ESSLINGEN, a town of Germany, in the kingdom of Württemberg, in a fertile district on the Neckar, 9 m. S.E. from Stuttgart, on the railway to Ulm. Pop. (1905) 29,750. It is surrounded by medieval walls with towers and bastions, and has thirteen suburbs, one lying on an island in the river. On a commanding height above the town lies the old citadel. The inner town has an old (1430) and a new Rathaus, the latter, formerly a palace, an exceedingly handsome edifice. The church of Our Lady (Frauenkirche) is a fine Gothic building of the 15th century, and has a beautifully sculptured doorway and a lattice spire 240 ft. high. The church of St Dionysius dated from the 13th century, and possesses a fine screen and a ciborium of 1486. Esslingen possesses several schools, a theatre and a richly endowed hospital, while its municipal archives contain much valuable literature bearing especially on the period of the Reformation. The town has railway, machine and electrical works; cloth, gloves and buttons are also manufactured here, and there are spinning-mills. There is a large lithographic establishment, and a considerable trade is done in wine and fruit, the wines of Esslingen being very famous.
Esslingen, which dates from the 8th century, became a town in 886. It was soon a place of importance; it became a free imperial city in 1209 and was surrounded with walls by order of the emperor Frederick II. Its liberty was frequently threatened by the rulers of Württemberg, but it did not become part of that country until 1802.
See K. H. S. Pfaff, Geschichte der Reichsstadt Esslingen (Esslingen, 1852); and Ströhmfeld, Esslingen in Wort und Bild (Esslingen, 1902).