Location of the town of Zerbst within Anhalt-Bitterfeld District
|Mayor||Helmut Behrendt (FDP)|
|Area||467.65 km2 (180.56 sq mi)|
|Elevation||67 m (220 ft)|
|Population||23,167 (31 December 2010)|
|- Density||50 /km2 (128 /sq mi)|
|Time zone||CET/CEST (UTC+1/+2)|
Zerbst is a town in Anhalt-Bitterfeld District, in Saxony-Anhalt, Germany. Until the administrative reform of 2007, Zerbst was the capital of the Anhalt-Zerbst District. Since the 1 January 2010 local government reform, Zerbst has about 24,000 inhabitants.
It is not clear when was it founded; however, a region by the name Ciervisti was mentioned as early as 949. The town is first mentioned as Zirwisti urbs in the chronicle of the Thietmar of Merseburg in 1018.
From 1603 to 1793 Zerbst was the Residence Town of the Zerbst Principality, whose rule included among others also Jever. From 1722 to 1758 the important baroque composer Johann Friedrich Fasch resided here and was employed as a Hofkapellmeister. (To honour his memory, the Fasch Fesivals take place in the city since 1983.)
In 1745 princess Sophie Auguste Friederike von Anhalt-Zerbst married Peter III, successor to the Russian throne. As Catharine II (the Great) she herself reigned as Empress of Russia from 9 July [O.S. 28 June] 1762 until 17 November [O.S. 6 November] 1796).
In 1797 Zerbst became a component of the Anhalt-Dessau Principality.
From 1891 to 1928 a horse-drawn streetcar was operated in Zerbst, one of the longest surviving among such streetcars in Germany.
In the later part of the Second World War a Nazi labour camp was established on the edge of the military airfield, housing so-called "First Degree Hybrids" and "Jüdisch Versippte" (i.e., people witj some Jewish blood, enough in Nazi terms to justify badly mistreating them but not killing them outright). 700 inmates from there were used for hard labour in road and airport construction as well as peat digging.
On April 16, 1945 - just a few weeks before the final surrender of Nazi Germany - some eighty percent of Zerbst was destroyed in an Allied air raid.
The Old Town was rebuilt in the following decades with a fundamental change of the townscape, only few historical structures being preserved.
On July 1, 2006 the town of Zerbst was renamed Zerbst/Anhalt. A year later, on July 1, 2007, the city of Zerbst/Anhalt was icorporated together with several other municipalities of the Zerbst administrative district, making the renewed Anhalt-Bitterfeld administrative district with its capital at Köthen.
- ^ "Bevölkerung der Gemeinden nach Landkreisen" (in German). Statistisches Landesamt Sachsen-Anhalt. 31 December 2010. http://www.statistik.sachsen-anhalt.de/download/stat_berichte/6A102_hj_2010_02.pdf.
- ^ Thietmari Merseburgensis episcopi Chronicon, post editionem Ioh. M. Lappenbergii recognovit Fridericus Kurze (1889)
|Wikisource has the text of the 1920 Encyclopedia Americana article Zerbst.|
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