Quedlinburg presents itself with its more than 1300 half-timbered houses and angular old town streets from eight centuries like a picture book of the Middle Ages. The town in the northern Harz foreland is dominated by the castle and the collegiate church of St. Servatius, consecrated in 1021.
|Official title:||Collegiate church, castle and old town of Quedlinburg|
|Cultural monument:||a gem of half-timbered architecture with those from the 15th-18th centuries Historic monuments in Hohen Strasse, Langen Strasse, Stieg and Steinweg; A total of 1200 half-timbered buildings, 150 of which are in immediate danger of decay, and other listed buildings, including the St. Wiperti church with its Ottonian crypt, the St. Nikolai parish church, the St. Blasii parish church, the St. Benedikti market church and the castle and collegiate church of St. Servatius on the Schlossberg|
|Location:||Quedlinburg, southwest of Magdeburg|
|Meaning:||thanks to the large number of half-timbered buildings, an extraordinary testimony to a medieval urban landscape|
|922||documentary mention of the Saxon royal estate Quitilingaburg|
|936||Founding of an aristocratic convent|
|1017-1129||Construction of St. Servatius on the remains of previous churches|
|1179||Fortification of the old town attested|
|1321||Construction of the Gothic choir head of St. Servatius|
|1337||Merger of the old and new town|
|1426||Joins the Hanseatic League|
|1427||Setting up the Roland figure in front of the town hall|
|16./17. Century||instead of the imperial palace building of the renaissance castle|
|1648||Preparation of the baptism for the late Gothic church of St. Benedikti|
|1724-1803||Poet Friedrich Gottlieb Klopstock, who was born in Quedlinburg|
|1803||City falls to Prussia|
|1862-82||Construction of the south tower of the collegiate church of St. Servatius|
|since 1992||the world-famous church treasure with Servatius reliquary, Quedlinburger Itala and the Otto-Adelheid-Evangeliar again in St. Servatius in its traditional place|
|1995||Provision of 32 million marks in funding for the redevelopment of the city|
|2009||Reopening of the crypt of the collegiate church after several years of restoration|
Threshold, stand, headband and footband
The building as an organism, as a unity of function, shape and construction, was also the guiding principle of the half-timbered houses so typical of Quedlinburg. In principle, they are nothing more than a beam structure to be filled: the uprights are placed on the threshold, supported with the foot band and built up with the head band to support the beam, reinforced in the corners of the building by double beams, the compartments filled with clay and brick, upper floors, which are laid out in steps over the alleys and streets, and tiled roofs that resemble a patchwork quilt in all sorts of shades of red. Behind the few decorative motifs of the forerunners of our modern prefabricated buildings, behind beam heads, filler boards and cleats, the city’s most famous son, the poet Friedrich Gottlieb Klopstock, saw the light of day.
The city is rightly referred to as an »encyclopedia of half-timbered architecture«, because the historic town center is home to half-timbered houses from six centuries. House Wordstrasse 3, which is now used as a half-timbered museum, was built entirely in post-construction, and the houses in Marktstrasse 2 and Stieg 28 date from the heyday of timber-framed construction, the late Gothic and Renaissance changing tastes of the time – as in the five-story house on Kornmarkt not far from the old town Nikolaikirche behind a splendid brick facade of historicism.
However, the ambitious life of the city did not only begin with the late medieval heyday of the half-timbered structure, but rather at the time of the Saxon Duke Heinrich, who – so the legend tells – often caught birds early in the morning. On such a morning, while seated at the Vogelherd, his fate, which is interwoven with medieval German history as featured on neovideogames, overtook him. Instead of indulging in a contemplative life and being able to enjoy a catch of lively finches from the legendary Harz Mountains, he had to have the royal crown of the Holy Roman Empire placed on his head at the request of illustrious feudal lords from Franconia and Saxony. Legend has it that the ducal Vogelherd is the Finkenherd located below the Quedlinburg castle hill.
You can still get an impression of the fact that the city was called a center of German and European culture and politics in the 10th century when you visit the city’s landmark, the Schlossberg with the Romanesque collegiate church of St. Servatius and the Renaissance castle. Heinrich I set up a palace on this oval sandstone cliff, and his wife Mathilde the saint founded an influential convent for aristocrats here. The collegiate church, a flat-roofed basilica, towers over the old town and proudly towers over the castle with its towers. It seems as if it wants to announce that it is not only the oldest and tallest building in this city, but that it is a stone witness of an eventful history until recently, as the first German royal couple rests here and the once again complete cathedral treasure is guarded by its walls. Another impressive stone testimony to a great past is the St. Wiperti monastery church, located southwest of the Schlossberg, a Romanesque pillar basilica whose columned portal on the south side comes from the former Marienkloster on the Münzenberg.
Just as the castle and the Münzenberg stand for the medieval feudal Quedlinburg, the old town with the market square and the two-storey town hall, which is essentially Gothic, is a symbol of the aspiring bourgeoisie. The Roland in front of the town hall announces the civic pride of the merchant settlement, which was a member of the Hanseatic League for a while. However, the attempt to become a free imperial city ended bloody in favor of the mighty monastery. Fortunately, the few stone, profane architectural monuments such as the Grünhagen house on the market square and the Hagensche Freihaus, a three-storey city palace from the Renaissance period, fit harmoniously into the urban landscape of half-timbered and red bricks.