Bearing witness of this period are the Perlach-Tower and the City Hall building, considered to be the biggest profane building North of the Alps in renaissance-style: These two buildings are now Augsburg’s symbols.
In 1897, the engineer Rudolf Diesel developed the first usable model of the famous diesel engine in the city’s machine factory. Another renowned son of the city is Bertolt Brecht, author of The Threepenny Opera. Other famous inhabitants, the rich merchant family Fugger, gave their name to a city’s quarter, the Fuggerei, which is the oldest social settlement still existing in the world.
Augsburg was in the middle of the religious hostilities between Catholics and Protestants. On 8th of August each year, Augsburg celebrates the Augsburger Hohes Friedensfest (Augsburg Peace Festival), the worldwide unique occurrence of an official, law-protected municipal holiday. Augsburg is thus Germany’s most employee-friendly city!
At the beginning, the festival was a Protestant commemoration of August 8, 1629, when Augsburg’s Protestants were forbidden to exercise their faith – another consequence of the 30-year war – which put an end to more than 70 years of religious peace after the Augsburg Peace Treaty of 1555. Protestants had to wait almost 20 years to receive equal rights in the Westphalia Peace Treaty (1648).
Today, the Augsburger Hohes Friedensfest stands for the great intercultural celebration of pacific coexistence and boasts a 3-week program of activities.