His library must already have contained the Merseburg Incantations – the oldest known Old High German writings with pagan content.
A thousand years of history can be discovered here at every turn. The Gothic cathedral and a Renaissance castle tower over the Saale in unique architectural unity, with an astounding view of the town and the floodplain. In September every year the cathedral attracts music enthusiasts to the Merseburg Organ Festival, which has been one of the musical and cultural highlights of the musical state of Saxony-Anhalt for decades.
On the second weekend of June every year the citizens take possession of the otherwise solemn ensemble of the cathedral and castle for their Merseburg Castle Festival. This is an entertainment extravaganza which draws visitors from far afield into the castle garden, the cathedral square and the castle courtyard, where they are completely captivated by the hustle and bustle.
In summer, when the nights are short and warm, Merseburg hosts the “SchlossGrabenNächte” around the castle moat, with lively handcrafted concerts. Irish folk, country, revivals of folk greats, and also rock and beat are the artistic themes, and one Saturday night is devoted to each of them.
From the 2nd to 3rd Sunday in Advent the Renaissance castle courtyard and the cathedral square form the magical setting for the Merseburg Castle Christmas. The scents of punch and mulled wine mingle in a very special way with that of the treats, cookies and roast meats that are typical of Christmas.
If you are interested in the lively arts scene of the central German region and the varied history of the town, the galleries and museums are good places to visit: they lead to centuries-old subterranean vaulted cellars and awe-inspiring industrial monuments. Once the residence of bishops and Baroque dukes, later the quiet administrative and government capital of the Prussian province of Saxony, and during the last century the innovative centre of the chemical industry and technological development, Merseburg casts a spell over everyone who visits it.
Anniversary and special Exhibition
“1000 years of the Imperial cathedral of Merseburg”
10 August to 9 November 2015
Merseburg Cathedral is regarded as one of the most important cathedral buildings in Germany. The story of this sacred building began with the laying of the cathedral’s foundation stone on 18 May 1015. Alongside Bamberg, Merseburg was one of the favourite places for Heinrich II and his wife Kunigunde, the only Emperors of the German Realm to be canonised.
From 10 August to 9 November 2015 the special exhibition on “1000 years of the Imperial cathedral of Merseburg” will open a window onto the time when the foundation stone was laid.