We were already expected by Mrs. Haubold when we arrived at the tourist information in Merseburg. With her we now walked through Merseburg and discovered the city. We should learn something about the history of the city and also one or the other secret of the city.
But before it started, we learn that Merseburg suffered great damage during World War II. Very close to the city were three large factories, which were destroyed by the Allies. One or the other bomb also fell on Merseburg and destroyed almost the entire old building fabric. Nevertheless, one can find one or the other interesting building in the city and exactly these we wanted to discover.
City church St.Maximi
Our city tour starts in and around the city church St. Maximi.
In 1247 the church was mentioned in documents for the first time. For many years, a basilica with a transept and two low aisles stood on the site of today’s town church. In 1432, the building began to be replaced by a Gothic hall church, which was consecrated in 1514.
Until about 1581 there was a cemetery next to the church. This was no longer sufficient during the plague and was moved without further ado. The place was used as a market place for many years and today it is a parking lot.
In 1867 the dilapidated west tower had to be demolished and a neo-Gothic tower was erected in front of the nave.
We enter the nave and stand in a rather plain church. It is noticeable that the floor rises towards the altar. This, however, should only be attributed to the uneven ground.
In the choir is a beautiful late Gothic winged altar, which originally stood in the Merseburg parish church of St. Sixti and later in the city cemetery chapel. The crucifix and an altar group on the west wall of the city church come from the Neumarktkirche.
I like the church very much. It is not overloaded with the most diverse stylistic elements.
April till October
Tuesday, Thursday: 10-12h and 14-18 h
Entenplan (Duck Plan)
We enter a square newly created in 2000 next to the town church. Here on the duck plan ducks were sold in former times. Today you can sit here comfortably and watch the water play of the Two Worlds Fountain. Since 2004 it stands on the Duck Plan and you can easily walk under the two tubes.
Who looks closely can discover some beautiful details. So you can find some figures that have played a role in the history of Merseburg, for example Thilo von Trotha with his raven, King Henry and of course a reference to the Merseburg spells.
The market of Merseburg is architecturally disappointing. Here you can hardly find any old building substance, everything was destroyed by bombs during the Second World War. So far, attempts have been made to preserve the few old buildings, but the building substance has suffered greatly over the years. Historical remnant is the distemper fountain from the 16th century, but it was being restored during our visit.
It is striking that almost all the stores here are empty. Too bad, because actually it looks quite nice.
We continue along the Domstraße. Right at the beginning of the street at number 2 is the Domapotheke zum Rautenkranz. The building is a listed monument and was once the oldest pharmacy in Merseburg. Unfortunately, the building has been empty for several years.
Across the street, we notice a building with bright blue shutters. This building is also empty, but somehow it seems as if these shutters don’t belong here. And right, we learn that the film “PAULA” (2016) was shot here. The film is about the painter Paula Modersohn-Becker, a radically modern woman at the beginning of the 20th century. The film crew simply left the shutters hanging after leaving the location.
Only a few steps further we stand at the French Fountain. The fountain commemorates the Battle of Roßbach (1757) and was designed in 1928. According to the story, prisoners of war of the battle were also housed in Merseburg. One day a man was found dead in the well. The body was taken out and the next morning it was examined more closely. From the uniform it was recognized that the dead man was a French officer. He had no external injuries and to all appearances had drowned. It was assumed that the officer took his own life out of despair, fear or depression. However, there is also a rumor that he sought shelter in the well and died in it.
The road leads us to the Krummen Tor. This is located at the intersection of Domstraße / Grüne Straße and was a part of the inner city wall in Merseburg. It belonged to the outermost of the three wall rings of the Domburg. It has stood in the city in its present form since 1888.
According to legend, the original gate was created by a visit of the emperor to the city. He loved to be able to enter the city through a gate. So they built a makeshift gate for him with the idea of tearing it down after his visit. However, the emperor was so enthusiastic about the gate that it was subsequently rebuilt in stone.
If you go through the gate you are on the direct way to the cathedral and the castle of Merseburg. If you would like to know more about these two places, you should read our articles:
Worth seeing in Merseburg – the cathedral St.Johannes and St.Laurentius
Visit to Merseburg Castle
If you walk past the castle and the cathedral, you come to the Ständehaus. In the past, this magnificent building was used as the parliament building of the Prussian province of Saxony. Today it houses a congress and cultural center, as well as Merseburg’s registry office.
Construction of the Ständehaus began in 1892, and within 3 years a building was erected with 192 rooms and 3 large conference halls, which are now used for events.
Since a wedding was just taking place, we were able to sneak into the building briefly. The staircase was already impressive.
Our city tour ended with a short look at the Neumarkt and ended again at the tourist information in Merseburg. Unfortunately, not everything we learned during the tour can be reproduced here. It was very interesting, but also so much that we were glad to have a lunch stop.
Disclosure: The city tour took place as part of a press trip and was free of charge for us. The report shows only my impressions of the city.