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Village of Geschwenda, Ilm District, Thuringia, 2.200 inhabitants
The village of Geschwenda, altitude 457m to 517m above sea level, was first mentioned in 1302. At that time it was named “Gyswenda” which was derived from the word "schwenden". A Geschwende was an area which had been cleared of the forest by means of burning in contrast to an area cleared by means of cutting. Therefore, the coat-of-arms of the village shows a fir tree from whose roots flames are shooting. In earlier times the people of Geschwenda led an austere life. Most of the men worked beyond the village. Those remaining, mainly women and children, eked out a living by carrying on a cottage industry making garden stakes.
Glass and porcelain manufacture developed in Geschwenda at the end of the last century. Of particular importance was the production of thermometers, chiefly as a cottage industry. Moderate-size factories and houses appeared later. The infrastructure was improved. The glass and porcelain industry experienced a great upswing in the early twentieth century so that a great part of the population was able to make a living locally. After the Second World War, further industrial development occurred. The present Stahl- und Förderanlagenbau GmbH, an efficient factory producing construction steel, developed from a small metals workshop.
Many villagers made themselves independent in small cottage industries involving the production of wooden items and joined established crafts factories in a trade association of producers of wooden items. From this emerged the present Kunststoff- und Holzverarbeitungswerk as the largest employer in the village.
The motorway A71 (Erfurt –Schweinfurt) passes directly by the commercial district Geschwenda-South. This exit leads directly to this commercial district which was dedicated in 1994. At the present time twelve firms with 250 employees are located here.
Provisions have been made for close collaboration with the Technical University in Ilmenau and the City of Ilmenau, the technology center of our region, in the solution of both scientific and practical problems. This commercial district is part of the hub of the REK-TRI (Regionales Entwicklungskonzept der Technologieregion Ilmenau or Regional Developmental Concept of the Technical Region of Ilmenau). This concept contains guidelines for the creation and securing of favorable economic agreements as well as the formation of a positive image of the region.
On 3 July 2000 Geratherm Medical AG of Geschwenda was the first producer from the Ilm Region to be traded on the stock market. Already in the 1990s the introduction of Galistan as a mercury substitute in thermometers was creating a sensation. Geratherm Medical AG is the only firm in the world which produces such an environmentally-safe thermometer,
Further to be found in the commercial district “Geschwenda-South” are the modern window factory Finestra Fenstertechnik GmbH.and the environmental sensor firm (UST GmbH).
Since its founding in May 1993, the Insituform Kunststoffrohrtechnik GmbH has been located in the commercial area of Geschwenda. The firm is a 100% affiliate of Insituform Rohrsanierungstechnik GmbH, chief supplier in the field of ditchless sewerage systems. It is the first firm of its kind to have obtained worldwide certification DIN EN ISO 14001 of the Umwelt - Management -Systems. Together with the seal of quality DIN EN ISO 9002 obtained in 1994, this assurance will have further positive effects for commercial prospects and long-term strengthening of competitiveness and job security.
Besides being a strongly developed manufacturing and commercial center, the village of Geschwenda has long been known as a vacation spot in the middle of the Thuringian Forests. In our community of 2200 inhabitants, you will find welcoming vacation homes, bed and breakfast inns, and Thuringian hospitality. Besides the idyllically located sylvan swimming pool, we offer many recreational possibilities.
Geschwenda still has a historical village center with slate shingled houses. In the center of town towers the well-maintained Church of St. Nicholas (Nikolaikirche) built between 1741 and 1747 in the late baroque style. Beside it is the three-hundred-year-old parsonage.
The visitor will be especially taken by the baptismal fount of 1618 with its basin
of chased brass which remains from a former sanctuary which collapsed due to a lack of construction materials.
In 1743 the newly-built church steeple fell upon the school building next to it and destroyed it. A new school, built opposite the church in 1886, is now used as a medical center. A school built in 1904 had a wing containing four classrooms added to it in the times of inflation. A shortage of classroom space led to the enlargement and renovation of the school building in 1985. Until the present day there have been many changes in the structure which have laid a foundation for
outstanding opportunities for learning and work.
Within the framework of the activities of the EU-Program "Sokrates", partnerships have been formed with, schools in Belgium, Denmark, Northern Ireland, and England.
Besides the primary school, Geschwenda has a child care center with nursery for the children up to two-and-a half years old and a kindergarten for children two-and-a-half to six years old. In September 2011 the child care center will celebrate its sixties anniversary.
The local history of Geschwenda is most closely bound with Ernst Meiland (1890-1973). Everything which earlier pastors had drawn and written was made more closely available to the people of Geschwenda by him. Geschwendaers are still very proud of this man. He came to Geschwenda in 1910 as a young teacher and stayed until 1934. During this time he was the teacher, school leader, cantor, and historian of Geschwenda. Various poems in the Geschwenda dialect were written by him. The nurture of the Thuringian art of glassblowing is still carried on in small workshops. Further examples such as objects and specimens of its historical development are to be seen in the village-museum of Geschwenda housed in the former estate house which was not fully destroyed by a fire at the estate on 18 June 1932 and which was lovingly restored in recent years.
Charmingly located in the midst of forests and hills, Geschwenda offers its guests quiet and relaxation year round. Here you will find undisturbed nature, fields, meadows, and a great number of protected plants and native animals along wilderness trails. Friends of Nature can discover these during their hikes. With 150 km marked and well-kept hiking trails in the vicinity of Geschwenda, comfortable benches with marked points of observation and a charming ambience, the visitors can enjoy relaxation.
In order to preserve this natural heritage, the village of Geschwenda initiated in 1994 a reforestation of fallow agricultural land with the help of the Wittgensteiner Kliniken Alllanz (heart-masculine-clinic). The community receives direct and indirect benefits from the forest cultivated by the patients of the Wittgensteiner Klinik Allianz. On one hand the inhabitants of the village enjoy the positive effects of more favorable, surroundings; on the other hand the beneficial effects of the landscape are enhanced which promote tourism and visitation. By this means, thirty-five hectares of reforested land will be added by 2004. For every patient of the Wittgensteiner Klinik a tree will be planted as a symbol of new, above all, healthy life.
We invite you to visit our village in the heart of the Thuringian Forest and to experience Thuringian hospitality for yourself.