- For other places with the same name, see Halle (disambiguation).
Halle is the largest city in Saxony-Anhalt, Germany with a population of 233,700. Located on the river Saale, it is often referred to as Halle an der Saale, or Halle (Saale) for short, to distinguish it from other municipalities in Germany sharing the same name.
Halle has always been an important industrial centre - its industrial heritage spans salt mining, chemical industries and chocolate confectionery. Internationally, Halle is perhaps best known as the birthplace of the Baroque composer Georg Friedrich Händel, who later went on to a successful career in London.
Halle owes its existence to brine springs: salt has been produced in the region since the Bronze Age. The name Halle probably stems from the boiling "hall" of the salt works. The oldest document mentioning "Halla" dates from 806 AD. From the 10th to 17th century, Halle belonged to the Archbishopric of Magdeburg, temporarily serving as the second residence of the Prince-Archbishop, who was both religious leader and political ruler of the territory. An important trade centre, Halle was a member of the Hanseatic League during the late Middle Ages. After the Protestant Reformation, the Archbishopric became the secular Duchy of Magdeburg before being merged into the Kingdom of Prussia.
Baroque composer George Frideric Handel was born in Halle in 1685 but moved to Hamburg at age 18 and later became famous in London. With its university (founded in 1694) and August Hermann Francke's Foundations (since 1698), Halle was an educational centre during the Age of Enlightenment. Thanks to its university, the picturesque landscape of the Saale valley and ruined castles in the surroundings, Halle was a place-to-go for Romantic poets of the early 19th century, namely Joseph von Eichendorff who studied in Halle and composed numerous poems during his rambles. The composer Johann Friedrich Reichardt's garden near Giebichenstein castle was considered the "shelter of Romanticism".
The city was connected to the Leipzig–Magdeburg railroad in 1840. Halle soon became an industrial centre with notable chocolate, chemical and rail vehicle construction plants. During the communist rule, an extensive new town, Halle-Neustadt (colloquially Ha-Neu, homophonous with Hanoi), was built west of the city. It was declared an independent city in 1967 and was home to more than 90,000 inhabitants, mostly workers of the chemical plants, at its peak in 1980. It was reunited with Halle proper in 1990. One of Halle's most famous sons is the politician Hans-Dietrich Genscher (1927–2016) who moved to West Germany during the country's partition, becoming foreign minister and leader of the liberal FDP. Halle's chemical industries broke down after the German reunification, leading to a massive loss of jobs but also to a recovery of the terribly polluted environment. New jobs were created in the service sector, science and technology. Halle is the seat of the German National Academy of Sciences Leopoldina and many startups. While separated by a state border since 1990, Halle and Leipzig are closely integrated with one another, sharing an S-Bahn system and an airport and many commuters move between the two or from suburbs of one to the other.
Leipzig/Halle Airport (LEJ IATA), sometimes called Schkeuditz Airport, is 30 km away from central Halle. The airport is the second biggest airport in Eastern Germany after Berlin. Trains between the airport and Halle Central Station run roughly every 30 minutes, alternating a S-Bahn (S 5X) and an IC-train enroute to Hanover. The trip takes 11 minutes and costs €4.20 (S-Bahn) or €6 (IC). The train station is below the terminal building and can be reached by stairs, escalators and elevators.
Berlin's airports (TXL or SXF) are less than two hours away by train and offer more direct flights.
Halle (Saale) is a station on the high-speed rail line Berlin–Erfurt–Frankfurt or –Munich. ICE high-speed trains from Berlin and Erfurt call approximately once an hour, from Frankfurt or Munich about once in two hours, respectively. In addition, Halle is served by hourly intercity trains on the (Cologne/Bremen)–Hannover–Leipzig(–Dresden) line; as well as several regional train lines.
Deutsche Bahn operates regular train service between Halle and nearby cities such as Leipzig (€7.60, 25 minutes), Lutherstadt Eisleben (€9.50, 30 minutes), Dessau (€14, 50 minutes), Magdeburg (€22, 50 minutes), Jena (€20, 60 minutes), Weimar (€20.50, 60 minutes), Lutherstadt Wittenberg (€15, 65 minutes).
High-speed trains are available to major cities in Germany including Erfurt (€40, 30 minutes), Berlin (€49, 70 minutes), Frankfurt (€88, 2:40 hours), Munich (€117, 3 hours), Hamburg (€106, 3:15 hours). Prague (€66, 4:40 hours) can be reached with an additional transfer in Dresden; or by train and bus via Leipzig (3.5 hours). Tickets may be much cheaper if booked in advance.
From Leipzig, take the A14 west to the B100.
Hallesche Verkehrs-AG (HAVAG) operates the local surface street tram. It passes most major attractions downtown and will take you to and from the main train station. Tickets are available at the office in the Marktplatz, from vending machines or from the drivers. 1-hour tickets cost €2.20 if bought from a vending machine, somewhat more if bought from the driver. Day passes cost €5.
- 1 Marktkirche Unser Lieben Frauen. Late Gothic cathedral where Luther preached. Contains Luther's death mask. Handel was baptized here. Church: Free; Luther exhibit: €2.
- 2 Händel-Haus Halle, Große Nikolaistraße 5. The house where Georg Friedrich Händel was born, now a museum dedicated to his life and works. Displays his works, letters, manuscripts. Adult: €5; Student: €3.50.
- 3 Burg Giebichenstein, Seebener Straße 1 (Take tram 7 or 8 to Burg Giebichenstein). Old Castle that's now been converted into an art school. Is right on the Saale river. Great views of the city.
- 4 Kunstmuseum Moritzburg, Friedemann-Bach-Platz 5 (take a tram from Marktplatz to Moritzburgring. Go left down Moritzburgring). Th-Tu 10:00-18:00. Castle which has now been converted into a great art museum. Has exhibits which include works by Klimt, Ernst, and Klee. Highlights include Lyonel Feininger's paintings of famous Halle landmarks. Adult: €7; Student: €5.
- 5 Neustadt (take tram 2). The township built by the GDR in the 1980s to house chemical plant workers. It is a poignant example of East German architecture.
- 6 Halloren Schokoladen-Museum, Delitzscher Straße 70. The Halloren Chocolate Factory is the oldest in Germany. The origins date back to the founding of a honey cake bakery in 1804.
- 7 Beatles Museum, Alter Markt 12. W-Su 10:00-20:00. Three floors of memorabilia owned by fan Rainer Moers. Adult: €5.
- 8 Landesmuseum für Vorgeschichte (Halle), Richard-Wagner-Straße 9 (Take tram 7 towards Kröllwitz, stop Landesmuseum). Tu-F 09:00-17:00; Sa Su holidays 10:00-18:00. The State Museum of Prehistory is the archaeological museum of Saxony-Anhalt with Nebra Sky disk and Eulau family graves as highlights. Adult: €5; children: €2.50.
- 9 Franckesche Stiftungen, Franckeplatz (Take tram 4, 7 or 9 from main station, stop Franckeplatz), ☏ , email@example.com. Tu-Su 10:00-17:00. The Francke Foundations are a unique ensemble of historical school buildings dating back to the age of enlightenment (founded 1698); the buildings today house departments of Halle University, several schools and other cultural and social institutions. Highlights are the baroque Cabinet of Artefacts and Curiosities and the Historical Library. Occasionally concerts, lectures and conferences. Adult: €6; children: free.
- Reederei Riedel River Tours. Tu-Su hourly 10:00-18:00. Runs 45-minute river tours. Adult: €5.
- Handel Festival. In the second week of June.
Leipziger Straße is the main shopping street in downtown Halle. It branches off of the southeast corner of the Marktplatz. There you will find many retail shops and chain fast food restaurants.
Make sure you try some döner kebap. It's heavily Germanized Turkish food. Halle has some of the best döner in Germany.
- DINEA Café & Restaurant Halle, Marktplatz 20 (on the upper floor of the Kaufhof department store). M-Sa 09:30-20:00. Self-service restaurant with view over market square. Offers breakfast, cold and hot lunch buffet, daily specials, cakes. €6-9.
- NT Cafe, Große Ulrichstraße 51. Artsy place affiliated with the Neues Theater (New Theatre). €3-9.
- Ökoase, Kleine Ulrichstraße 2. Vegetarian restaurant popular among the hippie crowd. Try the Arabic tomato soup, Greek vegetable stew, or Swiss chard coconut soup. Only open for lunch on weekdays. €5-12.
- Palais S, Ankerstraße 3c. Waterfront terrace. Serves everything from pasta to schnitzel to steak. €7-14.
- 1 Sushifreunde Steinweg, Steinweg 17 (From market square take tram 1, 3 or 8 in southern direction, stop Steinweg), ☏ . M-Su 11:30-20:00. Has an all-you-can-eat special on Tuesday and Thursday evenings for €16.90.
- Schad, Reilstraße 10 (Take tram 7, 8, 12, 6, or 3 to Reileck). German restaurant and private brewery that boasts having served Mikhail Gorbachev.
- Roots, Große Ulrichstraße 23 (5 minute walk north on Große Ulrichtstraße from the market square. Watch for a sign on the left side of the street and then go down a small alleyway.). Excellent modern European and German food. Plates are mostly 20 Euros and up.
Bars and pubsEdit
- Café Noire, Kleine Ulrichstraße 30. It is by far the best bar/cafe on Kleine Ulrichstraße.
- Hallesches Brauhaus, Große Nikolaistraße 2. Brewery that also serves good food.
- 1 Lucy, Burgstraße 48 (Take tram 8 to Volkspark), ☏ , firstname.lastname@example.org. M-Th 18:00-01:00, F Sa 18:00-02:00. Bar that has lots of live pub music.
- Charivari, Kaulenberg 1. Karaoke club.
- Klub Drushba, Kardinal-Albrecht-Straße 6. Indie club with good dance parties.
- Objekt 5, Seebener Straße 5 (Take the 7 or 8 to Burg Giebichenstein and it's a short walk from there). Great indie club and cafe. Folk and rock music and good food.
- Potemkin, Kleine Ulrichstraße 27.
- Turm, Friedeman-Bach-Platz 5. Student club. Techno, house, hip-hop, drum & bass.
- Hostel No5, Robert-Franz-Ring 5 (Tram 10, 11, 94 or bus 91 to Ankerstraße), ☏ . Dorm bed: €13; Single: €21.
- Jugendherberge Halle, Große Steinstraße 60 (Tram to Stadtbad), ☏ , JH-Halle@djh-sachsen-anhalt.de. Located in an old school in the city center. Dorm bed: €16.50; Single: €21.50; Bed linens: €3.50; €3 surcharge if 27 or older.
- 1 KAHSA Apartments, Zum Planetarium 44, 06116 (Bus line 43 to Kanena, metro line S3 to Halle Messe), ☏ , email@example.com. Check-in: 15:00, check-out: 10:00. 10 smaller and bigger vacation rentals. All accommodations have internet and parking. Tourists as well as business travellers welcome.
- City Hotel am Wasserturm, Lessingstraße 8 (Tram 6, 12, 95 to Lessingstraße), ☏ . From €100.
- Dormotel Europa Halle, Delitzscher Straße 17 (S7 or tram 2, 4, 5, 7, 9, 10, 12 or bus 30, 43 to Hauptbahnhof), ☏ . €39-55.
- Esprit Hotel, Torstraße 7 (Tram 1, 3, 6, 8, 11, 95 or bus 30, 97, 99 to Rannischer Platz), ☏ . €42-60.
- Hotel Marthahaus, Adam-Kuckhoff-Straße 5 (Tram 6, 10 to Stadtbad), ☏ . Run by a Christian mission. Soft carpet, well furnished, stained glass windows in the lounge. Beautiful dining hall. Single: €45-60; Double: €65-85.
- Ramada Leipzig Halle, Hansaplatz 1 (1km from Zöberitz train station), ☏ . $54-81.
- Hotel Schweizer Hof, Waisenhausring 15, ☏ .
- Hotel am Steintor, Krukenbergstraße 29 (Tram 2, 12 to Magdeburger Straße), ☏ . €35-49.
- Tryp by Wyndham Halle, Neustädter Passage 5 (Tram 2, 9, 10 or bus 21, 34, 91 to Zentrum Neustadt or S-bahn train (S7) to Halle Neustadt station), ☏ , fax: . Check-in: 14:00, check-out: 12:00. Formerly the Best Western Grand City Hotel €58 +.
- Hotel Westfalia Halle, Grenzstraße 35 (Tram 10, 94 or bus 32, 91, 97 to Betriebshof Freiimfelder Straße), ☏ . €38-50.
- Ankerhof Hotel, Ankerstraße 2a (Tram 10, 11, 94 or bus 91 to Ankerstraße), ☏ . Former Royal Customs Office. Gym and saunas. Some rooms have river view. $87-116.
- Apart-Hotel Halle, Kohlschütterstraße 5 (Tram 6 to Adolfstraße), ☏ , firstname.lastname@example.org. Really nice murals in the suites. Sauna. Single: €72; Double: €89.
- Hotel Atlas Halle, Delitzscher Straße 32 (Tram 7, 10 or bus 44, 91 to Freiimfelder Straße), ☏ . $59 - $99.
- Hotel Eigen, ☏ . €69.
- 2 Dorint Charlottenhof Halle (Saale), Dorotheenstraße 12 (Tram 2, 4, 7, 9, 12 to Riebeckplatz), ☏ , email@example.com. 4 star hotel that caters to the business crowd. Pool, gym, sauna. €57-108. Breakfast: €15.
- Dormero Hotel Rotes Ross, Leipziger Straße 76 (Tram 4, 7, 9 or bus 91, 97, 99 to Am Leipziger Turm), ☏ , firstname.lastname@example.org. 4-star hotel aimed mostly towards business travelers. Feels like a small Grand Hotel and the rooms are very individually decorated. Has a small fitness room, a sauna, and a whirlpool in the basement. Breakfast buffet includes selection of cheese, sausage, breads, cereals, and fruits. Italian restaurant and 24-hour room service €52-€113.
- Internetcafe Speed, Am Bauhof 1. €3 per hour.
- The Central German Lake District surrounds Halle and Leipzig.
- Merseburg, 15 km south, more than thousand-year-old town with interesting old centre, Romanesque/Gothic cathedral and Renaissance palace (10 minutes by train, or cycle up the Saale bike trail)
- Eisleben, 30 km west, birth place of Martin Luther (30–40 minutes by train)
- Leipzig, 40 km east, Halle's "twin", trade city, cultural metropolis and economic "boom town" of East Germany, half an hour train ride away.
- Naumburg, 50 km south, impressive Romanesque cathedral, home town of philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche, centre of the Saale-Unstrut cultural landscape and wine-growing region (30–40 minutes by train, or cycle up the Saale bike trail)
- Dessau, 50 km northeast, centre of the Dessau-Wörlitz Garden Realm, seat of the 1920s Bauhaus art school, capital of classical modern architecture (50–55 minutes by train, change in Bitterfeld or Köthen)
- Wittenberg, 75 km northeast, important city during the late Middle Age and Renaissance, origin of Martin Luther's Protestant Reformation (just over an hour by train)
- Magdeburg, 90 km north, state capital on the river Elbe with huge Gothic cathedral and one of Germany's most important Romanesque monasteries (50 minutes by intercity train)
- Weimar, 90 km southwest, centre of classical culture, home of Germany's national poets Goethe and Schiller, composers Liszt and Richard Strauss, Friedrich Nietzsche, the early Bauhaus school and Buchenwald concentration camp (one hour by train)
- Erfurt, 115 km southwest, state capital of Thuringia, medieval old city (35 minutes by ICE high-speed train)
|Routes through Halle|
|Berlin ←||Hamburg Munich||→ Erfurt → Nuremberg|
|Berlin ←||Berlin Frankfurt||→ Erfurt → Frankfurt|
|Hanover ← Magdeburg ←||Cologne/Emden Dresden||→ Leipzig|