Torgau is a town on the banks of the Elbe in northwestern Saxony, Germany. It is the centre of the Torgau-Oschatz and covers about 42km². In 2003, it had 19,031 inhabitants. The town has a hospital and the main industries are glass and ceramics production, papermills, lumberyards, the building industry, and agriculture.
Sights include the historic town centre, restored since the unification, a brewery museum, the monument for the meeting of the Russian and American troops on the Elbe and a Russian military cemetery. The early Renaissance Hartenfels castle dominates the town. The chapel was built in 1544 (designed by Nickel Gromann) and combines late gothic with early Renaissance elements. It was consecrated by Martin Luther on October 5, 1544. Brown bears are still kept in the moat.
Entrance to castle Hartenfels, Torgau, with the Saxon arms at display
The settlement goes back to a Slavonic settlement Turguo in the shire of Neletici. There was presumably a wooden Slavonic castle located under the present-day Hartenstein castle. In the 10th century if fell under the rule of the Holy Roman Emperors, a castle and a settlement were built. A market is attested in 1119 AD. The town was located on the important trade-road between Leipzig and Frankfurt an der Oder that crossed the river Elbe at a ford east of Torgau.
Torgau belonged to the duchy of Saxony-Wittenberg. After the last Ascanian duke died without issue in 1423, the Electorate passed to the Wettin-dynasty and Torgau became residency. After the Leipzig partition in 1485, Torgau fell to the Ernestine line. The court resided mainly in Weimar and in Torgau. From 1525 onwards, Torgau became the sole residence. After the Battle of Mühlberg in 1547, Torgau fell to the Albertine line.
Russian inscription pointing to mess of Battalion No.2, Torgau
During the reformation, the town council closed all cloisters in 1523. Citizens of Torgau destroyed the paintings and statues of Saints in the Churches and stormed the Franciscan monastery. After Luther had driven Andreas Karlstadt (Bodenstein) from Saxony in 1524, he enforced the expulsion of Karlstadt's followers in Torgau in 1529. Katharina von Bora, the wife of Martin Luther is buried in St. Marien, Torgau. The Torgauer Artikel, a draft of the 'Augsburg Confession' was composed by Luther, Melanchthon, Bugenhagen and Jonas in the electoral superindenture in 1530 (Wintergrün).