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Zeitz is situated at an altitude of 160 m on the river Weiße Elster in the extreme south of Germany's state of Saxony-Anhalt. It has a population of about 30,000 (2003).
The earliest mention of 'Cici' is found in a document of the synod of Ravenna of AD 967, where Emperor Otto I and
Pope John XIII decided the foundation of the archbishopric of Magdeburg and the bishoprics of
Merseburg, Meißen and Zeitz. In December of 968 the first bishop of Zeitz was introduced. From then on Zeitz
was the seat of the bishops until 1028 when the bishopric was transferred to Naumburg.
In the late 13th century the castle of Zeitz again became the residence of the bishops until it was destroyed in 1644 by Swedish troops
during the Thirty Years' War (16181648). Elector Johann Georg I of Saxony had stipulated in his testament of 1652 that his
countries after his death should be divided between his sons. After his death in 1656 his eldest son, Johann Georg II,
inherited the Electorate while for his younger sons August, Christian and Moritz the Duchies of
Saxe-Merseburg and Saxe-Zeitz were created in 1657 (see chart of the Wettin dynasty).
In Zeitz, Moritz was followed by his son Moritz Wilhelm in 1681. When Moritz Wilhelm died in 1718 without heir, Saxe-Zeitz
fell back to the main branch of the Albertine line of the Wettin dynasty, i.e. the Electors of Saxony. After the Napoleonic wars, during which
Saxony had been allied with France, the Congress of Vienna stipulated in 1815 that about three fifth of Saxony
(since 1806 a kingdom) were annexed to Prussia (Province Saxony). This also included Zeitz and almost all of the territory
of the bishopric. The modern development of Zeitz began in the second half of the 19th century, especially after the opening the railroads
to Gera and Weißenfels (1859), to Altenburg (1872),
to Leipzig (1873) and to Camburg (1879).