Fotoeins Fotografie

questions of place & home

Posts tagged ‘Strasse der Romanik’

salt-making, Halloren- und Salinemuseum Halle, Halloren, Salinemuseum, Halle (Saale), Halle, Saxony-Anhalt, Sachsen-Anhalt, Germany, fotoeins.com

Halle (Saale): Making White Gold Since 3000 BC

What do the following six towns and cities have in common?

  • Hall in Tirol, Austria
  • Hallein, Austria
  • Hallstatt, Austria
  • Schwäbisch Hall, Germany
  • Bad Reichenhall, Germany
  • Halle an der Saale, Germany

Hall is more than a large covered room

With “hall” in their names, all six towns listed above are historically associated with salt production1,2,3. The word “salt” is represented in Greek as hals and in Celtic (Brythonic) as hal. In pre-Roman Europe, the towns of Halle, Hallstatt, and Hallein were three centres for salt-evaporation4 which eventually became salt-making centres for the surrounding regions of Prussian Saxony, Salzkammergut, and Salzburg, respectively. Archaeological finds around Halle and along the Saale river5 uncovered evidence of heated brine (at Doläuer Heide) from the mid-neolithic age (about 3000 BCE) and briquetage ceramic vessels from the late-Bronze age (about 1000 BCE).

Mark Kurlansky wrote1: “… Salt is so common, so easy to obtain, and so inexpensive that we have forgotten that from the beginning of civilization until about 100 years ago, salt was one of the most sought after commodities in human history.

Once a rarity, salt was a unique additive to improve quality of food preparation and consumption. Food preservation with salt also became a critical measure for survival, but also for improving the quality of food preparation and consumption. Whoever controlled salt production, sales, and distribution held power, wealth, and prestige.

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Mansfeld: Martin Luther’s childhood home

Above: View of the town from Mansfeld Castle; numbered labels are described below.

I approach the ledge, and what appears is a typical yet modest German town: red roofs, a church steeple, green pastures, and endless hills rolling to the horizon. But this is no typical town. Five centuries ago, a young lad grew up in this town and ran through these streets. Though the area was dominated by mining activity, Dad was grooming the boy to become a lawyer, but the latter would make a life-changing decision. How was the boy to know his decision and subsequent work would eventually change religion, governance, literature, and culture in Europe.

Mansfeld is a town of about 9000 people in the southwest corner of the German federal state of Saxony-Anhalt. The town is dominated by the Mansfeld Castle situated on a rock spur above town. With origins to regional nobles, first mention of the town in official documents occurred in the late-10th century, erection of the castle’s foundations began in the 11th-century, and full charter rights of a city were granted to Mansfeld in the early 15th-century.

In 1484 one year after he was born and baptized in Eisleben, Martin Luder’s parents, Hans and Margarethe (née Lindemann), moved the family to Mansfeld, 10 kilometres to the northwest of Eisleben. Hans Luder earned good wages in a region rich with mineral ore and covered with mines. Hans first worked in the quarries, and worked up to managing smelting furnaces, and eventually, to owning individual mine shafts and smelters. Martin wandered these streets until he was 13 years of age when he departed in 1497 for further education. His parents stayed in Mansfeld for the rest of their lives, whereas Martin moved to Magdeburg, Eisenach, Erfurt, and settling in Wittenberg.

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Halle an der Saale, Halle, Saale river, Saale, Sachsen-Anhalt, Saxony-Anhalt, Cultural Heart of Germany, Germany, fotoeins.com

Halle (Saale): sweet & savoury highlights in the Händelstadt

Featured: “5 towers” with 4 (spires) from St. Mary’s Church (left-centre) and 1 from the Red Tower (right-centre). Händel monument is at lower centre.

You’re visiting Halle to learn and discover:

  • why salt also known as “white gold” was critical to the city’s development;
  • how Martin Luther and the Reformation left their mark in the city;
  • composer Händel’s birth house, his upbringing, and how he learned the organ;
  • the oldest German chocolate factory continues producing “Halloren Kugeln”; and
  • how the Museum of Prehistory houses the world’s oldest depiction of the night sky.

Located in the present German federal state of Saxony-Anhalt, the city of Halle along the Saale river is one of the larger cities in east-central Germany. Making salt was of great historic and economic importance that the name of the city “Halle” is derived from the old Celtic/Brythonic word hal, meaning “salt”. The name of the river “Saale” is derived from the old German word for “salt”1. With salt bringing wealth to the city through trade, Halle became a trade city or “Handelsstadt.” With the birth and upbringing of composer Händel in the city, Halle also became a cultural city or “Händelstadt.”

Halle’s present-day population at 240-thousand people is neck and neck with the 241-thousand people in the the state capital city of Magdeburg, 75 kilometres to the north. But proximity means Halle is also connected with Leipzig, only 31 kilometres to the southeast in the state of Saxony. Halle and Leipzig are connected with the S-Bahn Mitteldeutschland train service, and the two cities share an airport located about halfway in-between.

1 The Welsh word for salt is “halen”, and the German word for salt is “Salz”. See also “Celtic culture: a historical encyclopedia,” Volume IV (M—S), pg. 1555. Editor J. T. Koch (ABC-CLIO, 2006).


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Lutherstadt Eisleben, Saxony-Anhalt, Sachsen-Anhalt, Germany, UNESCO, World Heritage Site, fotoeins.com

Eisleben UNESCO WHS: Luther’s birth and death sites

Above (HL): Luther monument by Rudolf Simmering at Eisleben’s market square. The monument was inaugurated in 1883 to mark the quatercentenary of Luther’s birth year (1483). At left and upper-right are the Hotel Graf von Mansfeld and St. Andrew’s Church, respectively.

With a population over 25-thousand people, Eisleben is a quiet town in central Germany in the federal state of Saxony-Anhalt. But the South Harz region holds a special place in German and European history: Martin Luther came into the world in Eisleben in 1483, spent his childhood years in Mansfeld, and, on a trip home from Wittenberg to negotiate a local dispute in Mansfield, died in Eisleben in 1546. As shown in the map below, a number of important locations in Eisleben are associated with Luther and the Reformation, including the Luther monument in the town’s market square, St. Peter’s Church, St. Andrew’s Church, and St. Anne’s Church. Specifically, two sites in town constitute a part of the inscription for UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1996: (1) the house where Luther was born, and (2) the museum on Luther’s death.

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Peter-Pauli-Kirche, Lutherstadt Eisleben, Saxony-Anhalt, Germany, fotoeins.com

Fotoeins Friday: Where Martin Luther was baptized in Eisleben

This is the interior of the Peter-Pauli-Kirche (Peter and Paul Church) in the city of Eisleben in the German federal state of Saxony-Anhalt. The church here was built between 1447 and 1513, although a previous church dedicated to Peter had already been present by the end of the 13th-century. At the centre of the floor is a circular depression which is a modern baptistry with pumps underneath to simulate the constant flow of water and a focal point from which circular waves emanate. Underneath the Luther Rose on the ceiling lies a second focal point (on the floor at the lower-centre) representing the spreading impact of Luther’s Protestantism.

To the upper-left of the central baptistry and next to the main altar is a famous basin or “font”, a small stone structure which holds water for baptism. The font’s inscription in Latin reads: “Rudera baptistierii, quo tinctus est beatus Martinus Lutherus Anno 1483.” The German translation is: “Überbleibsel des Taufsteins, an dem der selige Martin Luther den 10 November 1483 getauft wurde1,” which in English translates to: “Remains of the baptismal stone in which the blessed Martin Luther was baptized on 10 November 1483.”

Eisleben is host to two buildings which have given the town UNESCO World Heritage Site status: the house where Luther was born, and the building where he died (well, sorta, but that’s for another time …)

Peter-Pauli-Kirche, Lutherstadt Eisleben, Saxony-Anhalt, Germany, fotoeins.com

1 The German translation of the Latin is from Anton Theodor Effner’s 1817 book “Dr. Martin Luther und seine Zeitgenossen: dargestellt in einer Reihe karakteristrender Züge und Anekdoten,” Volume 1 (page 29). Digitized sources: Google Books (book)Google Books (page)Bayerische Staatsbibliothek München.

My thanks to IMG- and Sachsen-Anhalt-Tourismus, the city of Eisleben, and Anja Ulrich for her time as guide in Eisleben and Mansfeld. I made the photos above on 26 October 2016. This post appears on Fotoeins Fotografie at fotoeins.com as http://wp.me/p1BIdT-97q. IMG- and Sachsen-Anhalt-Tourismus supported my visit to the German federal state of Saxony-Anhalt from 25 October to 3 November 2016 inclusive. I also received assistance from the cities of Eisleben, Mansfeld, Dessau, Wittenberg, and Halle (Saale).

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