A cosmos of cultural education at historical sites
Three hundred years ago, the pietistic theologian August Hermann Francke (1663 – 1727) opened a poorhouse and orphanage at the gates to the city of Halle. Francke’s intellectual-theological, pedagogical, scientific and social reformatory impulses were soon felt around the world. Even today, Francke’s academic legacy with its preserved Historic Library of 1728, school buildings dating back four centuries, the longest half-timbered house in Europe, and a wunderkammer offer an fascinating view of one of the most influential educational institutions of the 18th century.
The impressive early Baroque ensemble, the historical core of which represented the benchmarks of social and educational architecture of the time, is a cultural monument unlike any other and a current nominee for designation as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Originally intended for practical school instruction, the Baroque art and natural history chamber is one of the few existing predecessors of the modern-day museum and is the only example of a fully preserved cabinet of curiosities in Europe.
Its attractions include various permanent exhibitions on the history and reputation of the Foundations, as well as special exhibitions which regularly present new perspectives on the epochal themes of the early modern era. Three hundred years after Francke, the Francke Foundations continue to represent a vibrant educational cosmos consisting of schools, boarding schools, a university campus, small parks, a bookshop and much more. Tours, a multifaceted event programme and diverse activities for families and children make every trip to the Francke Foundations an enriching experience.