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The city of Nuremburg's location on key trade routes between northern and southern Europe enabled it to grow throughout the Middle Ages. Although it was situated in the electorate of Bavaria it was a self-governing, Imperial Free City.
Such was its importance that it was often referred to as the 'unofficial capital' of the Holy Roman Empire. The city expanded during the 15th and 16th centuries and it became the centre of the German Renaissance. The city suffered heavily during the Thirty Years War when it occupied by Swedish forces of Gustavus Adolphus and besieged by the army of Imperial general, Wallenstein. Like Augsburg the city gradually declined after the wars came to an end.