Merseburg ([ˈmɛɐzəbʊrk]) is a town in the south of the German state of Saxony-Anhalt on the river Saale, approx. 14 km south of Halle (Saale) and 30 km west of Leipzig. It is the capital of the Saalekreis district. It had a diocese founded by Archbishop Adalbert of Magdeburg. The University of Merseburg is located within the town. Merseburg has around 33,000 inhabitants. Merseburg is part of the Central German Metropolitan Region.

Merseburger Schloss
Merseburger Schloss
Coat of arms of Merseburg

Coat of arms
Location of Merseburg within Saalekreis district
Merseburg in SK
Merseburg is located in Germany
Merseburg is located in Saxony-Anhalt
Coordinates: 51°21′16″N 11°59′34″E / 51.35444°N 11.99278°ECoordinates: 51°21′16″N 11°59′34″E / 51.35444°N 11.99278°E
 • Lord MayorJens Bühligen (CDU)
 • Total54.73 km2 (21.13 sq mi)
88 m (289 ft)
 • Total34,080
 • Density620/km2 (1,600/sq mi)
Time zoneCET/CEST (UTC+1/+2)
Postal codes
Dialling codes03461
Vehicle registrationSK, MER, MQ, QFT



Administrative reforms

Venenien was incorporated into Merseburg on 1 January 1949. The parish Kötzschen followed on 1 July 1950. Since 30 May 1994, Meuschau is part of Merseburg.[2] Trebnitz followed later. Beuna was annexed on 1 January 2009.[3] Geusa is a part of Merseburg since 1 January 2010.[4]


Pre-history and Middle Ages

Merseburg was first mentioned in 850. King Henry the Fowler built a royal palace at Merseburg; in the 933 Battle of Riade, he gained his great victory over the Hungarians in the vicinity.

Thietmar, appointed in 973, became the first bishop of the newly created bishopric of Prague in Bohemia. Prague had been part of the archbishopric of Mainz for a hundred years before that. From 968 until the Protestant Reformation, Merseburg was the seat of the Bishop of Merseburg, and in addition to being for a time the residence of the margraves of Meissen, it was a favorite residence of the German kings during the 10th, 11th and 12th centuries. Fifteen diets were held here during the Middle Ages, during which time its fairs enjoyed the importance which was afterwards transferred to those of Leipzig. Merseburg was the site of a failed assassination attempt on Polish ruler Bolesław I Chrobry in 1002.[5] The town suffered severely during the German Peasants' War and also during the Thirty Years' War.

Merseburg in 1650

17th century to 20th century

From 1657 to 1738 Merseburg was the residence of the Dukes of Saxe-Merseburg, after which it fell to the Electorate of Saxony. In 1815 following the Napoleonic Wars, the town became part of the Prussian Province of Saxony.

Merseburg is where the Merseburg Incantations were rediscovered in 1841. Written down in Old High German, they are hitherto the only preserved German documents with a heathen theme. One of them is a charm to release warriors caught during battle, and the other is a charm to heal a horse's sprained foot.

At the beginning of the 20th century, Merseburg was transformed into an industrial town, largely due to the pioneering work done by Carl Bosch and Friedrich Bergius, who laid down the scientific fundamentals of the catalytic high-pressure ammonia synthesis from 1909 to 1913. Enterprises, too, blazed a trail in the course of the transformational process. Ultimately, a chemical park emerged at nearby Leuna which is one of the most modern sites of its kind in Europe with high ecological standards.

Merseburg was badly damaged in World War II. In 23 air raids 6,200 dwellings were completely or partly destroyed.[6] The historic town centre was almost completely destroyed.

Briefly part of Saxony-Anhalt after the war, it was then administered within the Bezirk Halle in East Germany. It became part of Saxony-Anhalt again after reunification of Germany.


Like many towns in the former East Germany, Merseburg has had a general decline in population since German Reunification despite annexing and merging with a number of smaller nearby villages.

Population of Merseburg (from 1960, population on 31 December, unless otherwise indicated):

1834 to 1933

  • 1834: 08,830
  • 1875: 13,664
  • 1880: 15,205
  • 1890: 17,669
  • 1925: 25,630
  • 1933: 31,576

1939 to 1984

  • 1939: 38,058
  • 1946: 33,978 1
  • 1950: 38,441 2
  • 1960: 47,199
  • 1981: 50,932
  • 1984: 48,399

1990 to 2007

  • 1990: 43,815 3
  • 1995: 41,576
  • 2000: 37,127
  • 2005: 34,581
  • 2006: 34,411
  • 2007: 34,039 4

from 2008

  • 2008: 34,623
  • 2009: 34,313
  • 2010: 35,419

Data source from 1990: Statistical Office of Saxony Anhalt
1 29 October
2 31 August
3 3 October
4 14 July 2008


Among the notable buildings of Merseburg are the Merseburg Cathedral of St John the Baptist (founded 1015, rebuilt in the 13th and 16th centuries) and the episcopal palace (15th century). The cathedral-and-palace ensemble also features a palace garden (Schlossgarten).

Other attractions include the Merseburg House of Trades with a cultural stage and the German Museum of Chemistry, Merseburg.


Merseburg Schloss

Merseburg, Germany - panoramio (30)


Merseburg, Kirchenruine Sankt Sixti, 001

St. Sixti

Merseburg, the church St. Maximi

St. Maximi church


Old Town Hall

Merseburg, Stadtbefestigung, Eulenturm, 001


Arts and culture

The Merseburg Palace Festival with the Historical Pageant, the International Palace-Moat Concerts, Merseburg Organ Days and the Puppet Show Festival Week are events celebrated every year.


Merseburg station is located on the Halle–Bebra railway. Leipzig/Halle Airport is just 25 kilometers away. Merseburg is connected with the Halle (Saale) tramway network. A tram ride from Halle's city centre to Merseburg takes about 50 minutes.


Merseburg station

Leipzig-Halle Airport Check-in

Leipzig/Halle Airport, 25 kilometers away from Merseburg

Schkopau Strassenbahn

Tram in Schkopau, near Merseburg


Town twinning

Merseburg is twinned with:

Notable people

Ernst Haeckel in 1906


  •  This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domainChisholm, Hugh, ed. (1911). "Merseburg". Encyclopædia Britannica. 18 (11th ed.). Cambridge University Press. pp. 173–174.
  1. ^ "Bevölkerung der Gemeinden – Stand: 31. Dezember 2018" (PDF). Statistisches Landesamt Sachsen-Anhalt (in German).
  2. ^ Gemeinden 1994 und ihre Veränderungen seit 01.01.1948 in den neuen Ländern, Verlag Metzler-Poeschel, Stuttgart, 1995, ISBN 3-8246-0321-7, Herausgeber: Statistisches Bundesamt
  3. ^ StBA: Änderungen bei den Gemeinden Deutschlands, siehe 2009, 1. Liste
  4. ^ StBA: Änderungen bei den Gemeinden Deutschlands, siehe 2010
  5. ^ [1]
  6. ^ Eckardt Götz (1980) Schicksale deutscher Baudenkmale im zweiten Weltkrieg, Band 2, p. 332, Henschelverlag, Berlin

External links

Bishopric of Merseburg

The Bishopric of Merseburg was an episcopal see on the eastern border of the medieval Duchy of Saxony with its centre in Merseburg, where Merseburg Cathedral was constructed. The see was founded in 967 by Emperor Otto I at the same time in the same manner as those of Meissen and Zeitz (from 1029: Naumburg), all suffragan dioceses of the Archbishopric of Magdeburg as part of a plan to bind the adjacent Slavic ("Wendish") lands in the Saxon Eastern March beyond the Saale River more closely to the Holy Roman Empire.

The prince-bishopric was re-established by King Henry II of Germany in 1004. It then covered a considerable small territory stretching from the Saale up to the Mulde River and the Margraviate of Meissen in the east.

Christian I, Duke of Saxe-Merseburg

Christian I of Saxe-Merseburg (Dresden, 27 October 1615 – Merseburg, 18 October 1691), was the first duke of Saxe-Merseburg and a member of the House of Wettin.

He was the sixth (third surviving) son of Johann Georg I, Elector of Saxony, and his second wife Magdalene Sibylle of Prussia.


In Germanic mythology, Fulla (Old Norse, possibly "bountiful") or Volla (Old High German) is a goddess. In Norse mythology, Fulla is described as wearing a golden band and as tending to the ashen box and the footwear owned by the goddess Frigg, and, in addition, Frigg confides in Fulla her secrets. Fulla is attested in the Poetic Edda, compiled in the 13th century from earlier traditional sources; the Prose Edda, written in the 13th century by Snorri Sturluson; and in skaldic poetry. Volla is attested in the "Horse Cure" Merseburg Incantation, recorded anonymously in the 10th century in Old High German, in which she assists in healing the wounded foal of Phol and is referred to as Frigg's sister. Scholars have proposed theories about the implications of the goddess.

Gau Halle-Merseburg

The Gau Halle-Merseburg was an administrative division of Nazi Germany from 1933 to 1945 in the Prussian Province of Saxony. Before that, from 1925 to 1933, it was the regional subdivision of the Nazi Party in that area.


The Province of Halle-Merseburg (German: Provinz Halle-Merseburg) was a province of the Free State of Prussia from 1944–45. The provincial capital was the city Merseburg.

Halle-Merseburg was created on 1 July 1944, out of Regierungsbezirk Merseburg, an administrative region from the former Province of Saxony. The governor of the new province was Joachim Albrecht Eggeling, the Gauleiter of the Nazi Gau Halle-Merseburg. In 1945, the Province of Halle-Merseburg was dissolved into a recreated Province of Saxony.

Jawed Karim

Jawed Karim (Bengali: জাবেদ করিম; born October 28, 1979) is an American computer scientist and Internet entrepreneur of Bangladeshi-German descent. He is the co-founder of YouTube, and the first person to upload a video to the site. This inaugural video, titled Me at the zoo, has been viewed over 77 million times as of October 2019. During Karim's time working at PayPal, where he met the fellow YouTube co-founders Steven Chen and Chad Hurley, he had designed many of the core components including its real-time anti-internet-fraud system.

Kristina Mundt

Kristina Mundt (later Richter, born 25 January 1966) is a German rower.

Mundt was born in Merseburg. In October 1986, she was awarded a Patriotic Order of Merit in gold (first class) for her sporting success.

Marca Geronis

The Marca Geronis (march of Gero) was a vast super-march in the middle of the tenth century. It was created probably for Thietmar (in the 920s) and passed to his two sons consecutively: Siegfried and Gero. On Gero's death in 965 it was divided into five (sometimes counted as six) different marches: the Nordmark, the Ostmark, Meissen, Zeitz, and Merseburg.

Because Siegfried's and Gero's comital seat was Merseburg, it has sometimes been called the March of Merseburg. However, there is also a Merseburger march which grew out of it after 965. Because the central diocese in his march was Magdeburg, sometimes it is called the March of Magdeburg (Magdeburger Mark). Other historians prefer to call it the (Saxon) Eastern March or Ostmark, but these terms are also applied to another march which grew out of it in 965. Because the marca Geronis was created simultaneously with the March of Billung to the north, it is sometimes said to be the southern half of the Ostmark. Some historians even call it the "March of Meissen." Within the span of one page, James Westfall Thompson, referred to it as both the "Sorben Mark" and the "Thuringian March."Part of the complication involved in ascertaining the territoriality of the march over which Gero ruled is the nature of the margravial title in tenth-century Saxony. It may have signified territorial governance, but on the other hand may have been an honorific for especially powerful counts signifying nothing more than a preeminence in providing defence of the provinces in which were found their counties. It has been suggested that marcher jurisdictions even overlapped within provinces.

In 965, Merseburg became the centre of a smaller, more restricted march belonging to Gunther. On Gunther's death in 982, it was united to the March of Meissen.

Marcus Becker

Marcus Becker (born 11 September 1981 in Merseburg) is a German slalom canoeist who competed at the international level from 1996 to 2011. He won a silver medal in the C2 event at the 2004 Summer Olympics in Athens.Becker won six medals at the ICF Canoe Slalom World Championships with a gold (C2: 2003), four silvers (C2: 2006, C2 team: 2003, 2006, 2009), and a bronze (C2: 2005). He also won a gold and two silvers in the C2 team event at the European Championships.His partner in the C2 boat throughout his career was Stefan Henze.


Merseburg-Querfurt was a district (Kreis) in the south of Saxony-Anhalt, Germany. Neighboring districts were (from northwest clockwise) Sangerhausen, Mansfelder Land, Saalkreis, the district-free city Halle, the districts Delitzsch and Leipziger Land in Saxony, the districts Weißenfels and Burgenlandkreis, and the Kyffhäuserkreis in Thuringia.

Merseburg (Verwaltungsgemeinschaft)

Merseburg was a Verwaltungsgemeinschaft ("collective municipality") in the Saalekreis district, in Saxony-Anhalt, Germany. The seat of the Verwaltungsgemeinschaft was in Merseburg. It was disbanded on 1 January 2010.

The Verwaltungsgemeinschaft Merseburg consisted of the following municipalities:



Merseburg charms

The Merseburg charms or Merseburg incantations (German: die Merseburger Zaubersprüche) are two medieval magic spells, charms or incantations, written in Old High German. They are the only known examples of Germanic pagan belief preserved in the language. They were discovered in 1841 by Georg Waitz, who found them in a theological manuscript from Fulda, written in the 9th century, although there remains some speculation about the date of the charms themselves. The manuscript (Cod. 136 f. 85a) is stored in the library of the cathedral chapter of Merseburg, hence the name.

Province of Saxony

The Province of Saxony (German: Provinz Sachsen), also known as Prussian Saxony (Preußische Sachsen) was a province of the Kingdom of Prussia and later the Free State of Prussia from 1816 until 1945. Its capital was Magdeburg.

It was formed by the merger of various territories ceded or returned to Prussia in 1815 by the Congress of Vienna: most of the former northern territories of the Kingdom of Saxony (the remainder of which became part of Brandenburg or Silesia), the former French Principality of Erfurt, the Duchy of Magdeburg, the Altmark, the Principality of Halberstadt, and some other districts.

The province was bounded by the Electorate of Hesse (the province of Hesse-Nassau after 1866), the Kingdom of Hanover (the province of Hanover after 1866) and the Duchy of Brunswick to the west, Hanover (again) to the north, Brandenburg to the north and west, Silesia to the south-east, and the rump kingdom of Saxony and the small Ernestine duchies to the south. Its shape was very irregular and it entirely surrounded enclaves of Brunswick and some of the Ernestine duchies. It also possessed several exclaves, and was almost entirely bisected by the Duchy of Anhalt save for a small corridor of land around Aschersleben (which itself bisected Anhalt). The river Havel ran along the north-eastern border with Brandenburg north of Plaue but did not follow the border exactly.

The majority of the population was Protestant, with a Catholic minority (about 8% as of 1905) considered part of the diocese of Paderborn. The province sent 20 members to the Reichstag and 38 delegates to the Prussian House of Representatives (Abgeordnetenhaus).


Saalekreis is a district in Saxony-Anhalt, Germany. The district seat is Merseburg. It is bounded by (from the west and clockwise) the districts Kyffhäuserkreis (Thuringia), Mansfeld-Südharz, Salzlandkreis, Anhalt-Bitterfeld, Nordsachsen, Leipzig (both Saxony) and Burgenlandkreis. The district-free city of Halle is surrounded by the Saalekreis.


The Duchy of Saxe-Merseburg was a duchy of the Holy Roman Empire, with Merseburg as its capital. It existed from 1656/57 to 1738 and was owned by an Albertine secundogeniture of the Saxon House of Wettin.

Sól (sun)

Sól (Old Norse "Sun") or Sunna (Old High German, and existing as an Old Norse and Icelandic synonym: see Wiktionary sunna, "Sun") is the Sun personified in Norse mythology. One of the two Old High German Merseburg Incantations, written in the 9th or 10th century CE, attests that Sunna is the sister of Sinthgunt. In Norse mythology, Sól is attested in the Poetic Edda, compiled in the 13th century from earlier traditional sources, and the Prose Edda, written in the 13th century by Snorri Sturluson.

In both the Poetic Edda and the Prose Edda she is described as the sister of the personified Moon, Máni, is the daughter of Mundilfari, is at times referred to as Álfröðull, and is foretold to be killed by a monstrous wolf during the events of Ragnarök, though beforehand she will have given birth to a daughter who continues her mother's course through the heavens. In the Prose Edda, she is additionally described as the wife of Glenr. As a proper noun, Sól appears throughout Old Norse literature. Scholars have produced theories about the development of the goddess from potential Nordic Bronze Age and Proto-Indo-European roots.

Thietmar of Merseburg

Thietmar (also Dietmar or Dithmar; 25 July 975 – 1 December 1018), Prince-Bishop of Merseburg from 1009 until his death, was an important chronicler recording the reigns of German kings and Holy Roman Emperors of the Ottonian (Saxon) dynasty. Two of Thietmar's great-grandfathers, both referred to Liuthar, were the Saxon nobles Lothar II, Count of Stade, and Lothar I, Count of Walbeck. They were both killed fighting the Slavs at the Battle of Lenzen.

Uta Rohländer

Uta Rohländer, married Fromm (born 30 June 1969 in Merseburg) is a retired German sprinter who specialised in the 400 metres.

At the 1996 Summer Olympics in Atlanta, she won a bronze medal in the 4 × 400 metres relay with her teammates Linda Kisabaka, Anja Rücker and Grit Breuer.

At the 1997 World Championships in Athens, she won a gold medal in the 4 × 400 metres relay with her teammates Anke Feller, Rücker and Breuer.

Her personal best time is 50.33 seconds, achieved in July 1998 in Stuttgart.

She represented the sports club SV Halle. She married Alexander Fromm, son of Dieter Fromm.

Uwe Heppner

Uwe Heppner (born 18 July 1960) is a retired German rower. He competed for East Germany at the 1980 and 1988 Summer Olympics and won a gold medal in the quadruple sculls in 1980. He finished fifth in the double sculls in 1988. Between 1979 and 1987 he won four gold and three bronze medals in these two events at the world championships and finished fourth in 1989. In October 1986, he was awarded a Patriotic Order of Merit in gold (first class) for his sporting success.

Towns and municipalities in the district of Saalekreis


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