Schleiz, Germany

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Geography[edit | edit source]

Schleiz is a town in the district of Saale-Orla Kreis, Thüringia, Germany.

Image from

Schleiz is located in the Thüringian Vögtland area, an area of wooded hills on the borders of Thüringia, Saxony, Bavaria and the Czech Republic. The city is located in a valley with the river Wisenta near the motorway A 9 (Berlin – München).

Thüringia lies in eastern/central Germany, bordered by Saxony, Hesse and Bavaria. Thüringia (Thüringen) is located in central Germany. Thüringia borders on the German states of Lower Saxony, Saxony- (Sachsen-) Anhalt, Saxony, Bavaria and Hesse. It has an area of 16,172 km² (6,244 sq mi) and 2.31 million inhabitants, making in the eleventh largest by area and the fifth smallest by population of Germany’s sixteen federal states. There are 144 inhabitants living in Thüringia per sq km. It is divided up into 17 administrative districts and 6 urban districts. The capital is Erfurt.

This description of Thuringia is from:

History[edit | edit source]

Anciently, the area of Schleiz consisted of dense forest, lakes and ponds, and inhospitable climate. Only as more arable land was needed, was the land cleared and small settlements were established which also provided shelter and supplies along trade routes which passed through the area.

Schleiz was inhabited by Slavic Tribes as early as the 7th Century as the town name in 1232, Slowicz, suggests. Also known as Ort des Slavomir or place of Slavomir, this community became known as the Altstadt, (Old City) when a new town sprang up next to it in the 13th century. This town, which included a castle and was enclosed by a city wall, was called Neustadt (New City). These towns continued to be part of ancient trade routes, including the important trade route between Venice and Leipzig, home of the Leipzig fair.

The Slavs were under the rule of Otto I (912-973) whose territory was divided into seven counties (Markgrafschaften). Schleiz belonged to the County of Zeitz, which was dissolved in the year 1113.

Schleiz then came under the rule of a branch of the Lobdeburgers, a Frankish noble family headquartered in Jena. This family dynasty became extinct in 1289 and Schleiz was involved in many inheritance disputes, finally coming under the rule of the Vögte (Lord protectors) of Gera in 1318. Schleiz was first documented as a town in1297.

After the battle of Mühlberg in1547 (Schmalkalden war) the Vögte of Gera lost their claim to power. The new owner was Henry IV of the Meißnerischen-line of the Vögte of Plauen. With the extinction of the last Castle of Meiβen (1572) the territory from Plauen to Greiz fell to Lord Reuss.

In 1666, Schleiz became the main residence for the House of Reuss and in 1805, the House of Reuss changed its status from Herrschaft (Lordship) to Fürstentum (Principality). After the extinction of the House of Gera and the abdication of the prince of Ebersdorf, Reuss j. L. moved the state government in 1848 to the economically more developed Gera. Schleiz was now only a summer residence. The trade routes that had passed through Schleiz and contributed to its economic status were stopped and the new trade routes passed through Saxony.

Schleiz has been affected by fires, wars and epidemics. The 30-year war (1618-1648) reduced the population by half. In 1575 over 600 people died of the plague, one quarter of the population. In this year, 25 July, the body of Hans von Kospoth was brought from Egypt to Schleiz, his hometown, for burial. The coffin was opened for viewing, as was the custom, and through this, the plague was spread. The choir members died first, followed by others who attended the funeral and then many others who were infected by those who had attended the funeral.

In 1837 was the town hall, the church and the castle and many houses were destroyed by fire, so the town has few medieval buildings left. One remaining historic building is the “Alte Münze” (Old Mint) in New Market. This building, first recorded in 1647 as a home, was turned into a mint in 1678 and is now a Reuss cultural center. The father of Johann Friedrich Böttger, the inventor of Meissen porcelain, was employed at the Old Mint until the mint was closed in 1681. One year later, J.F. Böttger was born and his family left Schleiz.

For several years, Schleiz was the working place of Konrad Duden. From 1869 to 1876 he was headmaster of Schleiz High School where he worked to unify German spelling. During his tenure there he published the work “Die deutsche Rechtschreibung” (The German spelling). Today, the former high school is now the home of the Duden Museum.

P8230234 Bergkirche.JPG

Widely visible on a ridge, separated by the Wisenta Valley, is the Bergkirche (Mountain Church), one of the most beautiful and important churches in eastern Thuringia and the burial place of the lords of Gera and the royalty of Reuss j. L. The architecture is late-Gothic with a Baroque interior.

Only the remains of two towers of the Schleiz Castle can be seen today. Once a stronghold of the Lords of Lobdeburg (12th century), in 1367 this castle was called the "Schleiz House" by the Vögte of Gera. After a fire in 1500, the first castle was rebuilt by Sir Henry XII. From 1647-1848 it was the main residence of Reuß-Schleiz j. L. Another fire ravaged the castle in 1837. From 1848-1918 it was the summer residence or secondary residence of Reuss j. L. as well as the administrative seat of the Oberland. The castle housed a museum from 1925 until a bomb destroyed the castle in 1945 during World War II.

This history is a translated excerpt from the

Jurisdictions[edit | edit source]

1994-Present Schleiz town, Saale-Orla Kreis, Thüringen

1922-1994 Schleiz Kreis (County/District), Thüringen, Germany. For a list of associated towns, orts, ortsteils and municipalities see:

1918-1920 Republic of Reuss (Wiki/Reuss-schleiz)

1806-1918 Reuss-jungere Linie Principality

1815-1848 Reuß-Schleiz Principality

1666-1848 Capitol of Reuss-Schleiz

Church Records[edit | edit source]

Lutheran[edit | edit source]

Schleiz is predominantly Evangelishe (Lutheran). Four churches (as well as a church community building) are considered part of the current city of Schleiz, some of which were previously independent parishes. For more information on these churches, see

The Lutheran Church (Parish) books have been filmed since 2014 and are available to use at the Church Archive in Eisenach, Germany.

View their website for information on fees and holdings. This website can be translated into English.

Contact the archive for an appointment to visit and view the microfilms. Here is a link to their holdings of microfilmed church records by Parish:

Ernst-Thälmann-Straße 88
99817 Eisenach
Fon 03691 - 65 804 70
Fax 03691 - 65 804 80

Catholic[edit | edit source]

Before 1925, the nearest Catholic church was in Plauen. In 1925 a Catholic church was built in Schleiz and was destroyed in 1945. Since then, the church has met in an army barracks. A new church, St. Paulus, was built in 1990. For information on this church, see:

Civil Registration[edit | edit source]

Civil registration began 1 January 1876. Church records exist prior to 1876. For more information about civil registration and the updated privacy laws for Germany, see Germany Civil Registration.

Contact the Standesamt (Civil Registration Office) to request photocopies and/or transcriptions of birth, marriage and death records at:
Standesamt Schleiz
Bahnhofstraße 1
07907 Schleiz
Tel. 03663 / 480 4128
Fax: 03 663 / 423 220

The fee for the first birth certificate is 10 Euros, and 5 Euros for a second birth certificate requested at the same time. This applies to marriage and death certificates also. For more information, go to:

Affiliated Towns[edit | edit source]

Links[edit | edit source]

Official website

Verwaltungsgemeinschaft Seenplatte: (A VG is a group of villages and hamlets that join together into a shared community for administrative purposes. Multiple VG's exist in a district) The Seenplatte VG is made up of villages that surround Schleiz.

Schleiz Internet Shop: Purchase historical photos and books:

Schleiz Museum:

Leipzig Genealogical Society:
German Genealogical Society:

Reference for In-depth parish histories: