The old town of Quedlinburg in the Harz Mountains is the historic centre of the medieval city of Quedlinburg. With an almost 1100-year-old half-timbered history and over 2000 half-timbered houses from eight centuries, Quedlinburg is a quintessential medieval German city. The old town of Quedlinburg in the Harz Mountains, with its cobbled streets, colourful half-timbered houses, castle hill, etc., is one of the best-preserved medieval historic centres in Germany.
The city is also known as the birthplace of Germany. Heinrichs, the king of East Francia, founded Quedlinburg in the 10th century. He lived there and united Germany. However, during the DDR regime, the entire city was left nearly as a ruin. After the reunification, the city has been gradually restored.
I had never heard of this town until one day, my German relatives told me about it. Therefore, our family selected Quedlinburg as the base to discover the Harz Mountains. Being of the best romantic gateways in Germany, the old town of Quedlinburg in the Harz Mountains is full of unique features:
- Quedlinburg Castle Hill (Schlossberg)
- Colourful Half-timbered house
- Market Square
- A Romantic Evening Walk in the Old Town of Quedlinburg
- Finkenherd Quarter
- Two Epic Restaurants
- 14 preserved churches and chapels
Quedlinburg Castle Hill (Schlossberg)
The stately Quedlinburg Castle sits atop sandstone cliffs, looking down at the rows of colourfully restored half-timbered houses below. Next to the castle, the more than a thousand-year-old Romanesque collegiate church St. Servatius towers is an imposing landmark of the city.
Instead of heading straight to the castle, we went via a small street parallel to the hill. The street consists of many half-timbered houses, colourful painted and beautifully decorated. Nearly at the end of the road, there is a stairway up to the hill. From the castle garden, we had a rooftop view of the Quedlinburg old town. The castle garden is small but well-maintained. There is a herbal garden as well.
Colourful Half-timbered house
There are around 2,000 half-timbered buildings from several centuries in Quedlinburg. Many of them are in the historic centre. The unique style of the half-timbered houses is one of the factors that the old town of Quedlinburg in the Harz Mountains has become a UNESCO site.
The main characteristic of those half-timbered houses is the vertical beam construction style. The vertical beam structure applies to the entire façade of the half-timbered house. Another feature that caught my attention is, that between the exposed beams, the colourful painted walls, such as yellow, orange, pink, green etc.
The half-timbered houses from different eras have their characteristics. For example, the multi-level houses constructed in the late Gothic epoch has such a feature, that the top floor always protruded the one below. If you want to learn the history of the timbered house construction, simply by walking through the town.
The market square is a living world heritage. The main building is the original late Gothic town hall and the Roland statue. To the left behind this impressive structure, the towers of the market church of St. Benedikti protrude into the cloudy sky. On the long sides of the square are colorful half-timbered houses from the 16th to 18th centuries. The foreground of those colourful houses is a group of figures, the “Münzenberg Musicians” based on the nearby Münzenberg.
Restaurants, shops, hotels are the main business in the market square. The Café Zum Roland, with its seven interconnected restored half-timbered houses, is also at the edge of the market square. Besides, the Quedlinburg Tourist Information is also at the market square.
A Romantic Evening Walk
A night walk in the old town of Quedlinburg is a romantic thing to do. As we stayed just next to the market square of the old town during our trip to Harz Mountains, we took the chance to take an evening walk. On that summer day, the last daylight was disappearing on the horizon, and the glow of the lights from the buildings provided a sweet of romance.
We walked through the mazes of side streets. The pale lantern lights shone on the cobbled pavement, we could only hear our own whisper and breathing. At every corner, we could take pictures of the fascinating night scene.
When heading to the castle hill from the old town, visitors have to pass through a quarter that locals call Finkenherd, the ancient merchant centre in the Middle Ages.
The houses stand very close together. Some of them are small shops and cafes, such as the Café Vincent, the Klopstock Museum, the birthplace of the famous German poet Klopstock, and the castle gate.
Our family went there in the early morning to capture the silent scene without any tourists around. In the evening one day, we went there again and made a few excellent evening shots, still without any tourists.
The Sternkiekerturm is about 200 metres northwest of the Quedlinburg market square. It was once integrated into the city’s defense system and is 42 metres high. Today, the tower serves as a lookout point for residents and visitors of Quedlinburg. Its top viewing platform is one of the highest in the city and provides a pleasant city view.
Access to the Sternkiekerturm is only possible via the grounds of the Schlosshotel Zum Markgrafen complex.
Münzenberg on a hill is a district of Quedlinburg that is also worth visiting. It is about 10 minutes of walking from the old town centre. This small settlement includes a few dozens of half-timbered houses and a museum about the history of the Münzenberg. The view from the top is spectacular.
Two Epic Restaurants
In the old town of Quedlinburg, there are many restaurants at different levels. Among them, two are particularly attractive, Café Zum Roland & Café Vincent.
Café Zum Roland (Breite Str. 1-3, 06484 Quedlinburg)
Café Zum Roland is unique because it has seven interconnected restored half-timbered houses from the 16th and 17th centuries. Walking through the narrow path from the cake counter in the first house to the sofa paradise in the seventh house, I could see rooms and corners on both sides. Every room has its style with different sofas, tables, chairs, old appliances, decorations, photos, etc. I felt like being in grandma’s living room, very cozy and relax.
The kitchen offers simple German food. The cake counter sells cakes such as Quedlinburger Pfarrhaustorte and Mandel Makronentorte, which I have not seen anywhere else.
Café Vincent (Schloßberg 13, 06484 Quedlinburg)
Café Vincent is unique for its up to 193 different types of cheesecakes. It is a small bakery managed by a group of women. Every day, they decided which cheesecakes to offer. If you want to taste all recipes, you have to visit them very often. Some of the recipes are, for example, pomegranate-jalapenos, green fig, pistachio -Marzipan, gooseberry meringue.
We bought four cheesecakes with unusual combinations of ingredients, cherry-honey (Kirsch Honig), blueberry lime (Heidelbeer Limette), lingonberry yogurt (Preiselbeer Joghurt), and sea buckthorn cassis (Sanddorn Cassis) flavour. Interesting combinations.
14 preserved Churches and chapels
The city of Quedlinburg has fourteen preserved churches and chapels, and some are within the historic centre, such as Collegiate Church St. Servatii Quedlinburg, Marktkirche St. Benediktii, and St. Nikolai Church. We did not see so many churches and chapels when strolling through the town. But when we enjoyed the rooftop view from the Quedlinburg castle garden, we believed the statistics because of the many church spires.
Travel tips for the old town of Quedlinburg in the Harz Mountains
Where to stay
If you come from the major German cities, such as Berlin, Hamburg, or Frankfurt, Quedlinburg is too far to make a day trip. It is better to stay there for two to three days to explore the city and the surrounding.
We stayed in Apartment am Pulverturm located directly in the old town of Quedlinburg and near the castle. Some of the hotel in the historic centre are:
How to get there
The center of Quedlinburg old town is about a ten-minute walk from the train station and bus station.
- By train: From Berlin HBf, take the train to Quedlinburg BHF via Magdeburg HBf. The journey takes about three hours.
- By Bus: Take Flixbus from Berlin is a cheaper way, the journey also takes about three hours.
- By road: Take road 36, then turn into road 79 and drive towards the south. Within a few minutes, you will arrive at the Quedlinburg. There are some free parking places along the Wallstraße behind the Schlosshotel Zum Markgrafen.