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View over city and river
View over city and river

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Eilenburg and the river Mulde

The city - on the river - by the road - in time: this line is printed on the museum's signpost at the Eilenburger Grain Market and makes complete and total sense as the history of this over 1000 year-old city begins with the river.

Approximately 12 000 years ago tired hunter clans set up camp on the steep western banks of the Mulde.  The Mulde was also most decidedly one of the reasons that the first farmers settled onto this patch of land, shaped and formed by the forces of the Ice Age, 5 millenia ago.

The ford over the Mulde was also of great importance in terms of the city's development as it was an integral part of the essential east-west trading route Via Regia for centuries.  Of course a bridge was built eventually.  Eilenburg profited greatly from this crossing as it allowed them to take part in Europe's long-distance trading ventures for many centuries.   However, it also frequently became a stumbling block for the citizens of Eilenburg as well, for example the so-called defense of the Mulde border in April of 1945, which ultimately led to the complete destruction of the city.

bridge spanning the Mulde
This bridge spanning the Mulde was completed in 1999.

At some point in the 17th century our ancestors divided the river into two, south of the city; hence a part of the Mulde has been flowing from the Bobritzer Dam (also known as Kollauer Weir), located south of the city, as a millrace in a westerly direction past the city centre before joining up with the original river Mulde in the north for over 300 years.  This restrained and curbed water force drove the mills for centuries.  Since the beginning of the 19th century many textile manufacturers have set up shop next to this essential lifeline and a large industrial complex was born just outside the "city gates".