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Luther's place

Halle (Saale)

Residence of Luther's Adversary

Halle (Saale)

One of Martin Luther’s most powerful adversaries lived in Halle (Saale): Cardinal Albert, Archbishop of Magdeburg and Mainz. Cardinal Albert was the highest ecclesiastical dignitary, second in the ‘Holy Roman Empire of the German Nation’ only to the Pope himself. The Cardinal’s extravagant lifestyle, financed largely via the sale of indulgences, provoked Luther to send a letter with his famous ninety-five theses. The resulting conflict shook the Catholic Church to its very foundation. The pressures of the Reformation movement caused Cardinal Albert to leave his bishop’s residence, Moritzburg Castle, in 1541.

After Martin Luther died in Eisleben in 1546, his body was laid out in Halle for a night on its way to being transported to Wittenberg. Even after Luther’s death, Halle remained an important place for Protestantism. The minister and university professor, August Hermann Francke, founded a school town in 1698, a campus known today as the Francke Foundations, from which the spirit of the Reformation went out to the world. The unique architectural ensemble still exists to this day and houses about 50 institutions, all of which are closely associated with Francke’s ideas and work.

Experience Halle (Saale)

The Market Church Of Our Lady "Unser lieben Frauen" in Halle is richly endowed with evidence and treasures originating from the Reformation. It is possible to view Martin Luther’s original death mask and a Renaissance pulpit from which it is claimed Luther preached.

The Marienbibliothek is one of the oldest and largest Protestant ecclesiastical libraries in Germany with a collection of 30,000 volumes including numerous Luther Bibles containing the Reformer’s handwritten notes.

Moritzburg Castle is now one of Saxony-Anhalt’s state museums housing significant collections of paintings, drawings, sculptures, photographs, handicrafts, design objects, coins and medals. A number of rooms have wooden panels, tiled stoves, rugs, murals and paintings dating from the time or Cardinal Albert.

Halle Cathedral which was decorated by painters such as Lucas Cranach, Albrecht Dürer and Matthias Grünewald among others is where Albrecht of Brandenburg kept his famous collection of 20,000 relics – pulpits, apostle figures and choir stalls still bear witness to this history.

Mythos / Legende

Other things to see in Halle (Saale)

In the footsteps of Martin Luther


Luther held three sermons in the Market Church in Halle. After Martin Luther died in Eisleben in 1546, his body was laid out for one night in Halle on its way to being transported to Wittenberg. Today, the death mask and an impression of his hands are on display in one of the crypts of the Market Church “Of Our Lady”. The original pulpit from which Martin Luther preached in Halle also still exists. Furthermore, the Market Church also has the oldest and possibly largest Protestant ecclesiastical library in Germany. The Marienbibliothek is home to diverse Luther bibles with the Reformer’s handwritten notes.

Luther’s death mask can be viewed during the Market Church’s opening hours (2.00 Euro). Climbing the Hausmann towers is a unique experience. It offers an amazing view over the town’s rooftops. More information on the ascent and guided tours is available on Halle (Saale) Tourist Information’s website: www.halle-tourismus.de


January and February
Monday to Saturday 11.30am - 4pm
Sunday 3pm - 4pm

March to December
Monday to Saturday 10am - 5pm
Sunday 3pm - 5pm

Contact information

Evangelische Marktkirchengemeinde Halle
An der Marienkirche 2
06108 Halle/Saale

Mail: marktkirche.halle@web.de
Web: www.marktkirche-halle.de

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Market Church in Halle (Saale) and Red Tower

Organ music played on the historic Reichel-organ (1664) by Irénée Peyrot:

Tuesday 4pm - 4.30pm, March through December
Thursday 12pm - 12:30pm, March through December
Saturday 12pm - 12.30pm, June through September

Church services and prayer meetings

Morning prayer: Thursday 9am
Church service: Sunday 10am
End of week prayer: Saturday 6pm
Prayer for our country: First Monday of the month 5pm
(March through December, except on religious holidays)


The city’s largest art gallery is the Moritzburg Castle Foundation ("Stiftung Moritzburg"), an art museum of the federal state of Saxony-Anhalt, which takes its name from the time-honoured edifice in which it is housed. Built originally to serve as both stronghold and castle, Moritzburg Castle was once the magnificent seat of the Archbishops of Magdeburg.

It has been home to the Halle Art Museum since 1904. Originally, it featured only arts and crafts but since 1920, a collection of modern paintings and sculptures has also been added. It has collections of paintings, sculptures, graphic arts, photographs, arts and crafts and design objects, even coins and medals. Highlights include artworks from the Classical Modern period and the nineteenth-century as well as medieval wood carvings. Expressionist art is represented by the Foundation’s own collection as well as two collections on permanent loan to the Foundation — the Hermann Gerlinger Collection and the Kracht Collection. The museum also possesses rich arts and crafts holdings and is home to the state numismatic collection ("Landesmünzkabinett").

In 2006, the Lyonel Feininger Gallery in Quedlinburg became part of the Moritzburg Castle Foundation. The collection is supplemented by works from other Classical Modern artists such as Lovis Corinth, Wassily Kandinsky, Paul Klee and Emil Nolde. The objects which have been on permanent loan from the German Foundation for Monument Protection ("Deutsche Stiftung Denkmalschutz") since 2005 are a particular highlight. In addition, Moritzburg Castle has a significant collection of graphic art from the GDR period.

Opening hours

Monday to Tuesday 10am - 6pm
Wednesdays closed
Thursday to Sunday 10am - 6pm
Public holidays 10am - 6pm
Closed on 24.12. and 31.12.

Contact Information

Stiftung Moritzburg - Kunstmuseum des Landes
Friedemann-Bach-Platz 5
06108 Halle (Saale)

Telefon: +49 (0)345 212590
Mail: info@kunstmuseum-moritzburg.de
Web: www.kunstmuseum-moritzburg.de

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Art Museum Moritzburg Castle in Halle (Saale)

Permanent exhibition

  • 19th century art and arts and crafts
  • Modernism Two
  • Albert-Ebert-Cabinet


Permanent exhibition
7,00 Euro per person
reduced 5,00 Euro per person
Children and young people under 18 free

Blue hour (after 5 pm)
Reduced admission

Group Ticket (over 10 people)
Reduced admission

Annual ticket
70,00 Euro per person
reduced 50,00 Euro per person


Halle Cathedral has a modest appearance as it lacks a steeple. But its appearance also has to do with the fact that the building was originally the church of a Dominican monastery founded in 1271. The cathedral is the only large-scale example of early Gothic architecture to be found in Halle and contains Baroque treasures. Prior to the Reformation, the church was the most important centre for theological studies and sacred art in the entire Central German region. The elongated, pillared hall featuring a slightly stilted nave and narrow side aisles is one of the oldest hall churches in Central Germany. With its remarkable acoustics, the church is a popular venue for concerts and theatrical performances. Attending an event like this is definitely worthwhile for anyone planning a short stay in Halle (Saale).

During the Reformation era, the church was refashioned in the style of the Renaissance. Cardinal Albert used it from 1520 on to store his vast collection of relics and art. Today, only the pulpit, part of the choir stalls and the cycle of 17 statues on the cathedral’s pillars remain from the original interior.

Since 1692, the church has only been used as the parish church of this Evangelical Reformed congregation which to this day still conducts its services here. From 1702, George Frideric Handel was the organist in Halle for one year.

At the end of the 1950s, a large project to restore the building’s interior was undertaken. The renovation work succeeded in preserving the basic structure of the cathedral. Today, the church is owned by the Saxony-Anhalt Cultural Foundation.



April to October
Tuesday to Saturday 11am -17pm
November to April
Tuesday to Friday 1pm - 4pm
Saturday 10am - 4pm


Dom zu Halle
Domplatz 3
06108 Halle (Saale)

Phone: +49 (0)345 2021379
Mail: kontakt@dom-halle.de
Web: www.dom-halle.de

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Cathedral to Halle

Church services

Sunday 10am in the Cathedral's parish rooms during the Winter and during the Summer in the Cathedral


In the heart of Halle’s city centre stands a well-preserved and unique building ensemble made up of some 50 structures. The historical orphanage was built in 1700. It contains the Chamber of Art and Natural Life, considered to be the oldest museum space in all of Germany. The "Francke Cabinet" on the ground floor of the historical orphanage provides visitors with an overview of August Hermann Francke’s life and work as well as the history of the Francke Foundations from 1698 to the present day.

The historical library was founded at the end of the seventeenth century. The library building (1726-1728) is considered to be the oldest remaining functional library building in Germany. The library’s Baroque repository contains some 35,000 papers dating from the sixteenth to the nineteenth century. Manuscripts from the Reformation era are also archived here, including a letter written by Martin Luther.

The historical ensemble of half-timber buildings located behind the orphanage and which includes the largest half-timber house in Europe, which is over 100 metres long, is a special kind of open-air museum.

August Hermann Francke (1663-1727) was one of the most significant representatives of German Pietism, a religious movement within German Protestantism. Two hundred years after the advent of the Lutheran denomination, acting at the behest of the Danish King Friedrich IV, August Hermann Francke established the first Evangelical Lutheran mission in what was then the Danish colony of Tranquebar in southern India, known today as Tharangambadi. Numerous pastors from Halle were dispatched to the far-reaches of the earth by Francke and his successors to spread the Lutheran doctrine as well as the ground-breaking reformatory ideas which had been adopted and further developed by the Halle school of pietism.

As a result, Lutheran schools and orphanages based on the Halle model were opened from Scandinavia across the eastern edge of Central Europe to far away Siberia. The first Lutheran pastors had already been sent to Moscow by Francke at the end of the 17th century. In 1741, the pastor Heinrich Melchior Mühlenberg was dispatched to Pennsylvania to offer guidance to the Germans who had emigrated there. Today, he is honoured as the patriarch of the Lutheran Church in Northern America.

Opening hours

Tuesday to Sunday and public holidays 10am - 5pm

Historical orphanage with cabinet of curiosities and natural artefacts, orphanage cabinet, Francke residence with info centre and Francke cabinet, exhibitions, library of Baroque facades and cabinet exhibition, Tues.-Sun. 10am - 5pm

Program for children and families, Mon.-Thurs., Sun. 10am - 6pm, Fri. 10am - 2pm

Contact Information

Franckesche Stiftungen zu Halle
Franckeplatz 1
Geschäftsstelle Haus 37
06110 Halle (Saale)

Phone: +49 (0)345 2127400
Mail: oeffentlichkeit@francke-halle.de
Web: www.francke-halle.de

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Historical orphanage of the Francke Foundations in Halle


Adults 6,00 Euro
Pupils and students (over 18)  4,00 Euro
Children and young people (under 18) free

Groups over 8 people
4,00 Euro per person


The Church of St. Nicholas in Böllberg dates back to the twelfth century and is the only church in Halle to be included as a station on the Romanesque Road. Originally built by Dutch colonists as a single-nave hall church, the building has been preserved almost completely in its original condition. It is dedicated to Saint Nicholas, patron saint of sailors and helper in times of flood. Characteristic of the Romanesque architectural style of this church are the small rounded arch windows in the north and south walls.

The oldest exhibit is the chalice-shaped baptismal font. The table-top of the altar, featuring a hollow to house relics, and the tympanum both date from the twelfth century. The Baroque altar, the pulpit and the crucifix are all from the sixteenth century. The stalls and the naive portrait of Luther (1657) with its auricular frame were restored in 1979. The piscina and the ambry can still be found in the apse.

Opening Hours

May to October
Saturday 10am - 5pm and by appointment

Contact Information

Böllberger Weg 152
06128 Halle (Saale)

Phone: +49 (0)345 4441491
Mail: kirchengemeinde-woermlitz@web.de
Web: www.kirchengemeinde-woermlitz-boellberg.de

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St. Nicholas Church in Böllberg (near Halle)


The earliest record of Giebichenstein Castle dates back to 961. The castle served as the seat of government for the archbishops of Magdeburg for some time, and even as their main residence until construction of Moritzburg Castle in Halle was completed in 1503. The castle was partially destroyed during the Thirty Years War (1636).

Since 1966, Giebichenstein Castle has served as an open-air museum. Additional parts of the historic wall were excavated while the site was undergoing extensive renovation since the 1990s. As a result, sections of the old circular wall, the foundations of the living quarters, including a residential tower with walls which that were between 3 and 5 metres thick, and foundations of the Castle Church, the courtyard featuring original medieval paving, and a barrel-vault have all been brought into view. The twelfth-century gate tower provides a unique and unforgettable view over the Saale valley. The lower castle has been home to the Halle-Giebichenstein Castle Academy of Art and Design since 1921.

Contact Information

Burg Giebichenstein Kunsthochschule Halle
Neuwerk 7
06108 Halle (Saale)

Phone: +49 (0)345 775150
Mail: burgpost@burg-halle.de
Web: www.burg-halle.de

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Giebichenstein Castle


The institution today known as Martin-Luther-University (MLU) came into existence when two older universities merged. One was founded in Wittenberg in 1502, the other in Halle in 1694. Both universities had chequered histories filled with highs and lows. Martin Luther and Philipp Melanchthon both taught in Wittenberg. Their combined presence transformed the city and its university into the spiritual centre of the Reformation.

Around 1700, the jurist Christian Thomasius and the philosopher Christian Wolff turned the university in Halle into one of the birthplaces of the German Enlightenment. After Napoleon had Wittenberg University closed without further ado in 1813, the territorial reorganisation brought about by the Napoleonic Wars, the two universities were amalgamated in Halle in 1817 as a result. This distinctive history is symbolised by the dual seal of the Martin-Luther-Universität Halle-Wittenberg.

Over time, the university has continually grown. A number of departments are housed in old villas or in other historic buildings in the centre of Halle. In addition, numerous university buildings were either newly built or extensively renovated. Many departments and clinics were refurbished and now feature state-of-the-art workspaces and equipment. More than 20,000 students are matriculated at this university, with almost 1,500 coming from abroad to study here. University students characterise the city’s townscape, be it in the cafés in one of the romantic lanes or in the districts where university facilities are located.

Contact Information

Martin-Luther-Universität Halle-Wittenberg
Universitätsplatz 8/9
06108 Halle (Saale)

Phone: +49 (0)345 55 20
Mail: pr@uni-halle.de
Web: www.uni-halle.de

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Campus of the Martin-Luther-University Halle-Wittenberg


The State Museum of Prehistory ("Landesmuseum für Vorgeschichte") in Halle is among the most important museums for archaeology in Central Europe and is known throughout the world as the home of the Nebra Sky Disc. As part of Saxony-Anhalt’s cultural heritage preservation scheme, the museum houses one of the oldest, most extensive and significant archaeological collections in Germany.

The building was erected between 1911 and 1913, based on the design of Wilhelm Kreis. The substantial collection with more than 15 million artefacts includes a number of artefacts of European standing, some of which even enjoy global recognition. The exceptionally interesting archaeological finds are arranged in chronological order, from the Stone Age all the way up to the early Roman Empire. The permanent exhibition presents a realistic depiction of life during the Stone and Bronze Ages, with wild cave lions, formidable mammoths, contemplative Neanderthals, shamans, tombs and royal burial sites.

To accompany the permanent exhibition, the state museum also features a changing line-up of special exhibitions. The large state exhibition  “Finding Luther – Archaeologists on the Trail of the Reformer” which displayed archaeological evidence relating to the family of Martin Luther, was held here from 2008 to 2009. The show joined with numerous other events to mark the opening of the Reformation Decade in Saxony-Anhalt (2008 – 2017).

Further information on current permanent and special exhibitions can be found here!

Opening Hours

Tuesday to Friday 9am - 5pm
Saturday, Sunday and public holidays 10am - 6pm
Monday by appointment only
Closed on 24.12. and 31.12.

Contact information

Landesmuseum für Vorgeschichte
Richard-Wagner-Str. 9
06114 Halle /Saale

Phone: +49 (0)345 524730
Fax: +49 (0)345 5247351
Mail: poststelle@lda.mk.sachsen-anhalt.de
Web: www.lda-lsa.de or www.himmelswege.de

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State Museum of Prehistory Halle (Saale)


The Marienbibliothek is the oldest and largest Protestant church library in Germany, which has continuously been open to the public. The two-storey building is hidden away in the yard behind Marktkirche 1.

Sebastian Boetius, pastor of St. Mary's Church, today's Market Church of "Our Lady", founded the library in 1552, and initially bought the first books from a donation. With the acquisitions and donations which followed, this initial stock was quickly and extensively expanded. The Marienbibliothek was also used by the students and professors of the newly founded university. Until the founding of the University Library in Halle in 1696, the Marienbibliothek was also the only public book collection in the city of Halle.

Today, the collection comprises about 30,000 volumes from the period between the 15th and 18th century. In addition to 600 incunabula (prints from the period before 1500), there are works of all fields of knowledge and extensive collections of pamphlets from the 16th and 17th centuries. Of particular interest are certainly the Luther Bibles with manuscript entries by the Reformer.

The library is like a film set. On three space-saving floors, the shelves are full of thick leather volumes from former times. Intermediate floors were put in using cast-iron lintels and iron grates, and a French magazine system was built. One treasure or another may possibly have been hidden there. That is to say, that cataloguing has not yet been completed. A mural hangs in the library foyer. It is the enlarged reproduction of an oil painting from the year 1680 depicting the earliest known view of the Marienbibliothek.

In addition to the Luther Bibles, there are many other interesting books on the Reformer and his work: papers, collected works, correspondence and much more.

Opening Times

Reading room
Monday and Thursday 2pm - 5pm

Guided tours by appointment only

Contact information

An der Marienkirche 1
06108 Halle (Saale)

Phone: +49 (0)345 5170893
Mail: info@marienbibliothek-halle.de
Web: www.marienbibliothek-halle.de

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Bible from 1541 with a handwritten dedication of Luther from the inventory of the Marienbibliothek


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