From now on in the museum: famous Harburg panorama of Merian newly colored

It is well know to Harburg citizens: The famous view of Harburg by Caspar Merian from 1654. The extremely representative, almost one meter wide copper engraving was previously seen only in black and white. In a pilot project of the City Museum Harburg it was now digitally colored for the first time uniquely in all of Europe and brought to life in a photo-realistic way.


With his “Prospect der Statt undt Vestung Harburg” (“View of the city and fortress of Harburg”) in the year 1654 Caspar Merian created a bird’s eye view of the city of Harburg from the Schwarzenberg. For the first time it conveyed a faithful image of what was then Harburg. Merian’s main work, the “Topographia Germaniae”, which also includes the Harburg view, contained over 2000 individual views of cities, towns, castles, palaces and monasteries. The vedutas taken from nature by Merian and his co-authors are masterful in perspective and often represent the oldest reliably documented views of the places. They are still considered one of the most remarkable works of geographical illustration. The predecessor of today’s “Google Street View” immersed the viewer in a whole new perspective on their own living space – but only in black and white.

In cooperation with the illustrator Roland Warzecha, the City Museum Harburg has now, for the first time in Europe, colorized the Merian engraving in a photo-realistic manner in a pilot project. “A glance at the newly colored Merian makes one think involuntarily: this is how the baroque Harburg would have looked like on a color photograph during the Thirty Years’ War,” said Prof. Dr. Rainer-Maria Weiss, director of the Archaeological Museum Hamburg and City Museum Harburg.

The Harburg-Merian shows a very detailed overall view of Harburg seen from the Schwarzenberg. On the engraving the city extends along Schloßstraße from the Schlossinsel (“Castle Island”) in the north to the old city gate in the south. The Kaufhauskanal runs in the west parallel to Schloßstraße. Good to see are the old town hall, the department store and the newly built Holy Trinity Church. In the background the Elbe and Hamburg are shown on the other, northern Elbe side. “For us archaeologists, the Merian is like a look into the past. Our excavations of recent years, which we have carried out in exactly this area, will be filled with new life, “continues Prof. Weiss.

From 21st November, the colored Merian print can be bought in the format 90 x 40 cm in the museum shop on high quality Hahnemühlen paper for 49 euros, as a photographic print on an aluminum dibond plate for 169 euros and as a high-quality print behind acrylic glass with a Wooden frame for 299 euros. For the latter two variants, pre-order times of seven to ten working days must be taken into account. The Merian can also be ordered in writing at