How could one know almost 4000 years ago when a leap year would be? How to predict a lunar eclipse? Impossible? Not at all: Let's start this story with a sensational find from Saxony-Anhalt that is 3700 to 4100 years old. Because it tells how it was done at that time. The Nebra Sky Disk was illegally excavated just before the turn of the millennium, a good 20 years ago, and seized some time later by the Basel police. Today, the valuable piece, with its depiction of stars and planets the world's oldest concrete representation of astronomical phenomena, can be marveled at in the State Museum for Prehistory in Halle. With the help of the depictions on the disc, which was a burial object, astronomical phenomena could actually be predicted. At the site of the discovery, you can visit the Nebra Ark Museum, which explains everything in detail. And there is the Sky Disk Bike Trail around this treasure and its mysterious history. Since mid-2013, the sky disc has been part of UNESCO's 'Memory of the World' document heritage.
Welcome to Saxony-Anhalt - the home of Martin Luther and the region with the highest density of UNESCO World Heritage Sites. In addition to the Nebra Sky Disk, these are of course all must-sees here: Naumburg Cathedral on the Romanesque Road, the old town of Quedlinburg, the Bauhaus in Dessau, the Dessau-Wörlitz Garden Realm and the Luther memorials in Eisleben and Wittenberg. World culture and natural beauty are always close together and can be easily discovered together - regardless of whether you are traveling as a romantic couple, on a family vacation, or want to get to know Saxony-Anhalt by bike. Special highlights for culture vultures with a sense for natural spectacles are then, for example, these: experience the sunrise on the Elbe, when the sun's rays slowly climb up the Magdeburg Cathedral. Discovering the Altmark and Bismarck's homeland on Germany's longest network of bridle paths. Or sit by the quietly rippling Saale River and gaze across the river at the impressive Naumburg Cathedral.
Some of the tourist regions are shared with its neighbors: Saxony-Anhalt has a beautiful piece of the Harz Mountains including the Brocken summit (1141 meters) as well as part of the Saale-Unstrut region, from which many quality German wines come. But also the State capital Magdeburg with its cathedral and the Hundertwasser Building "The Green Citadel of Magdeburg should be a stop on a round trip through the eastern German state. The Harz Mountains in particular are a charming, diverse vacation region for hikers, recreation seekers, families and cyclists. The low mountain range landscape is characterized by rushing river courses, dense forests with weathered granite blocks and deeply cut valleys. Wernigerode am Harz is a good starting point for tours in the Harz National Park. For experiences guaranteed to give you a medium adrenaline rush, there's Harzdrenalin. There you can try out everything from a Segway tour to a 75-meter-deep pendulum jump ...
What else is important? In Saxony-Anhalt, the Harzer-Hexenstieg, the Karstwanderweg in the southern Harz and the Heide-Biber-Tour in the Dübener Heide bear the title "Quality Trail Wanderbares Deutschland" - but there are also many other beautiful hiking opportunities. On the Saale and Unstrut rivers, you can take wildly romantic canoe tours, and in Balgstädt you can even go paragliding. And on the Geiseltalsee, Germany's largest artificial lake, there are good conditions for sailors. This year, the state is celebrating the "Garden Dreams Season 2020" in 50 of its most beautiful and significant parks. And because the start of the event had to be postponed, it will be extended into 2021.
Saxony-Anhalt is a medium-sized state with about 20,454 square kilometers and about 2.21 million inhabitants. The two largest cities are the State capital Magdeburg and Halle on the Saale. You can experience the state particularly beautifully on 40,000 kilometers of rural bike paths away from well-known tourist trails. The Elbe Cycle Path, one of the most popular in Germany, also runs through the state. An important visitor magnet is the Europa-Rosarium Sangerhausen - the largest rose garden in the world with 8500 species. Saxony-Anhalt has two biosphere reserves, one national park and six nature parks. For at least 300 years, the ring sanctuary in Pömmelte, considered the German Stonehenge, was a cult site. Whimsical: In the garden of the Winckelmann Museum in Stendal stands the largest Trojan horse in the world. It is 15 meters high, 13 meters long and 5 meters wide. Up to 30 visitors can fit inside, just like in the Greek myth. And the state has something else special: the Sachsenspiegel. It was written between 1220 and 1235 and is the oldest collection of German laws.
The famous Rotkäppchen sparkling wine comes from Freyburg an der Unstrut. The mite cheese, which matures with the help of the cheese mite, is also quite unique - around 50,000 of these tiny creatures crawl around in a package of Würchwitz mite cheese, but fortunately cannot be seen with the naked eye. Helmut Pöschel and Christian Schmelzer have saved this idiosyncratic cheese tradition from oblivion in Würchwitz and produce the fine high-priced cheese specialties. The best thing is to try it - without having looked at it under a microscope beforehand. Want more superlatives? The Halloren chocolate factory in Halle is the oldest chocolate factory in Germany. And the small wine-growing region of Saale-Unstrut is located on the 51st parallel and is the northernmost in Europe. Other top culinary products include steaks from Harz red cattle, Salzwedeler Baumkuchen and the dry gin "Old Paul" with its fresh juniper note and intense citrus tones from Diesdorf in the Altmark region.
Saxony-Anhalt belongs to the Low German and Middle German language areas. Most people speak a dyed High German, which in the north shows influences from Brandenburg. In the south towards Halle, dialect is spoken more strongly - it sounds like a mixture of Thuringian and Saxon to the uninitiated. Simple rule: speak a G for a K and an O instead of A - so for potatoes you say Gortoffeln. Here are a few words:
Well mine - hello, even with people you do not know
Schnazjer - sparrow, general for birds
Räächn - Rain
Head - Head
Voreljesank in Machdeburch - Vogelgesang in Magdeburg
rüwwer - over
nüwwer - over
Heeme - (at) home
kwackln - chat
tickle - make an effort
Schnongs - candy
Bärschde - brush
Cover picture: With the Nebra Sky Disk, astronomical phenomena could be predicted already about 4000 years ago - a sensation © Juraj Lipták / Landesamt für Denkmalpflege und Archäologie Sachsen- Anhalt
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