Find German restaurants, stores and events in Georgia.
Germans in Georgia
The first German-speaking immigrants in Georgia arrived in the 18th century and were known as the Salzburger emigrants. As recognizable by their name, the Salzburger emigrants were not German and their origin was actually a region that is in present-day Austria. However, during the period of their arrival, Germany and Austria were not yet sovereign states and actually both territories of the Holy Roman Empire. Therefore, due to their early arrival and the lack of clear distinction between Austria and Germany at the time, they are relevant to the German cultural history in the state of Georgia. The Salzburger emigrants are not only relevant to Georgia history, but also have a fascinating story. Like many other early colonists in America, the Salzburger emigrants were Protestants fleeing religious persecution. In 1734, a congregation of 300 Salzburgers sailed to the Georgia colony and settled in an area about twenty-five miles northwest of Savannah. The area they settled in was known as New Ebenezer and there are still traces of their community today. The Jerusalem Church, which the Salzburgers completed in 1769 still stands and is the oldest church in the state.
While the Jerusalem Church may be the oldest and perhaps most “authentic” structure built by German-speakers in the state, there are a few other opportunities to experience German culture in Georgia. One opportunity is to visit the Bavarian Alps inspired town of Helen, which lies north of Atlanta in the Blue Ridge Mountains. However, the town of Helen was not actually founded by German immigrants and was actually part of a regional economic revitalization plan once the timber industry began to decline in the region. The plan to resurrect the city was a success and there is a reason Helen is ranked as the 3rd most visited city in Georgia. The town provides visitors with the feeling as if they had stepped into a German Alpine city. Every building, restaurant, shop and form of entertainment is German-themed and allows visitors to have a truly unique experience. In Georgia, it is possible to experience one of the oldest churches from a German-speaking community as well as one the most vibrant German-inspired destination towns in the country. While Georgia may not have the most remnants of German cultural heritage, they certainly have some of the most extraordinary.