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Bitterfeld is situated at an elevation of 79 m in the southeast of Saxony-Anhalt, about 25 km northeast of Halle (Saale).
Bitterfeld was first mentioned in a document in 1224. The first mention as a town dates from 1351. The town was almost completely destroyed by a large fire, caused by arson, in 1473. During the Thirty Years' War the town was occupied by Swedish troops between 1637 and 1650. It took almost fifty years until the town became inhabited again. The industrial development in the 19th century is marked by the beginning of coal mining in 1839, the opening of the railway line Dessau–Bitterfeld in 1857, and the establishing of large-scale chemical industry from 1893/94 onwards. The company 'IG Farben' was founded in 1925. Surface mining for coal was initiated in 1952 and remained in operation until 1999. On the 1st of July 2007 the districts Bitterfeld and Köthen, the city of Zerbst / Anhalt and 21 communities of the administrative union Elbe-Ehle-Nuthe were merged. The seat of the new district Anhalt-Bitterfeld is in Köthen (Anhalt). At the same time, the cities of Bitterfeld and Wolfen were merged with the municipalities Thalheim, Greppin, Holzweißig and Wolfen; the new municipality received the name Bitterfeld-Wolfen.
The Town Hall [left] was built in 18631865 in Gothic revival style after a design by the architect August Friedrich Ritter.
The War Memorial [right], erected after World War I,
was removed in 1991.