The Inhabitants: Hallenser, Halloren and Hallunken
These three names are used for certain groups of people living in Halle.
Hallenser are the inhabitants of the city (not "Haller" or anything like that).
Halloren are those who work in the saline, and their families.
Hallunken (actually Halunken with one "l", German for scoundrel) is the nickname of the inhabitants of Glaucha, an old lower-class suburb.
"Halloren" are also round chocolate candies, available with a wide choice of fillings, produced by a local company - in fact a former DDR company who succeeded in establishing their business on the post-unification market.
The round tower is standing in the middle of Leipziger Straße. It was built in the 15th century as a freestanding watch tower next to the town gate along the road to Leipzig. The round tower is 27 metres high. Its baroque top is at least a century younger.
Rathaus - City Hall
The present city hall was actually added to the historical town hall as an enlargement in the 1920s and named "Ratshof". However, the old city hall building was destroyed in World War II. The annex survived and then became the new centre of the city's administration.
Halle an der Saale
A wounded city. A city that has lost a quarter of its population since 1989. A city that is bleeding from deep cuts everywhere.
A city full of hidden treasures.
Halle is not an obvious tourist destination. It takes some patience, even obstinacy to unearth the gold underneath the rubble. However, it is worth it.
I like Halle - not only because it is twinned with my hometown Karlsruhe. Somehow the city's fate has gained my sympathy.
World War II has done some damage although the city was saved from the worst by a German commander with some common sense who, despite orders to defend the city to the last brick, negotiated and surrendered.
40 years of socialism have added theirs. After the reunification of Germany a lot has been done but a lot has been neglected. Many historical buildings have been beautifully restored in the meantime. Next to them, however, half-ruined empty buildings can still be found even in the heart of the city.
On the other hand Halle is a university town with a rich cultural life and tradition. Halle is looking back on 1200 years of history. The wealth of the past was based, as indicated by the city's name, on the 'white gold': salt.
The famous view of market square with the five towers - Roter Turm and the four spires of Marktkirche - expresses the pride of a well-to-do city.
In DDR times, Halle's economical base were the huge chemical combinates south of the city - Buna, Leuna, Schkopau. These state-owned socialist enterprises had no chance to survive on the global market without expensive modernization and sacking most of their workers. Instead of ten thousands, the factories nowadays employ a few hundreds. The latest blow was the closing of Waggonbau Ammendorf, a factory that built and repaired train cars. After the reunification it was taken over by Bombardier and in the end closed down. More jobs lost.
By 2005 Halle had lost 80.000 inhabitants compared to 1990. The huge DDR Plattenbau quarters are partly empty, some buildings even torn down.
The highway named Magistrale which cuts through the city centre is a relic of socialist planning, following Sowjet examples (although 'the West' has committed similar crimes in city planning in the 1960s and 70s). The road leads to Halle-Neustadt, a huge suburb on the opposite side of the river Saale. You see the Plattenbau blocks of Ha-Neu (pronounced "Hanoi") in the far background.