History of the town

Out of the dark of the early Middle Ages...

Not much is known about the early history of settlement of the Regnitz Land, the territory in which Hof is located.

The chronicler Enoch Widmann reports that St. Lawrence Church was built around 1080.

The first documented mentioning of an organized church in Hof can be found in the testament of the pleban Albert (a clergyman) of 1214.

Around 1180 the village “Altstadt” is set up – although without town ordinances and privileges - where there is the pedestrian precinct today. Around 1230, the noble House of Andechs-Meranier has “Neustadt” built which does get a written town charter in 1319.

As the noble House of Andechs-Meranier dies out when Otto II perishes, the reeves of Weida become their successors in the Hof region. Coincidingly, the first town wall is completed in 1260 and a hospital is founded in 1264.

Hofer Schloß

The first mentioning of the Hof Castle (1276), a Poor Clares convent (1291), a Franciscan monastery (1292) and the first great fire of Hof (1299) happens during reeves’ times. Special regard should be given to the omission contracts of the reeves of 1288 which were supposed to motivate the farmers of the surrounding area to take part in the settlement of Hof.

While the reeves try to gain power over the Regnitz Land, the burgraves of Nuremberg of the House of Hohenzollern declare dynastic rights to take possession of Hof themselves.

After the House of Hohenzollern is ultimately enfeoffed with the Regnitz Land, the people of Weida who live in the Regnitz Land have to succumb to the House of Hohenzollern.

In 1373 the people of Weida finally give up Hof and sell their rights and possessions to the House of Hohenzollern.

A reminder of the time between 1248 and 1373 are the Weida lion in the municipal coat of arms as well as the name Vogtland.

Into the early period of the Hohenzollern’s reign falls the attack of the Hussites in 1430 which lead to the destruction of the whole town. Burgrave Johann introduces cotton to the town around 1440 and by that lays the foundation for the textile industry in Hof which is very much depended on the raw material cotton.

In 1465, the “Hofer Altar” is put up in St. Michael’s Church – today it’s one of the highlights in the Alte Pinakothek in Munich. Around 1498 the Wartturm is built. The second great fire of Hof happens in 1507 and the third one in 1517.

From 1529 on it is permitted by the local lord for the people of Hof to be of Lutheran denomination.

After that a hard time began in the fall of 1553, when the people of Hof had to heroically defend their besieged town for seven weeks during the Albertine War. The Hof lansquenets mutinied due to a lack of beer so the town had to forfeit. It is stated in article 1 of the admission of defeat, however, that the people of Hof are allowed to continue their Lutheran denomination.

The first printer settles down in Hof only few years after the siege. To conclude the century, Enoch Widman presents his chronicle of the town.

The 17th century begins calmly for Hof but the forth great fire in 1625 reduces large parts of the town to ashes and also the Thirty Years’ War is in full swing in direct vicinity. The House of Hohenzollern has to give up neutrality when Gustaf Adolf of Sweden comes to Germany in 1630. General Holck of Wallenstein shows the people of Hof his brutal conduct of warfare in 1632.

The same year, Wallenstein also travels through Hof with his main army.

The town only just recovered somewhat during the following eleven years and the burnt down town hall is rebuilt from 1659 to 1662.

The first post office in Hof is set up in 1683.

In the following century two fires rage in the town in 1722 and 1743. The Hof Castle falls victim to the latter.  

In the last third of the 18th century, the ‘Hofer Intelligenzblatt’ (a newspaper) is released for the first time; also street lighting is introduced.

The Franconian principalities of the House of Hohenzollern are added to the Prussian kingdom around the end of 1791. Their affiliation to Prussia already ends in 1806; Napoleon’s troops occupy Hof. The principality of Brandenburg-Bayreuth becomes a French province during the Treaties of Tilsit; the Franconian Hof becomes French

The Kingdom of Bavaria takes part in Napoleon Bonaparte’s campaign against Russia in 1810 by sending 34 000 soldiers (of which only 1000 returned) and in return Hof becomes a part of the Kingdom of Bavaria.

The step into the industrial era takes place in 1848 when Hof opens its first train station. The opening of a new station is already necessary in 1880 due to the growth of the city and the increasing traffic on account of the construction of additional tracks. New construction grounds are developed as the population increases fivefold between 1850 and 1900.

The upward trend in Hof’s textile industry is interrupted by the First World War, the inflation and the Great Depression. Hof becomes garrison town after the National Socialists’ takeover of power. Hof gets closer to becoming the center of “Großdeutschland” because of the connection to Austria and the Sudetenland.

The Second World War destroys many hopes of the people of Hof. In 1943 almost all businesses that are assessed as non-vital to the war effort are closed. On 14th February an air attack is carried out on the industrial part of town and again on the neighborhood around the stations on 8th April. During these attacks, 280 civilians die, more than 100 houses are destroyed and 150 are damaged relatively heavy or very badly. On 15th April Hof is taken over by American troops.

The first post-war years are difficult; around 600 000 expellees, fugitives and prisoners of war get to the western occupation zone via the camp Moschendorf.

The East German Border that later becomes a German domestic border separates Hof from important parts of its hinterland. The town in the center of Germany becomes one in the periphery at the Iron Curtain.

The events of November 1989 change Hof’s situation for the better. The place, where former West and East Germany meet, has new hope. If the EU succeeds in its expansion into the East, Hof is in the center again; this time it’s not only the center of Germany but of Europe.

Contact us

City Archive:
Stadtarchiv Hof
Unteres Tor 9
95028 Hof

Telefon   +49 (0)9281 815 1620 oder 1621
Telefax  +49 (0)9281 815 1629
  archiv@stadt-hof.de 
Icon Internet  www.hof.de

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