Quedlinburg’s Collegiate Church, Castle and Old Town
Quedlinburg boasts winding alleyways, half-timbered houses dating from different eras, medieval squares, modern art housed behind centuries-old walls, and the castle-hill with its castle and Romanesque Collegiate Church offering panoramic views: Quedlinburg is the only UNESCO World Heritage City in Saxony-Anhalt. The foreland of the Harz mountains is a living monument, and an attraction that beguiles visitors from all over the world.
This is where German history was made
German history was made in Quedlinburg over 1,100 years ago. In 919, on Finkenherd down below the castle-hill, Saxon duke Henry was crowned King. The precious objects in the treasury at the Collegiate Church of St Servatius still give a sense of the splendour and wealth of the Ottonian ruling dynasty today.
Good to know: Quedlinburg was a high priority for the Ottonian ruling dynasty of the 10th century. The coronation of Saxon duke Henry laid the foundations for the first national German state. He was buried in his favourite palace on Quedlinburg castle-hill in 936. The imperial Quedlinburg ladies collegiate chapter established by his widow Mathilde and his son – who later became Emperor Otto I – was one of the most important institutions of its time in the German-speaking world. Its noble Abbesses had great impact on the town of Quedlinburg and the Harz region beyond. Initially, the chapter’s main task was to commemorate Henry I and other Ottonian family members. In the 10th century, Quedlinburg was even a metropolis of the wealthy, the domicile of the Ottonian emperor and the location for significant royal court days and synods. The castle on the castle-hill was the residence of the powerful Abbesses. The crown princesses governed their lands and estates from here, and for centuries, decided the fate of the town below it.
The castle and its collegiate buildings on the castle-hill are currently having a facelift. After extensive restoration work, a new museum of the history of the ladies’ collegiate chapter and the World Heritage City of Quedlinburg is to open in 2023. It will relate the story of this historic place’s great importance in German and European history.
Discovering Quedlinburg on foot is wonderful. The daily tour through this UNESCO World Heritage Site is the ideal option for first-time visitors. Listen to a guided commentary on its history and architecture, and on life in a 1,000-year old World Heritage City as you walk through the Old Town and up to the castle-hill.
Winding alleyways, picturesque squares and the imposing architecture of the castle-hill atop jagged rocks in the town center lend Quedlinburg a unique character. To this day, the medieval layout and much of the medieval building development have been authentically maintained. The cobblestones, alleyways and half-timbered buildings are steeped in so much history that visitors flock to see them.
This medieval town with over 2,000 half-timbered houses dating across eight centuries, plus the castle-hill, became a UNESCO World Cultural Heritage Site in 1994.