05 September 2019, Sophia's World
I hadn't had the residence cities Merseburg, Weißenfels and Zeitz on my screen before my trip, but I soon realized that a visit to the residence cities and the Saale-Unstrut region is worthwhile in itself.
The city of many titles - Weißenfels
Weißenfels has been given many titles in its exciting history, which is why I have called it the city of many titles in my headline and remembered it as such. Weißenfels has been a teacher training town, a shoe town, a garrison town, a baroque town, a town on the white rock and is one of the three residential towns. Like some other towns in the region, Weißenfels suffered from the loss of inhabitants during the Wende and the resulting increase in the unemployment rate. But today one notices that the town is on the road to recovery and is also, with its 40,000 inhabitants, the most populous town in the Burgenland district of Saxony-Anhalt. You can feel here in many places that Weißenfels is in the midst of a development and this naturally also brings some advantages, such as low rents and purchase prices!
But now let's have a look at the sights of the city. The most impressive and eye-catching is of course the Weißenfels Castle Neu-Augustusburg, an early baroque castle complex, in which there is also the museum of the city and shoe history. On the castle grounds you can also visit a Prussian latrine building, of which there are only three of this kind left in Germany. The castle church St. Trinitatis is hidden in the castle, but definitely impresses everybody who steps through the door and discovers this impressive church! Another building not to be missed is the Heinrich-Schütz-House. Heinrich Schütz is one of the most important German composers of the early baroque period. After a few eventful years in various towns and at various courts, he bought the house in Weißenfels as his retirement home. In Weißenfels he created some important works, like the three passions after Luke, Matthew and John.
Merseburg - Spells & History
Merseburg is probably known to many because of the Merseburg spells. These have also given the city a lot of fame and reputation. The Merseburger Zaubersprüche are two old German spells with pagan (Germanic mythology) background and content. They are considered the oldest High German manuscript. The two spells are a release spell from shackles and a healing spell for a dislocated horse's foot. The spells remained hidden for almost 10 centuries before they were discovered by a historian in the library of the Merseburg cathedral capital in the 19th century. Thereupon the well-known Jacob Grimm published them. The spells are definitely exciting, but Merseburg has of course more to tell. For example, the city is one of the oldest cities in Central Germany.
There are also enough places worth seeing here! Most impressive I found the Merseburg Castle, which is located directly in the city centre. The castle is a three-winged complex, the cathedral is the fourth wing. Over the centuries the castle has been changed or extended from time to time. Especially popular are the Merseburg Organ Days in September.
Zeitz - The history of the pram began here
I already knew Zeitz before my visit, but I learned much more about its history on my trip than I knew beforehand, especially the history of prams. Here in Zeitz is the famous German Museum of Prams, which is definitely not to be missed on a visit. The museum is very interactive and digitally designed, which is why it's fun for everyone to explore the different rooms and the history of the pram. Here you can not only learn more about the pram, sports and doll's pram industry, but you can also reminisce about your childhood and digitally search for your old pram in pram catalogues.
To get into the topic first, there is a lovingly designed and sweet film at the beginning about the history of the Zeitz industry, when the Zekiwa company (Zeitzer Kinderwagenindustrie) was still the market leader in the market for prams and doll's prams in the days of the GDR. This is why Zeitz is still called the "City of Prams" and is known nationwide for it. The Moritzburg Castle, which houses the pram museum, is also worth a visit, as is the beautiful St Peter and Paul's Cathedral in Zeitz.
Another special feature of Zeitz is the underground Zeitz. Below Zeitz there are underground vaults which can be visited on a guided tour. The underground Zeitz dates from the 15th/16th century, when the Zeitz breweries used the vaults for storing and cooling their beer. Unfortunately, the small private breweries slowly lost their importance when they were replaced by large operations. But in 1992 the vaults were brought to life by the "Unterirdisches Zeitz" interest group. Since then you can experience the old vaults and this part of Zeitz's history first hand.