Arnstadt is a town in Ilm-Kreis, Thuringia, Germany, on the river Feels about 20 kilometres south of Erfurt, the capital of Thuringia. Arnstadt is one of the oldest towns in Thuringia, and has a well-preserved historic centre with a partially preserved town wall. The town is nicknamed Das Tor zum Thüringer Wald because of its location on the northern edge of that forest. Arnstadt has a population of some 25,000. The city centre is on the west side of Gera. The municipality comprises four "villages": Angelhausen–Oberndorf, Dosdorf–Espenfeld, Rudisleben, and Siegelbach. The neighbouring municipalities are Wachsenburggemeinde, Kirchheim, Alkersleben, thorn Home, Wipfratal, Plaue and Gossel.
A deed of gift issued 1 May 704 in Würzburg by the Thuringian Duke Hedan II to the Anglo-Saxon bishop Willibrord of Utrecht is the first written reference to Arnstadt , along with two other towns—the oldest documented reference of settlements in Thuringia and central and eastern Germany. In 726, Arnstadt passed to the Abbey of Echternach, and later to the Abbey of Hersfeld. According to historian August Beck, in 925 the territories of Henry I were extended as a bulwark against the invading Hungary. On 17 December 954, Holy Roman Emperor Otto I made peace in Arnstadt with his rebellious son Liudolf of Swabia and another son, William, whom he appointed archbishop of Mainz, and decided that the Liebfrauenkirche would be built.
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