Notes on the history of Sachsen-Anhalt and Halle



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Notes on the history of Sachsen-Anhalt and Halle
In the 7th and 8th centuries A.D. the present area of Saxony-Anhalt, west of the Rivers Elbe and Saale, east of the River Leine (in Lower Saxony) and north of the River Unstruth, was part of the territory of the Saxons and known as Ostfalia. Conquered by the Frankish King (768) and Emperor (800 in Rome) Charlemagne (d. 814) in the late 8th century it became an important frontier region of the Carolingian empire bordering on Slav territories east of the rivers Elbe and Saale. After this conquest Christian missions could first take place, before that the Saxons had their Germanic gods, the Slavs their pantheon of Slav gods. Under Charlemagne a bishopric for the area east of the Harz mountains was founded in Halberstadt (804) and then another in Hildesheim for the western part of Ostfalia under his successor, Louis the Pious. Magdeburg and Halle were already important border settlements in the early 9th century.
Halle, on the eastern bank of the river Saale, known as Hall in Saxony from the 15th until the 17th century (to differentiate it from other salt places with the same name) was a name common for places connected with the production of salt. Saltworks existed on the river Saale in the area near the later fortress Giebechenstein north of Halle already from the Late Bronze Age (ca. 1100 BC) onwards and were the main basis of Halle's economic and political importance in the medieval period. Halle is first mentioned when a fortification – its location up to now not identified - was erected on the eastern side of the river Saale in 806 by Karl, the son of Charlemagne, possibly to protect and administer the saltworks close to settlements in the area of the later town.
Part of the Duchy of Saxony dominated by the powerful Liudolfing family in the late 9th and early 10th centuries, the area now Saxony-Anhalt was of great importance under the German kings and emperors fom this family: German King Henry I (reigned 918-936), his son German King and Emperor Otto I (936-973) and their descendants until 1024. Under King/Emperor Otto I the Archbishopric of Magdeburg, founded by Otto in 968, the Moorish Roman legionary Maurice/Moritz being its especial patron saint with the Holy Lance as the special relic, and also other bishoprics in Merseburg and in Havelberg, Brandenburg, Zeitz (moved to Naumburg in 1028) and Meißen were founded in areas east of the Elbe and Saale taken from the Slavs and under German rule from 929 onwards until recovered by the Slav population in a great revolt in 983. Magdeburg had not only a cathedral, also important monasteries and a major imperial residence (Pfalz=palatium). The relatively new (late 10th cent.) royal residence town of the Ottonian and Salian dynasties, Goslar, in the Harz mountains, was a major centre in the late 10th and 11th centuries with very productive silver mines, also a major palace/fortress guarding the mines and monasteries. Important monasteries and collegiate foundations existed in the wider area already in the 9th century: Gandersheim (near Göttingen in Lower Saxony) and Quedlinburg, burial place of the Liudolfing ducal and royal family. Later Gernrode and many others were founded in the 10th and later centuries. In the late 11th and 12th centuries came the reformed Orders (Cluniacs, Augustinians, Premonstratensians – their founder Norbert of Xanten was Archbishop of Magdeburg 1126-1134, Cistercians etc.) and by 1225 in the developing towns also the mendicant orders (Dominicans, Franciscans etc.). A parochial system of village churches gradually developed, particularly in the 11th and 12th centuries. Many fine and large Romanesque monasteries, for instance in Petersberg (Augustinian Canons) near Halle or Jerichow (Premonstratensian Canons), where brick as an innovative material was used, and also many Romanesque churches in villages, still survive in the area. This has led to the development of the „Romanesque Route“ and to the establishment of an international Romanesque Centre in Merseburg, both supported by the Federal State of Sachsen-Anhalt.
In the late 11th and early 12th centuries as a result of wars with the Saxons the Salian royal family (1024-1125), with their power centre now in the middle and upper Rhineland and the (Lower) Palatinate, practically lost control over Ostfalia to local powers: most important, the counts of Nordheim and their successors, eventually the Welf family, under Henry the Lion ca. 1150-1180, son-in-law of Henry II, English king and Duke of Normandy and Aquitaine, as Duke of Saxony and Bavaria the most important magnate in Germany besides his cousin the German King and Emperor, Frederick Barbarossa (reigned 1152-1190), heir of the Salians. In this area there were also other important though not yet so powerful families. These became more important particularly after the downfall of Henry the Lion with the loss of his duchies in 1180, for instance the Ascanian family from the Aschersleben area, Markgraves in the Nordmark and from 1157 onwards in Brandenburg. The Archbishops of Magdeburg were able - particularly after 1180 when they acquired the secular title of Duke of Saxony - to build up and expand their own territory which included Halle. (The Archbishops of Cologne acquired Welf lands and the title of Duke of Westphalia in the west) All these powers were able from 1130/40 onwards to retake and colonize with German settlers the areas east of the Rivers Elbe and Saale which had been lost to the Slavs after their great revolt in 983. Particularly strong were the Markgraves of the Ostmark and Meißen, with bases in Wettin and Landsberg (with a very fine two-storey Romanesque chapel ca. 1170) near Halle, ancestors of the later Electors and Kings of Saxony („Upper“ Saxony as opposed to the present federal state of Lower Saxony in the west) with their capital eventually in Dresden, in the 17th century with lines of the family in Magdeburg-Halle, Merseburg and Weissenfels. In the west (in the present Lower Saxony) the Welf family were able to save some estates and lands after their downfall in 1180. Otto (d. 1218), a younger son of Henry the Lion, was as Otto IV German King and Emperor 1198-1214/18. The family was recognized as Dukes of Brunswick-Lüneburg in 1235, their descendants became Electors in 1692/98 and in 1815 Kings of Hanover. Duke/ Elector Georg Ludwig/George Lewis became British King as George I in 1714 through the claim of his mother, the Duchess/ Electress Sophia (1630-1714), Protestant granddaughter of the Stuart King, James VI and I. In the south of the area the Ludowinger family, counts and then from 1123 Landgraves of Thüringen, related to the Hohenstaufen royal family- the sister of Frederick Barbarossa married Landgrave Ludwig II -, built up a major territory. Their last male representative Henry Raspe was briefly 1246/47 anti-king against his cousin twice-removed, the Staufer Frederick II („Stupor mundi“). In 1247 they were succeeded in Hessen by their heirs, the Landgraves of Hessen from Brabant, in Thuringia and their Saxon territories by their relatives, the Wettin Markgraves of Meißen.
After the first mention in 806 nothing is further heard of the Halle area until the second half of the 10th century. In the 10th and 11th centuries the major centre of power was now the royal castle Giebichenstein, first mentioned in the 960s, commanding the Saale valley north of Halle with an urban-like settlement with a market. On the river near the fortress remnants of the earliest, prehistoric saltworks and remnants of settlement from the 7th to 10th centuries AD have been discovered by excavation. In the immediate area of Halle saltworks were being developed in the 8th and 9th centuries near the later Neuwerk monastery, somewhat later, in the 9th century, south-east of the later Moritzburg and in the area of the Dom, then in the late 10th and 11th centuries in the so-called „Tal“, between the present (new) market-place and river Saale. The eastern and south-east edges of and above the Tal were being settled in the 9th and 10th centuries, possibly already in the 10th century with the church of St. Gertrude (mentioned first 1121). The settlement around the so-called Alter Markt (Old Market) developed in the second half of the 10th century with a church dedicated to St. Michael, a first wall was built on the east side of this setllement and the Tal in the late 11th and early 12th century.With the further development of the settlement in a formerly marshy area east and north-east of the market place above the Tal a further church St. Mary (mentioned in 1151) was built for merchants and craftsmen immediately east of the church of St. Getrude, both surrounded by their graveyards until ca. 1530. Already in the 11th and 12th centuries substantial residences were being built for noble and patrician families who had major shares in the saltworks. A settlement for Jewish merchants and moneyers was founded in the late 11th/early 12th centuries, protected by the German kings as lords of Halle, close to the early settlement south-east of the later Moritzburg with a cemetery some 400 m to the north, south of the area around the New Market (Neumarkt), developed near the Neuwerk monastery in the 12th century. From the Giebechenstein as fortress the area was administered by the Burggraf, Salzgraf and Schultheiß as royal officials. Burggraf from 1118 was a remarkable powerful local magnate Wiprecht von Groitzsch with connections to Bohemia, who built up a considerable territory south of Halle and Leipzig (founded in the mid 12th century), founded the monastery of Pegau and was killed when his house in Halle was destroyed by fire in 1124. Presumably under Wiprecht and the Archbishop of Magdeburg around 1120 a second wall was erected, now surrounding an already very large area comprising the various existing settlements, between the Moritzkirche in the south and the site of the Moritzburg in the north and as far as the ring roads in the east, but without Kloster Neuwerk and the Neumarkt near it with the present „new“ market at its centre. After silence since 806 the name Hall now appears for this emerging town in the late 11th and early 12th centuries.
By 1200 the Archbishops of Magdeburg had now become effective lords of Halle. The powerful rich patrician families exploiting and controlling the saltworks however fought for greater independence of the town securing various privileges granted by the Archbishops. The town became a member of the Hanse around 1280 and was practically independent by 1320 electing its council, first mentioned in 1258, and with a mayor. Around 1300 the town had some 4000 inhabitants, in 1480 about 8000, despite plague and other epidemics and economic difficulties in the 14th and 15th centuries. The ambition of the patricians however met increasing opposition from the Archbishops, particularly after Archbishop Burchard III was murdered in 1325 in the course of a feud with the town. In the early 15th century administrative changes by the officials of the Archbishops began to undermine the town's independence which was further weakened by internal conflicts and opposition from the guilds and workers against patrician control. Despite further privileges, some from the German Kings/Emperors, the conflicts continued and reached a climax in 1475 and the following years when the salt patricians lost their monopoly of power and were overthrown by a rising of the guilds and workers in 1478 supported by Archbishop Ernst from the Wettin family. The city, as it had practically become, was occupied by troops of the Archbishop who proceeded ruthlessly to suppress and destroy its independence by further administrative and constitutional changes. Subjugation and control by Archbishop Ernst was now secured by the construction (1484 – ca. 1517) of the massive fortress, the Moritzburg, in the northwest corner of the city, which now became the main residence of the Archbishops and also the centre of administration of the whole archdiocese. Economic decline began. Halle's New Year Fair was abolished in 1469. Halle was now overtaken economically by Leipzig which was granted a further fair by the Elector of Saxony, confirmed by the German King/Emperor Frederick III. The university in Leipzig had been founded in 1409 as a result of the flight of German students from Prague and quickly developed to become the second most important in Germany after that in Cologne.
From the 11th century onwards many churches and monasteries were founded in and around Halle. The older churches St. Michael, St. Gertrude (1121) and St. Mary (1151) have already been mentioned, further parish churches were St. Moritz (1156?), St. Nikolai (in the area of the Klausstrassen, mentioned 1116, no longer existing) and St. Ulrich (in the north of the town, mentioned 1210, long since disappeared, parish transferred to the Servite monastery in 1531) and the chapels St. Lambert near the new market place and St. Martin on the hill of that name east of the town. Outside the town there were churches in the nearby villages: to the south St. George (1121) in Glaucha, to the north St. Laurence (12th cent.) in the Vorwerk suburb, and in Giebechenstein. In 1114 the Benedictine monastery called Neuwerk (opus novum) was founded close to the town on its northwestern side, near the later Moritzburg, its provosts acting also as archdeacons of Halle in the emerging ecclesiastical administration of the archdiocese of Magdeburg in the 12th century (existing monasteries and particularly collegiate foundations often became the seats of archdeacons in Germany). In 1184 a college of Augustinian Canons was founded next to the already existing parish church of St. Moritz, in the southwest of the town.The Teutonic Order received its first German possession with a grant of land in Halle, in a very marshy area west of the river Saale, from Archbishop Ludolf of Magdeburg in 1200. The Franciscan friary was founded on the eastern edge of the town around 1240, used from 1565 as the town grammar school after the Reformation, demolished in 1828 to make way for the new buildings of the University, the Dominican friary on the western side of the town ca. 1270, later also a friary of Augustinian Hermits (founded originally in 1267 in Giebechenstein). There were also several hospitals, for instance St. Cyriax close to the Dominican friary and St. John next to the Moritzkirche. In the village of Glaucha immediately south of Halle, west of the Francke'schen Stifungen, the parish church St. George already mentioned in 1121 and belonging to Kloster Neuwerk, was given to the monastery of Cistercian nuns, Marienkammer, founded near the church in 1231 by the Archbishop Albrecht of Magdeburg, possibly planned by Archbishop Wichmann some fifty years earlier. Another Crusading Order, the Templars, had a major centre in nearby Mücheln where they built a particularly fine Gothic church ca. 1260-80. Gothic architecture developed at the Cathedral in Magdeburg, rebuilt after a fire in 1209, and reached an early climax at the Cathedral in Naumburg, rebuilt from about 1240 onwards, and then also in the Cathedral at Meißen in the 1260s.
In the early 16th century Albrecht (1490-1545), son of the Elector of Brandenburg (now ruled by the Hohenzollern family as successors to the Ascanian and Luxemburg families), amassed ecclesiastical titles, first as Archibishop of Magdeburg and Bishop of Halberstadt in 1513. Already in 1514 he also became Archbishop of Mainz, the German primate and (besides the archbishops of Cologne and Trier) one of the spiritual Electors, and made Halle his preferred residence, possibly intending it to become the centre for a new diocese. Much like that other contemporary similar great pluralist Cardinal Thomas Wolsey in the 1520s in England for his foundation of Wolsey, now Christ Church, College in Oxford, Albrecht carried out a major reorganization of churches and monasteries in Halle, closing and moving some. The church of St. Ulrich was closed and moved to Servite monastery which was dissolved. Also dissolved were the Neuwerk monastery, the Halle commendatory of the Teutonic Order and the Dominican friary, which was moved to the also dissolved Augustian monastery St. Moritz to found Albrecht's new collegiate foundation, the Domstift, with his famous collection of relics in the former friary church, which now became the Dom. In 1531 Albrecht received a papal privilege to found an university based on his new collegiate foundation and proceeded to build an adjoining fine early Renaissance complex on the site of the former Cyriax Hospital, which was moved to the now dissolved Hospital of St. John, next to the Moritzkirche, and develope a university for the old faith in open competition to the nearby University of Wittenberg, which had been founded in 1502 by the rival Wettin dynasty and after 1517 had become the intellectual centre for Luther's Reformation. It was Albrecht's need to finance his acquisition of his ecclesiastical titles by massive payments to the Pope and the papal administration in Rome by the sale of indulgences, but also the dubious nature of his collection of relics and his exotic life style, which particularly provoked the famous 95 theses (1517) of Martin Luther, Augustinian monk and Professor of Theology at the University in the neighbouring town of Wittenberg, and the Reformation which began there, the 500th anniversary being celebrated in 2017, already with many preparatory events. Albrecht's ambition came to an end when he had to flee from Halle in 1541, when the Reformation in Halle took place and the city became Protestant, retreating to Mainz and Aschaffenburg in the west of his territory. The university in Halle was abandoned and after 1541 its buildings became the „New Residence“ for the Administrators of the Archdiocese of Magdeburg (named in contrast to the less modern „Old Residence“, the Moritzburg)
In the 15th and early 16th centuries Halle now had many churches and monasteries, several of them fine late Gothic buildings expressing the wealth accumulated in Halle: the church of the Dominican friary, begun ca. 1280, finished ca. 1330 and embellished under Archbishop Albrecht 1520-25 as the church of his „Neues Stift“ with the earliest Renaissance features in central Germany; the Moritzkirche begun by the master builder Conrad von Einbeck and his assistant Peter von Mortal in 1388 , the vaulting of the nave completed about 1520; the church of the Servite friars, after 1531 parish church of St. Ulrich, begun in the mid 14th ecntury, most of the nave vaults finished ca. 1510-20 (late 14th – early 16th centuries) and finally the Market Church of SS Mary and Peter (1530-1554), envisaged by Archbishop Albrecht as the great central church of his city, much of it built in the years immediately after the Reformation in 1541 on the site of the two older churches, St. Mary and St. Gertrude, which had been demolished in 1529. Albrecht also completed work which had been going on for centuries gradually draining, raising and levelling the niveau of the settlement area above the Saale and the Tal, in particular of thr Market Place, moving the graveyards east outside city. Halle continued to flourish in the second half of the 16th century, its prosperity reflected in important buildings and complexes, many built by the leading master builder of the city, Nickel Hofmann, for instance the completion of the Marktkirche, the Gottesacker cemetery in the most modern style like an Italian „Campo Santo“, the New Mill, the alteration and completion of the City Hall, the Weighing House and Wedding House (these last three unfortunately demolished after 1945).
In the now reformed Lutheran territories (the former bishoprics Magdeburg, Halberstadt, Merseburg, Brandenburg and Havelberg, the secular terrritories Saxony and Brandenburg etc.) the rulers now became also head of the church in their area as „summus episcopus“. The „Reformation“ itself was fairly moderate as regards the furnishings of churches, many of the medieval objects, particularly fine altarpieces surviving until today.The Electors of Brandenburg, Kings in Prussia in 1701, who - as a result of the Treaty of Westphalia (1648) - from 1680 onwards controlled Magdeburg and lands of various Wettin lines, had become personally Calvinist Reformed in 1613 with their court and officials, their territories however remained Lutheran. The university building as mentioned became the „New Residence“ of the Archbishops/Administrators of Magdeburg, Dukes of Saxony, first from the family of the Electors of Brandenburg, in 1637/44 until 1680 then of Duke August, Admnistrator from 1628/1635, from a junior line of the Lutheran Wettin Electors of Saxony in Dresden. Halle, which had suffered a decline in the Thirty Years War (1618-1648), began to recover slowly and was briefly in the second half of the 17th century a flourishing important cultural centre, in which the father of the composer George Frederick Handel (born in Halle 1685, died in London 1759) was the barber surgeon to the Dukes. The Wettin Dukes, from 1680 now residing in the nearby town of Weissenfels, encouraged Handel's father to recognize the musical talent of his son, who then received a good musical grounding from Friedrich Wilhelm Zachow (1663-1712), cantor and organist at the Market Church and the Dom (the former Dominican church, 1520 church of the collegiate foundation of Archbishop Albrecht). Handel visited Halle several times from London to see his widowed mother there, the last time in 1745. Saxony-Anhalt was generally an important cultural, architectural and musical landscape in the Baroque period in the 17th and 18th centuries with several princely courts and residences, in which Halle, Weissenfels, Merseburg, Naumburg-Zeitz, residences of lines of the Wettin family, Zerbst, Köthen and Dessau of lines of the Ascanian Princes of Anhalt were major centres with the important city of Leipzig in Saxony on the southeastern edge. After Zachow's death J.S. Bach applied for and was offered the post of organist at the Market Church in Halle in 1713 but finally withdrew as he regarded the income as insufficient. From 1717 Bach was Kapellmeister at the court in Köthen until he was appointed organist and cantor in Leipzig in 1723. After the death of his first wife, his cousin Maria Barbara Bach, in 1720, Bach married in 1721 as his second wife, Anna Magdalena Wilcke, who came from a musical family in Weissenfels. Bach's eldest son Wilhelm Friedemann Bach was Director of Music and Organist at the Market Church in Halle from 1746 until 1764. In 1745 Bach tried to meet Handel, who was then by far the more important composer of the day and was visiting his mother in Halle for the last time. However Bach missed the fixed date and Handel had already left. Already an important centre for the performance of music by G.F. Handel in the 19th and early 20th centuries, Halle became the venue for a regular Handel Festival in 1922, somewhat later than in the former Hanoverian university town, founded 1732-37 in Göttingen, with regular performance of Handel operas.
As a result of provisions in the Treaty of Westfalia 1648 Halle, together with the territory of the former Archbishops of Magdeburg, fell after the death of the Lutheran Duke August of Sachsen-Weissenfels in 1680 to the Calvinist Reformed Hohenzollern Electors of Brandenburg, Kings in Prussia from 1701 onwards and was until 1717 capital of the Duchy of Magdeburg. In 1694 Elector Frederick III of Brandenburg, first King in Prussia in 1701, partly as a form of compensation for the loss of Halle's princely residence function, refounded the University, which Archbishop Albrecht (from his family) had tried to develope over 150 years earlier, using the papal privilege of 1531 and the building Albrecht had built 1531-37 for his University, most recently used as „New Residence“ for the Duke of Sachsen-Weißenfels. Friedrich III/ I of Brandenburg-Prussia (d. 1713) and particularly his son, Friedrich Wilhelm I (reigned 1713-1740), encouraged the strict Pietistic movement and compelled the University to support this movement, so that the liberal philosopher, Professor Christian Wolff was forced to flee to Marburg in Hessen. In particular Frederick I and his son Friedrich Wilhelm I supported the foundation (1698) and development of the „Waisenhaus“ (Orphanage) together with the various foundations, now known as the Francke'sche Stiftungen, of the pastor, theologian and missionary, August Hermann Franke, who also received financial support from the Stuart British Queen Anne. Under the more tolerant Prussian King Frederick II („the Great“) Wolff was able to return as Professor to Halle in 1740. The University, now a relatively small one in Germany, was closed by the French dominated administration of the Kingdom of Westfalia, created by Napoleon for his younger brother Jerome in 1807, which included the western part of the present Saxony-Anhalt. Also monasteries in the area which had survived the Reformation were secularized under French and Prussian rule.The Prussian administration, reinstalled after Napoleon's defeat near Leipzig in 1813, refounded the University of Halle in 1817 and merged with it the previously Wettin Saxon University of Wittenberg. The Wettin family, created Kings of Saxony with Napoleon's consent, had supported the French emperor until the last and the old rivalry of Halle with Wittenberg had not been forgotten. Halle became an important academic centre of excellence in the course of the 19th century. New buildings were built for the University 1832-34 on the site of the former Franciscan friary, demolished in 1828, on the eastern side of the city which developed rapidly with increasing industrialisation particularly in the second half of the 19th century (1806: 24720, 1900: 156611, 1964: 274402 inhabitants).
Halle was now part of the Prussian province of Saxony, the successor to the old Duchy of Magdeburg, with the administrative, spiritual and military centre in Magdeburg. The territory of Anhalt, mainly east of the Elbe, which remained an independent territory even after 1918, when its Dukes, descended from the old Ascanian family, abdicated, was finally merged together with the former Prussian province of Saxony in 1945 to create a State of Sachsen-Anhalt, abolished in 1952, of which Halle was briefly capital, and replaced by provinces in the new Communist State, the Deutsche Demokratische Republik in East Germany, with their capitals in Magdeburg and Halle. Now as a Federal State in the united Germany Saxony-Anhalt was refounded in 1990 with its capital now in Magdeburg. The separate existence of the Prussian province of Saxony and the Free State of Anhalt practically until 1945 explains why they each still have their own church organizations, Lutheran in the former Prussian province of Saxony with its seat in the former and present capital town Magdeburg, Reformed in Anhalt with its seat in Anhalt's formal capital in Dessau. The Reformed Church in Anhalt is one of the smallest in Germany, a relic of the former territorial division. The present Catholic diocese of Magdeburg is of relatively recent date, practically in the diasphora, its territory Protestant since the 1540s. There were Jewish populations with synagogues in medieval towns, in Halle already in the late 11th century (see above). With the onset of the Crusades at the end of the late 11th century Jews were often murdered or expelled in various pogroms, particularly at the time of the „Black Death“ in 1348/49. Jewish merchants and financiers were admitted again in the late 17th century, the Jewish community with a synagogue in Halle in 1692, their communities emancipated and supported by the French administration 1807-1813, receiving full rights in the Norddeutscher Bund (North German Union) 1867 and then in the newly founded German Empire 1870/71. Syagogues of the various Jewish movements were mostly in towns and cities, but there were also a few in larger villages where there were Jewish communities. Many synagogues were damaged and destroyed in the pogrom under the Nazi regime in 1938, also in Halle. After 1933 and particularly after 1938 many Jews left, those remaining mostly expelled and murdered in concentration camps after 1941 Only a very few former synagogues now survive, for instance in Gröbzig north of Halle. The synagogue of the present Jewish community in Halle uses the mortuary building at the old Jewish cemetery, north-east of the historic city centre, built originally in 1894.
Parts of Halle, especially in the market place and immediately south of it, were damaged by bombing at the end of the Second World War in 1945, but compared with other cities Halle survived relatively well. Major casualties were the medieval Town Hall and also the Town Weighing House and Wedding House on the Market Square which were badly damaged by bombing. Despite considerable opposition by a strong lobby for preservation/conservation the Communist regime eventually ordered the demolition of the buildings, leaving a much evident gap. A major new housing area was built southwest of the old city in Halle/Neustadt, together with industrial development of the city after 1945. Old houses in the historic centre, particularly in the area developed in the 19th century on the north side, were left to decay but fortunately not demolished, so that many could be restored after 1990. Halle is today a major university town in Germany, the seat not only of regional courts but also of the main central conservation authority in Sachsen-Anhalt, of the preservation organization, the Landesheimatbund Sachsen-Anhalt, and of the association for local NGOs for church building, the Verband der Kirchbauvereine in Sachsen-Anhalt, founded in 2011. Under the Communist and formally atheistic régime in East Germany many churches especially in the countryside, which was much neglected by a régime more interested in industrial and urban development, were not kept in repair and were allowed to decay, however only rarely demolished. Many have been restored since 1990 but problems remain especially as the majority of the population, as a result of Communist propaganda and pressure before 1990, are not members of the dominant Protestant Church. Roman Catholic communities, used to a diasphora situation survived better. After Holocaust Jewish communities - where refounded - were very small but have received since 1990 new members from Central and Eastern Europe, in particular from Russia often changing the character of communities and creating problems.
Sachsen-Anhalt today is one of the Federal States in Germany with the most prominent historic buildings in Germany, particularly cathedrals, former monasteries and churches, but also old towns, palaces and residences. As a result of decay in the DDR period up to 1990 and lack of sufficient finance in the present state of Sachsen-Anhalt, it has not been easy to restore and maintain these buildings. Besides the limited church and state funds, the Deutsche Stiftung Denkmalschutz (German Foundation for Preservation of Historic Monuments) (founded in 1985 in West Germany), much voluntary work particularly of local associations and many private donations have contributed much to restoration work.
Major literature used:
Handbuch der historischen Stätten Deutschlands, Vol. 11 Provinz Sachsen-Anhalt, ed. B. Schwineköper (2nd edition, Stuttgart 1987), for Halle pp. 177-192

Handbuch der deutschen Kunstdenkmäler,founded by Georg Dehio, Der Bezirk Halle (Münich/Berlin 1976), for Halle pp. 155-171 ,



(1999 appeared Vol. 2 of the new „Dehio“ for Sachsen-Anhalt/Regierungsbezirke Dessau und Halle, prepared by Ute Bednarz, Folkard Cremer and Hans Krause)



For the results of excavations:

Volker Herrmann and Oliver Specht, Die Stadt Halle – Vom karolingischen Grenzkastell zur spätmittelalterlichen Bürgerstadt, Kleine Hefte zur Archäologie in Sachsen-Anhalt, Heft 5 (Halle 2006)
Angus Fowler, Berlin/Marburg/ Newcastle upon Tyne, June/September 2014


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