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Halle (Saale)
—  City  —
Marktplatz Halle 2010
Market Place with the Red Tower and the Marktkirche Unser Lieben Frauen
Coat of arms of Halle (Saale)
Coat of arms

Halle (Saale) is located in Germany
Red pog
Halle (Saale)
Location in Germany

Halle (Saale) is located in Saxony-Anhalt
Red pog
Halle (Saale)
Location in Saxony-Anhalt
Coordinates: 51°29′0″N 11°58′0″E / 51.483333, 11.966667
Country Flag of Germany Germany
State Saxony-Anhalt
District Urban district
 • Mayor Bernd Wiegand (Ind.Wp globe tiny)
 • Total 135.01 km2 (52.13 sq mi)
Elevation 87 m (285 ft)
Population (31-12-2011)
 • Total 230,494
 • Density 1,707/km2 (4,420/sq mi)
Time zone CET (UTC+1)
 • Summer (DST) CEST (UTC+2)
Postal code 06108-06132
Area code 0049345
Vehicle registration HAL
Halle Saale um 1900

Halle about 1900


Giebichenstein Castle


The Hallmarkt in city centre with Market Church of St. Mary (Marktkirche) in the background

Halle an der Saale Haendelhaus

Händel-Haus – birthplace of composer George Frideric Handel, in 2009

Paulusviertel Pauluskirche

View over Paulusviertel

Halle (Saale) is the largest city in the German state of Saxony-Anhalt. Halle is a very important economy and education-center in east Germany. The University of Halle-Wittenberg is the biggest university in Saxony-Anhalt.


Halle (Saale) (up to the 17th century Hall in Sachsen, thereafter until 1995 Halle an der Saale abreviated Halle/Saale) is situated in the southern part of Sachsen-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 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 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. 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, Birkhahn labour camp, a subcamp of Buchenwald was located in Halle, where prisoners from Poland, Czechoslovakia, the Soviet Union, France, Netherlands and other nations[1] were forced to work in the Siebel aircraft plants, making combat aircraft. The plant was later dismantled. In Ammendorf, a large factory owned by Orgacid GmbH 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.

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, 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.[2][3]
    • 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 steples 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 Frederick 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 surving 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
  • Theatres:
    • Halle Opera House
    • Neues Theater
    • Puppentheather
    • Thalia Theater, the only theatre for children in Saxony-Anhalt
    • Steintor Bühne
  • 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.

Halle Cycle[]

File:DPAG2002 Lyonel Feininger.jpg

The towers on a 2002 German stamp, based on a painting by Lyonel Feininger

German-American expressionist painter Lyonel Feininger worked in Halle on an invitation by the city from 1929-1931. 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.[4] 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).[5]

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[]


Martin Luther University of Halle-Wittenberg

Laternenfest 1

The Laternenfestival at Peißnitzisland

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, 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 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 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.

Transport history[]

Hbf Halle (Saale)

Halle Central Station

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.[6] 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.

Notable residents[]

Händeldenkmal 2009

Georg Friedrich Händel

  • 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.
  • Georg Wilhelm Steller (1709-1746), a botanist, zoologist, physician and explorer of Siberia, Kamchatka and Alaska.
  • August Lafontaine (1758–1831), a writer of sentimental novels hugely popular in their time, died in Halle.
  • 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. 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).
  • Yoan Pablo Hernández, Cruiserweight boxing champion (Immigrated from Cuba).
  • 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 times Olympic Champion, lives in Halle.
  • Blessed Carl Lampert, Priest, beheaded by Nazis in WWII at Halle.
  • Kai Pflaume, German television presenter, born in Halle.
  • Andreas Wank, German ski jumper, born in Halle.
  • Bernd Baselt, 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.

International relations[]

Halle is twinned with:


  1. ^ Das vergessene Lager: Eine Dokumentation zum Außenkommando des KZ Buchenwald in Halle/Saale 1944/45
  2. ^ "Marktkirche "Unser Lieben Frauen"" (in German). Halle Saale. Retrieved January 1, 2012. 
  3. ^ "Halle – The City of Five Towers Between the Past and Present". Deutsche Welle.,,5284151,00.html. Retrieved January 1, 2012. 
  4. ^ "Halle – A City of Five Towers Between the Past and Present". Deutsche Welle.,,4101403,00.html. Retrieved January 1, 2012. 
  5. ^ "Auswahl Neuausgaben 2002" (in German). Junghans Gruppe. Retrieved January 1, 2012. 
  6. ^ 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
  7. ^ "Twin towns". Retrieved 7 November 2009. 
  8. ^ Jérôme Steffenino, Marguerite Masson. "Ville de Grenoble - Coopérations et villes jumelles". Retrieved 29 October 2009. 

External links[]

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