16th – 19th century

The city as a stronghold

In the 16th century, the small Gießen gained new meaning. Philipp I, (the Magnanimous), landgrave of Hesse, developed it into a country fortress. As a pioneer of the Reformation, he was interested in securing his territory. And so he had a number of towns secured by moats and ramparts.

By expanding Gießen into a military base, everyday life of the civilians was changed considerably. Soldiers came, and they had to be accommodated by the citizens. Officers and fortress commanders, such as Adam Schmaltz, were to be obeyed like governors. Mandatory services had to be executed. Not only during the erection and maintenance of the fortress, but also but also by razing it to the ground in 1547 after a defeat and re-erecting it from 1560 onwards.

In its course, the fortress was modernized a few times, however at the beginning of the 19th century it wasn’t suitable for defence any longer and thus was levelled. Today, only the course of roads and the remainders in the court of the job centre commemorate it.