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Dessau-Roßlau is situated at an altitude of 61 m at the confluence of the rivers Elbe and Mulde. The town was formed by merger of the towns Dessau and Roßlau (Elbe) on 1 July 2007. Dessau-Roßlau is the third town of Saxony-Anhalt by population (2006: ca.91,200), after Magdeburg and Halle (Saale).
Dessau is the largest population centre within Dessau-Roßlau, with approximately 77,000 inhabitants (2006). Most of the town is located on the left bank of the Mulde, south of its confluence with the Elbe. Dessau was first mentioned in 1213, and became the capital of a small state (Anhalt-Dessau) in the 14th century. Between 1863 and 1918, it was the capital of Anhalt. Since the second half of the 19th century, Dessau is an industrial city. The famous art and architecture school Bauhaus was located in Dessau between 1925 and 1932.
The Erbprinzen-Palais [left]
was originally built in 1740/1741 by Prince Leopold I of Anhalt-Dessau as one of two palais for his sons Leopold Maximilian and Friedrich Heinrich Eugen (second and fourth son).
Eugen died in 1781 and in his last will confirmed that the palais should always remain in the family. In 1792 it became the home of Hereditary Prince Friedrich (son of Leopold III of Anhalt-Dessau) and
his wife Princess Amalie of Hesse-Homburg. The old palace was demolished in 1884/1885 and was replaced by a new palais in
historicist style (depicted on glass no.2625). In 1927 the palais was demolished to make place for a new theatre. However, the theatre was not built due to
the Great Depression of 1929. The park, however, was opened to the general public.
Roßlau has approximately 13,000 inhabitants (2006). It is located on the right bank of the Elbe, near its confluence with the Mulde, about 7 kilometers north of the centre of Dessau. Before it merged with Dessau, it was part of the district Anhalt-Zerbst.
Roßlau was first mentioned as Rozelowe in 1215. The name is of Dutch origin an refers to a settlement founded by immigrants from the area of Reuzel in northern Brabant. The first bridge across the river Elbe was built in 1583, and already 20 years later Roßlau was granted the privileges of a market town. Between 1765 and 1767 Roßlau was the point of departure of many colonists who were called into Russia by Empress Catherine the Great, a princess of Anhalt-Zerbst by birth. The Berlin-Anhalt Railroad Company was founded in 1839; the first section between Köthen and Dessau was opened in 1840. In 1841 the section to Wittenberg was added and in the same year the line between Berlin and Jüterbog was completed. The final section between Jüterbog and Wittenberg followed later in the same year. A tram line between Dessau and Roßlau was opened in 1907. Between 1935 and 1946 Roßlau (Elbe) was incorporated into the municipality of Dessau. In 1994 the districts Roßlau, Zerbst and parts of the district Gräfenhainichen were merged to become the district Anhalt-Zerbst. On 1 July 2007 the district was dissolved and divided between the districts Anhalt-Bitterfeld, Jerichower Land and Wittenberg; at the same time the municipality of Roßlau (Elbe) was merged with Dessau to become the new municipality Dessau-Roßlau.
The town church Sankt Marien [left]
was first mentioned in 1316. In 1626 it was completely destroyed during a battle. In 1651 Prince Johann VI of Anhalt-Zerbst gave the permission to rebuild the church.
In 18511854 the church was remodeled in Gothic revival style by Christian Conrad Hengst.