Nuremberg (Nürnberg, Nurnberg) is a city on the Pegnitz river and the Rhine–Main–Danube Canal in the German state of Bavaria, in the administrative region of Middle Franconia, about 170 kilometres (110 mi) north of Munich. It is the second-largest city in Bavaria (after Munich), and the largest in Franconia (Franken).
In 1817, the city was incorporated into the district of Rezatkreis (named for the Franconian Rezat river), which was renamed to Middle Franconia (German: Mittelfranken) on 1 January 1838. The first German railway, the Bavarian Ludwigsbahn, from Nuremberg to nearby Fürth, was opened in 1835. The establishment of railways and the incorporation of Bavaria into Zollverein (the 19th-century German Customs Union), commerce and industry opened the way to greater prosperity. In 1852, there were 53,638 inhabitants: 46,441 Protestants and 6,616 Catholics. It subsequently grew to become the most important industrial city of Bavaria and one of the most prosperous towns of southern Germany. In 1905, its population, including several incorporated suburbs, was 291,351: 86,943 Catholics, 196,913 Protestants, 3,738 Jews and 3,766 members of other creeds.
Nuremberg was an early centre of humanism, science, printing, and mechanical invention. The city contributed much to the science of astronomy. In 1471 Johannes Mueller of Königsberg (Bavaria), later called Regiomontanus, built an astronomical observatory in Nuremberg and published many important astronomical charts. In 1515, Albrecht Dürer, a native of Nuremberg, created woodcuts of the first maps of the stars of the northern and southern hemispheres, producing the first printed star charts, which had been ordered by Johannes Stabius. Around 1515 Dürer also published the "Stabiussche Weltkarte", the first perspective drawing of the terrestrial globe. Perhaps most famously, the main part of Nicolaus Copernicus's work was published in Nuremberg in 1543.
Printers and publishers have a long history in Nuremberg. Many of these publishers worked with well-known artists of the day to produce books that could also be considered works of art. In 1470 Anton Koberger opened Europe's first print shop in Nuremberg. In 1493, he published the Nuremberg Chronicles, also known as the World Chronicles (Schedelsche Weltchronik), an illustrated history of the world from the creation to the present day. It was written in the local Franconian dialect by Hartmann Schedel and had illustrations by Michael Wohlgemuth, Wilhelm Pleydenwurff, and Albrecht Dürer. Others furthered geographical knowledge and travel by map making. Notable among these was navigator and geographer Martin Behaim, who made the first world globe.
Sculptors such as Veit Stoss, Adam Kraft and Peter Vischer are also associated with Nuremberg.
Composed of prosperous artisans, the guilds of the Meistersingers flourished here. Richard Wagner (1813-1883) made their most famous member, Hans Sachs, the hero of his opera Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg. Baroque composer Johann Pachelbel was born here and was organist of St. Sebaldus Church.
The academy of fine arts situated in Nuremberg is the oldest art academy in central Europe and looks back to a tradition of 350 years of artistic education.