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Notable institutions in Erfurt are the Federal Labour Court of Germany, the University of Erfurt and the Fachhochschule Erfurt (University of Applied Sciences).The university was founded in 1379, making it the first university to be established in geographic area which constitutes modern day Germany.Around 1100, some people became free citizens by paying the annual "" (liberation tax), which marks a first step in becoming an independent city.

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100,000 BCE The town is first mentioned in 742 under the name of "Erphesfurt": in that year, Saint Boniface wrote to Pope Zachary to inform him that he had established three dioceses in central Germany, one of them "in a place called Erphesfurt, which for a long time has been inhabited by pagan natives." All three dioceses (the other two were Würzburg and Büraburg) were confirmed by Zachary the next year, though in 755 Erfurt was brought into the diocese of Mainz.

Throughout the Middle Ages, Erfurt was an important trading town because of its location, near a ford across the Gera river.

It lies in the southern part of the Thuringian Basin, within the wide valley of the Gera river.

It is located 100 km (62 mi) south-west of Leipzig, 300 km (186 mi) south-west of Berlin, 400 km (249 mi) north of Munich and 250 km (155 mi) north-east of Frankfurt.

Erfurt was first mentioned in 742, as Saint Boniface founded the diocese.

Although the town did not belong to any of the Thuringian states politically, it quickly became the economic centre of the region.After 1200, independence was fulfilled and a city council was founded in 1217; the town hall was built in 1275.In the following decades, the council bought a city-owned territory around Erfurt which consisted at its height of nearly 100 villages and castles and even another small town (Sömmerda).The city is situated on the Via Regia, a medieval trade and pilgrims' road network.Modern day Erfurt is also a hub for ICE high speed trains and other German and European transport networks.Together with neighbouring cities Weimar and Jena it forms the central metropolitan area of Thuringia with approximately 500,000 inhabitants.