Merseburg (mĕrˈzəbŏrk) [key], city (1994 pop. 41,528), Saxony-Anhalt, E central Germany, on the Saale River. It is an industrial city and a lignite-mining center. Manufactures include chemicals, paper, steel, bricks, aluminum foil, and beer. A fortress in the 9th cent., Merseburg was a favorite residence of Henry I (Henry the Fowler) and of Emperor Otto I. It served as a German outpost for subduing the Slavs and Poles. Merseburg was an episcopal see from 968 until its suppression (1561) during the Reformation, when the bishopric passed to Saxony. From 1656 to 1738 the city was the seat of the dukes of Saxe-Merseburg. In 1815 it passed to Prussia. Merseburg was badly damaged in World War II. Among its noted buildings are the cathedral (founded 1015, rebuilt in the 13th and 16th cent.) and the episcopal palace (15th cent.).
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