|o Mayor||Christoph Burkhard|
|o Total||35.21 km2 (13.59 sq mi)|
|Elevation||194 m (636 ft)|
|o Density||530/km2 (1,400/sq mi)|
|Time zone||CET/CEST (UTC+1/+2)|
Alzey (German pronunciation: ['altsa?] ) is a Verband-free town - one belonging to no Verbandsgemeinde - in the Alzey-Worms district in Rhineland-Palatinate, Germany. It is the fourth-largest town in Rhenish Hesse, after Mainz, Worms, and Bingen.
Alzey lies in Rhenish Hesse on the western edge of the northern part of the Upper Rhine Plain. It is surrounded by the northern part of the Alzey Hills, which meets the Rhenish Hesse Hills towards the south and the North Palatine Uplands towards the east. The town is found some 30 km southwest of Mainz and some 22 km (as the crow flies, in each case) northwest of Worms. Through Alzey, in places underground, flows the river Selz, a left-bank tributary to the Rhine.
Yearly precipitation in Alzey amounts to 586 mm, which is rather low, falling into the lowest fourth of the precipitation chart for all Germany. At 18% of the German Weather Service's weather stations, even lower figures are recorded. The driest month is February. The most rainfall comes in June. In that month, precipitation is 1.9 times what it is in February. Precipitation varies moderately. At 41% of the weather stations, lower seasonal swings are recorded.
The earliest traces of settlement in the Alzey area go back as far as the Neolithic. Alzey was founded as a vicus (village) in the Roman province of Germania Superior in the lands surrounding Mogontiacum (Mainz).
The name of Alzey is first mentioned on a Nymphenstein (a Roman altar stone dedicated to nymphs), dedicated on 22 November 223 by the Vicani Altiaienses ("Villagers of Alzey"). The name Altiaia could well originate as the name of an older, pre-Roman Celtic settlement of about 400 BC, although the name's exact origins have not been passed down to the present day. Over the ruins of the Roman village, which was destroyed about 350, a fort, Castra Alteium, was built about 390. In 406 and 407, the Burgundians, together with the Vandals, crossed the Rhine and settled in Mainz, Alzey and Worms as Roman confederates. The area was secured for them by treaty. In 436, the Burgundian kingdom was destroyed by the Western Roman magister militum Flavius Aëtius with help from Hunnish troops. These events were worked into the Nibelungenlied and form the origin of the legendary figure Volker von Alzey, the gleeman in the Nibelungenlied. After 450, Alzey passed to the Alamanni and the Franks when they took over the land. After Clovis I's death in 511, the Frankish Empire fell apart into separate smaller kingdoms, and Alzey became part of Austrasia, whose capital was at Metz. Following the unification of the Frankish kingdoms in the mid-8th century, Alzey was assigned by the 843 Treaty of Verdun to the Kingdom of the East Franks, a forerunner of the German Empire. In 897, Alzey was first mentioned as an Imperial fief.
In 1156, Alzey belonged to the Electorate of the Palatinate, and Konrad von Staufen attained the rank of Count Palatine in the Imperial castle, which had been completed in 1118. In 1277, Alzey attained the rank of town from Rudolf von Habsburg. In 1620, Count Spinola sided with the Catholic Emperor in the Thirty Years' War against the Protestant Electorate of the Palatinate and also conquered Alzey. In 1689, the town and the castle, under the French troops' scorched-earth policy, were burnt down in the Nine Years' War, when Louis XIV's armies had to leave areas conquered earlier. In 1798, areas west of the Rhine, among them those that until this time had been parts of the Electorate of the Palatinate, were annexed to France. Alzey belonged until 1814 to the Department of Mont-Tonnerre (or Donnersberg in German). In 1816, Alzey was attached to the Grand Duchy of Hesse. In 1909, the winemaking school (now the Landesanstalt für Rebenzüchtung) was founded. Its first head was Georg Scheu, after whom the grape variety Scheurebe is named.
On Kristallnacht (9 November 1938), the Alzey synagogue was destroyed and the fittings were burnt in front of the building. The ruin was removed in the 1950s. A rescued Torah scroll can nowadays be found in the museum. On 8 January 1945, in World War II, the town narrowly missed being destroyed when 36 Boeing B-17 bombers had been sent to take out a railway bridge in Alzey. Owing to bad weather and a landmark misinterpretation - the crew mistook the top of the old watchtower for the church steeple - the bombers ended up dropping their load on the Wartberg, a nearby hill, giving rise to the legend of the Wartbergturm - the old tower - as Alzey's saviour.
Since 1947, Alzey has no longer been Hessian, but rather it became the seat of Alzey District in the newly formed state of Rhineland-Palatinate.
Since the merger of the old Alzey and Worms Districts in 1969, Alzey has been the seat of the new Alzey-Worms District and the seat of the Verbandsgemeinde of Alzey-Land, although as a Verband-free town, it does not actually belong to the Verbandsgemeinde.
On 22 April 1972, the formerly autonomous centres of Weinheim, Heimersheim and Dautenheim were amalgamated with Alzey. The outlying centre of Schafhausen had already been a Stadtteil (constituent community) of Alzey since the Middle Ages.
On 31 January 2008, the townsfolk's religious affiliations broke down thus:
The town's Jewish congregation is dated to the 14th century. In 1349, during the Black Death, the town's Jews were murdered in the cause of a blood libel. A few years after, the community renewed and a document from 1377 depicted a Jew named Yitschak of Alzey who sued the town of Worms for not paying its debt to him. In 1389, a "Jew Alley" is first mentioned, depicting a kind of Ghetto with a gate, which closes at night.
Jews appeared once again in town only by the 17th century, and the first synagogue was built only by 1791. Several documents from around 1670, depict disputes between Joseph Simon Jessel, a Jew who lived in Alzey and the town butchers, regarding his wish to open a business. On another dispute between him and a neighbor who sold his house to Jessel but refused to evacuate, the verdict blamed both sides - Jessel for it was "unthinkable that a Jew will hit a Christian", and the neighbor for not evacuating the house. Nevertheless, the count of Pfalz protected the Jews, whose high taxes were a dominant factor of his income. In 1789, there were 21 Jewish households in town. During the 18th century, most of the town Jews were established if not rich. in 1710, a Jew called Simcha Deidesheimer founded a large Matzo factory that existed until 1925 and exported its products to France and Italy. In addition, two brothers named Levy opened a porcelain factory in town in 1770. The community had a local cemetery Alzey was the hometown of well-known family Belmont; In 1844, Jewish Shimon Belmont (the ancestor of American politicians August Belmont and August Belmont JR. was elected as the president of the 'Narhalle' carnival, which he initiated, intended for the town's high classes. He donated some money to the cemetery and other community facilities. Eight of Alzey Jews died as soldiers during World War I. According to town municipality, 76 Jews were expelled from the town to Nazi concentration camps around Europe. In 1954, one Jew returned to Alzey.
The council is made up of 32 part-time council members who were elected at the municipal election held on 7 June 2009, and the full-time mayor as chairman. The seats are apportioned thus:
The town's arms might be described thus: Per fess sable a demi-lion rampant Or armed, langued and crowned gules, and argent a vielle bendwise of the third.
The lion recalls the town's former overlord, the Electorate of the Palatinate. The vielle, a kind of fiddle, stands for the noble families by the name of Truchseß, or Truchsess (Volker von Alzey), Winter and Wilch, who were formerly resident in the town.
The town of Alzey regularly bestows the following awards and prizes:
The town's links with wine are even shown in the Alser Lied, a town song, which is always sung on the Friday of the opening of the winemakers' festival. One version sung by former mayor Walter Zuber could be found on the jukebox at the Alzey traditional pub, Zur Gretel for a decade.
Alzey has a well-kept old town with many timber-frame houses, restaurants, cafés and shops, surrounded by ruins of the mediaeval town wall. The town's midpoint is the Rossmarkt ("Horse Market") with the bronze horse by artist Gernot Rumpf. A sculpture of an ondine by Karlheinz Oswald stands at the Fischmarkt ("Fish Market") in front of the old town hall.
The Wartbergstadion is the town's biggest sporting facility. It has a type-B competition running track with a large grass playing field, a 400 m loop track, track and field areas (plastic) and stands. Here can also be found the leisure swimming pool Wartbergbad. Nearby there is a riding club with stalls, paddocks and a riding hall, and a tennis club with seven clay courts.
Moreover, Alzey has at its disposal a newly built artificial-turf playing field, which is used mainly by the hockey and football clubs. There is also a multipurpose sporting ground and at schools several more hard courts.
The so-called Weinbergshäuschen Wanderung ("Vineyard Cottage Hike"), or Wingertshaisje Wanderung in the local speech, is a hike through the hilly Rhenish-Hessian countryside between Alzey and the outlying centres of Weinheim and Heimersheim. It is held each September on the first Sunday in that month. Along the network of paths, vineyard cottages are operated between 11:00 and 18:00 by winemaking estates and clubs. On offer at these times are both cold and warm foods and drinks, including the Rhenish-Hessian wine typical of the region.
The Winzerfest is held each year on the third weekend in September and lasts from Friday to the following Tuesday. It is the biggest event of its kind in Alzey. On the wine and sekt terrace are presented selected regional wines. Parallel with this is a yearly market with rides and games of all kinds.
Being the centre of a winegrowing region, the specialities are first and foremost wines and dishes that are made with wine, such as the Backesgrumbeere, a seasoned potato casserole with bacon, wine and sour cream, which is found throughout Rhenish Hesse. The winegrowing engineer Georg Scheu named a variety of grapevine after his workplace, the Perle von Alzey.
The town's main branches of industry are winegrowing, the resident specialized clinic, the building firm Wilhelm Faber GmbH & Co. KG, a Schlecker distribution centre, a Plus distribution centre, an administrative seat of the hypermarket chain real,- and Lufthansa daughter companies Lufthansa Technik AERO Alzey and LSG Sky Food. Moreover, Alzey is the region's service provision centre with a very broad array, for the town's size, of shopping, which is concentrated mainly in the industrial area.
Alzey is characterized by winegrowing and with 769 ha of vineyards currently worked, 69% with white wine varieties and 31% with red, it ranks sixth in size among winegrowing centres in Rhineland-Palatinate, and after Worms (1 490 ha) and Nierstein (783 ha), it is the third biggest winegrowing centre in Rhenish Hesse.
Alzey is found near the Autobahnkreuz Alzey, an Autobahn interchange at which cross the two Autobahnen A 61 (Venlo, Koblenz, Bingen, Alzey, Ludwigshafen, Hockenheim) and A 63 (Mainz, Alzey, Kaiserslautern).
Alzey station has direct connections to Mainz Central Station by Regional-Express and Regionalbahn services on the Alzey-Mainz railway, and on the Rheinhessenbahn (railway) to Bingen and Worms. The Donnersbergbahn has since 1999 once more connected Alzey with Kirchheimbolanden. On weekends and holidays, trips on the Elsass-Express ("Alsace Express") to Wissembourg are possible.