|Marktplatz Halle and the famous Five Towers|
Whatever, it is upon salt that the prosperity of this town is built, leading to the development of a powerful, independent-minded merchant class in mediaeval times and becoming a member of the Hanseatic League in the 13th and 14th Centuries. Halle is also the birthplace of Georg Friedrich Handel in 1685, a fact you are constantly reminded of as you walk around the town.
|Statue to Handel on the Markplatz|
I wonder if the women is listening to his Messiah on her headphones?
|Handel looks at the church where he was baptised and had his first organ lessons.|
|Roter Turm, Halle|
|Leipziger Turm, Halle|
Beyond this you are in the Altstadt
|Halle Marktplatz on a busy Spring Saturday|
|Old Tram, Halle Marktplatz|
|Another view of the George Frederic Handel statue|
|Roland Statue on the Marktplatz, Halle|
It was good amongst all this mediaevalism to note that the town is today still young and multi-cultural, as in this scene of a guy in brightly coloured African dress passing a group of punkish youths:
|Multi-Kulti Markplatz, Halle|
|Eastern Towers of the Market Church, Halle|
|Western twin towers of the Market Church, Halle|
How two churches became one came about through the threat of the Reformation. Cardinal Albrecht of Brandenburg, Archbishop of Magdeburg and Elector of Mainz, was a bit of a religious collector. In fact he acquired an amazing 8,100 sacred relics and 42 holy skeletons. His collection out-grew his spare room and he wanted somewhere to store his precious pile of holy body parts.
Meanwhile, a certain Martin Luther had nailed his 95 theses to the door of All Saint's Church, Wittenberg, and sparked off the Protestant Reformation which you will perhaps recall has a few things to say about the sale of indulgences and the trade in holy relics. It was through the sale of indulgences that Albrecht raised the money to buy his relics.
The good catholics of Halle thought that the best way to tackle the Reformation was to get the people excited about the mysteries of Roman Catholicism and to do this by building bigger churches of worship, with more elaborate symbolist decoration, and holding grander masses and services. So they decided to demolish the two parish churches and knock them through into one enormous one dedicated to Holy Mary Mother of God. Hey, and this would be a cool place for Cardinal Albrecht to store and show off his relic collection, which became known as the Hallesches Heiltum.
|Cardinal Albrecht of Brandenburg|
Engraved 1519 by Albrecht Durer, commissioned by Cardinal Albrecht
Used as the title page of 'the Hallesche Heiligthumsbuch (Halle 1520), a book with woodcuts designed by Dürer's pupil, Wolf Traut, illustrating the reliquaries of Halle belonging to the cardinal.
Source: The Victoria and Albert Museum, England
|Martin Luther memorial on the Liebfrauenkirche.|
|Looking down on the Marktplatz from the bridge connecting the twin towers.|
Off the marketplace, up one of the side streets, we found the birthplace of Georg Friedrich Handel, das Händel-Haus, now a music museum:
|Händel-Haus, birthplace of Handel, Halle|
|Entrance to the Händel-Haus museum|
|Brühmann-Brunnen on the Domplatz|
We wanted to have a peek in the cathedral, but the entrance courtyard had been taken over by something weird:
|A nightmare in bright blue and gold|
|Entrance to the Moritzburg, Halle|
St. Maurice also turned up in Cardinal Albrecht's relic collection, which he kept at Moritzburg whilst the Marktkirche Unser Lieben Frauen was being built. In the collection was a full-sized reliquary of St. Maurice in a gold-trimmed suit of silver armour. The statue hasn't survived, but an engraving was made for the Hallesche Heiligthumsbuch - an illustrated inventory of Cardinal Albrecht's collection, and probably buyers guide - and a painting of it commissioned by Albrecht from Lucas Cranach the Elder. Here are the two side-by-side:
Left: engraving in die Heiltumsbuch, 1525-27
Right: painted altar side-panel by Lucas Cranach the Elder, now in the Metropolitan Museum of Art , New York
The courtyard of the Moritzburg is nowadays a peaceful place to relax away from the bustle of a Halle market-day, with a pleasant cafe.
|Some dude, Moritzburg, Halle|
|Nice staircase, Moritzburg, Halle|
|Water-spout, Moritzburg, Halle|
|Archway to nowhere, Moritzburg, Halle|
|Courtyard, Moritzburg, Halle|
|Entrance to the Kunstmuseum Moritzburg, and the cafe.|
|The Market Church at Halle, Lyonel Feininger (1930)|
We meandered NW of the town centre, along the banks of the river Salle, through the delightful Würfelwiese and Ziegelwiese; lovely parkland meadows to jog, or walk your dog, or just lie in the sun. We had been promised Drachenboote Rennen (dragon boat racing) today, but didn't see any. As we came to the cliffs of the Giebichenstein it looked like there were plenty of places to hire other kinds of boats, or embark on a guided boat trip.
|Walking by the Saale river|
Making our way along the northern edge of the Giebichenstein along the Riveufer, we found ourselves in the middle of a mediaeval market fair, a not uncommon experience in Germany. Here is looking down on it from the Kröllwitzer Straße bridge, which has two impressive, massive sculptures of a horse and an ox at the foot of it.
|Kröllwitzer Straße bridge, Halle|
It's a mediaeval fair, so of course there were Dudelsack (bagpipe) players and drummers:
|Nothing says mediaeval better than a Dudelsack player and drummer. Fact!|
|Boat-trips on the Saale, Halle|
|Opera House, Halle|
|Fountain with drinking straws on the Hallmarkt, Halle|
|Hallmarkt fountain, Halle|
|Hallmarkt fountain, Halle|
|Hallmarkt fountain, Halle|
|Roter Turm and Marktkirche Unser Lieben Frauen|
|Wilhelm-Friedemann-Bach-Haus and Cafe Nöö|
|Down by the Mühlgraben|
|Some other nice-looking house in Halle; there's lots of them. |
You can't expect me to remember what all of them were called, can you?