|Mayor||Volker Steinmetz (without party)|
|Area||83.27 km2 (32.15 sq mi)|
|Elevation||162 m (532 ft)|
|Population||10,533 (31 December 2011)|
|- Density||126 /km2 (328 /sq mi)|
|Time zone||CET/CEST (UTC+1/+2)|
Felsberg is a town in the Schwalm-Eder district about 25 km south of Kassel.
The landscape around Felsberg is marked by hills and small lakes, as well as the remains of gravel quarrying. As part of the West Hesse Basin, it lies in a sunken area formed by volcanic activity in the Tertiary subera. The change from partly basaltic hills to smooth river valleys is striking. While the river valleys are covered in fluvial sediments, higher up can be found fertile loess beds. The river Eder flows through Felsberg's municipal area. Near Gensungen lies the Heiligenberg ("Saint's Mountain") with the ruins of Heiligenberg Castle.
The town consists of 15 communities: Altenbrunslar, Altenburg, Beuern, Böddiger, Gensungen, Helmshausen, Hesserode, Heßlar, Hilgershausen, Lohre, Melgershausen, Neuenbrunslar, Niedervorschütz, Rhünda and Wolfershausen together with the historic Felsberg, to which the other, formerly independent communities were amalgamated on 1 January 1974.
That there were settlers in the Felsberg region as long ago as the last ice age is witnessed by the find of the 12,000-year-old so-called Rhünda Skull. In the first century, the Felsberg area was inhabited by the Chatti, a Germanic people. The only mention of the area from this time is a report about one of Germanicus's campaigns, when in the year 15 he destroyed Mattium (nowadays Maden), the Chatti's capital.
In the 8th century, the Felsberg region was part of the Frankish Empire, and this is when the town had its first documentary mention. It was also in this time that Christian missionary work was being done in the area by Saint Boniface, who in 723 felled Thor's Oak near Fritzlar, about 15 km west of Felsberg, thereby starting the Christianization of the peoples of northern Germany.
Within the town's municipal area lie the ruins of three castles, the Felsburg, the Altenburg in the constituent community of the same name, and the Burg Heiligenberg above the constituent community of Gensungen on the river Eder's opposite bank. The town is thus sometimes known as the Drei-Burgen-Stadt ("Three-Castle-Town"). The castles were built for their strategic location in the Middle Ages between the Archbishopric of Mainz and the Landgraviate of Thuringia, or Hesse. The Heiligenburg belonged to Mainz. Both the Felsburg and the Altenburg 2 km away are distinguished by their "butter churn" towers. The Salzstraße ("Salt Road") ran through Felsberg from the river Werra, where the salt was mined, to the Rhineland.
In 1090, Felsberg was mentioned in a Mainz document under the name Velisberc, and again under the same name in 1209 in a goods directory from the Petrus Estate in Fritzlar. Felsberg's first documentary mention as a town came in 1286. The historic town core was once surrounded by an 830-m-long town wall, only parts of which are preserved today.
A house of Premonstratensian canonesses, Eppenberg Priory, was established here in about 1217, on the Eppenberg in Gensungen. This was dissolved in 1438, and rebuilt as a Carthusian monastery, Eppenberg Charterhouse, which was secularised in 1527.
The Thirty Years' War brought widespread destruction to Felsberg.
The town council has 37 members. The distribution of seats after the last municipal election on 26 March 2006 is as follows:
|SPD||: 20 seats|
|CDU||: 9 seats|
|Greens||: 2 seats|
|FDP||: 2 seats|
|FWG (citizens' coalition)||: 2 seats|
|DFB||: 2 seats|
The town executive (Magistrat) consists of 14 councillors and the mayor. Of those, 8 seats are held by the SPD, 3 by the CDU and one seat each by the Greens, the FDP and the FWG.
The former mayor, Klaus Stiegel (SPD) was elected on 28 October 2001 with an 85.2% share of the vote.
Coat of arms
The town's civic coat of arms has been known since 1570, when it was displayed at the Schloss Rotenburg (a stately home in Rotenburg an der Fulda, built by Landgrave Ludwig II in 1540). It was also published in the Hessisches Wappenbuch ("Hessian Arms Book") by Wilhelm Wessel in 1633.
Heraldically, the arms might be described thus: Party per pale gules and argent, thereover a bend sinister vert, therein three trefoils argent.
Felsberg maintains town partnerships with the following towns:
It also has friendship agreements with these places:
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