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Sigmaringen is a town in southern Germanymarker, in the state of Baden-Württembergmarker. Situated on the upper Danube, it is the capital of the Sigmaringen districtmarker.

Sigmaringen is renowned for its castle, Schloss Sigmaringenmarker, which was the seat of the Vichy government-in-exile during the closing months of the Second World War.

Geography

Sigmaringen lies in the Danube valley, surrounded by wooded hills in the south of the Swabian Albmarker around 40 km away from the Lake of Constancemarker.

The surrounding towns are on the north, Winterlingenmarker (in the district of Zollernalb) and Veringenstadtmarker, on the east, Bingen, Sigmaringendorfmarker, and Scheer, on the south, Mengenmarker, Krauchenwiesmarker, Inzigkofenmarker, and Meßkirchmarker, and on the west, Leibertingenmarker, Beuronmarker, and Stetten am kalten Marktmarker.The city is made up from the following districts: Sigmaringen (inner-city), Gutenstein, Jungnau, Laizmarker, Oberschmeien and Unterschmeien.

History

Sigmaringen was first documented in 1077 and was in the principality of Hohenzollern-Sigmaringenmarker until 1850, after which it became a province of Prussia's Province of Hohenzollernmarker.

On September 7, 1944, following the Allied invasion of Francemarker, Philippe Pétain and members of the Vichy government cabinet were relocated to Germany. A government in exile, headed by Fernand de Brinon, was established at Sigmaringen. Pétain returned to France in April 1945. French writers Céline, Lucien Rebatet and Roland Gaucher, fearing for their lives because of their political and anti-Semitic writings, fled along with the Vichy government to Sigmaringen. Céline's novel D'un château l'autre (English: Castle to Castle) describes the fall of Sigmaringen. The city was taken by the French army on April 22, 1945.

The Castle of Sigmaringen - Photograph: Roland Nonnenmacher, D-72516 Scheer


Religions

The following religions are present in Sigmaringen:

Roman Catholic Church

Evangelische Landeskirche in Württemberg

Evangelische Militärkirchengemeinde

Freie Christengemeinde

Jehovah's Witnesses

New Apostolic Church

Infrastructure

Traffic and public transportation

Three railroads currently meet in Sigmaringen, the Danube Valley Railway leading from Donaueschingenmarker to Ulmmarker, the Zollern Valley Railway from Tübingenmarker to Aulendorfmarker and the line operated by the Hohenzollerische Landesbahn from Sigmaringen to Hechingenmarker.

Public transport is organized by Verkehrsverbund Neckar-Alb-Donau (NALDO).


Notable residents

Sigmaringen was the birthplace of Saint Fidelis of Sigmaringen, a Roman Catholic martyr of the Counter-Reformation in Switzerland and Ferdinand of Romania, King of Romaniamarker. It is one of the residences of Prince Friedrich Wilhelm of Hohenzollern-Sigmaringen, the present representative of the house, who will follow the current Pretender, Michael of Romania to the throne of the Kingdom of Romania, after his demise. Frederick Miller, founder of the Miller Brewing Company, was living in Sigmaringen during the start of his brewing career.

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