Sites & cities that bear the name of Aalen


Today in : Germany
First trace of activity : ca. 2nd century C.E
Last trace of activity : today

Description : Aalen is a former Free Imperial City located in the eastern part of the German state of Baden-Württemberg, about 70 kilometres (43 mi) east of Stuttgart and 48 kilometres (30 mi) north of Ulm. It is the seat of the Ostalbkreis district and is its largest town. It is also the largest town in the Ostwürttemberg region. Since 1956, Aalen has had the status of Große Kreisstadt (major district town). It is noted for its many half-timbered houses constructed from the 16th century through the 18th century. After abandoning the Alb Limes (a limes generally following the ridgeline of the Swabian Jura) around 150 AD, Aalen's territory became part of the Roman Empire, in direct vicinity of the then newly erected Rhaetian Limes. The Romans erected a castrum to house the cavalry unit Ala II Flavia milliaria; its remains are known today as Kastell Aalen ("Aalen Roman fort"). The site is west of today's town centre at the bottom of the Schillerhöhe hill. With about 1,000 horsemen and nearly as many grooms, it was the greatest fort of auxiliaries along the Rhaetian Limes. There were Civilian settlements adjacent along the south and the east. Around 260 AD, the Romans gave up the fort as they withdrew their presence in unoccupied Germania back to the Rhine and Danube rivers, and the Alamanni took over the region. Based on 3rd- and 4th-century coins found, the civilian settlement continued to exist for the time being. However, there is no evidence of continued civilization between the Roman era and the Middle Ages. Foundation Based on discovery of alamannic graves, archaeologists have established the 7th century as the origination of Aalen. In the northern and western walls of St. John's church, which is located directly adjacent to the eastern gate of the Roman fort, Roman stones were incorporated. The building that exists today probably dates to the 9th century. The first mention of Aalen was in 839, when emperor Louis the Pious reportedly permitted the Fulda monastery to exchange land with the Hammerstadt village, then known as Hamarstat. Aalen itself was first mentioned in an inventory list of Ellwangen Abbey, dated ca. 1136, as the village Alon, along with a lower nobleman named Conrad of Aalen. This nobleman probably had his ancestral castle at a site south of today's town centre and was subject first to Ellwangen abbey, later to the House of Hohenstaufen, and eventually to the House of Oettingen. 1426 was the last time a member of that house was mentioned in connection with Aalen. Documents, from the Middle Ages, indicate that the town of Aalen was founded by the Hohenstaufen some time between 1241 and 1246, but at a different location than the earlier village, which was supposedly destroyed in 1388 during the war between the Alliance of Swabian Cities and the Dukes of Bavaria. Later, it is documented that the counts of Oettingen ruled the town in 1340. They are reported to have pawned the town to Count Eberhard II and subsequently to the House of Württemberg in 1358 or 1359 in exchange for an amount of money.

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