Archives & Libraries

Treasure houses of lore

The historical archives and libraries of the Combined Cathedral Chapter preserve a precious treasure of written records from over 1,500 years. With their numerous documents, records and maps, the cathedral archives are the memory of an important central German cultural landscape. The medieval book collections of the bishops and canons are among the most outstanding libraries of the Middle Ages in Germany.

Merseburg Cathedral Archives and Library

The beginnings of the cathedral library are closely connected with the re-foundation of the Merseburg bishopric by Emperor Heinrich II in 1004 and the collecting activities of the first bishops. The rich endowment by the ruler, who was canonised in 1146, included numerous manuscripts of great age and different origins. Today, the library contains almost 300 manuscripts, some of them from the early Middle Ages and modern times, and over 10,000 prints.

The cathedral archives contain primarily the written material from the course of business, jurisdiction and property administration of the Merseburg cathedral chapter. The holdings comprise 2,000 documents from the period from 974 to 1811, including 20 royal and imperial charters, valuable copy books from the late Middle Ages and approx. 1,000 file volumes. Among the outstanding special holdings are the coloured swearing-in tablets of the canons of Merseburg. Since 2006, the historical holdings have been housed in the restored Merseburg chapter house.


Markus Cottin
Head of the Merseburg Cathedral Library and Archives
Tel.: +49 (0) 3461 82 33 73
Fax: +49 (0) 3461 72 06 21

Cathedral Chapter Library and Archive

The roots of the cathedral library lie in the liturgical book collection of Naumburg Cathedral and the library of the cathedral chapter. In addition to the medieval manuscripts and incunabula, further book collections grew up until the 19th century, mainly in the environment of the Naumburg Cathedral School and through donations by the canons, which today number around 50,000 volumes. Among the treasures of the library are eight monumental splendid manuscripts of choir books from the 15th century and a rare chain library from 1485.

The cathedral archives, which have existed since the 12th century, preserve the written legacies of the Naumburg bishops and the cathedral chapter. Almost 2,000 documents from the 10th to the 16th century have been preserved, in which numerous first mentions of places from Saxony-Anhalt, Saxony and Thuringia are handed down. The archive of records, which began in the 14th century, comprises about 30,000 volumes. In addition, there are extensive collections of maps and plans, swearing-in boards, graphics, photographs and realia.  

Special guided tours in the Cathedral Chapter Archive and Library
The hidden texts

The Combined Cathedral Chapter offer any interested visitors the chance to view the most significant works of art in the upper floor of the cloister of Naumburg Cathedral as part of a public tour.

April to October
Every first Saturday of the month: 1.00 p.m.

Costs: 5,00 € adults, 1,50 € pupils


Cordula Strehl
Phone: +49 (0) 3445 23 01 141
Fax: +49 (0) 3445 23 01 110

Dr Matthias Ludwig
Head of Cathedral Chapter Archive and Library in Naumburg
Tel.: +49 (0) 3445 23 01 142
Fax: +49 (0) 3445 23 01 110

Abbey Library and Abbey Archives Zeitz

With the precious book collections of the Naumburg bishops who resided in Zeitz and the canons of Zeitz, the Abbey Library is one of the most important medieval manuscript and incunabula collections in Germany. The scholarly library of Julius von Pflug, the last bishop of Naumburg, contains over 1,000 volumes and is one of the largest private collections of the Reformation period in central Germany.

Among the highlights of the library are the fragments of the so-called Zeitz Easter tablet, a parchment manuscript from the year 447, and the Zeitz world map from the middle of the 15th century.

The Abbey Archives preserve the holdings of the three formerly independent institutions of the Zeitz Collegiate Abbey of St. Peter and St. Paul, the Zeitz Church Box and the Procurator's Office. In addition to 300 mostly medieval documents, the holdings include about 2,500 file volumes and about 1,200 historical maps from all over the world.


Explore the mystery of the writings and get an overview of the history of the book collections and archive holdings. From April to October, the Abbey Library can be visited on the last Saturday of every month as part of a guided tour open to the public. 

The guided tour begins in the exhibition room and leads through the five large library rooms, where printed works from the 15th to the 18th century have been placed in desks and shelves modelled on late Gothic or Baroque libraries.

April to October - every last Saturday of the month at 1 p.m.

 Cost: € 2.00 plus admission 

exclusively via Naumburg Cathedral Archives and Cathedral Library

Dr Matthias Ludwig
Head of Cathedral Chapter Archive and Library in Naumburg
Tel.: +49 (0) 3445 23 01 142
Fax: +49 (0) 3445 23 01 110

Online research via KoRAX

The new library and archive portal KoRAX of the Combined Cathedral Chapter has been available online since November 2014. The user-friendly database was generated in cooperation with the Thuringian University and State Library (ThULB). In addition to searching the historical holdings in Merseburg, Naumburg and Zeitz, the portal also offers an overview of past and current projects for preservation and collection development.

Would you like to view our exhibits for research?

Here you will find the Online database to the archives and libraries of the Combined Cathedral Chapter in Merseburg, Naumburg and Zeitz. The database is being continuously completed. In future, not only will the holdings be searchable, but all sources will also be accessible as digital copies. So take a look every now and then.

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