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Contributions " In search of the emperor's heart - how churches in Memleben are resurrected...
Contributions " In search of the emperor's heart - how churches in Memleben are resurrected...

In search of the emperor's heart - how churches in Memleben are resurrected...

The Emperor's Heart - Resurrection of a Church in Memleben in 3D (c) 3DQR GmbH
The Emperor's Heart - Resurrection of a Church in Memleben in 3D (c) 3DQR GmbH

Overview

Until the anniversary year 2023, we have never been so close to the Romanesque period. Emperor Otto the Great died in the former imperial palace of Memleben 1050 years ago. Although his funeral took place in Magdeburg, the emperor's heart is said to still rest in Memleben.

What awaits you in the anniversary year

In 2023, the Memleben Monastery will allow its visitors to experience an exciting deep search for the Emperor's heart. After all, it is the soul of this place steeped in history. The ruins of two medieval churches are restored to their former glory before your very eyes. The objects from archaeological excavations are also given new life. This not only allows you to explore the monastery complex in the here and now, but also gives you the chance to walk through the vanished medieval walls of the once magnificent monastery. Your visit becomes an excursion into medieval Memleben.

The Emperor's Heart Anniversary Motif (c) Memleben Monastery and Imperial Palace Foundation
The Emperor's Heart Anniversary Motif (c) Memleben Monastery and Imperial Palace Foundation

Today's Memleben Monastery

If you are travelling the Romanesque Road, you will not pass the Memleben Monastery. The stone remains are a reminder of the very eventful past with visits by the most important rulers of the Middle Ages. But you need a lot of imagination to picture the events of that time in your mind's eye.

Walking between history

On a visit to today's monastery complex, you will stand in front of an impressive ruined church from the 13th century. Despite the impressive walls, only a vague idea of the former splendour remains, because the roof including the vault has been missing for a long time. Only a few parts of the ruins of the second church, which was already on the site in the 10th century, have survived. A reconstructed ground plan shows you how extraordinarily large this building was 1000 years ago.

Walk through the Memleben monastery complex (c) Saale-Unstrut-Tourismus e.V., Falko Matte
Walk through the Memleben monastery complex (c) Saale-Unstrut-Tourismus e.V., Falko Matte
Aerial view of the Memleben monastery grounds (c) Saale-Unstrut-Tourismus e.V., Falko Matte
Aerial view of the Memleben monastery grounds (c) Saale-Unstrut-Tourismus e.V., Falko Matte

What you must not miss

The Monastery garden in Memleben has been lovingly landscaped and replanted in the style of medieval gardens. At Exhibition areawhich adjoins the garden and one of the church ruins, you can trace Memleben's eventful history with interactive and audiovisual elements. Playful elements are also used, so that even the younger visitors get their money's worth. Last but not least, you will certainly be impressed by the well-preserved Late Romanesque crypt from the time around 1200. Many a guest takes his or her breath away at the sight of them. In the crypt, you don't need modern technology to feel the spirit of the Middle Ages.

Playful elements in the exhibition area of Memleben Monastery (c) Saale-Unstrut-Tourismus e.V., Falko Matte
Playful elements in the exhibition area of Memleben Monastery (c) Saale-Unstrut-Tourismus e.V., Falko Matte
Romanesque crypt (c) Memleben Monastery and Imperial Palace Foundation
Romanesque crypt (c) Memleben Monastery and Imperial Palace Foundation
Memleben Monastery and Imperial Palace has beautiful grounds with monastery garden (c) Saale-Unstrut-Tourismus e.V., Falko Matte
Memleben Monastery and Imperial Palace has beautiful grounds with monastery garden (c) Saale-Unstrut-Tourismus e.V., Falko Matte

Backwards through time to medieval Memleben

This year, instead of going forwards, we're simply going backwards into the past. From March, you will have a completely new opportunity to travel through time. How does it work? It's simple: state-of-the-art augmented reality technology makes it possible.

This is how the time travel succeeds

At first, everything seems the same. All the stone witnesses are in place. The birds can be heard. The wind whispers through the walls. On good days, the sun provides a picturesque play of light and shadow. Only one thing is different now: when you visit, you will be given a tablet to accompany you.

On your tour, you will encounter some QR codes at various orientation points that will show you the way through the monastery. The starting point is the central vantage point, which gives you an overview of the grounds. As soon as you scan the QR code, the ruins and remains of the two churches come to life before your eyes.

Viewpoint on the Memleben monastery grounds (c) Saale-Unstrut-Tourismus e.V., Falko Matte
Viewpoint on the Memleben monastery grounds (c) Saale-Unstrut-Tourismus e.V., Falko Matte

How churches rise in minutes

No matter what your movement, from now on you are right in the middle of it - in the Middle Ages. Leaving the vantage point, your journey through time begins. Church walls and a long-lost cloister emerge. In just a few minutes, you move into a glorious ensemble that no longer exists today.

Looking up, the sky suddenly disappears and you find yourself in the interior of the Memleben monastery church. Further ahead, the risen choir screen and the view into the choir give the impression that the medieval Liturgy of the Hours could begin at any time. And perhaps the same reverence that the people of the Middle Ages must have felt during their visits to the masses will take hold of you.

Using a tablet, the old church ruins in Memleben awaken to their former glory (c) Memleben Monastery and Imperial Palace
Using a tablet, the old church ruins in Memleben awaken to their former glory (c) Memleben Monastery and Imperial Palace

Will the emperor's heart be recovered from the depths?

7 May is the 1050th anniversary of the death of Emperor Otto the Great. From this day on, the special exhibition "Des Kaisers Herz" (The Emperor's Heart) will also open in the exhibition area of the monastery complex.

11.03. - 31.10.2023
The Emperor's Heart - Archaeological Deep Search at the Place of Otto the Great's Death
incl. special exhibition (07.05.-31.10.2023)
daily 10.00-18.00

Deep search - of the search for objects and their stories

In the special exhibition starting in May, finds from the archaeological excavations "have their say". Recovered objects from the area of the monumental church and other excavation sites are "brought to life" in their original form.

They make it clear what challenges archaeologists have to master in order to solve the riddles of the past. After the "object search" in the depths of the earth, the search for the historical contexts follows. Like a jigsaw puzzle, the researchers piece together the clues in their search for "the Emperor's heart", for the heart of Otto the Great in Memleben. And you as a visitor can trace this deep search for the history of Memleben.

Bust of Emperor Otto the Great in Memleben (c) Memleben Monastery and Imperial Palace
Bust of Emperor Otto the Great in Memleben (c) Memleben Monastery and Imperial Palace

Talk to the experts

You want to know more? No problem. On various dates, various experts are available to present their own work and answer interested questions. The programme around the "Deep Search in Memleben" includes expert guided tours and excavation visits incl. expert talks. School classes can even experience an excavation themselves and get active. Church services, lectures, hikes and a pilgrimage complete the rounded accompanying programme.

Excerpt from the accompanying programme

25.03/08.04./22.04./13.05./27.05./10.06./24.06./08.07./22.07./19.08./09.09./07.10./21.10.
Public special guided tour "Archaeology in Memleben
23.04.
World Heritage Hiking Day
08.05.
The Emperor's Last Journey - Pilgrimage from Memleben to Magdeburg
25.03./21.10.
Hike to the burial mounds on the Eichberg near Memleben
04.04./16.05./11.07./25.07./17.10.
Holiday offer "Hidden Investigations", guided tour for children with adventure excavation
as well as lectures, church services and bookable experience offers for groups and school classes
Writing like the monks (c) Memleben Monastery
Writing like the monks (c) Memleben Monastery

Jubilee Year "The Emperor's Last Journey - The Climax and End of Otto the Great's Reign in 973".

The anniversary looks at the last journey of the Roman-German Emperor from Italy back to present-day Saxony-Anhalt. Partners in the jubilee are the Cultural History Museum and the Ottonianum Cathedral Museum in Magdeburg, Quedlinburg Cathedral and Cathedral Treasury including the Castle Museum, the City of Merseburg, the Cultural History Museum at Merseburg Castle, Merseburg Imperial Cathedral and the Museum of Memleben Monastery and Imperial Palace.

Participating locations in the anniversary year "Des Kaisers letzte Reise" (c) Centre for Medieval Exhibitions Magdeburg

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