(German: Sachsen-Anha), is a landlocked state of Germany. Its
capital is Magdeburg and it is surrounded by the German states of
Lower Saxony, Brandenburg, Saxony, and Thuringia. Saxony-Anhalt is
one of 16 states of Germany. It is located in the western part of
eastern Germany. By size, it is the 8th largest state in Germany,
and by population, the 10th largest.
Saxony-Anhalt covers an area of 20,447.7 square kilometres (7,894.9
sq mi).It has a population of 2.34 million (more than 2.8 million in
1990). Saxony-Anhalt should not be confused with Saxony or Lower
Saxony, also German states.
The capital of Saxony-Anhalt is Magdeburg. It is the second largest
city in the state, head-to-head with Halle.
north, Saxony-Anhalt is dominated by plain. In the sparsely
populated Altmark, old Hanseatic cities like Salzwedel, Gardelegen,
Stendal, or Tangermünde are located. The transition from the Altmark
region to the Elbe-Börde-Heath region with its fertile, sparsely
wooded Magdeburg Börde is accomplished by the Colbitz-Letzlingen
Heath and the Drömling near Wolfsburg. In the Magdeburg Börde you
can find the cities of Haldensleben, Oschersleben (Bode), Wanzleben,
Schönebeck (Elbe), Aschersleben, and Magdeburg, from which the
region derives its name.
n the south-west, the Harz mountains are located, comprising the
Harz National Park, the Harz foreland and the Mansfeld Land. The
highest mountain in the vicinity is Brocken, with an elevation of
1,141 meters (3,735 ft), which at the same time is the highest
elevation in northern Germany. In this area, one can find the cities
of Halberstadt, Wernigerode, Thale, Eisleben, or Quedlinburg.
Located at the
River Saale and Unstrut in the south of the state, you find the
winegrowing area Saale-Unstrut and the cities of Zeitz, Naumburg
(Saale), Weißenfeld, and Freyburg (Unstrut).
Neighboring Saxony, you can find the metropolitan area of Halle
(Saale)/Merseburg/Bitterfeld-Wolfen (called Chemiedreieck - chemical
triangle) which reaches to the Leipzig agglomeration. In former
times, the chemical industry had its economical focus on this area
Finally, in the east, Dessau-Roßlau is situated at the River Elbe
(as is the capital Magdeburg) amidst the Anhalt-Wittenberg region.
Saxony-Anhalt is subdivided into eleven rural districts and three
urban districts. The current state was created by two districts
reforms. By the first one in 1994, 37 districts were reformed into
21 new districts. The last reform took place on January 1st, 2004,
when the 21 districts were reordered into now eleven districts.
From 1994 to 2003, Saxony-Anhalt was divided into 21 rural districts
("Landkreise"). Above this level, there were three governmental
districts (Regierungsbezirke): Dessau, Halle and Magdeburg. On 1
January 2004 these three governmental districts were abolished.
Saxony-Anhalt was formed as a province of Prussia in 1945, from the
territories of the former Prussian Province of Saxony (except the
Regierungsbezirk Erfurt), the Free State of Anhalt, the Free State
of Brunswick (Calvörde and the eastern part of the former
Blankenburg district) and the formerly Thuringian town Allstedt. See
the respective articles for the history of the area before 1945.
Anhalt takes its name from Anhalt Castle near Harzgerode; the origin
of the name of the castle remains unknown.
When Prussia was disbanded in 1947, the province became the state
Saxony-Anhalt. It became part of the German Democratic Republic
(East Germany) in 1949. From 1952 to 1990 Saxony-Anhalt was divided
into the East German districts of Halle and Magdeburg. In 1990, in
the course of German reunification, the districts were reintegrated
as a state.