Nebra and Environs – Always Worth a Visit

The history of the town of Nebra began in the Carolingian period with the construction of Altenburg Castle to protect the royal court located here. Farmers and tradespeople soon settled, laying the cornerstone for the new town, the earliest mention of which goes back to 876 A.D. The town was later moved to a location high above the banks of the Unstrut to avoid flooding. Nebra was officially chartered in 1254. Less than a century later, the castle and town were destroyed by the soldiers of Margrave Friedrich der Ernsthafte. This was not the only siege that Nebra was to endure, however; the town burned again on other occasions, including during the Thirty Years' War and the Napoleonic Wars.

Yet the town's buildings were always lovingly reconstructed and its trade revived. Nebra prospered on the basis of a range of economic activities, particularly wool and linen weaving, winegrowing, sandstone quarrying and boat building. The latter continued until 1921. The castle ruin is open to visitors and provides an interesting view of the beginnings of this attractive town. It includes a popular vaulted wine cellar. The town's 'Heimathaus' shelters the archive of the famous author Hedwig Courths-Mahler, who was born here and published more than 200 novels in her lifetime.

In the immediate surroundings of the town of Nebra, the Saale-Unstrut-Triasland natural preserve awaits discovery. This nature park takes in 71,000 hectares of diverse landscapes, including bucolic river flood plains, mixed forests, ranges of limestone and sandstone hills, and old orchard meadows, as well as castles, palaces and monasteries. Explore the towns of Burgscheidungen and Eckartsberga, for example, or the monastery and imperial palace at Memleben, the castles of Rudelsburg and Neuenburg, or Schulpforta.

A further feature of this region is its characteristic terraced vineyards, which have been producing wine for more than one thousand years. Wine was brought to the region by Cistercian and Benedictine monks; a surviving document from Emperor Otto III, dated 998 A.D., testifies to the centuries-old winegrowing tradition between the Saale and Unstrut rivers. Today the region is one of the most beautiful contiguous winegrowing areas in Germany.On extended walks through these hills, visitors can sample the wines in the parlours and cellars of the vintners' vineyard houses. The entire winegrowing area of over 660 hectares boasts around 30 varieties, 20 percent of which are red wines. Be sure to try the Nebra wine "Nebraer Venus". You won't regret it.

The lovely countryside around Nebra offers a wide variety of recreational opportunities as well – on land, on the water, or in higher realms. These range from hiking, horseback riding and bicycling, to canoe tours, boat excursions and windsurfing, to flights in hot air balloons and gliders. A side trip to Laucha or Bad Bibra is also to be recommended.

And, not to forget: the countless events in the Saale-Unstrut area. Select from among the 60 wine festivals held in the region, or visit the Hussite Church Festival in Naumburg or the top-flight cultural events of the "Sektival" at the cellars of the Rotkäppchen sparkling wine maker in Freyburg.