[ Related page: Great Small Towns of Germany ]
Marburg is a fabulous Gothic-cum-Renaissance town and singularly the loveliest university town in all of Germany. That it has a marvelous old castle from the 13th century and such Gothic gems as the Elizabethkirche, one of the oldest purely Gothic churches in Germany, together with a labyrinth of steep, narrow cobblestone streets and some of the most impressive half-timbered buildings in the country, only add to its allure. The university of Marburg, officially Philipps-Universität Marburg, is actually the oldest Protestant university in the world, founded in 1527. During the Romanticism of the 18th century it was at the center of the movement, counting among its alumni such literary giants as the Brothers Grimm of fairy-tale renown, the poet, playwright and Nobel laureate T.S. Eliot, and Boris Pasternak, author of Doctor Zhivago. The university now has a student population of around 21,000, with faculty and staff numbering another roughly 7,500, which together account for more than a third of the town's entire population.
Marburg is situated on the River Lahn in the German state of Hesse, built on the steep hills of the Lahn Valley. It lies 61 miles (98 km) north of Frankfurt, and has a population of just under 80,000.
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