10 largest cities in Germany
Frankfurt am Main




Halberstadt is a city in Saxony-Anhalt. It is located on the Holtemme in the northern Harz foreland and borders the Magdeburg Börde in the east. Charlemagne made Halberstadt a bishopric, which it remained until the Thirty Years' War. That is why Halberstadt has other splendidly furnished churches in addition to the cathedral. The Halberstadt cathedral treasure is one of the most valuable legacies of the Middle Ages in Germany. Later annexed to Prussia, Halberstadt became a flourishing industrial city with numerous valuable buildings.

Even in the last days of the Second World War, Halberstadt was badly destroyed by an air raid. This destruction and the subsequent neglect of old buildings in the GDR have massively changed the cityscape and not always to the advantage of the city. At least the Domplatz with the cathedral and Church of Our Lady gives an impression of the original beauty of the cityscape.



St. Stephen's Cathedral Built after the fire of 1179, first the facade, then the towers in 1235 in transition style. From 1252 to 1276 the western part of the nave was added in early Gothic forms. This was followed in the 14th century by the choir and the transept. The inauguration took place in 1492, a restoration from 1850 to 1870. After that, the towers were rebuilt. The cathedral was badly hit on April 8, 1945, but was restored in the post-war and reunification period. Inside there is a rood screen made in the richest late Gothic style (choir screen, 1510) with wooden sculptures (12th century) and a carrying altar in the cathedral treasure. With its moderate size, the cathedral is a very harmonious building from the German Gothic style.



Early farming settlement (around 5000 BC)
In 2013, a mass grave was discovered in Halberstadt that dates from the same period - from the linear ceramic culture - as other well-known sites where massacres or executions took place, such as Herxheim or Talheim, Wiederstedt or Schöneck-Kilianstädten in Germany and Asparn / Schletz in Austria. In Halberstadt, young men were apparently killed and then buried in a mass grave. According to the excavators, it is conceivable that the men who came from a distance from the village were attackers themselves, but who had failed in their attack.

From the foundation to 1900
The origin of the name Halwerstidde (or Halverstidde) "requires a thorough, yet to be carried out investigation". A relationship to halba (ahd. Side, half) or a river section name Halver der Holtemme is assumed.

Charlemagne made the mission base in 804 a bishopric. The Bishop Hildeward of Halberstadt (968-996) was 989 by King Otto III. the market, coin and customs rights conferred. He also received the ban on blood and army, that is, secular power in the Harzgau and thus over the residents of Halberstadt. In 1005 the construction of the Liebfrauenkirche began. Heinrich the Lion destroyed the city, cathedral and cathedral castle in 1179. In 1192 the Templars came to Halberstadt and founded a commander in the Burchardi monastery. In 1236 the new construction of the cathedral began, which was consecrated in 1491. A few years before 1297 the mendicant order of the Servites came to Halberstadt and founded a monastery in the New City in front of the water gate.

In 1326 the city merged with Aschersleben and Quedlinburg until 1477 to form the Halberstadt Tri-City Alliance. In 1387 Halberstadt also joined the Hanseatic League. In 1433 the city roland was set up.

The Protestant doctrine was introduced at Halberstadt Cathedral in 1591 by the first Protestant Bishop of Halberstadt, Heinrich Julius. But until the end of the Thirty Years' War there was a mixed denominational cathedral chapter.

During the witch hunts, around 24 people in Halberstadt were sentenced to death in witch trials. During this time, the Protestant lawyer and diplomat Justus Oldekop (1597–1667) worked in Halberstadt from 1650 to 1660 as the syndic of the estates. He was an early bird and, two years after Friedrich Spee, advocated a much more humane penal system in German (and not anonymously in Latin). He also referred to witch trials.

In 1629 there was a second occupation of Halberstadt by Wallenstein's troops. With the help of the Edict of Restitution, the imperial commander-in-chief made the cathedral and the Liebfrauenstift Catholic again for a short time. On January 18, 1630, Wallenstein was personally in Halberstadt. The prince-bishopric of Halberstadt became part of Brandenburg-Prussia in 1648 as the duchy. In the years 1681/82 the plague raged in the city. 2197 people died from it.

From around 1750, the cathedral secretary Johann Wilhelm Ludwig Gleim turned his house into a communication center for the German Enlightenment (largest original library and collection of letters on the German Enlightenment in the Gleimhaus, now Germany's second oldest literary museum). There was also the Halberstadt Literary Society from 1785 to 1810.

In 1761, the mirror mountains were acquired by Ernst Ludwig Christoph von Spiegel and redesigned into a landscape park. In 1778 Friedrich Eberhard von Rochow founded Germany's first rural school teacher seminar in Halberstadt. In 1807, Halberstadt became part of the Kingdom of Westphalia created by Napoleon and the seat of a prefecture and capital of the Saale department. In the fifth coalition war, in a bloody battle on July 29, 1809, the black crowd of the Duke of Braunschweig conquered the city and moved on with 2,000 prisoners.

After the Congress of Vienna, Halberstadt returned to Prussia and became part of the new province of Saxony. As part of the district formation in the administrative district of Magdeburg, the urban district of Halberstadt was set up in 1816, which included the town itself as well as the surrounding villages. The city district of Halberstadt was expanded in 1825 to include parts of the districts of Oschersleben and Osterwieck and converted into a normal district with Halberstadt as the district town.

With the opening of the railway line to Magdeburg by the Magdeburg-Halberstädter Eisenbahn in 1843, Halberstadt was connected to the constantly expanding railway network. Friedrich Heine founded the Halberstadt sausage factory in 1883. The bathing establishment was established in 1890. The first German trade union congress took place in Halberstadt in 1892. In 1891 Halberstadt left the district and again formed its own urban district.


1900 until today
In 1903 Halberstadt received an electric tram. The City Theater and the City Museum were founded in 1905. As early as 1812 there had been one of the first civil speaking theaters in Germany in the former Nicolaikloster.

From 1912, the German Bristol Works in Halberstadt built aircraft. During the First World War, the former German-British joint venture, renamed Halberstädter Flugzeugwerke, produced aircraft for the air force of the German Army. After the end of the war in November 1918, due to the terms of the Versailles treaties, aircraft construction in the German Empire of the Weimar Republic had to be completely discontinued and the former aircraft factory, which now belonged to Berlin-Halberstädter Industriewerke AG, went bankrupt in early 1926.

As part of the armament of the Wehrmacht, a branch of the Dessau Junkers aircraft factory was put into operation in 1935 on part of the former factory premises in Halberstädter Klusstraße 30-38, which manufactured wings for the Ju 88. This plant was the target of American bombers several times during World War II.

The synagogue in Bakenstrasse, donated by court Jew Berend Lehmann in 1712 in its baroque style, was one of the most beautiful in Europe at the time it was built. During the pogrom night of November 9, 1938, it was looted by the National Socialists and all Torah scrolls were burned on the street. Since it was closely integrated into the existing half-timbered buildings, arson was avoided and the Jewish community was forced to demolish its synagogue with their own hands. On November 23, 1942, the last remaining members of the Jewish community were deported.

During the Second World War, the SS set up several subcamps in the city, including a subcamp of the Buchenwald concentration camp in 1944 in the Junkers factory on Harslebener Strasse for 400 to 900 prisoners who had to perform forced labor there. A satellite camp of the Langenstein-Zwieberge concentration camp existed below the Wehrstedter Bridge in the Reichsbahnausbesserungswerk (RAW), where up to 200 prisoners were deployed.

On April 8, 1945, 218 US bombers of the 1st Air Division of the 8th Air Force of the type B-17 "Flying Fortress" with 595 tons of high explosive and incendiary bombs destroyed 82 percent of the city center in a devastating area bombing. On that day 239 escort fighters escorted the 1st Air Division, whose main target was Halberstadt. Around 2,500 people were killed in the attack. The amount of debris was about 1.5 million cubic meters. Just three days later, on April 11th, American ground forces occupied the city. On May 18, the Americans surrendered the city to the British and at the end of June 1945 the latter to the Red Army. Halberstadt became part of the SBZ and, from 1949, the GDR.

From 1949 to 1989, the inner city, which was largely destroyed, was partly rebuilt and rebuilt according to the "socialist understanding of building"; the remaining half-timbered houses in the old town were planned to be abandoned to decay and large areas were torn down. The ruins of the Romanesque-Gothic Paulskirche were also removed. At the turn of 1989 only small parts of the old town existed.

In 1989 prayers for peace were held in the Martini Church. Thousands of citizens gathered in autumn that year under the motto “Swords to Plowshares”. Demonstrations took place from the church, which also initiated the peaceful political turnaround in Halberstadt. One demand was the completion of demolition work in the city center. A simple memorial on the tower side of the church commemorates these events.

After 1990 the rest of the old town was restored and, from 1995, a modern city center was built on the foundations and the scale of the historic town center. The new city center in the area of ​​the marketplaces was completed in 1998 with the construction of the new town hall.

On June 8, 2007, an attack on a troupe of actors caused a nationwide sensation, in which five actors were so injured that they had to be admitted to the Halberstadt clinic. The police failed to record the perpetrators' personal details, even though they were still at the scene. Four of the perpetrators, who belonged to the right-wing extremist scene, received only extremely mild court judgments.

On September 23, 2008, the city received the title “Place of Diversity” awarded by the federal government.


From 1623 to 1994 Halberstadt was garrison town almost continuously for 372 years.

From 1815 to 1919 Halberstadt was the garrison of the Halberstadt cuirassiers (cuirassier regiment "von Seydlitz" (Magdeburgisches) No. 7). The most prominent member of the regiment was the later Chancellor Otto von Bismarck, who often wore the uniform of this unit, and thus appears in Anton von Werner's painting The Proclamation of the German Empire (January 18, 1871).

An air base with a flying school was established south of the city before and during the First World War. In 1913 the Halberstadt aircraft factory was established. Both had to be dismantled after the war.

During the Weimar Republic, the regimental staff and the training battalion of the 12th Infantry Regiment of the Reichswehr were stationed in Halberstadt. This was in the Prinz-Ferdinand-Kaserne on Harmoniestraße. There was also the Bismarck barracks in the Kürassierstraße with the artillery regiment 4 and the on-site hospital on the Quedlinburger Straße.

From 1935 there was an air force garrison in Halberstadt. The "Air Base Barracks" was built at the air base. In 1944 the facilities were damaged by bombing raids.

From April to May 1945 there was an American and from May to June a British garrison in Halberstadt.

During the GDR era, GSSD troops were stationed in Halberstadt (for example the 197th Armored Guard Regiment and 112th Reconnaissance Battalion). These troop units, all subordinate to the 3rd shock army (see: Structure of the WGT 1991), were in the garrison of the former air base barracks. The site also included a site training area with armored firing ranges.

The barracks are still fallow today, the buildings formerly used by the Soviet Army have now been almost completely demolished. The Martin-Schwantes barracks, which until 1990 was the seat of the GDR border troops (including border regiment 20), has also been demolished. Part of the site is now used by the Federal Agency for Technical Relief, among others. The Martin Hoop barracks, former training barracks of the border troops (Grenzausbildungsregiment 7), is now home to the central contact point for asylum seekers in Saxony-Anhalt, including accommodation options.

On December 29, 1994, the Bundeswehr Air Force Material Depot 52, which was located in the former underground facility (UTA) or the MALACHIT tunnel system near Langenstein and which took over the NVA's complex camp 12 (malachite) in 1989/1990, was closed. This ended the garrison history of Halberstadt after 371 years.

Evidence of the former garrison town of Halberstadt can still be found in the urban area. These include the Ebereschenhof (largely demolished), the grounds of the district administration and Florian-Geyer-Straße.