DURKHEIM, a town of Germany, in the Bavarian Palatinate, near the foot of the Hardt Mountains, and at the entrance of the valley of the Isenach, 15 m. N.W. of Spires on the railway Monsheim-Neustadt. Pop. 6300. It possesses two Evangelical churches and one Roman Catholic, a town hall occupying the site of the castle of the princes of Leiningen-Hartenburg, an antiquarian and a scientific society, a public library and a high school. It is well known as a health resort, for the grape cure and for the baths of the brine springs of Philippshalle, in the neighbourhood, which not only supply the bathing establishment, but produce considerable quantities of marketable salt. There is a brisk trade in wine and oil; tobacco, glass and paper are manufactured.
As a dependency of the Benedictine abbey of Limburg, which was built and endowed by Conrad II., Dürkheim or Thurnigheim came into the possession of the counts of Leiningen, who in the 14th century made it the seat of a fortress, and enclosed it with wall and ditch. In the three following centuries it had its full share of the military vicissitudes of the Palatinate; but it was rebuilt after the French invasion of 1689, and greatly fostered by its counts in the beginning of next century. In 1794 its new castle was sacked by the French, and in 1849 it was the scene of a contest between the Prussians and the insurrectionists. The ruins of the Benedictine abbey of Limburg lie about 1 m. S.W. of the town; and in the neighbourhood rises the Kastanienberg, with the ancient rude stone fortification of the Heidenmauer or Heathen's Wall.
Note - this article incorporates content from Encyclopaedia Britannica, Eleventh Edition, (1910-1911)