Halle, city, Saxony-Anhalt, central Germany, on the Saale River. It is an industrial center and a major transportation hub. Manufactures include chemicals, refined sugar and other food products, machinery, rubber, cement, and electrical and chemical products. Lignite and potash are mined in the region. Industrialization has caused Halle and the region surrounding it to become one of the most polluted areas in Europe. Located on the site of Bronze Age and Iron Age settlements, Halle was first mentioned in the 9th cent. In 968 it was given to the archbishops of Magdeburg, who frequently resided there. The city was a member (1281–1478) of the Hanseatic League and accepted (1544) the Reformation. Halle was annexed by Brandenburg in 1648. The famous Univ. of Halle was founded in 1694, and in 1817 it absorbed the Univ. of Wittenberg. In Halle in 1695 the philanthropist A. H. Francke founded a school for paupers, the first of the Francke Institutes. The first Bible Society was founded at Halle in 1710. Noteworthy buildings include the Gothic Red Tower (1418–1506) and the Marienkirche, a 16th-century church. The composer Handel was born (1685) in Halle.
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