Discover our top 5 filming locations in Saale-Unstrut!
The millennia-old cultural landscape on the Saale, Unstrut and Weißer Elster rivers is popular as a film backdrop. Whether it's well-known cinema blockbusters like "The Pope Joan", "The Medicus" or the Hollywood production "Monuments Men", crews have been drawn here for numerous national and international productions. But why?
Directors, producers and location scouts are particularly enthusiastic about the variety of impressive contemporary witnesses from the High Middle Ages through the period of the residential towns to the more recent past. The exciting combination of locations for fantasy adventures and scenes of important historical events is of course equally fascinating for guests.
Table of Contents
- Querfurt Film Castle
- Nebra Ark in Wangen
- City of Weißenfels
- City of Zeitz
- Merseburg Imperial Cathedral
1st Filmburg Querfurt - a visit to "Die Päpstin", "Der Medicus" and "Räuber Hotzenplotz".
At the top of the list of the most sought-after film locations in Saale-Unstrut is Querfurt Castle. In more than 50 productions, the photogenic complex could shine with an appearance: Among them are cinema and television hits such as "The Pope Joan", "The Medicus", "The Danced Shoes" or "Jorinde & Joringel". As recently as May 2020, scenes were shot for the remake of the classic children's book "Räuber Hotzenplotz". Anyone who wants to see what happens at Querfurt Castle should make a note of spring 2022, because that's when the film starring Armin Rohde is due to be released.
Why is a visit to Filmburg Querfurt worthwhile?
How about a special guided tour for film enthusiasts? On the first Sunday of every month, you can also visit the historic costume workshop in the donkey barn with original costumes from major cinema productions (Pre-registration necessary). The special exhibitions in the castle are always dedicated to new areas around the film theme: Until May 2022, the focus is on silhouette animation under the theme "Quite a big trick".
The highlight of the year is the annual summer cinema in August, when the screen is stretched out on the roundabout of the south bastion - simply great cinema.
2nd Nebra Ark - "Bibi & Tina" at the Kakmann Ranch
Only about 17 kilometres south of Querfurt Castle, above the Unstrut, lies the next filming location in Saale-Unstrut: Nebra Ark.
Cycling tour tip:
If you want to take a little more time, you can also cover the distance from Querfurt to Nebra Ark by bike. Simply discover the Sky Disc Cycle Route in the Saale-Unstrut region, which connects the site where the Nebra Sky Disc was found with the State Museum of Prehistory in Halle (see Sky Disc Cycle Route).
It's not uncommon for the Visitor Center around the site where the Nebra Sky Disk was found has attracted attention as a film set. The shimmering gold futuristic building is an architectural highlight in the Saale-Unstrut region and reflects the golden sun barque that forms the central element on the famous Nebra Sky Disk.
It was precisely this building that fired the imagination of filmmaker Detlef Buck. He transformed it into the eccentric villa of a megalomaniac crook when he discovered this location in Saale-Unstrut for his film "Bibi & Tina": "We were inspired and thought: This would be the ideal home for an antagonist à la Goldfinger," he said in an interview. The Kakmann Ranch of the villain Kakmann, played by Charly Hübner, in Nebra Ark was born.
The exact location where the sky disc was found is a short hike from the visitor center, on the Mittelberg. A shuttle regularly takes visitors up there. But if you don't mind the 30-minute walk, you can even discover some modern and walk-through artworks. Now that's something different! (Click here to go to the circular route Arche Nebra)
Why is a visit to Nebra Ark worthwhile?
The staff of the Arche Nebra have a documentary on the filming ready, which they will gladly make available to interested visitors. But the actual subject of the museum, the Nebra Sky Disk, is also as exciting as a thriller: it tells the story of looted excavators who make the find of a lifetime by chance, persistent criminologists and a mysterious artefact of inestimable value. Changing exhibitions, lectures, themed walks and a varied programme during Saxony-Anhalt's holidays entice visitors to come back again and again.
3rd Weißenfels - "Once upon a time in Germany..."
Weißenfels is one of the region's residential towns and also one of the most changeable film locations in Saale-Unstrut.
In 2016, streets in the city on the Saale were transformed into bombed-out Frankfurt am Main after the Second World War during the filming of the movie "Once Upon a Time in Germany...". The popular actor Moritz Bleibtreu brought the glamour to Weißenfels. During the film he walks through the Nord- and Weinbergstraße. Children pull their miserable belongings on a handcart through the devastated town. A woman washes her feet in a bucket next to piles of rubble. "It's very rare that the city makes it possible for you to convert an entire street into a film set in the middle of the city centre," says director Sam Garbarski, appreciating the city of Weißenfels' generosity.
Why is a visit to Weißenfels worthwhile?
Besides its charm as a filming location in Saale-Unstrut, it is above all the musical side of the city that is worth experiencing. Important composers and musicians such as Bach, Händel and Schütz are associated with Weißenfels. Especially the latter, the city dedicates a whole museum - interactive and exciting. The Heinrich Schütz House is the only surviving residence of the composer. On three floors, visitors learn how Schütz lived and worked. In fictional radio plays they listen to his memories, and in the restored composer's parlour they can view two original fragments of the composer's music found in the house.
Every year in October, the Heinrich Schütz Music Festival takes place in Weißenfels under a changing theme. A treat for music fans of the 17th century! (www.schuetz-musikfest.de)
4. Zeitz - "The Girl with the Golden Hands"
The social upheavals have left their mark on Zeitz: This makes the city interesting for filmmakers. In the residential town of Zeitz on the White Elster, producer Ingo Fliess found a small town that has not yet been completely modernized for the film "The Girl with the Golden Hands" (film release end of 2021) with Corinne Harfouch. Here, Ingo Fliess discovered exactly the locations in Saale-Unstrut that were perfect for a film set in 1999: Streetscapes through which one can imagine oneself in the past.
The search for scenery here is always an encounter with over 1000 years of history. It comes alive on guided tours of the city, cathedral and castle, which can be booked at the tourist information office.
Why is a visit to Zeitz worthwhile?
Picturesque welcomes the Moritzburg Castle Zeitz together with the attractive castle park welcomes its guests. Here you can visit the German Stroller Museum or wander through the extensive Castle Park with its charming theme gardens or listen to one or the other open-air concert on the Schlosspark stage. If you are interested in industrial history, you should especially visit the Briquette factory Herrmannschacht recommended - even as a very special wedding location the museum has its charm.
Cycling tour tip:
Even more industrial history in the Saale-Unstrut region can be found on the Recarbo Coal Cycle Route can be explored. It leads Recreation Park Mondsee - a former open-cast mine. Close to the lake, you can explore the sunken villages in green walkways.
5th Merseburg Cathedral - a touch of Hollywood with "Monuments Men
Even Hollywood recognized the charm of the filming locations in Saale-Unstrut. In 2013, George Clooney chose the Merseburg Cathedral as the backdrop for his film "Monuments Men". Quite unmistakably, the Ladegast organ dominates the scene in the final scene. Film fans are welcome to visit the magnificent over 1000-year-old cathedral and the organ.
The variety of sounds of the "Queen of Instruments" is presented every year in September by the Merseburg Organ Days to the show. Top-class concerts are offered for 10 days - a must for organ fans when visiting the Saale-Unstrut region!
Why is a visit to Merseburg worthwhile?
The grounds consisting of Merseburg's imperial cathedral, cathedral treasury and chapter house garden invite you to linger and explore for a while. Right next to the cathedral you can also explore the Kulturhistorisches Museum Schloss Merseburg with its permanent exhibitions on the city's history or the diverse special exhibitions. Adjacent to the cathedral-castle ensemble is the extensive castle park, which is often used for concerts in the summer.
Merseburg is also known for the famous Merseburg Spells. So it is not far-fetched that the city came up with a magic festival. It always takes place in October and transforms the centre from Kliaplatz to the Petrikloster into a magical mystical world full of fairytale creatures, wizards and witches. www.merseburg.de
You want more movies and film locations in Saale-Unstrut?
Here you will find a small selection.
- "Mission Ulja Funk" - Nempitz,
- Weißenfels © 2021
- "Alfons Zitterbacke" - Merseburg © 2020
- "Adam and Evelyn" - Naumburg, Weißenfels, Teutschenthal © 2018
- "Bibi & Tina - Tohuwabohu total" - Vitzenburg © 2017
- "Hanni & Nanni - More than Best Friends" - Burgscheidungen © 2017
- "Paula" - Merseburg © 2016
- "Tschick" - (Könnern), Petersberg © 2016
- "Berlin Fairy Tale" - Saaleck © CHN 2015
- "The Nanny" - Burgscheidungen © 2014
- "Six at one stroke - From one who went out to learn to fear" - Schulpforte, Freyburg © 2014
- "Lauf Junge Lauf" - Landsberg © 2013
- "Our Mothers, Our Fathers" - Zeitz © 2012