Halle is a destination for those who enjoy the good things in life: few other places have such a high concentration of fine restaurants, exclusive shops and outstanding art and culture. In the historical, largely intact centre, there is an enthralling contrast between the beautiful squares lined with grand old buildings and the youthful buzz of a modern town.
If you stroll through the streets of the old quarter, you feel history at every turn. But Halle is also a lively contemporary town with bustling cafés, restaurants and bars. Chic shopping arcades, huge department stores and pretty little boutiques are never short of customers, and the large town squares are simply pulsating with life. Universitätsplatz, for example, boasts an ensemble of neo-classical buildings, while Marktplatz, the largest square in Halle, first served as a marketplace for weavers and cloth merchants 800 years ago. At the centre of the square is the statue of the composer George Frideric Handel, who was born in Halle in 1685. From here you can make out the silhouette of five towers, which together form the town's signature skyline.
At home with Martin Luther and George Frideric Handel
The Red Tower is one of Halle's famous five towers and is well worth seeing – and hearing. It has the third largest carillon in the world with 76 bells and weighs over 45 tonnes in total. The other towers belong to the Church of St. Mary, also known as the market church. Inside the church is the death mask of Martin Luther , a life-like representation of the religious reformer. The church's great organ was inaugurated in the presence of Johann Sebastian Bach. Today, 300 years on, it is still an uplifting experience to hear it being played. The cathedral quarter takes you back to even earlier times. Not far from the old Dominican church is the house where Handel was born, a Renaissance building that has served as a museum dedicated to the great composer since 1948.
One of mankind's great treasures: the Nebra Sky Disk
The sun, moon and stars on Halle's coat of arms could well be an allusion to the world-famous Nebra Sky Disk, the oldest visual representation of the cosmos in human history. You can marvel at this 3,600-year-old treasure at the Regional Museum of Prehistory, one of the most important archaeological museums in Europe. This exceptional attraction paints a vivid picture of life in the Stone and Bronze Ages, when Neanderthals, cave lions and mammoths dominated the landscape. Rather more contemporary is the Art Museum of Saxony-Anhalt at Moritzburg Palace, which boasts a high-calibre exhibition of paintings, prints, sculptures, photographs and handicrafts from the 19th and 20th century. In Halle you can also visit the opera, playhouse, cabaret or variety theatre, and afterwards enjoy all that the town has to offer.