The presence of Roland in a medieval town was symbolic that the place was considered to be a “free town.” Calbe (Saale) in very center of Saxony-Anhalt was lucky enough to have its own Roland.
Sir Roland that you see today sadly isn’t the original. It was made of wood back in the 1380’s and suffered severely through the years of weather and war. Another Roland was placed here at the Marktplatz; and that too, had to be replaced. So, I’d like to introduce you to Roland III (my words, not the town’s).
June is when Calbe holds it Roland Festival — come join the fun.
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Being a free town was a good thing, and free you were to go about your daily medieval business. Unless you were considered to be a witch. You can still see Calbe’s Hexenturm (Witches Tower) where those considered to be heretics were imprisoned. A few centuries later, the Hexenturm is now the City Archives and Urban History Museum.
Also from the town’s original defense walls, the Blaue Turm (Blue Tower) still stands. It was so named because it was made from blue slate. So refreshing from the usual grey stone that seems to have been real popular back then.
Older than just about anything you’ll find in Calbe is the church of St. Stephani. Oh sure, the original church that was built in the 10th century is long gone, but this one was put on the same spot in 1494.
On the west side of the church you’ll get a great view of the tall twin towers and the south side has the Wrangel Chapel. It can also boast it’s the largest church in the entire Salzlandkreis.
Calbe has a few memorials in town, too. The Stone Cross at Nienburger Str. 89 was put here in the 15th century and thought to be a memorial to a murder victim. Other memorials can be found at the entrance to the Urban Cemetery in memorial to forced laborers of World War II.
Just when you think you’re done in Calbe, there’s more. Don’t miss the 11th century former Monastery Gottesgnaden, or the Bollenfest on the 1st weekend in September (they crown a queen and her court), and the Christmas Market on the 3rd weekend of Advent (about 2 weeks before Christmas).
When you’re ready to go home, don’t forget to stop back by Roland and let him know how much you enjoyed his town. ;-)