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Trip Planner Europe  /  Germany  /  Saarland  /  Neunkirchen
Neunkirchen is a town and a municipality in Saarland, Germany. It is the largest town in, and the seat of the district of Neunkirchen. It is situated on the river Blies, approx. 20 km northeast of Saarbrücken. With about 50,000 inhabitants, Neunkirchen is Saarland's 2nd largest city.OverviewThe name of the town derives from "An der neuen Kirche" meaning "by the new church" not from "nine churches" as one might be tempted to assume. In the past, Neunkirchen's economy has been shaped almost exclusively by coal and steel. With the decline of this industry sector, Neunkirchen's economy had to face drastic changes and underwent a significant shift towards the service and retail sector, although smaller industries still remain.HistoryEarly historyThe earliest settlements in the area can be dated back to 700 BC. The oldest part of the town is the village of Wiebelskirchen north of the town centre; its name has been recorded as early as 765 AD and is thus the oldest Christian name in town ("Kirche" means church). The name "Neunkirchen" is recorded for the first time in 1281.Neunkirchen belonged to the principality of Nassau-Saarbrücken, who erected two castles nearby (which do not exist any more today, but the ruins of one of them are the base of a little park-like area.The famous German poet, geologist and author Johann Wolfgang von Goethe visited Neunkirchen and described the Castle and the Ironworks.Weimar RepublicNeunkirchen was awarded township as late as 1922 after having been the largest village in Prussia for some time.Nazi era and World War IIOn 10 February 1933, an explosion of a giant gas tank at the ironwork caused 68 casualties, 190 injured. The damage spread over a part of the factory and also hit a nearby residential area and a school building. The duration of repair work and temporary closing of the damaged parts of the iron works was about nine months. This event caused worldwide media attention.
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