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It is world-famous for its annual Bayreuth Festival, at which performances of operas by the 19th-century German composer Richard Wagner are presented.

but was first mentioned in 1194 as Baierrute in a document by Bishop Otto II of Bamberg.

He was an educated and well-travelled man, whose tutor had been the statesman Joachim Friedrich von Blumenthal.

He founded the Christian-Ernestinum Grammar School and, in 1683, participated in the liberation of Vienna which had been besieged by the Turks.

In 1735 a nursing home, the so-called Gravenreuth Stift, was founded by a private foundation in St. The cost of the building exceeded the funds of the foundation, but Margrave Frederick came to their aid.

Bayreuth experienced its Golden Age during the reign (1735–1763) of Margrave Frederick and Margravine Wilhelmina of Bayreuth, the favourite sister of Frederick the Great.

His successor, the Crown Prince and later Margrave, George William, began in 1701 to establish the then independent town of St Georgen am See (today, the district of St Georgen) with its castle, the so-called Ordensschloss, a town hall, a prison and a small barracks.

In 1705 he founded the Order of Sincerity (Ordre de la Sincérité), which was renamed in 1734 to the Order of the Red Eagle and had the monastery church built, which was completed in 1711.

Even older traces of human presence were found in the hamlets of Meyernberg: pieces of pottery and wooden crockery were dated to the 9th century based on their decoration.

While Bayreuth was previously (1199) referred to as a villa (village), the term civitas ("town") appeared for the first time in a document published in 1231.

In 1605 a great fire, caused by negligence, destroyed 137 of the town's 251 houses.

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