|The "Theurer Christian" monument||| Print ||
"Du wirst mein Reisender es noch am besten wißen,/wie dir bißher so sehr, vor diesen Tamm gegraut,/In dem sich manches Pferdt, zu Todt arbeiten müßen/Alß dieser Orth noch war grundloß und ungebaut..." These words that are probably known to every of Radegasts inhabitants, shall remind of the obstacles which travellers had to overcome in former times when they were on their way from Zoerbig to Radegast. They belong to the inscription on the "Theurer Christian" monument. But who was this man named Christian, why is he called "theuer" (which means "highly esteemed", but can be translated "expensive", too) and why was a monument erected to honour him? To solve the riddle, you have to know that the town is located in the midst of swampland and that an important trade route went past the place.
In former times, Radegast has been set near an important trade route, the "Salt road", which actually was not a single road, but a whole network of trade routes that crossed Europe from Luebeck to Sicily. A part of this network, a road leading from Magdeburg via Halle to Leipzig, went past Zoerbig and Radegast.
The small village of Radegast was not easily accessible at all because it is located in the midst of the lowland of the river Fuhne which was swampland in the bygone days. When the neighbouring town of Zoerbig celebrated its 1,000th anniversary in 1961, they published a "Festschrift". It reports that "whole cart loads of litter " were heaped up in the road to fill the holes.
In the mid-ages a corduroy road was built in the swamp of the river Fuhne, but this still was not enough to make travelling secure.
So Christian I, Duke of Saxe-Merseburg decided to built a new dam. It was very expensive and difficult work, but finally a 1,420 yards long stone dam was built. So Christian's given name "Theuer" in fact has two different meanings: On one side it expresses the deep respect for the sovereign who was able to solve an age-old traffic and transport problem. On the other side the name reminds of the high costs of the dam construction and that local farmers had to render assistance by paying taxes and transporting goods.
At the time, the dam construction was a little distinctiveness because it was built transboundary between the states of Anhalt and Saxe-Merseburg. Christian I of Saxe-Merseburg organised the dam construction and therefore received way leave in Anhalt until 1815.
In 1685 the construction works came to an end. Three years later, in 1688, a monument was built at the border between Anhalt and Saxe-Merseburg to honour Duke Christian and to remind of the dam construction. It was given the name "Theurer Christian". The monument consists of a approx. 4 yards high obelisk that is placed at the top of a 5 yards high stone pilar. At the top of the obelisk a stone sphere is located. the monument bears some richly ornamented brasses. Their inscriptions remind of the dam construction by Duke Christian and of the repair works ordered by his successor, Duke Heinrich of Saxe-Merseburg.
The dam and the memorial first belonged to Saxe-Merseburg, later the Electorate of Saxony. In 1815 it changed hands and became property of Prussia. In the early 1840s the memorial finally became property of the state of Anhalt.
For more than 300 years the "Theurer Christian" memorial outlasted between Zoerbig and Radegast, but on May 7th, 1990 its socket was destroyed by an accident. The town fathers of Radegasst soon decided to rebuild the memorial because they respected the effort of the dam construction and they knew about its importance for the history of the town. Only one year after the tragical accident the memorial shone in new splendour.
(image sources: 1 - own work, 2010, 2 - own work, 2006)
Visitors onlineWe have 24 guests online
Restaurant & Guesthouse
Ring 8, 06369 Suedliches Anhalt (OT Radegast)
Mo-Su from 6:00 p.m.
twin room 40,00 EUR
single room 22,00 EUR
(bed & breakfast)