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Historic centre
Historic centre
Coat of arms of Gernrode
Gernrode is located in Germany
Coordinates 51°43′28″N 11°8′21″E / 51.72444°N 11.13917°E / 51.72444; 11.13917
Country Germany
State Saxony-Anhalt
District Harz
Municipal assoc. Gernrode/Harz
Mayor Werner Grundmann (FDP)
Basic statistics
Area 34.07 km2 (13.15 sq mi)
Elevation 217 m  (712 ft)
Population 3,897  (31 December 2006)
 - Density 114 /km2 (296 /sq mi)
Other information
Time zone CET/CEST (UTC+1/+2)
Licence plate HZ
Postal code 06507
Area code 039485
Location of the town of Gernrode within Harz district

Gernrode is a town in Germany, in the district of Harz, Saxony-Anhalt. The town was first mentioned in 961 and became a city (received Stadtrecht) in 1539. Gernrode is 9 km south of Quedlinburg in the Harz mountains and has state recognition as a spa town, where one may take the cure and recuperate in general (staatlich anerkannter Kur- und Erholungsort). It is perhaps best known today for the Ottonian / Romanesque church of St. Cyriacus, and as the start of the Selketalbahn narrow gauge railway.

The city is also known as 'Gernrode/Harz', because of its location in the Harz mountains, and to distinguish it from the other Gernrode in the district of Eichsfeld in Thuringia, also called 'Gernrode (Eichsfeld)'.

Gernrode is the seat of the Verwaltungsgemeinschaft ("collective municipality") Gernrode/Harz.


Margrave Gero founded the convent of St. Cyriacus (St. Cyriakus) in 960 (within the grounds of the fortifications built about the same time). Gero also founded the collegiate church of St. Cyriacus for the convent, which the Holy Roman Emperor Otto I, the Great took under his special protection in 961. Gero brought back relics of St. Cyriacus for the church from his second trip to Rome in 963. The convent was disbanded in 1570, when the last abbess married. The collegiate church of St. Cyriacus still contains the grave of Gero, and is one of the oldest and best preserved examples of ottonian and romanesque architecture in Germany. The church was restored from 1858 to 1874.

The church of St. Cyriacus in Gernrode

Additions to the church in the 11th and 12th centuries, include the west crypt, side galleries, and the two-storey cloisters. There is a chapel from about this time period in the southern aisle of the nave with a copy of the grave of Christ (a representation of the Holy Sepulcher in Jerusalem), which is one of the oldest of its kind in Germany. The church was the first north of the Alps to have a triforium gallery in the nave, and also the first to have alternating columns and pillars (a hallmark of Saxon churches).

Emperor Barbarossa, who stayed in Gernrode in 1188, donated a bell in that year to the St. Stephan church (Stephanikirche, also known as the Market church or Marktkirche), the second historical church in the city. The church was built in 1046, and has been an elementary school since 1847.

Gernrode received brewing rights in 1545. Beer brewing has since stopped, but a distillery is still present in the city. The city was traditionally part of the duchy of Anhalt and a district of Ballenstedt. From 1037 to 1740 lead and silver were mined here. Matches and guns were also made in Gernrode.

The Protestant Reformation came to Anhalt and Gernrode in 1521. A Protestant elementary school was founded in 1533. The building was used as a school until 1847, and may be the oldest such school in Germany. Parts of Gernrode were burnt in the Thirty Years' War (twice, in 1631 and 1635). It had 2,533 Protestant inhabitants in 1885.

In 1945, at the end of the Second World War, Gernrode was taken by American troops without a battle, followed by occupation by Soviet troops. Gernrode celebrated its 1,000th year in 1961 and 450th year as a city in 1989. It was part of East Germany from 1949 until German Reunification in 1990. In 2001, celebrations to honour Otto I were held.

Gernrode today and the Selketalbahn

Gernrode is nationally recognized for its health facilities and is the seat of the integrated administrative region of Gernrode/Harz.


Newer attractions include the giant cuckoo clock (whose cuckoo appears every fifteen minutes), which was listed in the Guinness Book of Records in 1998. This is part of a clock factory, which also incorporates a giant weather house indicating current weather conditions. Other local attractions include a 7.45 m giant wood thermometer, and the largest Skat table in the world.

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