Last updated

Merseburger Schloss 2006.jpg
Merseburger Schloss
Wappen Merseburg.png
Coat of arms
Location of Merseburg within Saalekreis district
Merseburg in SK.png
Germany adm location map.svg
Red pog.svg
Saxony-Anhalt location map.svg
Red pog.svg
Coordinates: 51°21′16″N11°59′34″E / 51.35444°N 11.99278°E / 51.35444; 11.99278 Coordinates: 51°21′16″N11°59′34″E / 51.35444°N 11.99278°E / 51.35444; 11.99278
Country Germany
State Saxony-Anhalt
District Saalekreis
   Lord mayor Jens Bühligen (CDU)
  Total54.73 km2 (21.13 sq mi)
88 m (289 ft)
 (2019-12-31) [1]
  Density620/km2 (1,600/sq mi)
Time zone UTC+01:00 (CET)
  Summer (DST) UTC+02:00 (CEST)
Postal codes
Dialling codes 03461
Vehicle registration SK, MER, MQ, QFT

Merseburg (German: [ˈmɛɐzəbʊrk] ( Loudspeaker.svg listen )) 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.




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. [3]


Historical affiliations
Wappen Bistum Merseburg.png Bishopric of Merseburg 1004-1565

Flag of Electoral Saxony.svg  Electorate of Saxony 1565-1657
Banner of Saxony (1^1).svg Duchy of Saxe-Merseburg 1657-1738
Polish Royal Banner of The House of Wettin.svg Poland-Saxony 1738-1763
Flag of Electoral Saxony.svg  Electorate of Saxony 1763-1806
State flag of Saxony before 1815.svg Kingdom of Saxony 1806-1815
Flag of the Kingdom of Prussia (1803-1892).svg  Kingdom of Prussia 1815-1871
Flag of the German Empire.svg  German Empire 1871-1918
Flag of Germany (3-2 aspect ratio).svg  Weimar Republic 1918-1933
Flag of Germany (1935-1945).svg  Nazi Germany 1933-1945
Flag of Germany (1946-1949).svg  Allied-occupied Germany 1945-1949
Flag of East Germany.svg  East Germany 1949-1990

Flag of Germany.svg  Germany 1990-present

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. [4] The town suffered severely during the German Peasants' War and also during the Thirty Years' War.

Merseburg in 1650 Merseburg-1650-Merian.jpg
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, the nearby Leuna works emerged at the nearby town of Leuna, which continues to operate in the 21st century as a chemical production park that serves multiple international chemical companies. [5]

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: 8,830
  • 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.

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.


Twin towns – sister cities

Merseburg is twinned with: [7]

Notable people

Ernst Haeckel in 1906 ErnstHaeckel.jpg
Ernst Haeckel in 1906

Related Research Articles

Saxony-Anhalt State in Germany

Saxony-Anhalt (German: Sachsen-Anhalt is a state of Germany, bordering the states of Brandenburg, Saxony, Thuringia and Lower Saxony. It covers an area of 20,447.7 square kilometres and has a population of 2.19 million inhabitants, making it the 8th-largest state in Germany by area and the 11th-largest by population. Its capital is Magdeburg and its largest city is Halle.

Wittenberg Place in Saxony-Anhalt, Germany

For the town in Mecklenburg-Vorpommern, see Wittenburg.

History of Saxony-Anhalt

The history of Saxony-Anhalt began with Old Saxony, which was conquered by Charlemagne in 804 and transformed into the Duchy of Saxony within the Carolingian Empire. Saxony went on to become one of the so-called stem duchies of the German Kingdom and subsequently the Holy Roman Empire which formed out of the eastern partition of the Carolingian Empire. The duchy grew to become a powerful state within the empire, ruling over much of what is now northern Germany, but following conflicts with the emperor it was partitioned into numerous minor states around the end of the 12th century.

Halle (Saale) city in Saxony-Anhalt, Germany

Halle (Saale) is the largest city of the German state of Saxony-Anhalt, the fifth most populous city in the area of former East Germany after (East) Berlin, Leipzig, Dresden and Chemnitz, as well as the 31st largest city of Germany, and with around 239,000 inhabitants, it is slightly more populous than the state capital of Magdeburg. Together with Leipzig, the largest city of Saxony, Halle forms the polycentric Leipzig-Halle conurbation. Between the two cities, in Schkeuditz, lies Leipzig/Halle International Airport. The Leipzig-Halle conurbation is at the heart of the larger Central German Metropolitan Region.

Saale River in Germany

The Saale, also known as the Saxon Saale and Thuringian Saale, is a river in Germany and a left-bank tributary of the Elbe. It is not to be confused with the smaller Franconian Saale, a right-bank tributary of the Main, or the Saale in Lower Saxony, a tributary of the Leine.

Lützen Place in Saxony-Anhalt, Germany

Lützen  is a town in the Burgenlandkreis district of Saxony-Anhalt, Germany.

Province of Saxony

The Province of Saxony, also known as Prussian Saxony was a province of the Kingdom of Prussia and later the Free State of Prussia from 1816 until 1944. Its capital was Magdeburg.

Zeitz Place in Saxony-Anhalt, Germany

Zeitz is a town in the Burgenlandkreis district, in Saxony-Anhalt, Germany. It is situated on the river White Elster, in the triangle of the federal states Saxony-Anhalt, Thuringia and Saxony.

Leuna Place in Saxony-Anhalt, Germany

Leuna is a town in Saxony-Anhalt, eastern Germany, south of Merseburg and Halle, on the Saale river.

Weißenfels Place in Saxony-Anhalt, Germany

Weißenfels is the largest town of the Burgenlandkreis district, in southern Saxony-Anhalt, Germany. It is situated on the river Saale, approximately 30 km (20 mi) south of Halle.

Landsberg, Saxony-Anhalt Place in Saxony-Anhalt, Germany

Landsberg is a town in the Saalekreis in the state of Saxony-Anhalt, Germany

Schkopau Place in Saxony-Anhalt, Germany

Schkopau is a municipality in the Saalekreis district, in Saxony-Anhalt, Germany.

Kötzschau Stadtteil of Leuna in Saxony-Anhalt, Germany

Kötzschau is a village and a former municipality in the district Saalekreis, in Saxony-Anhalt, Germany. Today, it is a part of Leuna. Kötzschau is situated approximately 11 km southeast of Merseburg and has a population close to 2,000.

Bad Dürrenberg Place in Saxony-Anhalt, Germany

Bad Dürrenberg is a spa town in the Saalekreis district, in Saxony-Anhalt, Germany. It is situated on the river Saale, approx. 8 km southeast of Merseburg. It is known for its graduation tower, the largest one in Germany.

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, 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.

Bitterfeld-Wolfen Place in Saxony-Anhalt, Germany

Bitterfeld-Wolfen is a town in the district Anhalt-Bitterfeld, Saxony-Anhalt, Germany. It is situated in south-eastern Saxony-Anhalt, west of the river Mulde, in an area that is dominated by heavy industry and lignite mining. The town was formed by merger of the towns Bitterfeld and Wolfen and the municipalities Greppin, Holzweißig and Thalheim on 1 July 2007.

Merseburg Cathedral Church in Merseburg, Germany

Merseburg Cathedral is the proto-cathedral of the former Bishopric of Merseburg in Merseburg, Germany. The mostly Gothic church is considered an artistic and historical highlight in southern Saxony-Anhalt.

Middle German Chemical Triangle

The Middle German Chemical Triangle is the industrial conurbation around the cities and towns of Halle (Saale), Merseburg and Bitterfeld in the North German state of Saxony-Anhalt and Leipzig and Schkeuditz in the Free State of Saxony. Its name is derived from the dominant industries of the region – the chemical and oil refining industries.


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.

Merseburg Hauptbahnhof

Merseburg Hauptbahnhof is the main station of the town of Merseburg in the German state of Saxony-Anhalt. It is located on the Halle–Bebra railway and Deutsche Bahn assigns it to category 4. Merseburg is located in the tariff area of the Mitteldeutscher Verkehrsverbund.


  1. "Bevölkerung der Gemeinden – Stand: 31. Dezember 2019" (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. 1 2 "Regionales". Statistisches Bundesamt. Retrieved 17 October 2020.
  4. UAM, O. autorze Paweł Kubiak Rekonstruktor X. w Hevding drużyny słowian i wikingów Vergild Student (20 May 2013). "Konflikty Bolesława Chrobrego z Henrykiem II od roku 1002 do pokoju poznańskiego" . Retrieved 17 October 2020.
  5. "InfraLeuna Producers". InfraLeuna GmbH. Retrieved 15 May 2020.
  6. Eckardt Götz (1980) Schicksale deutscher Baudenkmale im zweiten Weltkrieg, Band 2, p. 332, Henschelverlag, Berlin
  7. "Partnerstädte". (in German). Merseburg. Retrieved 3 December 2019.