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The history of Balve

A journey through time

The oldest traces of human life in the local area are around 100,000 years old and come from the Balver Cave. At the beginning of the 4th millennium BC, people in this region began to make the world arable and usable. Much later, a small settlement of several main and secondary farmsteads scattered along the banks of the Hönne emerged.

The famous Saxon Duke Widukind also owned land here in old Balowa. The oldest documentary mention of the village of Balve comes from Werden Abbey near Essen and reports from the year 864 that a girl from Balve regained her sight here at the grave of St. Ludger.

In the centuries that followed, the historical development of Balve in Electoral Cologne was determined by its political fate as a town on the border with the County of Mark.

In 1430, the town on the border was granted a town charter by the Archbishop and Elector of Cologne, Dietrich II von Moers, giving it greater significance.

During the Truksessian turmoil of the 16th century, Balve and the Electorate of Cologne's Sauerland region asserted their allegiance to Catholic doctrine.

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The honorary citizens of the town of Balve were distinguished by their commitment and dedication, which contributed significantly to enriching the community and strengthening the social fabric of the town, which you can find out more about here:

To the honorary citizens

Development into the modern town of Balve

The entire town was destroyed by fire a total of three times and then rebuilt. One of the few houses that survived these disasters is the venerable half-timbered house on the church square, the so-called "Alte Vikarie St. Nikolai".
In 1815, the Balver Land and the former Electoral Duchy of Westphalia became part of the Kingdom of Prussia. This did not remain without influence, nor did the beginning industrialization of the 19th century. The remarkable technical cultural monument Luisenhütte dates back to the years 1835 to 1854. This is the only blast furnace of this early type in Central Europe.

Since the territorial reform of 1975, the formerly small town of Balve has grown far beyond its original boundaries and now forms a community with the districts of Beckum, Eisborn, Garbeck, Mellen, Langenholthausen and Volkringhausen. In addition, the new town of Balve had to relinquish its ties to the Sauerland region, which had grown over the centuries, and is now part of the newly created Märkischer Kreis district.

At 546 m above sea level, the highest point of the town lies on its western edge in the Balve Forest. A varied, flatter mountain and plateau landscape stretches out to the east.

The limestone plateau in the northern part of the town is cut through by the Hönne in a rocky gorge-like valley. Bizarrely shaped rock formations and a large number of caves are typical landscape elements here.