Despite its rich cultural heritage, the birthplace of Georg Friedrich Handel did not become the state capital, when Saxony-Anhalt was reestablished as a federal state. Still, it remains the culture capital of the region. It has historical sites, museums, opera, theater, live bands and much more.
In Halle, the mixture of tradition and progress is distinctly visible. Modern, state-of-the-art facilities have been created over the years, and the run-down construction which once marred Halle's appearance have been swept away. Over the years, the university has spread across the city, creating a vibrant student life.
Overview of the universities
Martin Luther Universität of Halle-Wittenberg (MLU)
Lectures and seminars are increasingly taught in English and students can even enroll in English-language degree programs.
MLU is a modern research institution providing a high degree of flexibility — both during studies and later in professional life. Research, teaching, science and education are interconnected, as many co-operations with non-university institutions, such as the Max-Planck-Institut or Frauenhofer-Institut, show. This is underpinned by the establishment of networks of excellence along the major fields of research. They connect research done at MLU with research done at non-university research institutes.
Burg Giebichenstein University of Art and Design Halle
This is the second-most important university in Halle — a respected institution of higher education since 1958. It's a modern school of arts and crafts, developed by architect Paul Thiersch in the “Werkstätten” tradition starting in 1915. Originally focused on the fine and applied arts, in 1958 the university expanded to include study, research and development of industrial design, interior design and environmental design.
Did you know?
The university's library is the largest in Saxony-Anhalt. It holds more than 4.6 million books. Throughout its over 300-year history, it has collected numerous rare books.
Halle can boast the country's first black professor, Anton Wilhelm Amo from Ghana, who was made a full professor of philosophy in 1736.
The university can also pride itself with the first woman to ever obtain a doctorate in medicine at a German university. It was Dorothea Erxleben, and she received her degree in 1754.
Things to check out
The marketplace, Halle's largest square, has been a center of commerce since medieval times and is still used during the week for selling fresh fruits, vegetables and meat. The heart of the square is dominated by a statue of composer Georg Friedrich Handel, born in Halle in 1685.
Castle Giebichenstein is the oldest of the castles along the river Saale; it was a residence of the archbishops of Magdeburg beginning in 968. Apparently, Ludwig II jumped from one of the towers into the river, earning himself the nickname “Ludwig the Jumper.” The castle is now home to the University of Art and Design Halle.
Halle's Studentenwerk page gives plenty of info about studying and living in the city.
Upon arrival — or as long as you don't have a permanent place to stay — you should opt for a cheap youth hostel.