Halle-Neustadt: A Place for Plattenbau Lovers
Halle-Neustadt is generally known as Ha-Neu (pronounced "Hanoi"). The new suburb of Halle was built to accommodate the workers of the big chemistry plants south of the city. Plannings began in 1958 but only in 1964 construction works actually started. The new city was to accommodate more than 100,000 inhabitants. In 1967 it became an independent city with its own administration.
Ha-Neu is one of the largest socialist building projects in the DDR. The city consists of huge and even huger apartment blocks, all built from prefabricated concrete slabs (Plattenbau).
The Magistrale, a huge highway planned according to Soviet models, connects Neustadt with the centre of Halle. Several tram lines connect Ha-Neu with the city centre.
Since the German reunification Halle-Neustadt has lost one half of its population. Being there for half an hour makes you understand all those who moved to prettier pastures. Some of the blocks have already been renovated, others are totally empty and waiting for repair, some have been demolished. The shopping mall has been renovated, the huge apartment blocks along it, however, are empty and crumbling. The general flair is depressing, even on a sunny day like this.
Dom - Cathedral
Halle's so-called cathedral is not the big church in market square with the four spires... The Dom is a much smaller and less impressive building without steeple, actually the former church of a Dominican abbey.
Cardinal Albrecht, archbishop of Magdeburg, used the church for his huge collection of relics and art works after 1520. In times of the reformation it was redesigned in renaissance style and got its unique facades with the little arches on top. The interior is a gothic hall with three naves of equal height. Not much is preserved of the furniture and art works.
Since 1692 the church has been used by the reformed (Calvinist) parish community. Young Georg Friedrich Händel, who grew up just round the corner, got his first job as organist here in 1702/03.
In August 2009 I finally managed to see the newly restored interior, so I finally have up-to-date photos. The church is open to visitors only during the summer months.
Statue of a muscular couple by Bernd Göbel
Also in the pedestrian zone, between the station and the Leipziger Tower, is this statue of a muscular couple by Bernd Göbel, born in 1942, who was also a professor at the University of Art and Design in Halle until he retired in March 2008.
1. Statue by Bernd Göbel
2. From another angle
3. Child exploring the statue
A Cosy Old Churchyard
By coincidence we stumbled across Bartholomäuskirche, the parish church of Giebichenstein. The church was - you said it, closed. We nevertheless enjoyed the old churchyard around it which obviously is not taken much care of.
High grass surrounds a number of crooked, weathered, crumbling tombstones. The atmosphere of neglect and decay certainly adds to the flair.
This is a forgotten spot. Maybe we were the first tourists who ever found it. Locals walk their dogs through it. A few, I suppose, go to church on Sunday. A girl had brought her book and was sitting on a wall reading. Otherwise there was no one, it is quiet and relaxing.
This stone shows two fish in love. I really wonder who is buried here.