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Soest (zōst) [key], city (1994 pop. 44,917), North Rhine–Westphalia, W Germany. It is a manufacturing city and an agricultural trade center. Known in the 7th cent., Soest is one of the oldest cities of Germany. It was the chief town of Westphalia in the Middle Ages and was a flourishing member of the Hanseatic League. Until the mid-15th cent. Soest was included in the archbishopric of Cologne and was later in the county of Mark (under the duke of Cleves); but it enjoyed virtual independence under its charter. The city passed to Brandenburg in 1614. Soest was badly damaged in World War II. Its noteworthy buildings include the St. Patroklidom (12th cent.), a Romanesque cathedral; the Romanesque Nicholas Chapel (c.1150); the Wiesenkirche (14th–15th cent.), a lovely late Gothic church; and many medieval and Renaissance-style houses. Much of the old city wall remains.

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

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