Did you know that the Germany´s oldest chocolate factory is not too far away from here? Last weekend a group of international researchers went for an excursion to the city Halle (at the river Saale), located near Leipzig in the federal state of Saxony-Anhalt. The train ride already was sweetened up by some special ‘Halloren’ chocolate.
During a guided tour we got to know appealing facts about the city and its people. Halle’s early history is closely connected with the harvest of salt. The name Halle is meant to be given by an early Celtic settlement whereas ‘halen’ is the Brythonic (Welsh/Breton) word for salt. The name of the river Saale also contains the Germanic root for salt, and salt-harvesting has taken place in Halle at least since the Bronze Age (2300-600 BC). After having lunch and warming ourselves up we went to the State Museum for Prehistory. Comprising more than 15 million items, the collection belongs to the most extensive and important ones in Germany. Definitely the most famous exhibits is the Nebra sky disk. It features the oldest concrete depiction of the cosmos worldwide. Packed with new information we let the evening come to an end at the restaurant “Hallesches Brauhaus”.
On Sunday we took a guided tour in Halle-Neustadt. This district of Halle was an independent city in the time when Germany was still separated and the Eastern part was called German Democratic Republic (GDR). It was established as a new town in 1967 to offer housings for the chemical workers of the nearby cities Leuna and Buna. Halle-Neustadt was considered to be the largest prefab housing estate in the former Eastern Germany. It offered housing for about 100,000 persons. Virtually all housing is high rise, with some towers reaching 11 floors. Medium rise buildings tend to have six floors without elevators. Since the reunification of Germany the population of Halle-Neustadt has halved. As a lot of buildings in the inner city have been renovated since then, residents have taken the opportunity to move to the city itself or to the suburban communities that ring Halle.
Halle is not just about salt and chocolate, and definitely worth visiting.
Text and photos: N. Kleindienst