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The university and Saale city of Halle (Saale), Halle for short, is the birthplace of Georg Friedrich Händel. Located both at the southern end of the Lower Saale Valley and in the "Metropolitan Region of Central Germany", the largest city in Saxony-Anhalt attracts with one of the most beautiful old town centers among German cities, a rich cultural offer, many parks and numerous dining facilities. Halle is also an important traffic junction.
The city of Halle (Saale) was first mentioned in 806 in the
Moissac Chronicle as Halla. It owes the city's development and
upswing to the numerous brine springs in the area that formed at
Halle's market square. The name of the city is also derived from the
Middle German word hal for salt source, salt works. But there was
also a settlement earlier. Since 968 the city belonged to the
Archdiocese of Magdeburg founded by Otto I. and from 1281 to the
In 1418 the construction of the Red Tower, which would later become Halle’s landmark, began. In 1484 the Moritzburg was built under Archbishop Ernst II of Saxony, which was intended to counter the self-confident saltworkers, the Halloren. From now until 1680 Halle was the capital and residence of the Archdiocese of Magdeburg. Halle had a wedding under Cardinal Albrecht von Brandenburg. An extensive construction program was carried out in his favorite residence. The Reformation marked the end of this era. The cardinal fled to Mainz and Aschaffenburg with his court and art treasures.
After the death of Duke August von Sachsen-Weißenfels in 1680, the city fell first to the Electorate of Brandenburg and later to the Kingdom of Prussia. In 1694 the University of Halle and in 1698 the Francke Foundations were founded as an orphanage and later a center for the early enlightenment. The Canstein Biblical Institute was one of the foundations since 1710. Because of its liberal spirit, the university has a reputation as the first “modern” university and was a model for other German and US universities.
The composer Georg Friedrich Händel was born in Halle in the 17th century. The Handel Festival takes place annually in Halle in June, an event that attracts numerous visitors from home and abroad and extends over 10 days. The conclusion after numerous concerts and operas is crowned by fireworks in the Galgenberg Gorge.
After the Napoleonic Wars, the city fell to the Kingdom of Westphalia in 1807 and again to Prussia in 1815. The city owes renewed economic growth to its natural resources such as brown and hard coal as well as clay, gravel and porphyry. In 1890 the population reached 100,000 and Halle became a major city. In the same year, the Social Democratic Party of Germany received its current name at a party congress in the city. But industry left its mark on the city. The actor, comedian and writer Curt Goetz, who grew up in Halle, described the city in his memoirs as charming. The German Academy of Sciences Leopoldina, founded in 1652, has had its permanent seat in Halle since 1878.
Despite its proximity to the chemical companies Leuna and Buna, Halle was largely spared from extensive bombing in 1945. As a result, it has a unique urban character among major German cities. During the short existence of the state of Saxony-Anhalt after the dissolution of Prussia from 1947 to 1952, Halle was its capital. After that, the city was the capital of the district of the same name until 1990.
In the second half of the 20th century, the city was the center of the chemical industry. With the then still independent city of Halle-Neustadt and the residential area Halle-Silberhöhe, large prefabricated housing estates for the chemical workers were created. The city itself fell into disrepair during this time. The picture changed with the political turnaround: the environmental damage caused by the chemical industry decreased, and the Diva Halle was able to shed its notorious gray very quickly. Even before the fall of the Wall in 1980, the nationally known Neue Theater was founded by Peter Sodann.
With around 237,000 inhabitants, Halle is the largest city in Saxony-Anhalt, the fifth largest city in the new federal states and No. 31 among German cities. It is not only an important economic center and an important transport hub, but also a city of science and culture. In addition to the university with around 20,000 students, the city is the location of the Burg Giebichenstein art college, several national research institutes and, since 2008, the seat of the German National Academy Leopoldina and the Federal Cultural Foundation. The cultural highlights include a. the art collections of the Moritzburg Foundation and the State Museum for Prehistory.