Münster

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Münster is a city in north-western Germany, in the Land of Nord Rhein-Westfalen (North Rhine-Westphalia). Münster is the administrative capital of Westphalia. Münster is predominantly Roman Catholic and seat of the Bisdom of Münster. It has a population of 272,000 (2006).

Münster grew around a monastery founded on the orders of Charlemagne in the late 8th century (the name Münster has the same origins as 'minster'), and was a member of the Hanseatic League, a federation of northern European commercial cities in the Middle Ages. In 1534, in the early years of the Reformation, it was the location of an Anabaptist rebellion, creating a utopian proto-socialist republic; this was brutally crushed the following year. The leaders of this rebellion were executed, and their corpses displayed in cages attached to the tower of one of the main churches, as a warning to revolutionaries. The cages are still hanging there today.

In 1648 the city was the location for the signing of the Treaty of Westphalia, ending the Thirty Years War. In 1802 Münster became part of the Kingdom of Prussia. Münster was heavily bombed during the Second World War. Münster won in 2004 the Livcom Award as most livable city in the world in the category of cities with 200,000 to 750,000 inhabitants, beating cities such as Seattle (USA), and Coventry (UK). It is renowned to be a bicycle-friendly city dominated by university life.

Muenster has given its name to a variety of cheese.