|• Lord Mayor||Jens Bühlingen (CDU)|
|• Total||54.73 km2 (21.13 sq mi)|
|Elevation||88 m (289 ft)|
|• Density||640/km2 (1,700/sq mi)|
|Time zone||CET/CEST (UTC+1/+2)|
|Duchy of Saxe-Merseburg
|State of the Holy Roman Empire|
Merseburg in 1650
|Historical era||Early modern Europe|
Electorate of Saxony
|-||Restored to Saxony||1738|
Merseburg is a town in the south of the German state of Saxony-Anhalt on the river Saale, approx. 14 km south of Halle (Saale). It is the capital of the Saalekreis district. It had a diocese founded by Archbishop Adalbert of Magdeburg. The University of Merseburg is located within the town.
Pre-history and Middle Ages
Thietmar of Merseburg, appointed in 973, became the first bishop of the newly created bishopric of Prague in Bohemia. Prague had been part of the archbishopric of Mainz for a hundred years before that. From 968 until the Protestant Reformation, Merseburg was the seat of the Bishop of Merseburg, and in addition to being for a time the residence of the margraves of Meissen, it was a favorite residence of the German kings during the 10th, 11th and 12th centuries. Fifteen diets were held here during the Middle Ages, during which time its fairs enjoyed the importance which was afterwards transferred to those of Leipzig. The town suffered severely during the German Peasants' War and also during the Thirty Years' War.
17th Century to 20th Century
From 1657 to 1738 Merseburg was the residence of the dukes of Saxe-Merseburg, after which it fell to the Electorate of Saxony. In 1815 following the Napoleonic Wars, the town became part of the Prussian Province of Saxony.
Merseburg is the site where the Merseburg Incantations were rediscovered in 1841. Written down in Old High German, they are hitherto the only preserved German documents with a heathen theme. One of them is a charm to release warriors caught during battle, and the other is a charm to heal a horse's sprained foot.
At the beginning of the 20th century, Merseburg was transformed into an industrial site, largely due to the pioneering work done by Carl Bosch and Friedrich Bergius, who laid down the scientific fundamentals of the catalytic high-pressure ammonia synthesis from 1909 to 1913. Enterprises, too, blazed a trail in the course of the transformational process. Ultimately, a chemical park emerged at nearby Leuna which is one of the most modern sites of its kind in Europe with high ecological standards.
Like many towns in the former East Germany, Merseburg has had a general decline in population since German Reunification despite annexing and merging with a number of smaller nearby villages.
Population of Merseburg (from 1960, population on 31st December, unless otherwise indicated):
1834 to 1933
1939 to 1984
1990 to 2007
Data source from 1990: Statistical Office of Saxony Anhalt
1 29 October
2 31 August
3 3 October
4 14 July 2008
Venenien was annexed into Merseburg on January 1 1949. The parish Kötzschen followed on July 1 1950. Since May 30 1994, Meuschau belongs to Merseburg. Trebnitz followed later. Beuna was annexed on January 1 2009. Geusa is a part of Merseburg since January 1 2010.
The Cathedral-and-Palace Ensemble with its fascinating palace garden (Schlossgarten), Merseburg House of Trades with a cultural stage and the German Museum of Chemistry, Merseburg, all bear witness to Merseburg’s history. The Merseburg Palace Festival with the Historical Pageant, the International Palace-Moat Concerts, Merseburg Organ Days and the Puppet Show Festival Week are highlights celebrated every year.
- Thietmar of Merseburg, bishop and chronist
- Thilo of Trotha, bishop, known through the local legend of the raven
- Johannes Knolleisen, canon
- Ernst Haeckel, biologist
- Lucian Müller, classical scholar
- Klaus Tennstedt, conductor
- Elisabeth Schumann, singer
- Karl Adolph von Basedow, physician
- Jawed Karim, YouTube co-founder
Merseburg is twinned with:
- This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domain: Chisholm, Hugh, ed. (1911). Encyclopædia Britannica (11th ed.). Cambridge University Press
- "Bevölkerung und Erwerbstätigkeit". Statistisches Landesamt Sachsen-Anhalt (in German). July 2012.
- Eckardt Götz (1980) Schicksale deutscher Baudenkmale im zweiten Weltkrieg, Band 2, p. 332, Henschelverlag, Berlin
- Gemeinden 1994 und ihre Veränderungen seit 01.01.1948 in den neuen Ländern, Verlag Metzler-Poeschel, Stuttgart, 1995, ISBN 3-8246-0321-7, Herausgeber: Statistisches Bundesamt
- StBA: Änderungen bei den Gemeinden Deutschlands, siehe 2009, 1. Liste
- StBA: Änderungen bei den Gemeinden Deutschlands, siehe 2010
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Merseburg.|
- Official website (German)