Zerbst (Anhalt) is one of those little hamlets that has an extraordinary history, even though it may seem a bit bittersweet.
Zerbst’s history dates back more than a thousand years, but the town didn’t grow into its own until sometime in the early 1200’s when Albrecht der Baer built a new castle on top of an even older one.
Zerbst had suffered severely by Allied bombing at the end of the Second World War. 80 percent of the town had been destroyed after burning for four days in April 1945.
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A lot of what stood here was rebuilt in the decades that followed but some remain in ruins to this day. Lost forever was the 15th century Town Hall, many half timbered houses, and the Flower Mill.
Zerbst’s 17th century castle once housed the town’s archives, but has laid in ruins since the 1940’s when it, too, was destroyed by the bombings.
A wonderful way of learning more of what is (or, once was) here in Zerbst is at the town’s local history museum. It’ll only help you fully appreciate all of what you can find here.
There are a few buildings here in Zerbst that weren’t destroyed (or rebuilt), such as a few of the town’s 13th century churches, like St. Nikolai, the Marienkirche, and the Bartholomaeus Church (all dating from the early to mid 1200’s). The Stadtmauer (or, what remains of it) dates to around 1250.
And many enjoy the ruins of the Orangerie, which is the perfect backdrop setting for many summer concerts.
Check out the Francisceum (high school illustre), the oldest high school in all of Saxony-Anhalt, as well as the Schlossfreiheit — a 18th century yellow Baroque palace with the most heavenly of gardens.
The Trinitatiskirche is another Baroque beauty that’s a must-see. The Roland Statue made from sandstone has been symbol of the city since the 15th century, it was severely damaged from the bombing in 1945 and lovingly restored in the 1980’s.
But, Zerbst isn’t all history, it’s a town that likes to get outdoors. There’s a big autumn festival where the town gets to crown its yearly “Bulb Queen.” And the Asparagus Celebration is held every year in May, where you’ll find some great local grub made with all things asparagus!
Even if you don’t like your vegetables, you’ll still like here.