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Zweibrucken -  A Short History

The real history of Zweibrucken as taken from a pamphlet prepared by the Special Services Libraries, U S Army Area Command which was distributed around 1966.  (For all other addressees, this is a courtesy copy of a very interesting place).

A horse, a rose, and two bridges -- the symbols and essence of Zweibrucken. The very name Zweibrucken is derived from the fact that there are two (zwei) bridges (brucken) in the town. The horse represents one of the oldest and most venerable occupations of the city -- horse-breeding. Horses bred and raised in Zweibrucken since 1744 are known throughout Europe and the world. Many winners of races throughout Europe can be traced to stud farms here.  The beauty of roses grown here is legend and are to be seen in the "Rosengarten," a special park which offers roses and a variety of other flowers every spring and summer.

Zweibrucken is located in the western sector of Germany not far from the Saar, which because of its great concentration of industry, was extremely important during World War II.  Crumbling and damaged bunkers which surround the city form part of the famous Siegfried Line.

In April 1957, Zweibrucken celebrated its 600th anniversary as a city. The foundations of the city were laid when the Merovingians, the Counts of Saarbrucken, established a custom-house at Zweibrucken to control the resources of this area and nearby Hornbach in the mid 1350's.The independent line of the Dukes of Zweibrucken arose following the sale of the city to the Count Electors Palatine.

During the Thirty Years War, Zweibrucken was held and defended by the Swedish fighting under King Gustav Adolph. Three Swedish kings were descended from the Zweibrucken Dukai line, Charles X, Charles XI, and Charles XII.Under Karl XII the Duchy became a Swedish province. Friendly ties with Sweden continued for many years after the end of Swedish government and recently were renewed when the Swedish legation in Germany informed the city authorities (in 1966) of the country's intention to include Zweibrucken in the list of places to be visited by the Swedish International Tourist Organization. Zweibrucken was the cradle of the last royal family of Bavaria, the house of Wittelsbach, whose ancestral castle is still standing.  The architecture of the heart of the city reflected the Swedish Renaissance under the influence of the architect Sundahl, and mingled with the baroque to give Zweibrucken a distinctive character. Like Ludwig, the Duke was a solitary person and resented any attempt to approach the castle, so spacious rooms and inviting hallways remained empty. style="mso-spacerun: yes"> The beautiful building was so completely destroyed by the French in 1794 that scarcely a trace remains today. The regiment lost twenty-nine men in this attack but the assault resulted in the surrender of 8,000 British troops under the command of Lord Cornwallis.

Wilhelm von Zweibrucken wounded in battle, was made a Colonel and decorated with the High Order of St. Louis while his brother, Christian (the regimental commander), was awarded the rank of General. Three diaries kept by officers of the regiment are still in existence giving proof to the events during the campaign of 1780 - 1782. Of all the wars, the most destructive to the city was World War II. style="font-size:10.0pt;font-family:"Courier New""> For centuries Zweibrucken, as well as its vicinity, has been the residence of many royalties. A short distance outside the city stands the Fasanerie Gasthaus, surrounded by large old trees. Refreshing to visit in summer, history states that the building once was used by Stanislaus Leszcynski, one of Poland's kings during the 18th century after he had dethroned King August, the Strong.Horse racing attracts many to the area and another type of racing -- gass tract -- or motorcycle racing is also important. The award for the winner of this race is fittingly, a silver rose. Located near the Rosengarten, the Festhalle attracts a number of patrons of plays, operas, dramas, and concerts during the year. The modern city of Zweibrucken of concrete, steel and glass is a worthy successor to the honored ancient home of kings. During the many wars of the area, farm houses were built up around the monastery to shield and to hide it. Only a few years ago the grave of St. Primin, who founded this his tenth and last monastery in 743, was discovered and a chapel erected over the site. The borders of Saarland, Germany and France once met at Hornbach forming the "Three Country Corner."

Zweibrucken is within easy traveling distance from many of the great cities of Europe -- only 227 miles from Paris, 55 miles from Metz, 85 miles from Frankfurt, 47 miles from Strasbourg, and 205 miles from Munich.


Respectfully submitted by David King, inhabitant 1963 - 1966