Travel Guides Crafted by Experienced Archaeologists & Historians

Art, History & Archaeology Sites & Museums

Saxony-Anhalt is home to the Nebra Sky Disk, an extraordinary prehistoric object made of bronze with gold inlay. Much more recent in time, here you will also find over 80 Romanesque cathedrals, churches, abbeys and imperial palaces to explore. The Holy Roman Emperor Otto I and his wife Editha are buried in the Magdeburg Cathedral, the oldest Gothic cathedral in Germany. And there is a lot more. Saxony-Anhalt is Martin Luther’s ‘cradle of the Reformation’. In the city of Dessau the Bauhaus movement reached its heyday, before the school was closed by the National Socialists in 1931. With all this history, and more UNESCO World Heritage Sites than any other state, it is not surprising that Saxony-Anhalt is known as the cultural and historical heart of Germany.

Create Your Saxony-Anhalt Itinerary & Travel Lists

Archaeology & History Sites in Saxony-Anhalt

Feldscheune Isenschnibbe Gardelegen Memorial

Due to the advancing American troops, at the beginning of April 1945 SS troops cleared the Hannover-Stöcken concentration camp and other subcamps. One group of prisoners were forced to march to a field barn on the outskirts of Gardelegen. They were locked in the barn, and it was set alight. The following day the crime scene was discovered by the Americans. An onsite cemetery was created for the victims of the massacre. Of the 1,016 victims only 305 could be identified. The first formal memorial was built in 1949.

Marienborn / Helmstedt Border Crossing

The border crossing at Helmstedt/Marienborn was set up on 1 July 1945 on the Hanover-Berlin autobahn, It was the sole access point to the divided city of Berlin. In May 1952 the GDR took control of the checkpoint and set up a deadly regime, using barbed wire, signal fences and mines. Bteween 1985 and 1989 around 35.6 million travellers were processed at the border crossing. Over 1,000 people worked here, until the facility closed on 30 June 1990. Today visitors can take a guided tour or walk freely throughout this distinctive commemorative site of a divided Germany.

Moritzburg Castle, Halle

Built in the final decades of the 15th century for Archbishop Ernest of Saxony, Moritzburg Castle is one of the finest examples of a residential late medieval fortress. By the beginning of the 16th century under Cardinal Albert of Brandenburg it was a magnificently furnished archbishop’s residence. An almost regular quadrangle, it was surrounded by a swampy moat. The castle suffered considerable damage during the 30 Year’s War. The castle lay in ruin until 1900 when renovations commenced and it became the venue for the art museum of the state Saxony-Anhalt.

Moritzplatz Memorial Magdeburg

Built in the first half of the 1870s, the Prussian district court and city prison on the north side of Moritzplatz continued to serve as a place of detention during WWII. Immediately after the war, the Soviets took control before East German law enforcement agencies, who continued to used the building as a detention centre until 1989. Today the historic court and prison stands as a memorial not only to the 10,000 plus victims of political persecution between 1945 and 1989, but also the victims held here by the Nazis. The memorial houses a permanent exhibition, “In the name of the people? About the judiciary in the SED state”.

Nebra Findspot Observation Tower

At the findspot of the Nebra Sky Disc a 30 metre high observation tower has been built, giving spectacular views over the surrounding countryside. The findsite is an important archaeological site, with the hilltop surrounded by Iron Age ramparts. Accessibility is only on foot, once the bus stops 300 metres below the Mittelberg hilltop. There is no elevator in the observation tower – 176 steps. The tower is about 3 km from the Nebra Ark Visitor Centre.

Pömmelte Woodhenge

Often called the ‘German Stonehenge’, Pömmelte is similar in size, structure, date and almost certainly function, to its English counterpart. Where the structures at Stonehenge were made of stone, the builders at Pömmelte used wooden posts. Hence a woodhenge. Today visitors to the ring sanctuary site, created around the end of the Neolithic and the start of the Bronze Age, see the wooden posts and grassy ditches in concentric rings, as archaeologists found in their excavations. Artefacts from these digs are on display in the Salzland Museum in nearby Schönebeck.

Museums & Art Galleries in Saxony-Anhalt

Mortizburg Art Museum

Ruined in the 30 Year’s War, this fine example of a late medieval fortified residential castle is now an important art museum for the collection of Saxony-Anhalt. Some 500 objects are on display from a collection of over 250,000 paintings, drawings, watercolours, prints, photographs, sculptures and craft and design objects, along with coins, banknotes and medals. These range in date from antiquity to the present, with objects from a great many parts of the world. Besides the permanent and temporary exhibitions, visitors can also tour reconstructions of historical rooms of the Renaissance castle.

Nebra Ark Visitor Centre

Near the archaeological site where the Nebra Disc was found is spectacular interpretative visitor centre. Although the Nebra Disc is not on display, the permanent exhibition focuses on this extraordinary object (which is on display in the State Museum for Prehistory in nearby Halle). The centre also has a digital planetarium that introduces visitors to the universe of the Bronze Age as interpreted from the Sky Disc and other important artefacts found in Europe.

Salzland Museum

Founded in 1924 by the Society for Prehistory and Local History, the first collections were of artefacts recovered from rescue archaeological excavations. In 1954 the museum was rehoused in the Renaissance town hall. There are now more than 60,000 artefacts in the museum’s care, including objects of art and culture, natural history and history, folklore and technology from around the Salzland district. Not to be missed is the exhibition of artefacts from the nearby archaeological site of Pömmelte.

State Museum for Prehistory, Halle

The Landesmuseum für Vorgeschichte in the city of Halle is one of the most important archaeology museums in Germany and Central Europe. Although named for prehistory, the exhibitions based on a collection of over 15 million artefacts cover 450,000 years of human history, from the beginning of the Stone Age to the early modern period. Some of the most important objects include the Nebra Sky Disc, the rider stone from Hornhausen, the Bad Dürrenberg shaman and the family graves from Eulau.