The twentieth century, particularly the Second World War, provided Germany with many nightmares. It is hard to think of Bernburg (Saale) without a mention of the university that was used as a euthanasia research center. Today, a monument stands as a testament and memorial to this dark time.
However, Bernburg manages to remember its sad history while looking forward to a bright future. This town is recently emerging as a tourist destination with its many attractions and events.
The Castle Bernburg is one of the highlights. With its moat and bear pit, it also houses a museum, old torture chamber and a collection of 180 different kinds of mineral rock.
Bears are not the only animal you can see here. A visit to the town zoo is certain to offer a good time. The zoo showcases indigenous breeds like wild cats, wild horses and owls. You can also see the typical menagerie of monkeys, kangaroos and goats. The Africa House contains even more unusual animals, like a short-eared elephant shrew and a dwarf mongoose.
When you’ve had your fill of exotic creatures, head to the Romanesque Route for a change of pace. This popular tourist route will take you past many old architectural treasures built in the Romanesque fashion, a popular style of the Middle Ages that combined Western Roman and Byzantine art. Be sure not to miss the imposing “Owl Mirror Tower” along the route.
The Owl Mirror Tower is also the site of one of Bernburg’s most popular festivals, the medieval market. Historical music, faux knight tournaments and craftsmen are some of the highlights.
To complete the fairy tale illusion, don’t take your leave of Bernburg until you have visited the garden cafe of Paradies. The young (and young-at-heart) will be enthralled by the fantasy land of Hansel and Gretel and the Frog Prince.
While its tragic past should never be forgotten, there is plenty of fun and fantasy as Bernburg looks toward the future.