Monday, February 21, 2011

Quedlinburg, Germany - May 11, 2010

Quedlinburg was one of those "might as well since we are here" opportunities that turned out to be a true gem. In the Harz district of Saxony-Anhalt, Germany, Quedlinburg has been a UNESCO World Heritage site since 1994. 
Mention of the town can be found in the early 9th century and later the town became the province of King Henry the Fowler.  Henry died in 936 and his widow, Saint Mathilda, founded a convent on the castle hill, where daughters of the higher nobility were educated. 
The abbey was secularized in 1802 during the German Mediatization when Quedlinburg was absorbed into the Kingdom of Prussia. Five years later it was lost to the Napoleonic Kingdom of Westphalia before being won back by the new Prussian Province of Saxony in 1815.
During the Nazi regime, for unknown reasons, King Henry took on cult status and Heinrich Himmler imagined himself to be the reincarnation of the "most German of all German" rulers. Plans were made to turn the collegiate church and castle into a shrine for Nazi Germany and the Party even set out to create a new religion. 
The cathedral was closed from 1938 until 1945 when Liberation saw the reinstatement of a Protestant bishop and the removal of the Nazi style eagle from the tower. From 1949 to 1990 Quedlinburg became part of Communist East Germany until, on German reunification, it became part of the state of Saxony-Anhalt. 
Today, in the innermost parts of the town, there is a wide selection of half-timbered buildings from at least five different centuries. For more images of this exquisite city, see here.

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