Pfullingen on the Web

Welcome to Pfullingen on the Web with information on my German hometown. You can skip this boring (almost) text-only page and go directly to the pictures. Of course, you will miss a lot of facts on Pfullingen then...

Where is Pfullingen?

Pfullingen is a nice little town in south-west Germany with slightly more than 17,000 citizens. It lies in the state of Baden-Württemberg and belongs to a region generally known as Swabia ('Schwaben' in German). The geography of this area is dominated by the Swabian Jura (or Swabian Alb), a range of highlands stretching east-west through southwest Germany. The northern edge of the Swabian Jura is marked by a steep rise of a few hundred meters, with a lot of valleys penetrating the highlands. The Swabian Jura is tilted towards the south and reaches the level of the surrounding lands when it meets the river Danube, which is its southern edge. The Black Forrest bounds the Swabian Jura to the west, and the Ries Meteorite Crater to the east.
The city of Pfullingen is located right at the exit of one of the northern valleys of the Swabian Jura formed by the Echaz river. It is about 40 km south of Stuttgart, the state capital of Baden-Württemberg.

Earliest History

The earliest document on Pfullingen dates back to 937 AD, when German emperor Otto the Great granted fishing privileges of the Echaz river to a citizen of Pfullingen. But archaeological evidence goes back much further. The area of Pfullingen was settled already 5000 years ago during the Neolithic. After having been part of the Roman Empire for more than two centuries, Alemannic tribes conquered the region after they crossed the northern defense lines of the Roman Empire (the so-called Limes) in 260 AD. Originally, the Alemanni were living on the coasts of the Baltic Sea before they started moving south in the 3rd century. (Although Germans love beer, the name Alemanni comes from 'all the men' and is not related to an alcoholic beverage of similar sound.) The clan of Phulo, an Alemannic prince, decided to settle in the valley of the Echaz river, thus founding the town of Pfullingen.

The Name: It's Origin...

With many cities and villages in southwest Germany, Pfullingen shares the -ingen suffix (e.g. Reutlingen, Tübingen, ...). The abbreviated version -ing is very common in Bavaria (e.g. Garching, Straubing, ...). These names actually are not place names, but designate clans related to a certain Alemannic prince, and mean, e.g. in the case of Pfullingen, 'the people of Phulo'. So, in early days, people weren't going to a place called Pfullingen, but to the 'Phulo-ingen', the 'people of Phulo'. In the course of time, the original meaning of Pfullingen as a clan designation disappeared and turned into a place name.

... and How to Pronounce It

The most important point to keep in mind (in particular for too-lazy-to-speak-Americans) is that both the p and the f at the beginning of Pfullingen are pronounced, so it's not just 'Fullingen'! If you are wetting your vis-à-vis you are probably doing right. Also note that the g in Pfullingen is pronounced like the g in golf, and not like the g's in ginger.

The Municipal Insignia

The coat of arms of Pfullingen, displayed on top of this page, consists of antlers and a pillow. The antlers are explained easily, since they are the symbol for the county (and, after the Napoleonic Wars, kingdom) of Württemberg to which Pfullingen belonged since the Middle Ages. The story behind the pillow is a bit longer...
Since people have long forgotten about the origin of the name of the city, they made up their own stories about how Pfullingen got its name. They noticed the similarity with the word 'Pfulba', an old Swabian dialect expression for pillow, and came up with the following tale: One day, the count of Württemberg was hunting in the woods of the Echaz river valley, but he got separated from his party. It was becoming dark, so the count decided to go to rest and to search for the hunting party the following day. Of course, his attendants were looking for him, too, and they found him asleep in the woods the next morning. They woke up the count and asked him how he slept. 'Wia uf ma Pfulba' ('Like on a Pfulba=pillow') did the count reply, indicating that he slept very well in that place, which henceforth was known as Pfulbingen or Pfullingen.
This tale became very influential so that finally the 'Pfulba' was put into the insignia of Pfullingen. Hence the pillow doesn't mean that the citizens of Pfullingen are a bunch of lazy and sleepy people...

So you now should be prepared sufficiently for a brief Tour of Pfullingen.

More information (in German) on Pfullingen can be found on the homepages of the Friedrich-Schiller-Gymnasium (the local highschool) and of City Hall.

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