About 20 km from the Bauhaus city of Dessau-Roßlau, between the Elbe River and Fläming Heath, the town of Zerbst looks back on an eventful history of 1000 years. The first town of Anhalt to have been reformed, Zerbst was also the place where Princess Sophie Auguste Friederike of Anhalt-Zerbst, later known as Catharina the Great, grew up under the protection of the impressive castle walls. The court conductor at the time, Johann Friedrich Fasch, brought the town fame and glory in the sphere of music.
Image: © Fotostudio Schlegel - Stadt Zerbst/Anh.
Zerbst once was the largest and most important town of Anhalt, a fact that the impressive medieval town walls with their gates and towers, the former monastery grounds, the churches and historic buildings attest to up till today. A Roland statue, an emblem of early jurisdiction, keeps watch on the town square since 1445, with the golden and fabulous Butterjungfer loyally at his side for centuries.
The Princess of Zerbst and later Empress Catherine II governed the history of Russia for over three decades and went down in world history as one of the most powerful sovereigns of Europe. A monument five meters in height, a collection on Catherine II unparalleled in Germany, and a touristic route dedicated to her, all honor the most famous daughter of the town of Zerbst.
At the court of Zerbst in the 18th century, Johann Friedrich Fasch was the court conductor who, on the occasion of the marriage between the Princess of Zerbst with the later Emperor Peter III of Russia, composed a Serenata. With his countless compositions he contributed to a blossoming of Baroque music. Biannually, the International Fasch Festival commemorates Zerbst’s world-famous composer. Martin Luther and Philipp Melanchthon repeatedly dwelled here in the 16th century. Accordingly, the Luther Trail runs through Zerbst, and stations and original locations of the Reformation can be visited here.
We are looking forward to your visit!
Opening hours of the tourist information
Easter through October 10
Mon - Fri 9am – 12:30am and 1pm – 6pm
Sat 10am – 1pm
October 11 through Holy Saturday
Mon - Thu 9am – 12:30am and 1pm – 6pm
Fri 9am – 12:30am and 1pm – 4pm
Closed on Saturdays
Getting there by bike
Elbe Cycle Route
Fläming Cycle Route
Getting there by public transport
Magdeburg – Dessau, Zerbst/Anhalt train station – city line bus
Getting there by car
A9 Exit Dessau Ost or Dessau Süd
A2 Exit Burg Ost, via Möckern, Loburg to Zerbst/Anhalt
Learn about Catherine the Great, her German hometown Zerbst and the family history while passing 10 stations of the courtly life of the Princess of Zerbst and later Tsarina of Russia. A free English brochure will ensure you make the most of your visit to Zerbst.
Museum der Stadt Zerbst
Sammlung Katharina II.