Marzahn is a locality within the borough of Marzahn-Hellersdorf in Berlin. Berlin's 2001 administrative reform led to the former boroughs of Marzahn and Hellersdorf fusing into a single new borough. In the north the Marzahn locality includes the neighbourhoods of Bürknersfelde and Ahrensfelde, an overbuilt strip of land which once had belonged to the Brandenburg municipality of Ahrensfelde and was incorporated into Berlin in 1990. Marzahn is divided into three zones: Marzahn-Nord Marzahn-Mitte Marzahn-Süd The historic village of Marzahn was first mentioned as Morczane in a 1300 deed by Margrave Albert III of Brandenburg-Salzwedel, when he granted the estates to the Friedland Cistercian abbey. After the Thirty Years' War it fell to Elector Frederick William of Brandenburg; the new village church was finished in 1871 according to plans by Friedrich August Stüler, another landmark is the Marzahn post mill, rebuilt in 1994. The village became part of Greater Berlin as a locality of the Lichtenberg district.
Marzahn was the site of a labour camp, where Romani were interned during the 1936 Summer Olympics in Berlin, away from visitors' eyes. As a part of the Nazi Porajmos extermination policy, up to 2000 inmates remained there until in 1943 they were deported to Auschwitz-Birkenau, where most of them were gassed. In 1941 the large factory of the Carl Hasse & Wrede machine tool company was erected, where hundreds of forced labourers were employed; the victims were buried at the nearby Parkfriedhof. On April 21, 1945 the district of Marzahn was the first in Berlin to be conquered by the Red Army under General Nikolai Berzarin; the "first freed house" stands on Landsberger Allee. A part of East Berlin from 1949, Marzahn remained a rural site until 1977, when vast housing estates were built on its fields by order of the East German authorities; the construction, carried out in the typical plattenbau style, dragged on until the late 1980s. In the course of the population growth Marzahn was separated from Lichtenberg in 1979 to become a borough in its own right and in 1986 the new Hellersdorf district was split from it.
In 1987 Marzahn hosted the Berliner Gartenschau, a horticulture show, on the occasion of Berlin's 750th anniversary. The area today called Erholungspark Marzahn includes the Gärten der Welt project, showing Chinese, Japanese and Korean labyrinths modelled on Hampton Court Palace and Chartres Cathedral, as well as a garden of the Italian Renaissance. After 1989, the Marzahn estate became known for neo-Nazis and "foreigners were warned not to visit there". Marzahn is served by the S-Bahn lines S7 and S75 at the stations Springpfuhl, Poelchaustraße, Raoul-Wallenberg-Straße, Mehrower Allee and Ahrensfelde. Tramway connections to the inner city are provided by the M8 lines of the Berlin Straßenbahn. Berlin-Marzahn concentration camp ORWOhaus Media related to Marzahn at Wikimedia Commons Marzahn page on info-marzahn-hellersdorf.de
East Germany the German Democratic Republic, was a country that existed from 1949 to 1990, when the eastern portion of Germany was part of the Eastern Bloc during the Cold War. It described itself as a socialist "workers' and peasants' state", the territory was administered and occupied by Soviet forces at the end of World War II — the Soviet Occupation Zone of the Potsdam Agreement, bounded on the east by the Oder–Neisse line; the Soviet zone did not include it. The German Democratic Republic was established in the Soviet zone, while the Federal Republic was established in the three western zones. East Germany was a satellite state of the Soviet Union. Soviet occupation authorities began transferring administrative responsibility to German communist leaders in 1948, the GDR began to function as a state on 7 October 1949. However, Soviet forces remained in the country throughout the Cold War; until 1989, the GDR was governed by the Socialist Unity Party, though other parties nominally participated in its alliance organisation, the National Front of Democratic Germany.
The SED made the teaching of Marxism -- the Russian language compulsory in schools. The economy was centrally planned and state-owned. Prices of housing, basic goods and services were set by central government planners rather than rising and falling through supply and demand. Although the GDR had to pay substantial war reparations to the USSR, it became the most successful economy in the Eastern Bloc. Emigration to the West was a significant problem – as many of the emigrants were well-educated young people, it further weakened the state economically; the government fortified its western borders and, in 1961, built the Berlin Wall. Many people attempting to flee were killed by border guards or booby traps, such as landmines. Several others were imprisoned for many years. In 1989, numerous social and political forces in the GDR and abroad led to the fall of the Berlin Wall and the establishment of a government committed to liberalisation; the following year, open elections were held, international negotiations led to the signing of the Final Settlement treaty on the status and borders of Germany.
The GDR dissolved itself, Germany was reunified on 3 October 1990, becoming a sovereign state again. Several of the GDR's leaders, notably its last communist leader Egon Krenz, were prosecuted in reunified Germany for crimes committed during the Cold War. Geographically, the German Democratic Republic bordered the Baltic Sea to the north. Internally, the GDR bordered the Soviet sector of Allied-occupied Berlin, known as East Berlin, administered as the state's de facto capital, it bordered the three sectors occupied by the United States, United Kingdom and France known collectively as West Berlin. The three sectors occupied by the Western nations were sealed off from the rest of the GDR by the Berlin Wall from its construction in 1961 until it was brought down in 1989; the official name was Deutsche Demokratische Republik abbreviated to DDR. Both terms were used in East Germany, with increasing usage of the abbreviated form since East Germany considered West Germans and West Berliners to be foreigners following the promulgation of its second constitution in 1968.
West Germans, the western media and statesmen avoided the official name and its abbreviation, instead using terms like Ostzone, Sowjetische Besatzungszone, sogenannte DDR. The centre of political power in East Berlin was referred to as Pankow. Over time, the abbreviation DDR was increasingly used colloquially by West Germans and West German media; the term Westdeutschland, when used by West Germans, was always a reference to the geographic region of Western Germany and not to the area within the boundaries of the Federal Republic of Germany. However, this use was not always consistent. Before World War II, Ostdeutschland was used to describe all the territories east of the Elbe, as reflected in the works of sociologist Max Weber and political theorist Carl Schmitt. Explaining the internal impact of the DDR regime from the perspective of German history in the long term, historian Gerhard A. Ritter has argued that the East German state was defined by two dominant forces – Soviet Communism on the one hand, German traditions filtered through the interwar experiences of German Communists on the other.
It always was constrained by the powerful example of the prosperous West, to which East Germans compared their nation. The changes wrought by the Communists were most apparent in ending capitalism and transforming industry and agriculture, in the militarization of society, in the political thrust of the educational system and the media. On the other hand, there was little change made in the independent domains of the sciences, the engineering professions, the Protestant churches, in many bourgeois lifestyles. Social policy, says Ritter, became a critical legitimization tool in the last decades and mixed socialist and traditional elements about equally. At the Yalta Conference during World War II, the Allies (the U. S. the UK and
Plattenbau is a building constructed of large, prefabricated concrete slabs. The word is a compound of Bau. Although Plattenbauten are considered to be typical of East Germany, the prefabricated construction method was used extensively in West Germany and elsewhere in public housing. In English the building method is called large panel system-building or LPS. Prefabrication was pioneered in the Netherlands following World War I, based on construction methods developed in the United States; the first German use of plattenbau construction is what is now known as the Splanemann-Siedlung in Berlin's Lichtenberg district, constructed in 1926–1930. These two- and three-storey apartment houses were assembled of locally cast slabs, inspired by the Dutch Betondorp in Watergraafsmeer, a suburb of Amsterdam. In East Germany, Plattenbau areas have been designated as Neubaugebiet. All new residential buildings since the 1960s were built in this style, as it was a quick and inexpensive way to curb the country's severe housing shortage, caused by wartime bombing raids and the large influx of German refugees from further east.
At the same time, many buildings from earlier eras had substantial drawbacks, such as coal heat, no hot running water, or bathrooms shared by multiple units. As these buildings fell into disrepair, many of their inhabitants moved into newer Plattenbau housing. Today,'Plattenbau' are no longer desirable, due in part to their rapid deterioration as a direct result of their cheap and quick construction methods, while older housing stock has undergone extensive renovation or been replaced with more modern dwelling units. There were several common plattenbau designs; the most common series was the P2, followed by the WBS 70, the WHH GT 18, Q3A. The designs could be built as towers or rows of apartments of various heights. There have been projects with low rise "plattenbauten" such as the town of Bernau just north of Berlin; this town had an complete historic center of wooden framed buildings within its preserved city walls. Most of these were torn down after 1975 and during the eighties to be replaced by 2–4 storey buildings constructed of prefabricated concrete slabs.
However, it is to be noted that this'development' and'modernization' is today regarded as disastrous, an enormous cultural loss, with the town replaced by drab concrete buildings of exceeding mediocrity. To fit in with the medieval church and the complete city wall, the houses used rather small design units and decreased in height the farther away they were from the Church and the nearer they came to the city wall. A similar project was the Nikolaiviertel around the historic Nikolai church in Berlin's old centre. In the case of the Nikolaiviertel the buildings were made to look more historic. Plattenbau apartments were once considered desirable in East Germany due to the lack of any other viable alternative; the main alternatives of the time were overcrowded, deteriorating prewar housing with wartime damage still visible, due to policies that chose not to repair the damaged housing stock. Since reunification a combination of decreasing population, renovation of older buildings, construction of modern alternative housing has led to high vacancy rates, with some estimates placing the number of unoccupied units at around a million.
Many plattenbau apartments were built in giant settlements on the edge of cities, making them inconveniently located. Their inconvenient locations were also a factor in their rapid deterioration. However, despite the centrally located buildings of the International Building Exposition in Berlin, the neighbourhood today is not considered desirable, is characterised by deserted streets and apartment buildings isolated from one another in a lifeless garden. While some plattenbau apartments have been renovated to a high standard, some are being torn down, although a lack of funds means many have been left to become derelict, as without extensive renovation, the cheap and low-quality construction of the original buildings meant that after only a few years, they had become deteriorated; because of the modular construction some are dismantled and moved to a new location, which only proves that they were cheap and temporary constructions, which were not built to last, evident at the time when they were new.
Eastern Berlin has many Plattenbauten: reminders of Eastern Bloc planned residential areas, with shops and schools in a ratio fixed to the number of residents. Berlin-based architect David Chipperfield has suggested that the plain appearance of Plattenbau housing does not promote gentrification, may be a factor that helps preserve social continuity for local residents and neighborhoods. Gemeindebau Hansaviertel Panelák Panelház Structural robustness KhrushchyovkaArchitecture Grosvenor Atterbury Unité d'Habitation Urban planning in communist countriesSafety Ronan Point FIB international Bulletin 43 - structural connections for precast concrete buildings
The Romani genocide or the Romani Holocaust—also known as the Porajmos, the Pharrajimos, the Samudaripen —was the effort by Nazi Germany and its World War II allies to commit genocide against Europe's Romani people. Under Adolf Hitler, a supplementary decree to the Nuremberg Laws was issued on 26 November 1935, classifying Gypsies as "enemies of the race-based state", thereby placing them in the same category as the Jews. Thus, in some ways the fate of the Roma in Europe paralleled that of the Jews in the Jewish Holocaust. Historians estimate that between 220,000 and 500,000 Romani were killed by the Germans and their collaborators—25% to over 50% of the fewer than 1 million Roma in Europe at the time. Ian Hancock puts the death toll as high as 1.5 million. In 1982 West Germany formally recognized that Germany had committed genocide against the Romani. In 2011 Poland adopted 2 August as a day of commemoration of the Romani genocide; the term porajmos was introduced by Ian Hancock, in the early 1990s.
Hancock chose the term, coined by a Kalderash Rom, from a number of suggestions in an "informal conversation in 1993". The term is used by activists and it is unknown to most Roma, including relatives of victims and survivors; some Russian and Balkan Romani activists protest against the use of the word porajmos. In various dialects, porajmos is synonymous with poravipe which means "violation" and "rape", a term which some Roma consider offensive. János Bársony and Ágnes Daróczi, pioneering organisers of the Romani civil rights movement in Hungary, prefer the Pharrajimos, a Romani word meaning "cutting up", "fragmentation", "destruction", they argue against using porrajmos, saying it is marhime: "orrajmos is unpronounceable in the Roma community, thus is incapable of conveying the sufferings of the Roma". Balkan Romani activists prefer the term samudaripen, first introduced by linguist Marcel Courthiade. Hancock dismisses this word, arguing that it does not conform to Romani language morphology.
Some Ruska Roma activists offer the term Kali Traš. Another alternative, used is Berša Bibahtale. Lastly, adapted borrowings such as Holokosto, etc. are occasionally used in the Romani language. Linguistically, the term porajmos is composed of the verb root porrav- and the abstract-forming nominal ending -imos; this ending is of the Vlax Romani dialect, whereas other varieties use -ibe or -ipe. For the verb itself, the most given meaning is "to open/stretch wide" or "to rip open", whereas the meaning "to open up the mouth, devour" occurs in fewer varieties. In the late 19th century, the emergence of scientific racism and Social Darwinism, linking social differences with racial differences, provided the German public with justifications for prejudices against Jews and Roma. During this period, "the concept of race was systematically employed in order to explain social phenomena." This approach validated the belief that races were not variations of a single species of man but had distinctly different biological origins.
It established a purportedly scientifically backed racial hierarchy, which defined certain minority groups as the other on the basis of biology. In addition to racial pseudo-science, the end of the 19th century was a period of state-sponsored modernization in Germany. Industrial development altered many aspects of society. Most notably, the period shifted social norms of work and life. For Roma, this meant a denial of their traditional way of life as craftsmen and artisans. János Bársony notes that "industrial development devalued their services as craftsmen, resulting in the disintegration of their communities and social marginalization." The developments of racial pseudo-science and modernization resulted in anti-Romani state interventions, carried out by both the German Empire and the Weimar Republic. In 1899, the Imperial Police Headquarters in Munich established the Information Services on Romani by the Security Police, its purpose was to keep records and continuous surveillance on the Roma community.
Roma in the Weimar Republic were forbidden from entering public swimming pools and other recreational areas, depicted throughout Germany and Europe as criminals and spies. The 1926 "Law for the Fight Against Gypsies and the Workshy" was enforced in Bavaria, becoming the national norm by 1929, it stipulated that groups identifying as'Gypsies' avoid all travel to the region. Those living in the area were to "be kept under control so that there no longer anything to fear from them with regard to safety in the land." They were forbidden from "roam about or camp in bands," and those "unable to prove regular employment" risked being sent to forced labor for up to two years. Herbet Heuss notes that "his Bavarian law became the model for other German states and for neighbouring countries." The demand for Roma to give up their nomadic ways and settle in a specific region was the focus of anti-Romani policy both of the German Empire and Weimar Republic. Once settled, communities were concentrated and isolated in one area within a town or city.
This process facilitated state-run surveillance practices and'crime prevention.' Following passage of the Law for the Fight Against Gypsies and the Workshy, public policy targeted the Roma on the explicit basis of race. In 1927, Prussia passed a law that required all Roma to carry identity cards. Eight thousand Roma were
East Berlin was the de facto capital city of the German Democratic Republic from 1949 to 1990. Formally, it was the Soviet sector of Berlin, established in 1945; the American and French sectors were known as West Berlin. From 13 August 1961 until 9 November 1989, East Berlin was separated from West Berlin by the Berlin Wall; the Western Allied powers did not recognise East Berlin as the GDR's capital, nor the GDR's authority to govern East Berlin. With the London Protocol of 1944 signed on September 12, 1944, the United States, the United Kingdom and the Soviet Union decided to divide Germany into three occupation zones and to establish a special area of Berlin, occupied by the three Allied Forces together. In May 1945, the Soviet Union installed a city government for the whole city, called "Magistrate of Greater Berlin", which existed until 1947. After the war, the Allied Forces administered the city together within the Allied Kommandatura, which served as the governing body of the city. However, in 1948 the Soviet representative left the Kommandatura and the common administration broke apart during the following months.
In the Soviet sector, a separate city government was established, which continued to call itself "Magistrate of Greater Berlin". When the German Democratic Republic was established in 1949, it claimed East Berlin as its capital - a claim, recognised by all Communist countries, its representatives to the People's Chamber were not directly elected and did not have full voting rights until 1981. In June 1948, all railways and roads leading to West Berlin were blocked, East Berliners were not allowed to emigrate. More than 1,000 East Germans were escaping to West Berlin each day by 1960, caused by the strains on the East German economy from war reparations owed to the Soviet Union, massive destruction of industry, lack of assistance from the Marshall Plan. In August 1961, the East German Government tried to stop the population exodus by enclosing West Berlin within the Berlin Wall, it was dangerous for fleeing residents to cross because armed soldiers were trained to shoot illegal migrants. East Germany was a socialist republic.
Privileges such as prestigious apartments and good schooling were given to members of the ruling party and their family. Christian churches were allowed to operate without restraint after years of harassment by authorities. In the 1970s, wages of East Berliners rose and working hours fell; the Western Allies never formally acknowledged the authority of the East German government to govern East Berlin. The United States Command Berlin, for example, published detailed instructions for U. S. military and civilian personnel wishing to visit East Berlin. In fact, the three Western commandants protested against the presence of the East German National People's Army in East Berlin on the occasion of military parades; the three Western Allies established embassies in East Berlin in the 1970s, although they never recognised it as the capital of East Germany. Treaties instead used terms such as "seat of government."On 3 October 1990, East and West Germany and East and West Berlin were reunited, thus formally ending the existence of East Berlin.
Since reunification, the German government has spent vast amounts of money on reintegrating the two halves of the city and bringing services and infrastructure in the former East Berlin up to the standard established in West Berlin. After reunification, the East German economy suffered significantly. Many East German factories were shut down due to inability to comply with West German pollution and safety standards, as well as inability to compete with West German factories; because of this, a massive amount of West German economic aid was poured into East Germany to revitalize it. This stimulus was part-funded through a 7.5% tax on income, which led to a great deal of resentment toward the East Germans. Despite the large sums of economic aid poured into East Berlin, there still remain obvious differences between the former East and West Berlin. East Berlin has a distinct visual style; the unique look of Stalinist architecture, used in East Berlin contrasts markedly with the urban development styles employed in the former West Berlin.
Additionally, the former East Berlin retains a small number of its GDR-era street and place names commemorating German socialist heroes, such as Karl-Marx-Allee, Rosa-Luxemburg-Platz, Karl-Liebknecht-Straße. Many such names, were deemed inappropriate and changed after a long process of review. Another popular symbolic icon of the former East Berlin is the "Ampelmännchen", a stylized version of a fedora-wearing man crossing the street, found on traffic lights at many pedestrian crosswalks throughout the former East; these days they are visible in parts of the former West Berlin. Following a civic debate about whether the Ampelmännchen should be abolished or disseminated more several crosswalks in some parts of the former West Berlin employ the Ampelmännchen. Twenty-five years after the two cities were reunified, the people of East and West Berlin still had noticeable differences between each other, which become more apparent amo
Brandenburg is a state of Germany. Brandenburg is located in the northeast of Germany covering an area of 29,478 square kilometres and has a population of 2.5 million residents, the fifth-largest German state by area and tenth-most populous. Potsdam is the state capital and largest city, while other major cities include Brandenburg an der Havel and Frankfurt. Brandenburg surrounds the national capital and city-state of Berlin, which together form the Berlin/Brandenburg Metropolitan Region, the third-largest metropolitan area in Germany. Brandenburg borders the states of Mecklenburg-Vorpommern, Lower Saxony, Saxony-Anhalt, Saxony, the country of Poland. Brandenburg originated in the Northern March in the 900s AD from areas conquered from the Wends, became the Margraviate of Brandenburg, a major principality of the Holy Roman Empire, with Albert the Bear as prince-elector. In the 17th century Brandenburg came under the rule of the House of Hohenzollern, the rulers of Prussia, who established Brandenburg-Prussia to become the core of the Kingdom of Prussia.
Brandenburg became the Province of Brandenburg in 1815, a province within the kingdom and within the Free State of Prussia. Brandenburg was established as a state in 1945 after World War II by the Soviet army administration in Allied-occupied Germany, became part of the German Democratic Republic in 1947. Brandenburg was dissolved in 1952 during administrative reforms and its territory divided into the districts of Potsdam, Frankfurt and Schwerin, but was re-established in 1990 following German reunification, became one of the Federal Republic of Germany's new states. In late medieval and early modern times, Brandenburg was one of seven electoral states of the Holy Roman Empire, along with Prussia, formed the original core of the German Empire, the first unified German state. Governed by the Hohenzollern dynasty from 1415, it contained the future German capital Berlin. After 1618 the Margraviate of Brandenburg and the Duchy of Prussia were combined to form Brandenburg-Prussia, ruled by the same branch of the House of Hohenzollern.
In 1701 the state was elevated as the Kingdom of Prussia. Franconian Nuremberg and Ansbach, Swabian Hohenzollern, the eastern European connections of Berlin, the status of Brandenburg's ruler as prince-elector together were instrumental in the rise of that state. Brandenburg is situated in territory known in antiquity as Magna Germania, which reached to the Vistula river. By the 7th century, Slavic peoples are believed to have settled in the Brandenburg area; the Slavs expanded from the east driven from their homelands in present-day Ukraine and Belarus by the invasions of the Huns and Avars. They relied on river transport; the two principal Slavic groups in the present-day area of Brandenburg were the Hevelli in the west and the Sprevane in the east. Beginning in the early 10th century, Henry the Fowler and his successors conquered territory up to the Oder River. Slavic settlements such as Brenna and Chośebuz came under imperial control through the installation of margraves, their main function was to protect the eastern marches.
In 948 Emperor Otto I established margraves to exert imperial control over the pagan Slavs west of the Oder River. Otto founded the Bishoprics of Havelberg; the Northern March was founded as a northeastern border territory of the Holy Roman Empire. However, a great uprising of Wends drove imperial forces from the territory of present-day Brandenburg in 983; the region returned to the control of Slavic leaders. During the 12th century, the German kings and emperors re-established control over the mixed Slav-inhabited lands of present-day Brandenburg, although some Slavs like the Sorbs in Lusatia adapted to Germanization while retaining their distinctiveness; the Roman Catholic Church brought bishoprics which, with their walled towns, afforded protection from attacks for the townspeople. With the monks and bishops, the history of the town of Brandenburg an der Havel, the first center of the state of Brandenburg, began. In 1134, in the wake of a German crusade against the Wends, the German magnate, Albert the Bear, was granted the Northern March by the Emperor Lothar III.
He formally inherited the town of Brandenburg and the lands of the Hevelli from their last Wendish ruler, Pribislav, in 1150. After crushing a force of Sprevane who occupied the town of Brandenburg in the 1150s, Albert proclaimed himself ruler of the new Margraviate of Brandenburg. Albert, his descendants the Ascanians made considerable progress in conquering, colonizing and cultivating lands as far east as the Oder. Within this region and German residents intermarried. During the 13th century, the Ascanians began acquiring territory east of the Oder known as the Neumark. In 1320, the Brandenburg Ascanian line came to an end, from 1323 up until 1415 Brandenburg was under the control of the Wittelsbachs of Bavaria, followed by the Luxembourg Dynasties. Under the Luxembourgs, the Margrave of Brandenburg gained the status of a prince-elector of the Holy Roman Empire. In the period 1373-1415, Brandenburg was a part of the Lands of the Bohemian Crown. In 1415, the Electorate of Brandenburg was granted by Emperor Sigismund to the House of Hohenzollern, which would rule until the end of World War I.
The Hohenzollerns established their capital in Berlin, by the economic center of Brandenburg. Brandenburg converted to Protestantism in 1539 in the wake of the Protestant Reformation, did quite we
Chartres Cathedral known as the Cathedral of Our Lady of Chartres, is a Roman Catholic church in Chartres, about 80 km southwest of Paris. Constructed between 1194 and 1220, it stands at the site of at least five cathedrals that have occupied the site since Chartres became a bishopric in the 4th century, it is in the Romanesque styles. It is designated a World Heritage Site by UNESCO, which calls it "the high point of French Gothic art" and a "masterpiece"; the cathedral has been well preserved. The majority of the original stained glass windows survive intact, while the architecture has seen only minor changes since the early 13th century; the building's exterior is dominated by heavy flying buttresses which allowed the architects to increase the window size while the west end is dominated by two contrasting spires – a 105-metre plain pyramid completed around 1160 and a 113-metre early 16th-century Flamboyant spire on top of an older tower. Notable are the three great façades, each adorned with hundreds of sculpted figures illustrating key theological themes and narratives.
Since at least the 12th century the cathedral has been an important destination for travelers. It remains so to the present, attracting large numbers of Christian pilgrims, many of whom come to venerate its famous relic, the Sancta Camisa, said to be the tunic worn by the Virgin Mary at Christ's birth, as well as large numbers of secular tourists who come to admire the cathedral's architecture and historical merit; as with any medieval bishopric, Chartres Cathedral was the most important building in the town – the centre of its economy, its most famous landmark and the focal point of many activities that in modern towns are provided for by specialised civic buildings. In the Middle Ages, the cathedral functioned as a kind of marketplace, with different commercial activities centred on the different portals during the regular fairs. Textiles were sold around the north transept, while meat and fuel sellers congregated around the south porch. Money-changers had their benches, or banques, near the west portals and in the nave itself.
Wine sellers plied their trade in the nave to avoid taxes until, sometime in the 13th century, an ordinance forbade this. The ordinance assigned to the wine-sellers part of the crypt, where they could avoid the count's taxes without disturbing worshippers. Workers of various professions gathered in particular locations around the cathedral awaiting offers of work. Although the town of Chartres was under the judicial and tax authority of the Counts of Blois, the area surrounding the cathedral, known as the cloître, was in effect a free-trade zone governed by the church authorities, who were entitled to the taxes from all commercial activity taking place there; as well as increasing the cathedral's income, throughout the 12th and 13th centuries this led to regular disputes violent, between the bishops, the chapter and the civic authorities – when serfs belonging to the counts transferred their trade to the cathedral. In 1258, after a series of bloody riots instigated by the count's officials, the chapter gained permission from the King to seal off the area of the cloître and lock the gates each night.
Before the Gothic cathedral was built, Chartres was a place of pilgrimage, albeit on a much smaller scale. During the Merovingian and early Carolingian eras, the main focus of devotion for pilgrims was a well, known as the Puits des Saints-Forts, or the'Well of the Strong Saints', into which it was believed the bodies of various local Early-Christian martyrs had been tossed. Chartres became a site for the veneration of the Blessed Virgin Mary. In 876 the cathedral acquired the Sancta Camisa, believed to be the tunic worn by Mary at the time of Christ's birth. According to legend, the relic was given to the cathedral by Charlemagne who received it as a gift from Emperor Constantine VI during a crusade to Jerusalem. However, as Charlemagne's crusade is fiction, the legend lacks historical merit and was invented in the 11th century to authenticate relics at the Abbey of St Denis. In fact, the Sancta Camisa was a gift to the cathedral from Charles the Bald and there is no evidence for its being an important object of pilgrimage prior to the 12th century.
In 1194, when the Cathedral was struck by lightning, the east spire was lost, the Sancta Camisa was thought lost, too. However, it was found three days protected by priests, who fled behind iron trapdoors when the fire broke out; some research suggests that depictions in the cathedral, e.g. Mary's infertile parents Joachim and Anne, harken back to the pre-Christian cult of a fertility goddess, women would come to the well at this location in order to pray for their children and that some refer to that past. Chartres historian and expert Malcolm Miller rejected the claims of pre-Cathedral, Celtic and buildings on the site in a documentary. However, the widespread belief that the cathedral was the site of a pre-Christian druidical sect who worshipped a "Virgin who will give birth" is purely a late-medieval invention. By the end of the 12th century the church had become one of the most important popular pilgrimage destinations in Europe. There were four great fairs which coincided with the main feast days of the Virgin Mary: the Presentation, the Annunciation, the Assumption and the Nativity.
The fairs were held in the area administered by the cathedral and were attended by many of the pilgrims in town to see the