"Halle an der Saale" Top 5 Page for this destination Halle by Kathrin_E
Halle Travel Guide: 108 reviews and 432 photos
A wounded city. A city that has lost a quarter of its population since 1989. A city that is bleeding from deep cuts everywhere.
A city full of hidden treasures.
Halle is not an obvious tourist destination. It takes some patience, even obstinacy to unearth the gold underneath the rubble. However, it is worth it.
I like Halle - not only because it is twinned with my hometown Karlsruhe. Somehow the city's fate has gained my sympathy.
World War II has done some damage although the city was saved from the worst by a German commander with some common sense who, despite orders to defend the city to the last brick, negotiated and surrendered.
40 years of socialism have added theirs. After the reunification of Germany a lot has been done but a lot has been neglected. Many historical buildings have been beautifully restored in the meantime. Next to them, however, half-ruined empty buildings can still be found even in the heart of the city.
On the other hand Halle is a university town with a rich cultural life and tradition. Halle is looking back on 1200 years of history. The wealth of the past was based, as indicated by the city's name, on the 'white gold': salt.
The famous view of market square with the five towers - Roter Turm and the four spires of Marktkirche - expresses the pride of a well-to-do city.
In DDR times, Halle's economical base were the huge chemical combinates south of the city - Buna, Leuna, Schkopau. These state-owned socialist enterprises had no chance to survive on the global market without expensive modernization and sacking most of their workers. Instead of ten thousands, the factories nowadays employ a few hundreds. The latest blow was the closing of Waggonbau Ammendorf, a factory that built and repaired train cars. After the reunification it was taken over by Bombardier and in the end closed down. More jobs lost.
By 2005 Halle had lost 80.000 inhabitants compared to 1990. The huge DDR Plattenbau quarters are partly empty, some buildings even torn down.
The highway named Magistrale which cuts through the city centre is a relic of socialist planning, following Sowjet examples (although 'the West' has committed similar crimes in city planning in the 1960s and 70s). The road leads to Halle-Neustadt, a huge suburb on the opposite side of the river Saale. You see the Plattenbau blocks of Ha-Neu (pronounced "Hanoi") in the far background.
The water tower is a landmark in the Northeast of the city, right behind Paulus quarter and outside Steintor, which is... more travel advice
As a contrast to the previous two you should get an idea what most of the town looked like before renovations started.... more travel advice
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