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The Saxony-Anhalt Museum Association

Museums Saxony-Anhalt

Castle Giebichenstein

Halle

Oberburg Giebichenstein Oberburg Giebichenstein - Blick vom Torturm auf das Burggelände

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Giebichenstein is one of the oldest settled areas in the Halle district. It became part of the Frankish Empire in the early 9th century. The salt production in the nearby Wittekind Valley, the strategic location atop of the cliff at a river crossing, and the proximity to important trade routes made the spot ideal for the construction of a castle. In 961, on the grounds of the present-day Amtsgarten, the Holy Roman Emperor Otto I transferred ownership of the castle and location to the Moritzkloster, the monastery of Magdeburg. Today, nothing remains of the original compound. The castle now standing at the top of the Giebichenstein cliffs, the Oberburg, was erected in the 12th and 13th century as a representative palace.

The excavated remnants of the palace and keep, with columns as well as fireplaces, indicate that the Oberburg, the "upper castle", served as the residence and administrative seat of the archbishops of Magdeburg. As of the late 14th century, it was the main residence of the Magdeburg archbishops, who were also the aldermen of Halle, and also housed both the customs station and mint.

Construction of the Unterburg, the "lower castle", was begun in the middle of the 15th century. Today, Burg Giebichenstein houses the University of Art and Design Halle. The granary in the castle courtyard was built in 1473. Construction of the residence, eating house, and brewery in the West Wing continued until 1500. By 1503, however, the Magdeburg Archbishop had already moved to the newly built Moritzburg within the city walls, so the Unterburg became the central seat for customs, economy and administration. Following a devastating fire in 1636, only the Unterburg was rebuilt.