My dear travellers, are you ready for a new adventure and getting to know some gems of Germany? In previous posts you have had the opportunity to feel the spirit of the charming city of art and design – Halle and the Hanseatic city on the Baltic coast – Greifswald.
Today I will introduce you to the capital of the German federal state of Saxony – Anhalt and also the oldest city in East Germany – Magdeburg. The city lies on the river Elbe and is one of the three largest regional centers in the country. With less than 250,000 inhabitants, Magdeburg is the second largest city in the German federal state of Saxony-Anhalt, after Halle.
According to some historical records, Magdeburg was first mentioned in official documents at the beginning of the 9th century. In the middle of the 9th century, Otto I the Great, the first emperor of the Holy Roman Empire, together with the scientist and politician Otto von Guericke, founded the Archdiocese of Magdeburg with his namesake of today’s “Ottostadt Magdeburg”.
Emperor Otto I was so fascinated by the beauty of this city that was the wedding gift to his wife Edith of England (Eadgyth of England). The locals faithfully preserve their history and the memory of this emperor, who was buried in the Magdeburg Cathedral, which is a great symbol of the city today.
In the Middle Ages, the Hanseatic city gained exceptional importance due to its trade role and Magdeburg city law. In the late Middle Ages, it was one of the largest German cities and the center of the Reformation and resistance against recatholicization in the Schmalkaldic League.
After the devastation of the Thirty Years’ War (better known as the “The Sack of Magdeburg”), Magdeburg was expanded and became the strongest fortress in the Kingdom of Prussia.
At the end of the 19th century, Magdeburg became a large city with almost 100,000 inhabitants. Unfortunately, the city was seriously destroyed again in the Second World War. Magdeburg was part of the GDR from 1952 to 1990, and after 1990 it became the capital of the German federal state of Saxony-Anhalt.
Due to its unusual geographical location, Magdeburg has a separate port at the mouth of the Elbe and Havel canals and is the economic and industrial center in Saxony-Anhalt German state.
This city has a highly developed machine industry, special environmental technologies and recycling management, logistics and production of chemical products, iron and steel products, paper and textiles, and all these industries help maintain the economic stability of the city and the province in general.
Magdeburg is both a Protestant and a Catholic diocese. The true symbol of the city is the Cathedral of St. Catherine and Maurice. Magdeburg Cathedral is a Protestant cathedral in Germany and also the oldest Gothic cathedral in Germany. This cathedral was under the administration of the former emperor-archbishopric of Magdeburg.
Today, the Magdeburg Cathedral is one of the most important architectural monuments in central Germany and the first cathedral in Germany built in the Gothic style. The Magdeburg Church is the main church of the Evangelical Church in central Germany. An interesting fact is that its bell towers, which are about 100 m high, make this church one of the highest cathedrals in East Germany.
The cathedral’s main chapel has a trapezoidal shape, because its three wings were equated with the previous cathedral from the 10th century. The south wing still remained in the Romanesque style. The east wing also contains a large two-row hall, also known as the “Remter”. The cathedral is visited annually by more than 100,000 tourists. During 2019, the 810th anniversary of this late Romanesque-Gothic cathedral was celebrated.
An interesting fact is that during the Middle Ages, the city had a shape that was shaped by seven churches with two towers, the only formation of the city in Europe. This structure of the city was unfortunately lost due to the bombing in the Second World War and the demolition during the GDR period, and only four of the seven pairs of towers survived.
There are still seven church buildings in the area of medieval Magdeburg, but not all of them are used for religious purposes.
Today, the Magdeburg Cathedral is the episcopal church of the Evangelical Church on the territory of the province of Saxony-Anhalt. The artistic treasures of this cathedral include ancient pillars of porphyry, marble and granite, a large baptistery and the tomb of Emperor Otto I the Great.
The Monastery of Our Lady was built in the middle of the 11th century. The Municipal Art Museum of Fine Arts was opened in 1974 and is located in the premises of this important complex of the Romanesque monastery. Most of the exhibits are on display in the monastery itself, but some sculptures and figures can also be found in the nearby park.
The Johanniskirche (Church of St. John), located near the town hall, built in the 13th century, is now used as a dance and concert hall. The sculpture of the “Bereaved Magdeburg” in the church lobby was saved from the ruins in 1945. This sculpture is a historical reminder of the conquest and subsequent devastation of the city by the imperial army in the Thirty Years’ War.
The single-nave Gothic Magdalenenkapelle chapel was built at the beginning of the 14th century as a sign of reconciliation, and it was moved to the neighboring Magdalenenkloster only at the end of the 14th century. St. Petri-Kirche, also known as the University Church, was located outside the city when it was built in the early 12th century.
Church of St. Sebastian built in the 11th century. The architecture of this religious building shows the features of the Romanesque and Gothic style, and today’s shape was largely given to the cathedral between the 14th and 15th centuries. After hundreds of years of use for the purpose of a warehouse, St. Sebastian’s Cathedral has regained its role as a Catholic parish church. Vallonerkirche: The church in the Gothic hall was built in 1285 as the church of the Augustinian monastery.
There are numerous cultural institutions in Magdeburg, including the Magdeburg Theater and the Magdeburg Cultural History Museum. Otto von Guericke University and the Magdeburg-Stendhal University of Applied Sciences are located in Magdeburg.
Due to the severe destruction of the 17th century in the Thirty Years’ War and the middle of the 20th century in the Second World War, Magdeburg has fewer historical landmarks than other cities in Germany if we look at the traditional architectural sense. Many buildings that are carriers of the city’s history, architecture, art and culture have been destroyed.
Many excavations have taken place in the vicinity of Magdeburg in recent years and numerous discoveries have been made. Government is working on a detailed discovery of historical facts about the development of Magdeburg, where we could supplement and present some new facts that would be worth mentioning.
The most important sights of the city are located in the area of the old part of the city, separated from the university part of the city and the newer center of Askanischer Square and the river Elbe. Cultural monuments that exist in Magdeburg are registered in the city and regional register of monuments.
My dear travellers, once again we have come to the end of the special blog post from Germany. Time just flies so fast when you are having a good time! At the end of this post, I would like to thank my friends from Magdeburg Tourist Board – Magdeburg Marketing, Saxony – Anhalt Marketing and Deutsche Bahn for this incredible German adventure.
Once again, Deutsche Bahn recognized the quality of my work and they wanted to be part of this amazing project. I am honored to have the opportunity to work with companies that are at the top of the tourism industry and I would like to thank them for this incredible adventure and for allowing me to experience the beauty of the capital of Saxony – Anhalt German state in a completely different way.
How do you like this story about this German gem of Saxony – Anhalt called Magdeburg? Have you maybe had a chance to visit this lovely city? I would like to share with me your experience! See you next week with another interesting story!
If you have a question, comment, suggestion or message for me, you can write me down in the comments. Of course, as always you can contact me via mail or social media, which you can find on the CONTACT page.
This post is sponsored by the Tourist Board of the City of Magdeburg, the Tourist Organization of the German state of Saxony – Anhalt and the German national railway Deutsche Bahn.