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Heppenheim (Hesse)

Germany is located in Central Europe and it shares borders with Denmark in the North, Netherlands, Belgium, Luxembourg and France in the West, Austria and Switzerland in the South and Poland and the Czech Republic in the East. The North Sea and the Baltic Sea represent additional National Borders in the North. The official language of Germany is German and Berlin is the capital.
Heppenheim is a city in Hesse, Germany. It is situated at the edge of the Odenwald mountains and is the capital of the Bergstrabe district. Its population is 25,400. It is accessed by routes B3 and 460 and autobahns A5 and A67. The city was founded about 755 in the vicinity of the then powerful monastery of Lorsch. The young town was ruled by the abbots of Lorsch during the early Middle Ages. In 1065 the Starkenburg was built, a castle above the city. Its purpose was to protect the town and the monastery from invaders. In 1066 it successfully resisted a siege by the bishop of Bremen.
In the 13th century Lorsch and Heppenheim were acquired by the archbishop of Mainz, who pawned Heppenheim to the count of the Palatinate in 1461. A fire in 1369 destroyed the whole city except 4 houses. Heppenheim severely suffered in the Thirty Years War from 1618 to 1648. It was also conquered by Spanish troops in 1621 and by the Swedes in 1630. The plague decimated the population in 1635, and in 1645 the town was sacked by the French.
Rebuilding started in the beginning of the 18th century when the city acquired much of its present look. In 1803 the clerical states of Germany were abolished, and Heppenheim fell to Hesse-Darmstadt. The new province was called Starkenburg, and this name is sometimes even today applied to the entire region. The largest buildings of the city were built around 1900. Among them are the cathedral of Saint Peter in 1904, the Protestant church in 1888 and the synagogue built in 1900. The Free Democratic Party of Germany was also founded in Heppenheim in the year 1949. Every year, Heppenheim exchanges students with West Bend, who send their German languge students to Heppenheim and vice versa.
Heppenheim experiences a sharp social, economic and population growth derivative of the strategic position of the locality and the high level of well-being and quality of life that is enjoyed with respect to other places of Germany.

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