The Martin Luther University of today developed from two universities: one was founded in Wittenberg in 1502, and the other in Halle in 1694. Both universities went through a very eventful history with many ups and downs. Luther and Melanchthon taught in Wittenberg and made the town and its university the intellectual centre of the Reformation. In around 1700, the lawyer Christian Thomasius and philosopher Christian Wolff made Halle an important centre of the German Enlightenment.Then Napoleon abruptly closed the university in Wittenberg in 1813. As a result of territorial restructuring after the Napoleonic Wars, both universities were united in Halle in 1817. After the celebration of the 300th anniversary of the foundation of Halle University in 1994, the 500th Jubilee of the foundation of the University of Wittenberg lies ahead of us in the year 2002.
Owing to its long history, the University developed alongside the City of Halle. The University has continued to develop and spread across the whole of the inner city.
Many institutions are housed in old villas or historical buildings; additionally, many new university buildings have been built or completely restored. Numerous institutes and clinics now provide modern workplaces with state-of-the-art equipment.