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coat of arms Germany map
Coat of arms of the municipality of Solnhofen
Map of Germany, position of the municipality Solnhofen highlighted

Coordinates: 48 ° 54 '  N , 11 ° 0'  E

Basic data
State : Bavaria
Administrative region : Middle Franconia
County : Weissenburg-Gunzenhausen
Height : 408 m above sea level NHN
Area : 13.54 km 2
Residents: 1748 (Dec. 31, 2019)
Population density : 129 inhabitants per km 2
Postal code : 91807
Area code : 09145
License plate : WUG, GUN
Community key : 09 5 77 168
Community structure: 3 parts of the community
Address of the
municipal administration:
Bahnhofstrasse 8
91807 Solnhofen
Website :
Mayor : Manfred Schneider ( SPD )
Location of the municipality of Solnhofen in the Weißenburg-Gunzenhausen district
Gunzenhausen Absberg Alesheim Muhr am See Bergen (Mittelfranken) Burgsalach Dittenheim Ettenstatt Haundorf Heidenheim (Mittelfranken) Höttingen Langenaltheim Markt Berolzheim Meinheim Nennslingen Pappenheim Pfofeld Polsingen Solnhofen Theilenhofen Treuchtlingen Weißenburg in Bayern Westheim Raitenbuch Pleinfeld Gnotzheim Ellingen Landkreis Donau-Ries Landkreis Roth Landkreis Ansbach Landkreis Eichstättmap
About this picture

Solnhofen is a municipality on the Altmühl in the southeast of the Central Franconian district of Weißenburg-Gunzenhausen . With around 1700 inhabitants and an area of ​​around 13.5 square kilometers, Solnhofen is one of the smallest in area, but also one of the most densely populated communities in the Weißenburg-Gunzenhausen district.

The surrounding stone quarries of the Solnhofen limestone are considered to be world-class fossil deposits ; the Archeopteryx find is outstanding .


Geographical location

Solnhofen lies in the valley of the Altmühl , which flows through the village. Weißenburg in Bavaria is about 15 kilometers (as the crow flies) in a north-westerly direction, Eichstätt 14 kilometers (as the crow flies) in an easterly direction. Each about 25 kilometers away are Donauwörth (southwest) and Neuburg an der Donau (southeast). The middle of the straight line between Augsburg (located south of Solnhofen) and Nuremberg (north) runs through Solnhofen, both cities are each around 60 kilometers away as the crow flies. Solnhofen borders on the district of Eichstätt in the administrative district of Upper Bavaria , the administrative district of Swabia is also nearby, but only borders directly on the neighboring municipality of Langenaltheim . The municipality is characterized by forests such as the Hochholz and several stone quarries. To the west of Solnhofen is the nature reserve Twelve Apostles Rocks .


railway station
Solnhofen, town view

The state roads 2217 and 2230 as well as the Altmühltal cycle path lead through the village . The place also has a train station on the Treuchtlingen – Ingolstadt line , where regional trains from Munich and Nuremberg stop every hour . Travel times without changing trains are around 120 minutes to Munich and around 70 minutes to Nuremberg.

With a short change at Treuchtlingen train station , Augsburg can be reached in around 80 minutes, Ansbach in around 50 minutes and Würzburg in around 130 minutes, inexpensively by regional trains. With a change in Ingolstadt, Regensburg is about 120 minutes away by train. In the morning rush hour, faster connections are possible thanks to some IC and ICE stops in Treuchtlingen and Ingolstadt.

Solnhofen is the south-eastern end point of the Greater Nuremberg Transport Association (VGN).

Community structure

The municipality has 3 officially named parts of the municipality (the type of location is given in brackets ):

Neighboring communities

The neighboring communities in Middle Franconia are the city of Pappenheim in the north and the community of Langenaltheim in the west . The neighboring communities of Schernfeld (east of Solnhofen) and Markt Mörnsheim , which is located south of Solnhofen, are already in Upper Bavaria .

The Solnhofen limestone

Solnhofen is famous above all for its quarries , which contain fossils from the approximately 150 million year old White Jura (Upper Jura). The remains of land creatures washed into a lagoon such as the small dinosaur Compsognathus , six genera of pterosaurs , various turtles and over 180 species of insects. The best-known finds that are also significant for evolutionary biology , however, are the ten specimens of the “primeval bird” Archeopteryx from Solnhofen and the surrounding area. The best preserved of these specimens can be admired in the Museum für Naturkunde (Berlin) . It is from here that fossils of primitive shrimp up to 30 cm in size come from. The particularly fine limestone ("lithographic slate") from the quarries was used as printing material by the inventor of lithography , Alois Senefelder ; The Solnhofen limestone is still considered to be the world's best material for lithographic printing plates.


Until the church is planted

Archaeological excavations revealed traces of settlement from the Mesolithic , Celtic and Roman eras. Solnhofen is mentioned for the first time in the second half of the 8th century under the name "Husen". In the southern Suala field it was one of the early religious centers from which East Franconia was opened up.

Sola basilica, excavation findings

When Sualo, for whose life there are many legends , died on December 3rd, 794 (after the Fulda death annals on December 4th, 794), he bequeathed the place "Solaehofinum" (so called 790), from which the name Solenhofen / Solnhofen developed , including the "cella Solnis / Suolonies" of the Fulda Royal Monastery . Around 754: The Anglo-Saxon missionary Sola founds a monastery, which is later named Solnhofen after him. To the now Fuldaischen provost detectable Solnhofen, from 836 as a Benedictine monastery, belonged in the 9th century 20 yards. In 834, the imperial court chaplain Gundram, as provost, buried Sola's body in a high grave, a tumba made of limestone . According to the Fulda traditions, reported by the Jesuit Brower in 1612, Sola was "attributed to the heavenly ones by order of Pope Gregory IV (Pope from 827/28 to 844) and transferred to Fulda". In place of the church built at that time, the Eichstatt Bishop Gundekar II (ruled 1057-1075) consecrated a new church, an early Romanesque columned basilica , from which a 21 m long side aisle with four arcades and the (empty) tumba of St. Sola has been preserved .

The Fulda possessions were also subordinate to the Counts of Truhendingen as guardian bailiffs, who built a St. Veit parish church. The dividing line between the two domains was today's Senefelder Straße leading to the Jura height. Forced by increasing indebtedness, the counts sold the town of Mühlheim an der Gailach , which once belonged to Sola's property, to Bishop Reinboto von Eichstätt in 1282 . In 1310 the Burgraves of Nuremberg , the later Margraves of Ansbach-Brandenburg, inherited the remaining rights of the Truhendinger. In 1420 the place was burned down during the Bavarian War by the Bavarian Duke Ludwig the Bearded . Probes tried in vain to break away from the Fulda monastery, in 1478 even through a trial in Rome.

The decisive thing only happened again in the 16th century. From 1500 the place was part of the Ansbach margraviate in the Franconian Empire . From 1525 to 1534 the provost's office was secularized under Margrave Kasimir von Brandenburg-Kulmbach ; Secular margrave bailiffs continued to administer the former monastery property. The monastery church became a parish church, while the previous, Vogtic parish church of St. Veit served as a residential building for two centuries from 1544 and was later demolished. In 1533 the Protestant Nuremberg-Brandenburg church order was introduced against the opposition of both the provost and the pastor. During the Thirty Years' War Solnhofen suffered from billeting and plundering; from 1634 to 1640 there was no pastor on site.

A winged altar with depictions of the miracles of St. Sola is documented for 1720 , which was removed in 1734 during a renovation of the Sola basilica . In 1782, the dilapidated basilica was largely demolished and the Protestant St. Vitus Church was built in the immediate vicinity and partly on remains of the basilica in margrave style and inaugurated in 1785. In 1791 the last Margrave of Ansbach sold his possessions and rights, and thus Solnhofen, to Prussia , where it remained until 1803, when the town was ceded to the Kingdom of Bavaria through an exchange of territory . In 1818 the political municipality was established.

From 1649 to around 1800 there was a glass industry in Solnhofen, founded by Hans Greiner from Konstein . During this time Protestants in exile from Austria came to Solnhofen in several batches.

19th and 20th centuries

In 1870 the Ingolstadt – Treuchtlingen railway line through Solnhofen was opened. The increase in the Catholic population in the 19th century led to the construction of the Catholic St. Solakirche from 1903 to 1905 . In 1963 it was elevated to a curate , which in 2005 comprised 805 Catholics.

War memorial in Bahnhofstrasse

In 1935 a war memorial was erected in Bahnhofsstraße, which was created by Ludwig Eberle .

From 1961 to 1979, archaeological excavations were carried out in the former monastery area, which showed that two churches were already standing here before Sola, initially a small church building from the middle of the 7th century, which was later expanded to become a larger church Monastery became, as two separate rooms were proven. This second church fell victim to Karl Martell's campaigns in 725 and 728 against the Bavarians. It was rebuilt after 794 as a hall church with two rows of columns and a raised chancel and gallery crypt and is likely to be the church consecrated by Gundekar II after renovations or after final completion. In 1977 a second copy of the row of columns was erected; the original round columns with capitals have been moved to the Archaeological Museum in Munich. There is the "Solamedaillon", a round relief with the representation of a torchbearer, which probably belongs to the Sola basilica and was created around 1065.


On July 1, 1971, the previously independent municipality of Eßlingen was incorporated.


Municipal council

In the local elections on March 30, 2014 , twelve seats were awarded in the local council. All seats went to the Solnhofen citizens' list, in which the candidates from the CSU , SPD and Free Voters ran together.

coat of arms

The coat of arms description reads: Divided; above in silver a black cross (Fuldaer Stiftskreuz), below three times divided by red and gold.

Culture and sights

Alois Senefelder Monument
Parish garden St. Veit, tombstone detail
Catholic St. Sola Church
Archeopteryx monument near Solnhofen


The modern Mayor Müller Museum in the town hall, which has been expanded with lots of Solnhofen stone, shows a unique collection of fossils from the limestone. The world of fish is particularly well represented. The most valuable pieces are the originals of the 6th and 9th primeval bird ( Archeopteryx ). A historical lithography press (with a demonstration if you register in advance) and lithographs can also be seen here.


  • The Solnhofen Solabasilika with its columns from the Carolingian era is one of the oldest architectural monuments in Germany . During excavations there, scientists from the University of Heidelberg discovered traces of settlement going back to the Mesolithic .
  • The Evangelical Lutheran St. Veit parish church is a building in the so-called margrave style (pulpit and organ are mounted above the altar) and was built on the south aisle of the former Sola basilica in 1784. The 29 meter high tower with its pointed helmet still has parts of the 11th century church tower in the basement. Older tombstones have been placed inside the church. In the parish garden there are impressive tombstones from the former cemetery.
  • The Senefelder monument, originally 5.5 meters high, is located in the center of the village on a small square not far from the Sola Basilica. It was in 1845 by Etienne Hippolyte Maindron (1801 *, † 1884) from southern France Sabloniere - limestone for the Paris lithographer Alfred Leon Lemercier created. Its original location was a Paris salon, from where it was moved to the Lemerciers private park in 1846. When his company was dissolved in 1901, the monument was auctioned by Hermann Weinmann , director of the Solenhofener-Aktien-Verein . On October 9, 1904, it was inaugurated next to a peace linden tree planted in Solnhofen in 1871. In 1965 it was moved a few meters away to its current location when the road was widened. On this occasion, a new base made of Jura marble was placed underneath so that the total height is only 3.5 meters.
  • The Catholic Church of St. Sola , a branch church of Pappenheim, was built in 1905 in an early Gothic style from Jura limestone based on a design by Friedrich Niedermayer , Regensburg. It hides a Sola reliquary in the choir room on the left . The relic is a gift from Fulda Bishop Christoph Florentius Kött to the Eichstätter Bishop during his visit to Fulda in 1867. Late Gothic sculptures come from St. Lambertus in Treuchtlingen .

Architectural monuments

Soil monuments


Despite a long tourist tradition, Solnhofen is still a very contemplative and quiet place with a manageable number of gastronomic and tourist offers. Key tourist offers are on the one hand the above mentioned Mayor Müller Museum, on the other hand the very good opportunities for canoeing, cycling and hiking holidays.


Solnhofen has a kindergarten with a crèche. There is only one primary school in town, which is why most of the older children take the bus or train to the Senefelder School in Treuchtlingen .


The asteroid (3229) Solnhofen is named after the place.

Born in Solnhofen


  • 100 years of the Catholic Church of St. Sola Solnhofen 1905–2005. Festschrift , Solnhofen / Weißenburg 2005.
  • The Church of St. Sola in Solnhofen. In: Guest letter 2007 diocese Eichstätt, p. 4f.
  • Festschrift for the Sola year 1994. 1200 years of Solnhofen. Solnhofen: Municipality of Solnhofen 1994
  • Handbook of the historical sites of Germany. Bavaria. Stuttgart 1961, pp. 700f.
  • Heimatbuch Solnhofen , Solnhofen: Municipality of Solnhofen 1975.
  • Steel protects Carolingian architecture. Warm hearted missionary and miraculous hermit. In: Donaukurier Ingolstadt, December 5, 1997, p. 28.
  • Johann Kaspar Bundschuh : Solenhofen . In: Geographical Statistical-Topographical Lexicon of Franconia . tape 5 : S-U . Verlag der Stettinische Buchhandlung, Ulm 1802, DNB  790364328 , OCLC 833753112 , Sp. 345-346 ( digitized version ).
  • Marie Derra: The Solnhofen natural stone and the invention of flat printing by Alois Senefelder. Solnhofen 2002
  • Walter Greiner: In the footsteps of glassmakers from modern times to ancient times. Sonthofen: self-published, 2005
  • Gotthard Kießling: Weissenburg-Gunzenhausen district. (Monuments in Bavaria, V 70/1), Munich 2000, ISBN 3-87490-581-0 , pp. 565-579.
  • August Sieghardt and Wilhelm Malter: Altmühltal from Treuchtlingen to Kelheim with Eichstätt. Heroldsberg 1979, pp. 142-148.
  • Michael Mott : An almost forgotten saint / Sola, who was ordained a priest in Fulda, gave Solnhofen his name, in: Fuldaer Zeitung , May 24, 2006, p. 10 (series: Fuldaer Köpfe).
  • Michael Mott: Fulda saint gives the place its name / Solnhofen in the Altmühltal and its close connection with representatives of the diocese of Fulda. In: Fuldaer Zeitung , 23 August 2012, p. 15 (series: Permit, my name is FULDA).
  • W. Maier, Schauer: Solnhofen . 10-page leaflet no year
  • Leonhard Schauer: The glass industry in Solnhofen. Solnhofen: Municipality of Solnhofen 1987.
  • Leonhard Schauer: Churches, cemeteries, grave monuments and memorials in Solnhofen. Solnhofen 1990.
  • Jutta Simone Schwaab: Where Sola once worked miracles. In: Church newspaper diocese Eichstätt No. 32/33 from 10./17. August 1997, p. 21f.
  • Waldtraut Schrickel (Red.): Solnhofen. Solabasilika and provost house. Origin and development of a church center. Solnhofen: Municipality of Solnhofen 1987
  • Gottfried Stieber: Solenhofen . In: Historical and topographical news from the Principality of Brandenburg-Onolzbach . Johann Jacob Enderes, Schwabach 1761, p. 763-773 ( digitized version ).
  • Pleikard Joseph Stumpf : Sollnhofen . In: Bavaria: a geographical-statistical-historical handbook of the kingdom; for the Bavarian people . Second part. Munich 1853, p. 750 ( digitized version ).

Web links

Commons : Solnhofen  - collection of pictures, videos and audio files
Wikivoyage: Solnhofen  - travel guide

Individual evidence

  1. "Data 2" sheet, Statistical Report A1200C 202041 Population of the municipalities, districts and administrative districts 1st quarter 2020 (population based on the 2011 census) ( help ).
  2. ^ Community Solnhofen in the local database of the Bavarian State Library Online . Bayerische Staatsbibliothek, accessed on December 25, 2019.
  4. List of monuments for Solnhofen (PDF) at the Bavarian State Office for Monument Preservation
  5. ^ Wilhelm Volkert (ed.): Handbook of Bavarian offices, communities and courts 1799–1980 . CH Beck, Munich 1983, ISBN 3-406-09669-7 , p. 593 .