If Disney were to mock up a small, medieval German town, it would probably resemble QUEDLINBURG, which lines the Bode River on the gently rolling Harz foothills, 59km southwest of Magdeburg. With well over a thousand crooked half-timbered houses crowding cobblestone streets, and much of its medieval fortifications and churches well preserved, the town is deservedly popular and often bustles with visitors, but it’s still large enough to escape the strolling masses at even the busiest times.

Quedlinburg’s foundation dates back to a fortress built by Henry I (the Fowler) in 922, after which it quickly became a favourite residence of Saxon emperors; in 968 Otto I founded an imperial abbey there. The town flourished in the Middle Ages as a Hanseatic League member and centre for dyes, paper production and engineering. Even today, plastic production and agricultural research are important, giving the town a purpose beyond simply being a living museum.

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