Few places illustrate more graphically the contrast between the capital-city airs and country-town scale of a minor German Residenzstadt than EICHSTÄTT, tucked into a loop in the Altmühl River in the region known as the Franconian Jura, south of Nuremberg. Even today, the little cathedral and university city is no bigger than a small market town, with a population of less than 14,000. Yet for five centuries, from 1305 until secularization at the beginning of the nineteenth century, its prince-bishops held spiritual and temporal power over a diminutive territory on Franconia’s southern fringe. A Catholic stronghold during the Thirty Years’ War, it paid for its piety when it was sacked by the Swedes on February 12, 1634. The Baroque reconstruction by the Italians Giacomo Angelini, Mauritio Pedetti and Gabriel de Gabrieli created the capital-city-in-miniature that delights visitors today.
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