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|Bundesland: Freistaat Sachsen||Saxony|
Riesa is situated at an elevation of 109 m on the river Elbe in north central Saxony. The municipality has a population of about 38,000 (2006).
Before the period of the Migration of the Nations, the area was inhabited by a Germanic tribe which was loosely connected to Thuringian tribes further west. In the 7th century, Slavic tribes began to settle in the area. The earliest written mention of Rizowe or Rezoa is found in a document issued by Pope Calixtus II in 1119. The name Riesa appears first in a document dating from 1451. In 1623 Riesa was chartered as a town and at the same time obtained the right to hold markets twice a year.
In 1820 Riesa's first post office was opened. When in 1839 the first railroad train crossed the river on the new railroad bridge this initiated a period of fast economic growth. Riesa became an important transhipment point where goods were transfered from the river ships to the railroad. The period of industrialization began in 1843 when the first iron mill was founded. Riesa had the status of a district town between 1952 and 1990. The district Riesa was merged with the district Großenhain in 1990 to form the new district Riesa-Großenhain. The seat of the district administration was Großenhain. On 1st August 2008 the district Riesa-Großenhain was incoporated into the district Meißen.
The Town Hall [no.2699, left] is a building that originated as a Benedictine monastery which was first mentioned in 1119 and was dissolved in 1542. Its southern wing was converted to a manor house around 1600. The building was purchased by the municipality in 1874 and since then was used as Riesa's town hall.
The monastery church Sankt Marien [no.2699, right] was built in 1261 after several fires had destroyed a previous church in this place. The church was destroyed by a large fire in 1430 and was rebuilt in 1433. The chor was added in the 16th century and the church tower was constructed in 1745. The burial vault underneath the church was opened in 1828 and 50 tombs of members of the prior owners of Riesa were found. Due to a constant flow of cold air, most of the bodies were mummified and were in excellent condition. The oldest of these bodies is of that a small girl who died in 1636.
The Elbe bridge [near left, no.2305]
was the third bridge at this location. The first bridge, a wooden construction
resting on 24 stone pylons, was constructed in 1835. In 1875 this bridge was replaced by a stone bridge which, however, was destroyed already in the winter
of 1876. Glass no.2305 shows a view of the third bridge, a steel truss construction built in 18761878. That bridge was blown up in the last days
of World War II. A new road bridge was constructed nearby in 1956, while the rebuilt railroad bridge was replaced by a new construction in 1966.
During the flood of 2002 the bridge was damaged. A new construction was begun in 2004.