Freiberg (frĪˈbĕrkh) [key], city (1994 pop. 46,540), Saxony, E Germany. It is an industrial center and a rail junction. Manufactures include machinery, electrical and precision instruments, leather, textiles, and porcelain. Lead and zinc are mined in the region. Freiberg was for centuries a silver-mining center and was settled by miners in the 12th cent.; by the early 20th cent., silver mining in the region had been abandoned. The city passed in 1485 to the house of Wettin, and it was the main commercial center of Saxony until the 16th cent. In the Thirty Years War it resisted a siege by the Swedes (1642–43), and in the Seven Years War the Prussians defeated (1762) the Austrians there. Noteworthy buildings include a late Gothic cathedral and numerous Renaissance style and baroque houses. Freiberg's famous mining academy (founded 1765) is the oldest in the world.
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