Halle, Saxony-Anhalt

Halle, Saxony-Anhalt
Halle (Saale)
Market Place with Red Tower
Market Place with Red Tower
Coat of arms of Halle (Saale)
Halle (Saale) is located in Germany
Halle (Saale)
Coordinates 51°29′N 11°58′E / 51.48333°N 11.96667°E / 51.48333; 11.96667Coordinates: 51°29′N 11°58′E / 51.48333°N 11.96667°E / 51.48333; 11.96667
Country Germany
State Saxony-Anhalt
District Urban district
Mayor Dagmar Szabados (SPD)
Basic statistics
Area 135.01 km2 (52.13 sq mi)
Elevation 87 m  (285 ft)
Population 232,963 (31 December 2010)[1]
 - Density 1,726 /km2 (4,469 /sq mi)
Other information
Time zone CET/CEST (UTC+1/+2)
Licence plate HAL
Postal codes 06108-06132
Area code 0049345
Website www.halle.de
Martin Luther University of Halle-Wittenberg
Händel-Haus – birthplace of composer George Frideric Handel, in 2009
Northern water tower
Roter Turm – erected between 1418 and 1506

Halle is the largest city in the German state of Saxony-Anhalt. It is also called Halle an der Saale (literally Halle on the Saale river, and in some historic references simply Saale after the river) in order to distinguish it from the town of Halle in North Rhine-Westphalia. The current official name of the city is Halle (Saale).



Halle (Saale) is situated in the southern part of Saxony-Anhalt, along the river Saale which drains the surrounding plains and the greater part of the neighbouring Free State of Thuringia located just to its south, and the Thuringian basin, northwards from the Thuringian Forest. Leipzig, one of the other major cities of eastern Germany, is only 40 km away.


Halle's early history is connected with harvesting of salt. The name Halle reflects early Celtic settlement given that 'halen' is the Brythnoic (Welsh/Breton) word for salt (cf. 'salann' in Irish). The name of the river Saale also contains the Germanic root for salt, and salt-harvesting has taken place in Halle at least since the time of the Bronze Age (2300-600 BC).

The town was first mentioned in 806. It became a part of the Archbishopric of Magdeburg in the 10th century and remained so until 1680, when Brandenburg-Prussia annexed it together with Magdeburg as the Duchy of Magdeburg, while it was also an important location for Martin Luther's Reformation with Albert of Mainz as his ecclesiastic counterpart. The Battle of Halle was fought between French and Prussian forces on 17 October 1806. The fighting moved from the covered bridges on the west side of the city, through the streets and market place, to the eastern suburbs. In 1815 Halle became part of the Prussian Province of Saxony.

During World War II prisoners from Poland, Czechoslovakia, the Soviet Union, France, Netherlands and other nations in the camp were Birkhahn Mötzlich brought [8] satellite camp of Buchenwald concentration camp for forced labor in the Siebel aircraft plants in which combat aircraft - by many other laborers - were built, this work was later dismantled.

Halle suffered little damage during World War II. There where two bomb attacks carried out on the town: the first on 31 March 1945, the second a few days later. The first attack between the station and the center and the center itself and in the second attack in the southern district. It killed over a thousand inhabitants and 3,600 buildings were destroyed, many heavily damaged. Among them the Market Church, George Church, the Old Town Hall, the Council's balance, the City Theatre, valuable houses (historic buildings in the Friars Road and the Great stone street) and the city cemetery. On 17 April 1945 Halle was occupied by American troops, while the red tower was set on fire by artillery and destroyed. Also, the market and the Church of St. George church received more hits. The city however, does not have major damage because the planned aerial bombardment was canceled, particularly the then attributed resident in Halle, former Commander of the First World War, Count Felix von Luckner, who along with the mayor and an army officer negotiated surrender of the city to American forces. In July, the Americans pulled away again, as the occupying power was followed by the Soviet Union.

After World War II Halle served as the capital of the short-lived administrative region of Saxony-Anhalt, this was until 1952 when the East German government abolished its "Länder" (States). As a part of East Germany (until 1990), it functioned as the capital of the administrative district ("Bezirk") of Halle. When Saxony-Anhalt was re-established as a Bundesland, Magdeburg became the capital.

According to historic documents, the city of Halle has been a member of the Hanseatic League at least since 1281.

Main sights

  • Giebichenstein Castle, first mentioned in 961, is north of the city centre on a hill above the Saale river.
  • Moritzburg, a newer palace, was built in 1503. It was the residence of the archbishops of Magdeburg, was destroyed in the Thirty Years' War, and was then a ruin for centuries. Rebuilt in 1904, today it is an Art Gallery.
  • Eselsmarkt, (Donkey Market) first square of Halle
  • Roter Turm (Red Tower), Campanile of the Marien Church and a landmark of Halle, is one of five towers of the city's famous silhouette. It was built between 1418 and 1503.
  • Marktkirche, Marien Church, the church of Our Lady, 1529–1554, here two churches were combined. The Getruden Church dates back to the 11th Century and the Marien Church from the 12th Century.
  • Hausmannstürme, quarter for the family of the Türmer, part of the Marien Church
  • Cathedral (Der Dom), a steepleless building, was originally a church within a Dominican monastery (1271).
  • Roland, dates back to 1161 and is made of wood. After an uprising in the city a cage was placed around it, a reminder of the restrictions.
  • Botanic Garden Martin-Luther University Halle-Wittenberg, founded over 300 years ago, part of Garden Dreams
  • Händel House, built in 1558 and birthplace of Georg Fridrich Händel, serves as a collection of historic music instruments.
  • Graseweghouse
  • Saline Museum is dedicated to the harvesting of salt.
  • Citywall, parts of it
  • Daily Farmers Market, at the Main Square, sells vegetables, fruit, fish, dairy, meat and bakery products.
  • Yellow line, which runs over the market square, marks a geological fault line, Hallische Verwerfung.
  • Stadtgottesacker is a Renaissance era cemetery, from 1557 onwards, similar to the Composanto in Pisa, Italy.
  • Galgenberge, location of the Gallows from the 14th to the end of the 18th Century
  • Markschlösschen, Markt 13, Gallery and Tourist Information
  • Ackerbürgerhaus, 11th or 12th Century building, near Dom
  • Frankens Stiftungen
  • Reichhardts Garden is an historic park, part of garden dreams (Gartenträume). In 1794 Johann Friedrich Reichardt (1752–1814) obtained the "Kästnerische Gut". It changed ownership several times and the city of Halle bought the park in 1903 to give the wider public access.
  • Klausberge, porphyry mountain, location of the chapel of the Klaus brothers, panoramic view over the Saale Valley, Eichendorf-Bench
  • Bischofs Wiese, part of Dölauer Heide, has 35 graves dating back at about 2500-2000 B.C., the Neolithic Period.
  • Volkspark
  • Halle Opera House
  • Neues Theater
  • Thalia Theater, the only Theatre for Children in Saxony-Anhalt
  • Steintor Bühne
  • Peißnitz Isle
  • Pestalozzi Park
  • Gimmritzer Damm, horse racing
  • Halle-Neustadt, most of it built in the 1960s, is situated in the west of Halle. The complex is an example of GDR socialist housing development, as well as an example of successful growth.

Industrial heritage

Salt, also known as White Gold, was extracted from four "Borns" (well-like structures). The four Borns/brine named Gutjahrbrunnen, Meteritzbrunnen, Deutscher Born and Hackeborn, were located around the Hallmarket (or "Under Market"), now a market square with a fountain, just across from the TV station, MDR. The brine was highly concentrated and boiled in Koten, simple structured houses made from reed and clay. Salters, who wore a unique uniform with eighteen silver buttons, were known as Halloren, and this name was later used for the chocolates in the shape of these buttons.

The Halloren-Werke, the oldest chocolate factory in Germany, was founded in 1804. Old documents are on display and a chocolate room can be visited at Delitzscher Street 70. The original "Halloren-Kugeln" are sold in a box of eighteen little pralines.

Within East Germany, Halle's chemical industry, now mainly shut down, was of great importance. The two main companies were Buna and Leuna, and Halle-Neustadt (Halle Newtown) was built in the 1960s to accommodate the employees of these two factories.

Science and culture

The University of Halle was founded here in 1694. It is now combined with the University of Wittenberg and is called the Martin Luther University of Halle-Wittenberg. The medical school there was founded by Friedrich Hoffmann. The university's botanical garden, the Botanische Garten der Martin-Luther-Universität Halle-Wittenberg, dates to 1698.

The famous Baroque composer George Friderich Handel was born in Halle in 1685, where he spent the first 17 years of his life. The house where he lived is now a museum and houses an exhibition about his life. To celebrate the composer, Halle has staged a Handel Festival since 1922, annually in June since 1952.

The Franckesche Stiftungen (Francke Foundations) are also home of the famous Stadtsingechor zu Halle, who was founded before year 1116 and is one of the oldest boys' choirs in the world.

The German Academy of Sciences Leopoldina is the oldest and one of the most respected scientific societies in Germany.

Halle accommodates Germany's oldest Evangelical Bible college, known as the Marien Bibliothek, with 27,000 titles.

In the past Halle was a centre of German Pietism and played an important role in establishing the Lutheran church in North America, when Henry Muhlenberg and others were sent as missionaries to Pennsylvania in the mid 18th century. Muhlenberg is now called the first Patriarch of the Lutheran Church in America. He and his son, Frederick Muhlenberg, who was the first Speaker of the United States House of Representatives, were graduates of Halle University.

The Silver Treasure of the Halloren is displayed occasionally at the Technical Museum Saline. It is a unique collection of silver and gold goblets dating back to 1266. The ancient craft of "Schausieden" (boiling of the brine) can be observed there too.

The Landesmuseum für Vorgeschichte houses the Nebra sky disk, a significant (though unproven) Bronze-age find with astrological significance.

Halle Zoo contributes to the EAZA breeding programme, in particular for the Angolan Lion and the Malaysian Tiger. Halle is also known for its thriving coypu (or nutria) population, which is native to South America.

With writers as Heine, Eichendorff, Schleiermacher, Tieck and Novalis the town was a vibrant scene of the German Romanticism. Also Johann Wolfgang von Goethe was a regular guest at the house of his close friend Johann Friedrich Reichardt.

Transport history

Ludwig Wucherer made Halle an important rail hub in central Germany. In 1840 he opened the Magdeburg-Halle-Leipzig line, completing a connection between Magdeburg and Dresden. In 1841–1860, other lines to Erfurt, Kassel and Berlin followed.

Since 1891 Halle has had the first large electrical inner-city tram line in the world.[2] See also Halle (Saale) Hauptbahnhof, the main railway station.

Notable residents

  • Early Baroque composer and organist Samuel Scheidt (1587-1654) was both born and spent the majority of his life and career in Halle.
  • Baroque composer Georg Friedrich Händel was born in Halle on 23 February 1685, and stayed for 17 years.
  • Georg Cantor worked as a professor at the university of Halle.
  • Dorothea Christiane Erxleben of Quedlinburg (1715–1762) made her Doctor of Medicine in 1754 at the Medical Department of Martin Luther University (MLU).
  • August Hermann Francke (1663–1727), Lutheran Pietist theologian at the University of Halle and founder of the internationally renowned Halle Orphan House complex .
  • Johann Friedrich Reichardt was a composer, writer and music critic who lived in Halle. He was a close friend of Johann Wolfgang von Goethe.
  • Ludwig Wucherer (1790–1861) was elected Councillor.
  • Georg Listing (born 1987) bassist from the Magdeburg-based band, Tokio Hotel.
  • George Müller (1805–1898), coordinator of orphanages in Bristol, England.
  • Lyonel Feininger Painter who created several famous images in Halle, including Der Dom in Halle.
  • Reinhard Heydrich, one of the leading Nazis in World War II, was born in the town. He was seen as the successor to Hitler. Heydrich was assassinated by Czech partisans in Prague in 1942.
  • Hans-Dietrich Genscher, a former Vice Chancellor and longest serving Foreign Minister of Germany, was born in Reideburg, which belongs to Halle today.
  • Huguenots – French Protestants, around 700 people made Halle their home after fleeing prosecution in France.
  • Fabian von Schlabrendorff (1907–1980) Lawyer, officer, judge and member of the German resistance.
  • Classical composer Daniel Gottlob Türk was born in Halle in 1750, and was a professor at the University of Halle.
  • Friedrich Daniel Ernst Schleiermacher was university preacher and professor of theology to the University of Halle, where he remained until 1807.
  • Oswald Boelcke, World War I German Flying Ace, was born in 1891 outside of Halle.
  • Johannes Hassebroek (1910–1977) commandant of Gross-Rosen concentration camp was born in the city.
  • Friedrich Ludwig Jahn, theology student of University Halle 1796-1800, went into hiding and used a phorphyr cave along the river Saale at the Klausberge, this cave later was known as the "Jahn Höhle" (Cave), not just known for his four F as in "frisch, fromm, fröhlich, frei" (fresh, pious, happy and free).
  • Frederick Muhlenberg was the first Speaker of the United States House of Representatives, graduated at Halle University.
  • Manfred Kuschmann, East German athlete and European Champion of 1974 lived in Halle
  • Nickel Hofmann, mastermason, worked over thirty years in Halle, including the Market Church and the Composanto.
  • Waldemar Cierpinski, East German athlete and two time Olympic Champion lived in Halle.
  • Blessed Carl Lampert, Priest, beheaded by Nazis in WWII at Halle

International relations

Halle is twinned with:


  1. ^ "Bevölkerung der Gemeinden nach Landkreisen" (in German). Statistisches Landesamt Sachsen-Anhalt. 31 December 2010. http://www.statistik.sachsen-anhalt.de/download/stat_berichte/6A102_hj_2010_02.pdf. 
  2. ^ Wolfgang König, Wolfhard Weber: Netzwerke. Stahl und Strom. 1840 bis 1914. In: Propyläen Technikgeschichte. Bd. 4, Propyläen Verlag, Berlin 1991–1992, ISBN 3-549-07113-2, S. 344
  3. ^ "Twin towns". www.ouka.fi. http://www.ouka.fi/kansainvalisyys/english/ystavyyskaupungit.html. Retrieved 7 November 2009. 
  4. ^ Jérôme Steffenino, Marguerite Masson. "Ville de Grenoble - Coopérations et villes jumelles". Grenoble.fr. http://www.grenoble.fr/jsp/site/Portal.jsp?page_id=92. Retrieved 29 October 2009. [dead link]

External links

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