is a town in the Ostprignitz-Ruppin
Ostprignitz-Ruppin is a Kreis in the northwestern part of Brandenburg, Germany. Neighboring are the districts Müritz and Mecklenburg-Strelitz in Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania, the districts...
district, in north-western Brandenburg
Brandenburg is one of the sixteen federal-states of Germany. It lies in the east of the country and is one of the new federal states that were re-created in 1990 upon the reunification of the former West Germany and East Germany. The capital is Potsdam...
Germany , officially the Federal Republic of Germany , is a federal parliamentary republic in Europe. The country consists of 16 states while the capital and largest city is Berlin. Germany covers an area of 357,021 km2 and has a largely temperate seasonal climate...
. It is situated on the river Dosse
The Dosse is a river in the district of Ostprignitz-Ruppin in the northwestern part of Brandenburg, Germany. It is a right tributary of the Havel. The Dosse is 94 km long, with its source on the border between Mecklenburg-Vorpommern and Brandenburg, arising out of three small brooks that unite...
, 20 km east of Pritzwalk
Pritzwalk is a town in the district of Prignitz, in Brandenburg, Germany. It is situated 20 km west of Wittstock, and 33 km northeast of Wittenberge....
, and 95 km northwest of Berlin
Berlin is the capital city of Germany and is one of the 16 states of Germany. With a population of 3.45 million people, Berlin is Germany's largest city. It is the second most populous city proper and the seventh most populous urban area in the European Union...
. It was the location of the 1636 Battle of Wittstock
The Battle of Wittstock took place during the Thirty Years' War . It was fought on 24 September or 4 October 1636. A Swedish-allied army under general Johan Baner decisively defeated a combined Imperial-Saxon army, led by Count Melchior von Hatzfeld and the Saxon Elector John George I...
Sweden , officially the Kingdom of Sweden , is a Nordic country on the Scandinavian Peninsula in Northern Europe. Sweden borders with Norway and Finland and is connected to Denmark by a bridge-tunnel across the Öresund....
and an alliance of the Holy Roman Empire
The Holy Roman Empire was a realm that existed from 962 to 1806 in Central Europe.It was ruled by the Holy Roman Emperor. Its character changed during the Middle Ages and the Early Modern period, when the power of the emperor gradually weakened in favour of the princes...
The Free State of Saxony is a landlocked state of Germany, contingent with Brandenburg, Saxony Anhalt, Thuringia, Bavaria, the Czech Republic and Poland. It is the tenth-largest German state in area, with of Germany's sixteen states....
The town's main historic monument is its medieval cathedral. Much of the elaborate late medieval defences still surround the old centre, including a 2500 metres long city wall. Originally 11 metres high, the size today is about 4 to 7 metres.
After the integration of several villages surrounding the town in October 2003, Wittstock became the 6rd biggest city in Germany. However, the former freelance districts Herzsprung and Königsberg, which were forced to be integrated in 2003, achieved their independence in 2004 again, claiming that the compulsive integration was void because of a form error. Both districts were still under the overview of the department of Wittstock/Dosse. Since 2005, Herzsprung and Königsberg are parts of the commune Heiligengrabe, so the size of Wittstock decreased.
These are the current districts of Wittstock/Dosse:
- Freyenstein with commune part Neu Cölln
- Groß Haßlow with commune parts Klein Haßlow and Randow
- Niemerlang with commune parts Tetschendorf and Ackerfelde
- Wittstock (Kernstadt)
Wittstock resulted from a slavonic settlement and was first mentioned in the deed of formation for the Bishopric of Havelberg
The Bishopric of Havelberg was a Roman Catholic diocese founded by King Otto I, King of the Germans, in 946. The diocese was suffragan to the Archbishopric of Magdeburg. Its most famous bishop was Anselm of Havelberg. Its seat was in Havelberg in the Northern March and it roughly covered the...
in 946. Obtaining the municipal law of Stendal
Stendal is a town in Saxony-Anhalt, Germany. It is the capital of Stendal District and unofficial capital of the Altmark. Its population in 2001 was 38,900. It is located some west of Berlin and around east of Hanover...
on the 13th September 1248 from prince-bishop
A Prince-Bishop is a bishop who is a territorial Prince of the Church on account of one or more secular principalities, usually pre-existent titles of nobility held concurrently with their inherent clerical office...
Heinrich I, it is one of the oldest towns of Brandenburg. In 1251, Wittstock received an imprint of the town seal, which was one of the oldest in Brandenburg, too. The "Wittstocker Castle", which has been built onto a slavonic foundation, was the residence of Havelberg
Havelberg is a town in the district of Stendal, in Saxony-Anhalt, Germany. It is situated on the Havel, and part of the town is built on an island in the centre of the river. The two parts were incorporated as a town in 1875...
's prince-bishops from 1271 to 1548. Because of that it is often also designated as the "Old Bishop Castle".
The name "Wittstock" (1271 Wiztok, 1284 Witzstock, 1441 Witstock) has been adapted folk-etymologically to the Low German
Low German or Low Saxon is an Ingvaeonic West Germanic language spoken mainly in northern Germany and the eastern part of the Netherlands...
(white) and "stock"