Explore the Hanseatic city Merseburg
View of the castle

The cathedral and university city Merseburg is situated in the south of Saxony-Anhalt and one of the oldest cities in Central Germany. The city located on the Saale River is especially known for its historical and cultural heritage, e.g. the Merseburg Incantations and the Merseburg Cathedral-and-Palace Ensemble.

As the oldest preserved example of the Old High German language and Germanic Paganism, the Merseburg Incantations are one of the most important German cathedral treasuries. These magic spells are exhibited in the library of the cathedral chapter. Other outstanding pieces of the Merseburg cathedral treasury are exposed on the ground floor of the Merseburg Cathedral, e.g. a Romanesque portable altar, an ivory casket from the 13 Swabia and German rival king, who lost his hand in the battle of Elster. 

In 1426, Merseburg joined the Hanseatic League. Also sciences have a long tradition in Merseburg. For almost 60 years, Merseburg is an university location. Since 1992, the refounded University of Applied ciences Merseburg provides for students from all over the world a variety of course offers. Otto I, emperor of the Holy Roman Empire, founded the diocese of Merseburg in 968. Until the Protestant Reformation, Merseburg had been an important clerical centre. All in all, 43 bishops reigned the diocese of Merseburg. The most famous of them was bishop Thilo of Trotha. The well-known Legend of the Raven is still reminiscent of his regency. It is said that the bishop ordered to execute his servant who was suspected of having stolen a precious ring from his master. A long time went by and the ring was found in a raven nest on the palace’s roof while it was being under repair. Bishop Thilo of Trotha felt remorse and changed the family crest, showing since then a black raven with a golden ring in its beak. To remind us to never make hasty decisions in a bad mood, Thilo captured a raven. Until today, a raven cage in the castle forecourt, housing a pairs of raven, commemorates the well-known Legend of the Raven. 

From 1656 until 1738, Merseburg had been residency of the former dukes of Saxony-Merseburg. The dukes modified the Episcopal Palace into a splendorous Renaissance palace. Since 1815, it had been used as government seat of the former Prussian Province of Saxony. Today, the palace serves as seat of the district administration of the district The three holiday itineraries promoted by the state of Saxony-Anhalt pass trough the city of Merseburg. The beautiful Palace Garden, bordering the Cathedral- and-Palace Ensemble, is part of the conservation and tourism network Anhalt The Merseburg Cathedral St. Johannes und St. Laurentius and the Romanesque Neumarkt Church St. Thomas Cantuariensis with their typical Romanesque round-arch architecture testify the erstwhile grandeur of the ancient ducal and administrative seat. Both edifices constitute major attractions of the Situated on the banks of the Saale River, Merseburg is an ideal place for exploring the natural and cultural beauty of the Saale riverside along the newly constructed cycle-paths or by boat. The Saale River is one of the waterways promoted by the state of Saxony-Anhalt through a bilateral initiative called enthusiast and hobby sailors. 

Annual festivals often refer to Merseburg’s history and cultural heritage and attract visitors from all over the world. The sounds of the Ladegast Organ inside the cathedral attracts on the occasion of the Merseburg Organ Days visitors as wells as organists from all over the world. During the Merseburg Castle Festival, the whole city is taken back to the Middle Ages. The Emperor’s Table, where you can experience the art of medieval cuisine, as well as the historical parade, where medievally dressed figures prance through the street of Merseburg, are appreciated highlights of the festival. Antique curia, harbouring art and theme-eateries, beautiful houses as well as extensive parks create the individual atmosphere of the former diocese and ancient ducal residence. To explore the whole cultural bandwidth, the staffs of the Tourist-Info and our city guides are on your disposition to provide you with more information.

Pictures of the Hanseatic City of Merseburg


Tourist- und Tagungsservice Merseburg
Burgstraße 5
06217 Merseburg
Fax: 03461 / 21 41 77