From the magnificent Naumburg Cathedral to the enchanted Dessau-Wörlitz Garden Kingdom: UNESCO has awarded Saxony-Anhalt the coveted title of "World Heritage Site" six times, honoring objects of unique historical significance and attracting visitors from all over the world. But 7000 years of history have also left countless traces on site. Some from very old and some from more recent times, some more and some less famous, but all absolutely worth seeing - here are five very special tips for cultural travelers.

Halle (Saale)

With a population of just under 240,000, the state's largest city is located in the south of Saxony-Anhalt on the northwestern edge of the Leipzig Lowland Bay. Halle boasts a variety of important cultural and museum institutions.

Wittenberg

Lutherstadt is located on the Elbe between Dessau-Roßlau in the west, the Fläming in the north, the Dübener Heide in the south and the Elbe-Elster-Land in the east, just under 100 kilometers southwest of Berlin. It has a good 45,000 inhabitants.

Wernigerode

The state-recognized resort is located on the northeastern flank of the Harz Mountains, about 12 km east-northeast of the Brocken. The town, which has a good 32,000 inhabitants, is also called "The colorful town on the Harz" after Hermann Löns.

Dessau-Roßlau

Situated on both sides of the Elbe River, the city has 80,000 inhabitants and is the third largest city in Saxony-Anhalt. Historically, Dessau was the capital and residence of the principality and later duchy of Anhalt-Dessau.

Diesdorf

The village with 2300 inhabitants is located in the western Altmark, about 25 km southwest of Salzwedel. In the vicinity of Diesdorf are some worth seeing megalithic tombs.

1

Audiowalk in Halle (Saale): On the trail of Lyonel Feininger

Listen carefully - the audio guide will tell you a lot of interesting facts about Lyonel Feininger's work in Halle (Saale).
Listen carefully - the audio guide tells you a lot of interesting facts about Lyonel Feininger's work in Halle (Saale) © Jan Laurig

Who the audio device together with card ready and the headphones on, turn left directly behind the Tourist Info on the market square of the beautiful city of Halle into the alley "Kühler Brunnen", and the Audio tour can begin. You will now be guided through streets and squares to all the places that the famous Bauhaus master Lyonel Feininger (1871-1956) painted during his stay in Halle. Between 1929 and '31, the artist was commissioned by the mayor to create a total of eleven works of various views of the Saale city, which he had previously explored with sketchbook and camera - images of great beauty.

Guided by the audio guide, you learn a lot about the painter and his life and work in Halle and get to know Feininger's perspectives. Stops include St. Mary's Church on the market square, the romantic square at Trödel, the mighty Red Tower with its famous carillon and the medieval Bölbergasse. At the end of the tour, the old archbishop's Moritzburg, in whose gate tower the master once had his studio, is enthroned. Today, the art museum of the state of Saxony-Anhalt resides here - three of Feininger's Halle paintings can be admired there.

2

Lutherstadt Wittenberg: Asisi Panorama "Luther 1517

The beginning of the Reformation - the 360° panorama by Yadegar Asisi brings this era back to life
The beginning of the Reformation - the 360° panorama by Yadegar Asisi brings this era back to life © WelterbeRegion Anhalt-Dessau-Wittenberg, Uwe Weigel, 2020

At 42 Luther Street, just a few minutes' walk from Wittenberg's famous castle church stands a large orange round building. There is a charge to enter, but the entrance fee is worth it. Just in time for the jubilee year 2017, here was a masterful installation 500 years ago, the monk and theology professor Martin Luther (1483-1546) posted his 95 theses on the portal of the Wittenberg Castle Church, thus changing Germany, Europe and the world. This event is made tangible here in the most impressive way.

The artist Yadegar Asisi, born in Vienna in 1955, son of Persian parents, revived the tradition of giant round paintings dating back to the 19th century in six years of work with his 15-person team. His 15-by-75-meter work, which can be admired on the walls of the rotunda, depicts 30 years in Luther's life. From a two-story tower in the center of the building, visitors can admire the finely crafted scenes of the former events, accompanied by sounds of the composer and pianist Eric Babak - thus the visitor is impressively transported to the end of the Middle Ages.

3

Wernigerode Castle: Opera and Walpurgis Festival

Landmark of Wernigerode - the castle of the same name
Landmark of Wernigerode - the castle of the same name © WTG, J. Friedrich

Jugglers and magicians cavort in the castle courtyard between witches and devils, next door archery is practiced. The whole thing is accompanied by the sounds of groups such as "Ohrenpeyn", who offer historical musical enjoyment on medieval instruments such as bagpipes, shawms and drums. Walpurgis festivals have a great tradition in the Harz Mountains, based on Wernigerode Castlelocated about 80 kilometers southwest of Magdeburg, has long been celebrated with dedication. Things are more refined at the Wernigerode Castle Festival - the open-air opera nights on the historic courtyard are popular far beyond the borders of the Harz district.

As a medieval hilltop castle was built over Wernigerode at the beginning of the 12th century, in the course of the 16th century it was converted into a Renaissance fortress, later into a romantic residential castle and finally received its present form from 1862. Since 1999, the castle has been recognized as a nationally valuable cultural monument as well as part of the Saxony-Anhalt state project Garden Dreams®. And shows refreshingly little reverence for so much honor - so every year cool bands bring the fans in the castle courtyard to rage at the Rock Night.

4

Hugo Junkers Technology Museum in Dessau-Roßlau: A visit to "Aunt Ju

In the Hugo Junkers Museum of Technology, everything revolves around the designs of the aviation pioneer
In the Hugo Junkers Museum of Technology, everything revolves around the designs of the aviation pioneer © Stadtmarketinggesellschaft Dessau-Roßlau mbH, Photo Sebastian Kaps

Who sees the inimitable, silver silhouette in the sky and hears the sonorous roar of the three mighty radial engines, each with 550 hp, is enraptured. The Junkers Ju 52, affectionately known as "Aunt Ju," has made aviation history. It was built between 1932 and 1952 in the Junkerswerke in Dessau, with which the company founder, engineer and technology visionary Hugo Junkers significantly shaped the industrial development of Dessau and the Free State of Anhalt. A total of more than 4800 such machines with the distinctive silver skin made of corrugated aluminum sheet were built here. The Aunt Ju, which could travel at a maximum speed of 290 km/h, could carry up to 17 passengers, was considered extremely reliable and was used worldwide in scheduled service as well as for military purposes.

Today, a few airworthy Ju 52s still exist, others are in collections such as the Hugo Junkers Museum of Technology in Dessau-Roßlau is on display. In addition to the lavishly restored original, other exciting exhibits are on display here, such as Prof. Junkers' only surviving all-metal experimental house - its metal furniture bears witness to the fruitful collaboration with the Bauhaus in Dessau. Near the museum hall are also other Junkers buildings such as a wind tunnel or parts of the runway of the former factory airfield.

5

Open-air museum Diesdorf: Country life reloaded

Open-air museum Diesdorf - since 1911 one of the oldest museum villages in Germany conveys the culture and way of life of the people in the Altmark region
Open-air museum Diesdorf - since 1911 one of the oldest museum villages in Germany conveys the culture and way of life of the people in the Altmark © Freilichtmuseum Diesdorf

Welcome to a journey through time into the rural life of earlier generations. One of the oldest museum villages in Germany has really brought a lot of culture to the Altmark, about 120 kilometers northwest of Magdeburg. As Saxony-Anhalt's only open-air folklore museum and oldest of its kind in Germany, it has been enchanting visitors young and old since 1911. More than 20 buildings from the 17th to 19th centuries are on display, including the village smithy, bakehouse, storehouse, pigeon tower and windmill. Historical useful and ornamental plants threatened with extinction as well as fruit trees of the Altmark are preserved in farm gardens and orchards.

In addition, at museum festivals such as the Craftsmen's Day on Whit Monday, the Diesdorf Folk Dance Festival in September, or the Old-March Harvest Festival in October, old traditions are celebrated. A nature playground and the cozy café with museum store invite you to take a break. By the way: The open-air museum is also popular for colorful children's birthday parties - and you can even get married here in a truly cultural, romantic ambience!

Cover photo: View of the Handel Monument and the Hausmann Towers of St. Mary's Church - just two of the many cultural highlights in Halle (Saale) © FSEID - stock.adobe.com

In collaboration with IMG - Investment and Marketing Company Saxony-Anhalt

UNESCO World Heritage, the Brocken in the Harz Mountains and the Garden dreams and historical parks are good reasons for your vacation in Saxony-Anhalt. Even more? Sure! This way:

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