Saarbrücken [ˈzaːɐ̯ˈbrʏkn̩] is the capital of the Saarland Bundesland in Germany. Saarbrücken used to be the industrial and transport centre of a great coal basin; factories here produced iron and steel, sugar, beer, pottery, optical instruments, machinery, and construction materials. However, over the past decades the industrial importance of Saarland has declined, as it is much cheaper, even for German companies, to import coal from lower-wage countries instead of buying it here.
Historic landmarks in the city include the stone bridge across the Saar (1546), the Gothic church of St Arnual, the 18th century Saarbrücker Schloss (castle) and the old part of the town, the St. Johanner Markt. In 1815 Saarbrücken came under Prussian control, and for two periods in the 20th century (1919-1935 and 1945-1957) it became part of the Saar territory under French administration. For this reason, coupled with its proximity to the French border, it retains a certain French influence.