In the early Middle Ages, Erfurt grew into an important commercial centre owing to its favourable location at the point of intersection between two ancient German and European trade and military routes. This advantage fostered the city’s early development into a centre of exchange and trade and to become a prosperous city renowned for its brilliance.
Not only the staple rights which required merchants to travel along the via regia (and thus through the city of Erfurt) but also the imperial decree of 1331 giving Erfurt a special status as an imperial trading centre brought great prosperity to the city. However, in the Middle Ages, woad, a plant for producing dyes, was also important for the future development of the city and its surrounding villages. The Erfurt of today is still proud of its standing as a city of commerce. Erfurt is also the shopping centre for Thuringia and has an excellent traffic and transport system. Erfurt’s status as a city for industrial fairs has extended the city’s commercial importance way beyond Thuringia’s borders. Now as before, Erfurt still benefits from the advantages of its location at the centre of Germany.
Erfurt’s airport links the city to the rest of the world. Other logistic
advantages are afforded by the ICE rail link, the motorway crossing of the A4 and the A71 near Erfurt and the motorway system which has been recently extended. All these advantages have combined to make Erfurt a desirable location for new investment.