05 September 2019, Sophia's World
The residence cities of Weißenfels, Zeitz and Merseburg were not on my agenda before my trip, but I quickly 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 received a lot of titles in its exciting history, which is why I have called it the city of many titles in my headline and thus also remembered it. Weißenfels was already a teacher training town, shoe town, garrison town, baroque town, town at the white rock and is a residence town. Like some other towns in the region, Weißenfels suffered from the loss of inhabitants at the turn of the century and the resulting increase in the unemployment rate. But today you can see that the town is on the road to recovery and with its 40,000 inhabitants is also the most populous town in the Burgenland district of Saxony-Anhalt. You can notice here in many places that Weißenfels is in the middle of a development and that of course has some advantages like low rent 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 history 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 everyone 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 given the city a lot of fame and reputation. The Merseburger Zaubersprüche are two old German sayings with pagan (Germanic mythology) background and content and are considered to be 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 himself. The spells are definitely exciting, but Merseburg of course has 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
Zeitz was already known to me before my visit, but I learned much more about the history on my journey than I knew in advance, especially the history of the prams. Here in Zeitz there is the famous German museum for baby carriages, which should definitely not be missed during a visit. The museum is very interactive and digital, which is why everyone enjoys exploring the different rooms and the history of the pram. Here you can not only learn more about the history of the pram, pushchair and doll's carriage industry, but you can also go back to your childhood and search your old pram digitally in pram catalogues. To get into the subject first, there is a lovingly designed and sweet film about the history of the Zeitzer industry at the beginning, when the Zekiwa company (Zeitzer Kinderwagenindustrie) was still the market leader in the market for prams and doll's prams in the times of the GDR. That is why Zeitz is still called the city of prams today and is known nationwide for this. You should also visit the Moritzburg Castle, which houses the pram museum, and the beautiful Zeitz Cathedral St. Peter and Paul. Another special feature of Zeitz is the underground Zeitz. Below Zeitz there are subterranean vaults which can also be visited during a guided tour. The underground Zeitz dates back to 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.