Ballenstedt about 1900
|• Mayor||Dr. Michael Knoppik (CDU)|
|• Total||86.61 km2 (33.44 sq mi)|
|Elevation||236 m (774 ft)|
|• Density||110/km2 (280/sq mi)|
|Time zone||CET/CEST (UTC+1/+2)|
Ballenstedt is a town in the Harz district, in the German state of Saxony-Anhalt. It is situated at the northern rim of the Harz mountain range, about 10 km (6 mi) southeast of Quedlinburg. The municipality includes the villages of Rieder, Badeborn and Opperode. The tourist route, the Romanesque Road, leads through Ballenstedt.
Ballenstedt was first mentioned in a 1030 deed, issued by Count Esico of Ballenstedt, son of one Count Adalbert, who held the office of a Vogt of Nienburg Abbey, and Hidda, a daughter of Margrave Odo I of the Saxon Ostmark. Esico (~1000-1059/60), whose sister Uta married Margrave Eckard II of Meissen is considered the progenitor of the House of Ascania. He had a collegiate church erected in Ballenstedt, that was dedicated to Saints Pancras and Abundius in the presence of Emperor Henry III in 1046. Esico's son Count Adalbert II granted Ballenstedt to Nienburg Abbey in 1073. His descendant Albert the Bear, first ruler of the Margraviate of Brandenburg, established a Benedictine monastery at the site and was buried at the crypt of the abbey church in 1070. A monument for Albert is located in the town's park.
Severely damaged during the German Peasants' War, the monastery was secularised in 1525 by the Ascanian Prince Wolfgang von Anhalt-Köthen in course of the Protestant Reformation. Wolfgang chose Ballenstedt as a residence and granted it town privileges in 1543. As a supporter of Protestant King Christian IV of Denmark during the Thirty Years' War, Ballenstedt was raided and plundered by the troops of Albrecht von Wallenstein in 1626.
After the war, the town and the castle were rebuilt as the summer residence of the Ascanian Princes of Anhalt-Bernburg. In 1765 Prince Frederick Albert completely moved his residence from Bernburg to Ballenstedt and induced a time of prosperity, including the erection of the famous castle theatre in 1788, the oldest theatre in Saxony-Anhalt and the domain of composers like Albert Lortzing and Franz Liszt.
A part of the Duchy of Anhalt from 1863 on, Ballenstedt became known as a residential town for the well-to-do retired like Princess Friederike of Schleswig-Holstein-Sonderburg-Glücksburg, who died at Ballenstedt Castle in 1902, or the painter and author Wilhelm von Kügelgen, whose house is now a museum.
Seats in the municipal assembly (Stadtrat) as of 2004 elections:
- Christian Democratic Union: 8 (41,2%)
- The Left: 4 (18,2%)
- Free Voters: 3 (12,6%)
- Free Democratic Party: 3 (12,5%)
- Social Democratic Party of Germany: 1 (7,5%)
- Independent: 1 (5,4%)
The coat of arms is derived from the insignia of the Counts of Ballenstedt, which is also the origin of the coat of arms of Saxony. It was first manifested in 1560 after Ballenstedt received town rights.
Places of interest
- Ballenstedt Castle: Baroque three-winged building, renovated in the 18th century, grave of Albert the Bear
- Castle Park: created by Peter Joseph Lenné; castle and castle park belong to the Saxony-Anhalt Garden Dreams project
- Ballenstedt Castle Theatre: played by Albert Lortzing and Franz Liszt
- Großer Gasthof castle hotel: originally built in 1733 as an armoury, converted in 1756 by the Brunswick-Wolfenbüttel ducal master builder, Martin Peltier de Belfort, into a guest house
- Local History Museum, opposite the Großer Gasthof in the upper part of the avenue
- Kügelgen House, Kügelgenstr. 35a
- Yellow House (Gelbes Haus), on the exit to the town towards Rieder, built as a roadside toll house
- Allee: representative, a kilometre long approach to the castle, centre point of the town
- Old Town Hall (Altes Rathaus): timber-framed building erected in 1683
- New Town Hall (Neues Rathaus): representative building, built in 1906 based on a design by Berlin architect Alfred Messel
- St. Nicholas' Church: Late Gothic church, built in 1326, burnt down in 1498, rebuilt in 1501
- Town wall, can still be seen in Wallstraße
- Wall towers along the town wall (Oberturm, Unterturm, Marktturm – the latter is accessible, key in the restaurant opposite)
- Swimming baths, built 1907-08
- Teufelsmauer (Harz)
- Gegensteine nature reserve
- Bismarck Tower, Opperode
- Roseburg (castle)
- Oberhof Ballenstedt
Ballenstedt is located at the Bundesstraße (federal highway) 185, leading to the Bundesstraße 6 and the Bundesautobahn 14. Train service was suspended in 2003. A small asphalt runway is about 5 km (3 mi) outside the town.
Born in Ballenstedt
- Johann Arndt, theologian, born December 27, 1555, died May 11, 1621 in Celle
- Gustav Strube, composer, born March 3, 1867, died February 2, 1953 in Baltimore
- Princess Marie-Auguste of Anhalt, born June 10, 1898, died May 22, 1983 in Essen
- Justus Pfaue, author, born 1942
Died in Ballenstedt
- Karl Christian Agthe, composer, born June 16, 1762 in Hettstedt, died November 27, 1797
- Wilhelm von Kügelgen, painter, born November 20, 1802 in Saint Petersburg, died May 25, 1867
- Wilhelm Vöge, art historian, born February 16, 1868 in Bremen, died December 30, 1952.
|Wikisource has the text of the 1911 Encyclopædia Britannica article Ballenstedt.|
- Kronberg im Taunus, Germany
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Ballenstedt.|