Sangerhausen tried really hard to stay independent, but it only managed to be its own country for some 200 years.
Evidently the green-thumbed town fathers had decided that they had better things to do than make war, and so the town became a part of Saxony and later Prussia. It suffered for a time after German reunification as it had been on the East German side and many young people moved away.
They’re coming back now, to smell the roses. Literally.
The Sangerhausen Rosarium covers 36 acres of land! There are 500 different rose species and 6300 hybrids grown there, making it the largest rose cultivation center in the world. The Rosarium has a yearly rose festival, and greenhouses everywhere petition it for samples, bud wood, and permission to come study. Admission is free in the wintertime.
The grounds also have more than 300 varieties of trees growing and an outdoor theater where performances are held in the summer.
For picnics or a nice stroll there may not be a better spot in Germany — the air is perfumed and the whole atmosphere is pleasant. You can really feel like you have escaped to another world in the park. Rose fanatics die and hope they go to heaven here. :-)
The roses are not the only worthy attraction in Sangerhausen, though. The churches in town have very high quality stoneworks. The Church of St. Mary is done in the Gothic Style, while the Church of St. James has Baroque architecture.
But it’s the Church of St. Ulrich that steals the show. Being 900 years old, and featuring rare groin vaults in the ceiling arches, it’s the reason for Sangerhausen to be on the Romanesque Route.
Either way, all three churches are worth seeing both inside and out because the styles and workmanship is so good.
Do have your camera ready for photos — the old stone won’t last forever, and neither will the bloom on the roses. Sangerhausen makes a wonderful day or overnight stop, and rose-related souvenirs make good gifts. ;-)