Market Place with the Red Tower (right) and the Marktkirche Unser Lieben Frauen
|• Mayor||Bernd Wiegand|
|• Total||135.01 km2 (52.13 sq mi)|
|Elevation||87 m (285 ft)|
|• Density||1,700/km2 (4,400/sq mi)|
|Time zone||CET/CEST (UTC+1/+2)|
Halle (Saale) is a city in the southern part of the German state Saxony-Anhalt. Halle is a very important economy and education-center in eastern Germany. The University of Halle-Wittenberg is the biggest university in Saxony-Anhalt and one of the oldest Universities in Germany. Together with Leipzig it builds the heart of the Central German Metropolitan Region.
- 1 Geography
- 2 History
- 3 Main sights
- 4 Halle Cycle
- 5 Industrial heritage
- 6 Science and culture
- 7 Transport history
- 8 Sports
- 9 Notable residents
- 10 International relations
- 11 References
- 12 External links
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 35 km (22 mi) away.
Halle's early history is connected with harvesting of salt. The name Halle reflects early Celtic settlement given that 'halen' is the Brythonic (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 Bronze Age (2300-600 BC).
The Latin name Hala Saxonum was also used.
Middle Ages until Industrialisation
The town was first mentioned in AD 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. According to historic documents, the city of Halle has been a member of the Hanseatic League at least since 1281.
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.
World War II (1939-1945)
During World War II, KZ-Außenlager Birkhahn, a subcamp of Buchenwald was located in Halle, where prisoners from Poland, Czechoslovakia, the Soviet Union, France, Netherlands and other nations were forced to work in the Siebel aircraft plants, making combat aircraft. The plant was later dismantled. In Ammendorf (de), a large factory owned by Orgacid (de) produced mustard gas.
Near the end of World War II, there were two bombing raids carried out against the town: the first on 31 March 1945, the second a few days later. The first attack took place between the railway station and the centre of the city and the second bombing was in the southern district. It killed over 1,000 inhabitants; 3,600 buildings were destroyed and many heavily damaged. Among them, the Market Church, St. George Church, the Old Town Hall, the City Theatre, historic buildings on Bruederstrasse and on Grosse Steinstrasse, and the city cemetery. On 17 April 1945 Halle was occupied by American troops, and the red tower was set on fire by artillery and destroyed. Also, the Market Church and the Church of St. George received more hits. However, the city did not sustain further damage because a planned aerial bombardment was canceled, after a former Commander of the First World War, Count Felix von Luckner and the city's Mayor negotiated the surrender of the city to the American army. In July, the Americans withdrew and the city was occupied by the Red Army.
German Democratic Republic (1949-1990)
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.
Since German Unity (after 1990)
When Saxony-Anhalt was re-established as a Bundesland in 1990, Magdeburg became the capital. Historically and culturally, Halle is part of Prussia (former Prussian province of Saxony), not of what is today the German state of Saxony (former Kingdom of Saxony).
Halloren Chocolate Factory and visitors' centre, the oldest chocolate factory in Germany. Giebichenstein Castle, first mentioned in 961, in the north of the city centre on a hill above the Saale river, with a museum in the upper castle and the Burg Giebichenstein University of Art and Design in the lower castle.
- Moritzburg, a newer castle, was built between 1484 and 1503. It was the residence of the archbishops of Magdeburg, was destroyed in the Thirty Years' War, and has been a ruin afterwards for centuries. Partially reconstructed in 1901-1913, it is an Art Gallery today. The reconstruction was completed with the opening of new exposition rooms, designed by the Spanish architects Sobejano and Nieto, in 2010.
- Neue Residenz (New Residence), an early Renaissance palace (1531–1537)
- Market square with
- Market Church of St. Mary (Marktkirche), built in 1529–1554, using elements of two medieval churches, St. Gertrude's Church dating back to the 11th century and the older St. Mary's Church from the 12th Century. The church has four steeples, the two western octagonal ones are called Blue Towers because of their dark blue slate roofing. The other two Hausmannstürme are connected by a bridge and on this bridge was the fire watch. The church owns as well the original death-mask of Martin Luther. The Marktkirche's four towers and the city's nearby Roter Turm (Red Tower) are a landmark symbol of the city.
- Roter Turm (Red Tower), originally built as campanile of the older St. Mary's Church between 1418 and 1503, a landmark of Halle, forms with the steeples of St. Mary's Church the five towers marking the city’s silhouette.
- Roland, originally (13th century) a wooden sculpture representing the urban liberty (after an uprising in the city, a cage was placed around it between 1481 and 1513, a reminder of the restrictions). Today’s sculpture is a sandstone replica made in 1719.
- Marktschlösschen, Late Renaissance building, gallery and tourist information office
- Monument to George Frideric Handel, 1859 by Hermann Heidel
- Ratshof (Council’s Yard), built in 1928/29 as backyard building of the Old Town Hall (that was demolished in 1948/50 after the destruction of WWII, so the Ratshof is situated today directly on the market square).
- Stadthaus, Neo-Renaissance building of 1891-1894
- Yellow line, which runs over the market square, marking a geological fault line (Hallische Verwerfung).
- Handel House, first mentioned in 1558, birthplace of George Frideric Handel, a museum since 1948
- Old Market square with Donkey‘s Fountain (1906/13), referring to a local legend
- Remains of the town fortifications: the Leipzig Tower (Leipziger Turm) (15th century) in the east and remains of the town wall in the south of the city centre.
- Francke Foundations, baroque buildings (including Europe‘s largest surviving half-timbered building) and historical collections
- Stadtgottesacker, a Renaissance cemetery, laid out in 1557, in the style of an Italian camposanto
- Saline Museum is dedicated to Halle’s salt-works and the corporation of salt workers (Halloren)
- Cathedral (Dom), a steepleless building, was originally a church within a Dominican monastery (1271), converted into a cathedral by cardinal Albert of Hohenzollern. Since 1688, it has been the church of the Reformed parish.
- Saint Maurice Church, Late Gothic building (1388–1511)
- Saint Ulrich Church, Late Gothic church of the Servite Order (15th century), today used as concert hall
- Church of the former village of Böllberg (Romanesque, with Late Gothic painted wooden ceiling)
- Numerous bourgeois town houses, including the Ackerbürgerhof (15th – 18th century with remains from the 12th century), Christian Wolff’s House (today City Museum), Graseweg House (half-timbered building)
- State Museum of Prehistory where the Nebra sky disk is exhibited
- Volkspark (1906/07), former meeting house of the Social Democrats
- Parks and gardens:
- Botanical Garden of the Martin Luther University of Halle-Wittenberg, founded in 1698 in the former gardens of the archbishops of Magdeburg, belonging to the Garden Dreams project
- Reichardts Garden is an historic park, part of the Garden Dreams project. Laid out in 1794 by Johann Friedrich Reichardt (1752–1814) as an English garden, becoming the “accommodation of Romanticism”. It changed ownership several times and the city of Halle bought the park in 1903 to give the wider public access.
- Peißnitz Island
- Pestalozzi Park
- Zoological Garden (Bergzoo), situated on the Reilsberg hill.
- Galgenberge, location of the gallows from the 14th to the end of the 18th Century
- Klausberge, porphyry hill, named after a chapel of the St. Nicholas' brotherhood, panoramic view over the Saale Valley, Eichendorff‘s bench
- Dölauer Heide forest, including Bischofs Wiese where 35 graves dating back at about 2500–2000 B.C., the Neolithic period, are situated
- Racecourse in the Passendorf Meadows
- Halle-Neustadt, in the west of Halle, built in the 1960s as a socialist model city.
German-American expressionist painter Lyonel Feininger worked in Halle on an invitation by the city from 1929 to 1931. As one of eleven views of the city termed Halle Cycle, he painted in 1931 Die Türme über der Stadt (The towers above the city), which is now in the Museum Ludwig in Cologne. This painting appeared on a 55 eurocent stamp on 5 December 2002 as a part of the series “Deutsche Malerei des 20. Jahrhunderts” (German painting of the 20th century).
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 (East German company) (de) and Leuna, and Halle-Neustadt (Halle Newtown) was built in the 1960s to accommodate the employees of these two factories.
Science and culture
Baroque composer Georg Friedrich Händel (later George Frideric Handel) was born in Halle in 1685 and spent the first 17 years of his life in the city. The house where he lived is now a museum about his life. To celebrate his music, Halle has staged a Handel Festival since 1922, annually in June since 1952. The Franckesche Stiftungen (Francke Foundations) are home to the Stadtsingechor zu Halle (de), which was founded before the year 1116 and is one of the oldest boys' choirs in the world.
The University of Halle was founded here in 1694. It is now combined with the University of Wittenberg and called the Martin Luther University of Halle-Wittenberg. The university's medical school was established by Friedrich Hoffmann. Its botanical garden, the Botanische Garten der Martin-Luther-Universität Halle-Wittenberg, dates back to 1698. Halle's German Academy of Sciences Leopoldina is the oldest and one of the most respected scientific societies in Germany. Halle is also home to Germany's oldest Evangelical Bible college, known as the Marienbibliothek (de), 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 state museum of prehistory 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.
Ludwig Wucherer (de) 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.
The centrepiece of Halle's urban public transport system is the Halle (Saale) tramway network. It includes the world's first major electric-powered inner-city tram line, which was opened in 1891. See also Halle (Saale) Hauptbahnhof, the main railway station.
Halle's prominence as a railway centre is set to continue growing with the arrival of the Erfurt-Leipzig/Halle high-speed railway. Leipzig will also be connected to this railway, but since it is a terminus station (though the Leipzig City Tunnel is currently under construction, the route will be shared with S-Bahn trains, making it unlikely that it will be used as a through station for Berlin-Munich trains), Halle is more likely to be used as an intermediate stop for Berlin-Munich trains. The completion of the Nuremberg–Erfurt high-speed railway will also provide a further impetus to use the route.
The football team Hallescher FC Wacker 1900 had some regional importance before World War II. In the German Championship Wacker reached the semifinals in 1921, and the quartfinals in 1928. The successor team became East German champions in 1949 and 1952 under the names of ZSG Union and BSG Turbine Halle. From this club evolved today's Turbine Halle and Hallescher FC. The latter club was in the era of the German Democratic Republic as Chemie Halle a mainstay in the first division and won the Cup tournament in 1956 and 1962. Most prominent player was 72-times international Bernd Bransch, who was with Chemie in the 1960s and 1970s. These days, Hallescher FC plays often in the third tier of Germany.
The general sports club SV Halle, originating from Chemie Halle, created a notable number of Olympic gold medallists and world champions, mainly in nautical and watersports, e.g., swimmer Kornelia Ender won four Olympic gold medals in 1976 and Andreas Hajek won between 1998 and 2001 four rowing world championships. The basketball team of the club - these days known as Lions and focusing on the woman's team which plays in the national first division - won five men's and 10 women's championships of the German Democratic Republic.
- Bernd Baselt (1934-1993), German university professor whose published catalogue led to the modern day opus designator (HWV) which is now commonly used when referring to the works of George Frideric Handel.
- Oswald Boelcke (1891-1916), World War I German flying ace, born near Halle.
- Georg Cantor (1845-1918), professor at the university of Halle.
- Waldemar Cierpinski, East German athlete and two times Olympic Champion, lives in Halle.
- Dorothea Christiane Erxleben of Quedlinburg (1715–1762) received her Doctor of Medicine degree in 1754 from the Medical Department of Martin Luther University (MLU).
- Lyonel Feininger (1871-1956), painter who created several famous images in Halle, including Der Dom in Halle.
- August Hermann Francke (1663–1727), Lutheran Pietist theologian at the University of Halle and founder of the internationally renowned Halle Orphan House complex.
- Hans-Dietrich Genscher (born 1927), a former Vice Chancellor and longest serving Foreign Minister of Germany, was born in Reideburg, which belongs to Halle today.
- Georg Friedrich Händel (1685-1759), Baroque composer, was born and raised in Halle.
- Johannes Hassebroek (1910–1977), commandant of Gross-Rosen concentration camp was born in the city.
- Yoan Pablo Hernández, Cruiserweight boxing champion (Immigrated from Cuba).
- Reinhard Heydrich (1904-1942), one of the leading Nazis in World War II, was born in the town. Heydrich was assassinated by Czech partisans in Prague in 1942.
- Nickel Hoffmann (de), mastermason, worked over thirty years in Halle, including the Market Church and the Composanto.
- Friedrich Ludwig Jahn (1778-1852), 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).
- Manfred Kuschmann, East German athlete and European Champion of 1974 lived in Halle.
- August Lafontaine (1758–1831), a writer of sentimental novels hugely popular in their time, died in Halle.
- Blessed Carl Lampert (de), priest, beheaded by Nazis in World War II at Halle.
- Georg Listing (born 1987), bassist from the Magdeburg-based band, Tokio Hotel.
- Frederick Muhlenberg (1750-1801), the first Speaker of the United States House of Representatives, graduated at Halle University.
- George Müller (1805–1898), coordinator of orphanages in Bristol, England.
- Johann Friedrich Naue (1787 - 1858), classical composer
- Kai Pflaume, German television presenter, born in Halle.
- Johann Friedrich Reichardt (1752-1814), composer, writer and music critic, lived in Halle. He was a close friend of Johann Wolfgang von Goethe.
- Samuel Scheidt (1587–1654), early Baroque composer and organist was both born and spent the majority of his life and career in Halle.
- Fabian von Schlabrendorff (1907–1980), lawyer, officer, judge and member of the German resistance.
- Friedrich Daniel Ernst Schleiermacher (1768-1834), university preacher and professor of theology to the University of Halle, where he remained until 1807.
- Georg Wilhelm Steller (1709–1746), a botanist, zoologist, physician and explorer of Siberia, Kamchatka and Alaska.
- Daniel Gottlob Türk (1756-1813), classical composer, was born in Halle in 1750, and was a professor at the University of Halle.
- Andreas Wank, German ski jumper, born in Halle.
- Ludwig Wucherer (de) (1790–1861), elected Councillor.
Halle is twinned with:
- "Bevölkerung der Gemeinden 31.12.2012". Statistisches Landesamt Sachsen-Anhalt (in German). January 2014.
- Lexicum nominum geographicorum latinorum
- Das vergessene Lager: Eine Dokumentation zum Außenkommando des KZ Buchenwald in Halle/Saale 1944/45
- "Marktkirche "Unser Lieben Frauen"" (in German). Halle Saale. Retrieved January 1, 2012.
- "Halle – The City of Five Towers Between the Past and Present". Deutsche Welle. Retrieved January 1, 2012.
- "Halle – A City of Five Towers Between the Past and Present". Deutsche Welle. Retrieved January 1, 2012.
- "Auswahl Neuausgaben 2002" (in German). Junghans Gruppe. Retrieved January 1, 2012.
- 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, page 344
- "Ystävyyskaupungit (Twin Cities)". Oulun kaupunki (City of Oulu) (in Finnish). Retrieved 2013-07-27.
- Jérôme Steffenino, Marguerite Masson. "Ville de Grenoble –Coopérations et villes jumelles". Grenoble.fr. Retrieved 16 May 2013.
- "Städtepartnerschaften" (in German). Stadt Karlsruhe. 2010-12-16. Archived from the original on 2010-07-24. Retrieved 2011-01-05.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Halle (Saale).|
|Wikivoyage has a travel guide for Halle.|
- Official website
- Martin-Luther-University Halle-Wittenberg
- "A New Germany Rises", Time, 12 September 2004
- Site about Halle with many photos and descriptions in English
- Origins & Places of Interest (German)
- Tramway in Halle (English) (German)
- Halle's Old Town Hall website of the Bürgerinitiative Rathausseite e.V.