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The city of Pirmasens is situated at an elevation of 387 m in the south of Germany's state of Rheinland-Pfalz, close the the French border. Although not part of the district Südwestpflaz (Souteast Palatinate) itself, it is the seat of the districts administration. The municipality has a population of about 24,000 (2017).
The first mention of Pirminiseusna, a colony of Hornbach Abbey, dates from 860. The name derives from St. Pirminius, the founder of the cloister. During the period it was under rule of the Bishopric of Metz. It was passed to Diocese of Speyer in last quarter of 11th century before becoming part of the County of Saarbrücken in 1100. In 1182 the county was partitioned and Pirmasens became part of the County of Zweibrücken and in 1297, following a further partitioing, of Zweibrücken-Bitsch. When the last count died in 1570 without male heir, a dispute arose between the sons-in-law of the last two counts. The dispute was settled by a treaty in 1606, with Bitsch returning to the duchy of Lorraine and the district of Lemberg (with Pirmasens) was obtained by the counts of Hanau-Lichtenberg. In 1736, after the death of the last count of Hanau-Lichtenberg, the county fell to the landgraves of Hesse-Darmstadt who cofered the status of a town to Pirmasens in 1763 and also chose it as their residence. The garrison that had been founded by the landgrave was dissolved by his successors in 1790. During the Napoleonic times Pirmasens was part of the French département Mont-Tonnère (Donnersberg). After the Congress of Vienna in 1815 the Palatinate became part of the Kingdom of Bavaria in 1816. During World War II the town suffered heavy damages and had to be rebuilt almost completely after the war. The neighbouring communities of Erlenbrunn, Fehrbach, Hengsberg, Niedersimten and Winzeln were incoporated into Pirmasens in 1969, gersbach and Windsberg followed in 1972.
The Catholic parish church St. Pirminius [right, no. :1651 background right] was built in Gothic revival style in 1897–1900. It was destroyed in 1945 during an Allied bomb raid of the city. The church was rebuilt in modernernised design after the war.
The Exerzierplatz (drill ground, parade ground) [left, no. 3555: top picture]
was laid out when Pirmasens became a garrison city in the second half of the 18th century. Todays square Exerzierplatz
only covers about one fourth of the area of the old drill ground. The building depicted in the background was the former
'Exerzierplatzschule', built in 1879 as a primary school, later a secondary school. In 1945, parts of the building
became used as the
Landauer Tor [left, no. 3555: bottom left picture] is the city quarter to the south of the former southern city gate, originally named 'Buchsweiler Tor'. Towards the end of the 19th century it became the name for the surrounding quarter. Most of the buildings date from the 'Gründerzeit' (literally "founders' period"; about 1840s to about 1873) built mostly in late Historicist style.
The old town hall [left, no. 3555: bottom right picture]
was built in 1770–1774 in late Baroque style, inspired by the town hall of Alt-Saarbrücken.
In 1945 the old town hall was destroyed during an Allied bomb raid. The front façade was secured, but it took until
1963 that the building was rebuilt with the addition of a fourth storey. Since then it is used as a museum.