Historical battles in Saale-Unstrut - 10 experience tips
Cannon shots and sabre rattling filled the air in Saale-Unstrut not only once. Napoleon is the most famous general who caused bloodshed here, but by no means the only one. Numerous historical battles in Saale-Unstrut characterise the eventful history. Jena, Cospeda, Auerstedt, Hassenhausen, Lützen - all these are the sites of these historic battles in Saale-Unstrut. We take you on a journey through time to places where history is still alive today.
Historical battles in Saale-Unstrut - then and now
The historical battles in Saale-Unstrut are regularly commemorated at the Scharnhorn Festival in Lützen and the Jena-Auerstedt battle reenactment. They are crowd pullers - because thanks to the commitment of numerous history fans, dry history becomes incredibly tangible and eventful. The battle reenactments attract numerous onlookers and are always an experience.
The Scharnhorst Festival in Großgörschen
Historical battles in Saale-Unstrut come to life every year - for example, every year on the first weekend in May in Großgörschen. This is when the so-called Scharnhorn Festival takes place in memory of those who fell in the battle of Großgörschen. The event is connected with the honouring of the Prussian General David von Scharnhorst, who was wounded in the battle. The festival is enlivened by the representations of several medieval societies who travel from all over the world with their costumes and props and recreate the events of 2 May 1813 in great detail.
The Double Battle of Jena-Auerstedt
Every 5 years, you can become an eyewitness to the double battle of Jena and Auerstedt on 14 October 1806. Thousands of actors from Germany and abroad provide an unforgettable experience in the reenactment of the battle between Cospeda, Closewitz and Lützeroda. Furthermore, a wreath is laid in front of the main monument at the pilgrimage church of Vierzehnheiligen on this occasion each time. For your physical well-being during the event, the farmers' markets will provide culinary delights with local specialities. The next opportunity to take part in the reenactment of this historic battle in Saale-Unstrut will be in 2027.
Museums around the historical battles in Saale-Unstrut
Historical battles in Saale-Unstrut can be experienced in many places in the region. Whether museums, cycling and hiking trails, historical battle re-enactments or overnight stays at a historical site - you have a wide variety of options here. We will first introduce you to some museums that deal with historical battle events.
Sounds dry? No, it doesn't have to be. Visit the houses and get an idea of the exciting happenings for yourself.
Museum Lützen 1632
One of the most famous historical battles in Saale-Unstrut took place on 6 November 1632 during the 30 Years' War. The Lützen 1632 Museum is entirely dedicated to this battle, in which more than 8,000 people and also the Swedish King Gustav II Adolf lost their lives. The army of the Swedish King Gustav II Adolf and that of Albrecht von Wallenstein fought a bloody battle in Lützen.
The Lützen 1632 Museum reopens in 2023 and displays a sensational find.
A mass grave with 47 skeletons is the highlight. In 2011, archaeologists discovered the mass grave, which is now finally returning to Lützen after exhibitions in Halle and Vienna. The Museum Lützen 1632 also sees itself as an anti-war memorial: it shows, for example, what the consequences of wars are in general. Two life-size interactive mirrors give a face to the fallen of the battle. Next to the grave, 2236 bullet finds from the battlefield will be on display in the bullet showcase.
Gustav Adolf Memorial
Not far from the Lützen Museum is the Gustav Adolf Memorial at the place where Gustav II Adolf died as further evidence of the historical battles in Saale-Unstrut. If you are on site, you should definitely also visit the memorial chapel, which stands right next to Swedish wooden houses and bears witness to Swedish-German history.
Another historical battle in Saale-Unstrut took place in Hassenhausen about 200 years later. The double battle of Jena and Auerstedt on 14 October 1806 made its way into the history books. Hassenhausen was the site of the larger of the two battles. In this battle, the French troops under Marshal Davout defeated the Prussian troops of the commander-in-chief Duke Carl Wilhelm Ferdinand of Brunswick, who lost his life on the spot.
After the battle, Napoleon marched into Berlin and spread his power throughout Europe to French domination. Hassenhausen, just one of many sites of historical battles in Saale-Unstrut, thus became a turning point in the history of Europe. The Hassenhausen Museum is dedicated to this historic event, as well as to the personalities who took part and the fallen, and invites you to visit.
Museum 1806 Jena-Cospeda
From the Museum 1806 Jena-Cospeda, you have a view of the battlefield of the double battle of Jena and Auerstedt, one of the most important historical battles in Saale-Unstrut. On 14 October 1806, the Prussian troops were defeated by the French army.
In the permanent exhibition in the Museum 1806 Jena-Cospeda you can learn about the events, the prehistory, war burdens on the population or the everyday life, uniform and weapons of the soldiers. Original exhibits underscore the authenticity of the battle.
An audio guide, a diorama and thematic tours bring the history even more to life.
Cycling and hiking trails
Various tours revolving around the historical battles in Saale-Unstrut are something for everyone who wants to combine being active with history. We present three routes to you.
Napoleon Cycle Route
The Napoleon Cycle Route is the ideal fusion of a cycle tour with European history. The path connects the sites of the double battle of Jena and Auerstedt in 1806 and thus leads you along memorial stones and information boards as well as various sights to the memorial sites of Jena-Cospeda, Kapellendorf and Auerstedt.
You will enjoy the beautiful landscape as you pass the sites of historic battles in Saale-Unstrut, where notable figures such as Napoleon or Swedish King Gustav II Adolf fought their battles. The route leads from the Papiermühle brewery inn in Jena to Auerstedt. You will cycle along stretches of the Ilmtal cycle path.
Battlefield Trail Lützen 1632
Do you have strong nerves and want to get really close to the battle? Then head for the Lützen 1632 Battlefield Trail, which was only opened in July 2022 and is therefore still largely a real insider tip! The trail leads from the Gustav Adolf memorial seven kilometres across fields to Lützen.
At nine stations with life-size metal silhouettes, protagonists of the battle tell you about the events of that time. The "eyewitness accounts" are accompanied by the sounds that accompanied the events, such as bloodcurdling battle cries. The personal stories and exciting facts about the battle make the walk a real journey back in time.
On the Napoleon Trail, an app also accompanies you on your hike through the unique landscape of the so-called "Windknollen". In digital form, this further journey takes you back in time some 200 years later. In this way, you get particularly close to the double battle of Jena in 1806, in which Napoleon's troops won a bloody battle over the Prussians and paved the way for French European domination. Rare plants and animals are permanent companions on your tour, alongside Napoleon and other commanders. The route is designed as an 8-kilometre circular walk starting from the 1806 memorial in Jena-Cospeda.
Spend the night at the historic site
Hotel Resort Schloss Auerstedt with restaurant, museum café and carriage museum
Are you looking for a hotel with a special flair? Then we recommend the Hotel Resort Schloss Auerstedt. Nestled in the nature of Saale-Unstrut, you will find a 19th century castle in Auerstedt, which served as the headquarters of the commander of the Prussian army in the double battle of Jena and Auerstedt in 1806.
Today, maisonettes, flats and holiday homes on the grounds invite you to spend a holiday of the most varied occasions. All three holiday homes at Hotel Resort Schloss Auerstedt have been awarded three stars by the German Tourism Association. This means that the holiday accommodation offers better overall quality with good comfort.
The Hotel Resort Schloss Auerstedt is suitable for individual travellers as well as for families, weddings or conferences. You don't need to leave the resort to enjoy good food. The restaurant "Reinhardt's im Schloss" is located in the main building. In the former stables of the castle, you are welcomed by the carriage museum, which presents various types of carriages, technical developments and wedding carriages of the Weimar court.