Quedlinburg, Germany

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Quedlinburg is a town situated just north of the Harz mountains, in the district of Harz in the west of Saxony-Anhalt, Germany. In 1994, the castle, church and old town were added to the UNESCO World Heritage List. Several locations in the town are designated stops along a scenic holiday route, the Romanesque Road.

In the centre of the town, a wide selection of half-timbered buildings from at least five different centuries are to be found (including a 14th-century structure, one of Germany’s oldest), while around the outer fringes of the old town are examples of Jugendstil buildings, dating from the late 19th and early 20th centuries.
Since December 1994, the old town of Quedlinburg and the castle mount with the Stiftskirche (collegiate church) are listed as one of UNESCO’s World Heritage Sites. Quedlinburg is one of the best-preserved medieval and Renaissance towns in Europe, having escaped major damage in World War II.

In 2006, the Selke valley branch of the Harz Narrow Gauge Railways was extended to Quedlinburg from Gernrode, giving access to the historic steam narrow gauge railway, Alexisbad and the high Harz plateau.

The castle and Stifstkirche St. Servatius still dominate the town like in the early Middle Ages. The church is a prime example of German Romanesque style. The treasure of the church containing ancient Christian religious artifacts and books, was stolen by an American soldier but brought back to Quedlinburg in 1993 and is again on display here. The former Stiftskirche St. Wiperti was established in 936 when the Kanonikerstift St. Wigpertus (of male canons) was moved from the castle hill to make way for what became Quedlinburg Abbey. The church was built at the location of the first, Ottonian, Royal palace at Quedlinburg. Around 1020, a three-aisled crypt was added to the basilica. The crypt, which survived all later alterations to the church, today is also a designated stop on the Romanesque Road

Quedlinburg Abbey

Quedlinburg Abbey was a house of secular canonesses (Frauenstift) in Quedlinburg in what is now Saxony-Anhalt, Germany. It was founded in 936 on the initiative of Saint Mathilda, the widow of King Henry the Fowler, as his memorial. For many centuries it and its abbesses enjoyed great prestige and influence.
Quedlinburg Abbey was an Imperial Estate and one of the approximately forty self-ruling Imperial Abbeys of the Holy Roman Empire. It was disestablished in 1802/3. Today, the mostly Romanesque buildings are a World Heritage Site of UNESCO. The church, known as Stiftskirche St. Servatius, is used by the Lutheran Evangelical Church in Germany.

The abbey also received numerous gifts of precious books, manuscripts and liturgical items, which were stored in the treasury. The Deutsche UNESCO-Kommission describes the treasure as “the most valuable medieval church treasure” next to Aachen and Halberstadt. The abbey is also known as the home of the “Annals of Quedlinburg” begun in 1008 and finished in 1030 in the abbey, quite possibly by a female writer. Quedlinburg was well suited for gathering information on current political affairs, given its connections to the Imperial family and the proximity of Magdeburg, an Imperial centre. The “Annals” are mostly concerned with the history of the Holy Roman Empire.

Since 1994, the church has been a World Heritage Site designated by UNESCO. It is also a designated stop on the tourist route Romanesque Road.

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