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Solnhofen is a municipality in the district of Weißenburg-Gunzenhausen in the region of Middle Franconia in the Land of Bavaria in Germany. It lies within the Altmühl Valley.

View on Solhofen
View on Solhofen
Coat of arms of Solnhofen
Coat of arms
Location of Solnhofen within Weißenburg-Gunzenhausen district
Solnhofen in WUG.svg
Solnhofen is located in Germany
Solnhofen is located in Bavaria
Coordinates: 48°53′N 11°0′E / 48.883°N 11.000°E / 48.883; 11.000Coordinates: 48°53′N 11°0′E / 48.883°N 11.000°E / 48.883; 11.000
Admin. regionMittelfranken
Subdivisions3 Gemeindeteile
 • MayorManfred Schneider
 • Total13.50 km2 (5.21 sq mi)
410 m (1,350 ft)
 • Total1,786
 • Density130/km2 (340/sq mi)
Time zoneCET/CEST (UTC+1/+2)
Postal codes
Dialling codes09145
Vehicle registrationWUG

The local area is famous in geology and palaeontology for Solnhofen limestone. This is a very fine-grained limestone from the Jurassic period which is an exceptionally fine Lagerstätte that preserves detailed fossil specimens. Alois Senefelder used specially prepared blocks of the fine Solnhofen limestone for the process of lithography which he invented in 1798. The quarrying of this lithographic limestone subsequently yielded spectacular finds, including Archaeopteryx, commemorated in the bird's full name Archaeopteryx lithographica. All 13 known specimens have come from the Solnhofen area.



Solnhofen is located on the Altmühl in Bavaria. It contains two districts: Hochholz and Eßlingen. It is adjacent to the cities Pappenheim, Langenaltheim and Mörnsheim.


The Sola-Basilica

Solnhofen was known as "Husen" in the 8th century. In 750/51 Saint Solus created a church there. On this church, the grave church of him (Sola-Basilika) was built later.[2] In honor of him Husen was renamed in "Solnhofen". In 1420 Solnhofen was burnt down during the Bavarian War. It also suffered through the Thirty Years' War. From 1649 to the 18th century there was a glass industry in Solnhofen. In 1785 the St. Veit-church was erected partly on the ruins of the old grave church. In 1870 the train station was opened. From 1903 to 1905 the Catholic St. Sola-church was built. In 1970 the Bürgermeister-Müller-Museum was opened.


The statue of Alois Senefelder

The Sola Basilica dating from the Carolingian period is one of the finest architectural monuments in Germany. It is the grave church of Saint Solus. Close to it is the St. Veit-church, that was created in 1785.

As well as celebrating its role as the "hometown" of Archaeopteryx, Solnhofen also commemorates the work of Alois Senefelder with a statue of the inventor, that was created by Hippolyte Maindron.

The Bürgermeister Müller Museum in Solnhofen displays the history of lithography, the story of the limestone quarries, and the spectacular fossil finds from the area, including the most recently discovered Archaeopteryx specimen.

The Catholic St. Sola-church, that is built in early Gothic style of Jurassic limestones, was opened in 1905.

Notable peopleEdit


  1. ^ "Fortschreibung des Bevölkerungsstandes". Bayerisches Landesamt für Statistik und Datenverarbeitung (in German). September 2018.
  2. ^ Gemeinde Solnhofen. "Gemeinde Solnhofen - Die Geschichte der Gemeinde" (in German).

External linksEdit