Magdeburg: Wikis


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View of Magdeburg and cathedral from the tower of the Johanniskirche
View of Magdeburg and cathedral from the tower of the Johanniskirche
Coat of arms of Magdeburg
Magdeburg is located in Germany
Coordinates 52°8′0″N 11°37′0″E / 52.133333°N 11.616667°E / 52.133333; 11.616667
Country Germany
State Saxony-Anhalt
District Urban district
City subdivisions 40 boroughs
Lord Mayor Lutz Trümper (SPD)
Basic statistics
Area 200.95 km2 (77.59 sq mi)
Elevation 43 m  (141 ft)
Population  230,140  (31 December 2007)[1]
 - Density 1,145 /km2 (2,966 /sq mi)
Other information
Time zone CET/CEST (UTC+1/+2)
Licence plate MD
Postal codes 39104-39130
Area code 0391

Magdeburg (German pronunciation: [ˈmakdəbʊɐ̯k]; Low Saxon: Meideborg, [ˈmaˑɪdebɔɐx]), the capital city of the Bundesland of Saxony-Anhalt, Germany, is situated at the Elbe River and was one of the most important medieval cities of Europe. Emperor Otto I, the first Holy Roman Emperor, lived during most of his reign in the town and was buried in the cathedral after his death. Magdeburg's version of German town law, known as Magdeburg rights, spread throughout Central and Eastern Europe. The city is also well-known for the 1631 Sack of Magdeburg, which hardened Protestant resistance during the Thirty Years' War.



Kaiser Otto I and his wife Edith arrive near Magdeburg, in a 19th-century painting

Founded by Charlemagne in 805 as Magadoburg (probably from Old High German magad 'maid, virgin'[2]), the town was fortified in 919 by King Henry I the Fowler against the Magyars and Slavs. In 929 the city went to Edward the Elder's daughter Edith, through her marriage with Henry's son Otto I, as a Morgengabe — a Germanic customary gift received by the new bride from the groom and his family after the wedding night. Edith loved the town and often lived there; at her death she was buried in the crypt of the Benedictine abbey of Saint Maurice, later rebuilt as the cathedral. In 937, Magdeburg was the seat of a royal assembly. Otto I also continually returned to it and was also buried in the cathedral. He granted the abbey the right to income from various tithes and to corvée labor from the surrounding countryside.

The Archbishopric of Magdeburg was founded in 968 at the synod of Ravenna; Adalbert of Magdeburg was consecrated as its first archbishop. The archbishopric under Tilly included the bishoprics of Havelberg, Brandenburg, Merseburg, Meissen, and Zeitz-Naumburg. The archbishops played a prominent role in the German colonization of the Slavic lands east of the Elbe river.

In 1035 Magdeburg received a patent giving the city the right to hold trade exhibits and conventions, the basis of the later family of city laws known as Magdeburg rights. These laws were adopted and modified throughout Central and Eastern Europe. Visitors from many countries begin to trade in Magdeburg. In 1118 a fire almost destroyed it.

Magdeburger Reiter, 1240, the first equestrian statue north of the Alps

In the 13th century, Magdeburg became a member of the Hanseatic League. With more than 20,000 inhabitants Magdeburg was one of the largest cities in the Holy Roman Empire. The town had an active maritime commerce on the west (towards Flanders), with the countries of the North Sea, and maintained traffic and communication with the interior (for example Brunswick). The citizens constantly struggled against the archbishop, becoming nearly independent from him by the end of the 15th century.

In 1524 Martin Luther was called to Magdeburg, where he preached and caused the city's defection from Catholicism. The Protestant Reformation had quickly found adherents in the city, where Luther had been a schoolboy. Emperor Charles V repeatedly outlawed the unruly town, which had joined the Alliance of Torgau and the Schmalkaldic League. Because it had not accepted the "Interim" (1548), the city, by the emperor's commands, was besieged (1550-1551) by Maurice, Elector of Saxony, but it retained its independence. The rule of the archbishop was replaced by that of various administrators belonging to Protestant dynasties. In the following years Magdeburg gained a reputation as a stronghold of Protestantism and became the first major city to publish the writings of Luther. In Magdeburg, Matthias Flacius and his companions wrote their anti-Catholic pamphlets and the Magdeburg Centuries, in which they argued that the Roman Catholic Church had become the kingdom of the Anti-Christ.

In 1631, during the Thirty Years' War, imperial troops under Johann Tserclaes, Count of Tilly, stormed the city and committed a massacre, killing about 20,000 inhabitants and burning the town in the sack of Magdeburg. The city had withstood a first siege in 1629 by Albrecht von Wallenstein. After the war, a population of only 400 remained. According to the Peace of Westphalia (1648), Magdeburg was assigned to Brandenburg-Prussia after the death of the current administrator, August of Saxe-Weissenfels, as the semi-autonomous Duchy of Magdeburg; this occurred in 1680.

In the course of the Napoleonic Wars, the fortress surrendered to French troops in 1806. The city was annexed to the French-controlled Kingdom of Westphalia in the 1807 Treaty of Tilsit. King Jérôme appointed Count Heinrich von Blumenthal as mayor. In 1815, after the Napoleonic Wars, Magdeburg was made the capital of the new Prussian Province of Saxony. In 1912, the old fortress was dismantled, and in 1908, the municipality Rothensee became part of Magdeburg,

Magdeburg's center has a number of Stalinist neo-classicist buildings.

Near the end of World War II, the city of about 340,000 became capital of the Province of Magdeburg. The Magdeburg/Rothensee plant that produced synthetic oil from lignite coal was a target of the Oil Campaign of World War II. The impressive Gründerzeit suburbs north of the city, called the Nordfront, were destroyed as well as the city's main street with its Baroque buildings. Post-war the area was part of the Soviet Zone of Occupation and many of the remaining pre-World War II city buildings were destroyed, with only a few buildings near the cathedral restored to their pre-war state. Prior to the reunification of Germany, many surviving Gründerzeit buildings were left uninhabited and, after years of degradation, waiting for demolition. From 1949 on until German reunification on 3 October 1990, Magdeburg belonged to the German Democratic Republic.

In 1990 Magdeburg became the capital of the new state of Saxony-Anhalt within reunified Germany. The city center was rebuilt almost exclusively in a modern style. In recent years, a community currency, the Urstromtaler, has gone into circulation alongside the euro.[3]

Main sights and culture

Interior of the Cathedral of Magdeburg, looking towards the grave of Otto I
The cathedral's twin spires, seen from the courtyard
Unser Lieben Frauen Monastery


Magdeburg's most impressive building, the Protestant Cathedral of Saints Catherine and Maurice, has a height of 104 m: the highest church building of eastern Germany. It is notable for its beautiful and unique sculptures, especially the "Twelve Virgins" at the Northern Gate, the depictions of Otto I the Great and his wife Editha as well as the statues of St Maurice and St Catherine. The statue of St Maurice (ca. 1250),holding a sword and wearing chainmail, is one of the few where Maurice is displayed as a black man with African features. Given that Maurice was an Egyptian, it is surprising that there are not more such representations. It is in fact the oldest depiction of a black person in Europe. St Catherine is dressed like a young teenage girl from the time of the statue's creation would have been - the equivalent to a girl in jeans and T-Shirt today. (Quite a scandal then.)

The predecessor of the cathedral was a church built in 937 within an abbey, called St. Maurice. Emperor Otto I the Great was buried here beside his wife in 973. St. Maurice burnt to ashes in 1207. The exact location of that church remained unknown for a long time. The foundations were rediscovered in May 2003, revealing a building 80 m long and 41 m wide.

The construction of the new church lasted 300 years. The cathedral of Saints Catherine and Maurice was the first Gothic church building of Germany. The completion of the steeples took place only in 1520.

While the cathedral was virtually the only building to survive the massacres of the Thirty Years' War, it nevertheless suffered damage in World War II. It was soon rebuilt and completed in 1955.

The place in front of the cathedral (sometimes called the Neuer Markt, or "new marketplace") was occupied by an imperial palace (Kaiserpfalz), which was destroyed in the fire of 1207. The stones of the ruin served for building the cathedral. The presumptive remains of the palace were excavated in the 1960s.


Magdeburg has a proud history of sports team, with football proving the most popular. 1. FC Magdeburg currently play in the Regionalliga Nord. Defunct clubs SV Victoria 96 Magdeburg and Cricket Viktoria Magdeburg were among the first football clubs in Germany. 1. FC Magdeburg is the only East German football club to have won a European club football competition. There is also the very successful handball team, SC Magdeburg Gladiators who are the first German team to win the EHF Champions League.

Other sights

  • Unser Lieben Frauen Monastery (Our Beloved Lady), 11th century, containing the church of St. Mary. Today a museum for Modern Art. Home of the National Collection of Small Art Statues of the GDR (Nationale Sammlung Kleinkunstplastiken der DDR).
  • The Magdeburger Reiter ("Magdeburg equestrian", 1240), the first equestrian sculpture north of the alps. It probably shows Emperor Otto I.
  • Town hall (1698). This building stood on the marketplace since the 13th century, but was destroyed in the Thirty Years' War; the new town hall was built in a Renaissance style influenced by Dutch architecture. It has been renovated and reopened in Oct 2005.
  • Landtag; the seat of the government of Saxony-Anhalt with its Baroque facade built in 1724.
  • monuments depicting Otto von Guericke (1907), Eike von Repkow and Friedrich Wilhelm von Steuben.
  • Ruins of the greatest stronghold of the former Kingdom of Prussia.
  • Rotehorn-Park.
  • Elbauenpark containing the highest wooden structure in Germany.
  • St. John Church (Johanniskirche)
  • The Gruson-Gewächshäuser, a botanical garden within a greenhouse complex
  • The Magdeburg Water Bridge, Europe's longest water bridge
  • "Die Grüne Zitadelle" or The Green Citadel of Magdeburg, a large, pink building of modern architecture designed by Friedensreich Hundertwasser and completed in 2005.
  • Jerusalem Bridge.

Magdeburg is one of the major towns along the Elbe Cycle Route (Elberadweg).


Twin Towns - Sister Cities

Magdeburg is twinned with:

See also


  1. ^
  2. ^ Pospelov, Geograficheskiye nazvaniya mira (Moscow: Russkie slovari, 1998), p. 252.
  3. ^ Germans take pride in local money
  4. ^ "Fraternity cities on Sarajevo Official Web Site". © City of Sarajevo 2001-2008. Retrieved 2008-11-09.  
  5. ^ "Radom Official Website - Partner Cities". Uk flag.gif Flag of Poland.svg (in English and Polish) © 2007 Urząd Miasta Radom. Retrieved 2008-10-23.  

This article incorporates text from the public-domain Catholic Encyclopedia of 1913.

External links

Travel guide

Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From Wikitravel

Magdeburg is the capital city of the Bundesland of Saxony-Anhalt, Germany with a population of 228.800.


Magdeburg used to be one of the most important medieval cities of Europe. During the Cold War era Magdeburg's population increased rapidly and the city became a socially and economically important center of the GDR. After the German reunification, however, most of the city's economy was shut down. Although Magdeburg is in a continous modernization process and its cityscape changed rapidly, it has to face the same problems like almost all cities of the same size in Eastern Germany: a decline of population due to more attractive jobs in western Germany. The division of Germany is still visible in some ways.

Nonetheless Magdeburg has become a modern city with numerous interesting sights of high importance and uniqueness, as well as many parks, which make Magdeburg the third greenest city in Germany. New shopping malls and other attractions have changed the cityscape enormously. Today Magdeburg has the largest retail area in relation to its overall area of whole Germany. Magdeburg is home of two of Germany's top ranking universities, which make it attractive to college students from all over Europe. Other scientific insitutions, like the Max-Planck-Insitut, and one of the largest sites of the Fraunhofer Institut, make Magdeburg an important city for international research.

Today's industry includes traditional and also new branches. The company "Röstfein" is one of the best coffee brands in eastern Germany, and the company "Abtshof" is known for its traditional and unique vodka production. The world's first artificial sweetener was produced in Magdeburg and is still in production. The production of wind energy is one of the newer industry branches.

Get in

Magdeburg is situated in central Germany. It is best accessible by car or train. The east-west freeway (motorway) A2 passes just to the north of Magdeburg, and the A14 passes just to the west, with exits leading into several parts of the city.

The main railway station in Magdeburg is called "Magdeburg Hauptbahnhof (Hbf)". This station has seven platforms. Trains arrive every minute. The German bullet train ICE (InterCity Express) also stops at Magdeburg.

If you travel by plane, you will most likely land in Berlin or Hannover and then use the motorway A2, or you will land in Leipzig and then use the motorway A14 or the train to get to Magdeburg, which is very convenient.

If you hitchhike or use Mitfahrzentrale (an organized hitchhiking service) along the A2, ask to be dropped off or picked up at Pfahlberg (Media Markt).

Get around

Streetcars, busses and ferries use the same tickets! Tickets for streetcars, busses and ferries are sold by the operator of the streetcar and bus services MVB (Magdeburger Verkehrsbetriebe). You can purchase tickets at box offices throughout the city (mostly in the city center), at vending machines or directly from the driver. However, tickets from the driver will be more expensive. Most box offices are closed on weekends, so keep coins for vending machines in your wallet. All tickets are valid for busses, streetcars, and ferry services, although the ferries are offered by a different operator.

Here are the MVB tickets that are relevant for most tourists:

  • Normal tickets: Ticket for 90 minutes: adults 1.60€ (Einzelkarte), children 1.30€ (Einzelkarte ermäßigt)
  • City tickets (Citykarte): One-way ticket within the city center for 0.90€
  • Ticket strips (Mehrfahrtenkarte): four 90 minute tickets: 5.60€ for adults, 4.20€ for children
  • Daily tickets (Tageskarte): 4.10€ for adults (Tageskarte), 2.90€ for children under 15 (Tageskarte ermäßigt), or 6.80€ for a group of up to four persons (Minigruppen-Tageskarte).

There is also a day ticket that is valid from 9:00am for one person, which is 3.70€ (9-Uhr-Tageskarte). All day tickets are vaild until 2:00am from the time of purchase.

  • Weekly tickets (Wochenkarte): 12.50€ for one person, valid for 7 days from the time of purchase.

There is also an allround ticket for streetcar, busses, ferries, and S-Bahn that is valid in Magdeburg and the surrounding area. This ticket (called MUM-Ticket) is available as a daily, weekly, and monthly pass. Tickets are available at the MVB box offices in the city center and at the Deutsche Bahn offices in all S-Bahn/train stations. Notice that the price of this ticket is dependent on the area that you are using. Therefore you have to tell the person at the box office where you are staying and what your farthest destination from there will be. For example, if you want to use all the area from the North to the South of Magdeburg and surroundings it will be more expensive than if you choose only to use the area North from Magdeburg.

Night schedules for streetcars and busses apply from 9:00pm and go until 4:45am Monday-Friday, 6:30am on Saturdays, and 12:00 noon on Sundays. Only 3 streetcar lines and 3 bus lines are in service during this time. The streetcar night lines have the numbers 92,94, and 95. The night bus lines are 91, 93, and 96. If you need to get out of the city center at night, you might get a streetcar or bus line every three to 50 minutes (depending on the stop you are at). If you plan to go downtown at night, you should check schedules before you go, since not all outer parts are served at night. The best choice to get around in the city at night is using the taxi, rather than waiting for the next streetcar or bus. S-Bahn service at night is limited. Trains usually run every hour.

By streetcar (tram)

Using the streetcar is probably the easiest way for tourists to get around, since most stops are located near busy places or main attractions. Magdeburg has 10 streetcar lines plus the additional line number 15, which is used in times of heavy traffic, or for special events. Waiting times for the streetcars vary widely and depend on location, time, and day. Within the city center you will rarely wait more than five minutes for the next streetcar (even on Sundays), however at stops that serve only one or two lines you may have to wait up to ten minutes, or even twenty minutes on Saturdays and Sundays. You will find timetables at every stop. Within the city center electronic timetables are used. Night schedules are different.

By bus

Busses serve all areas of the city. Busses usually run every 20 minutes. The 11 bus line numbers are 51, 52, 54, 55, 56, 57, 59, 61, 69, 71, and 73. Busses 41-44 only operate in times of heavy traffic or for special events. You will find timetables are every stop. Night schedules are different.

By ferry

There are two ferry services that cross the river Elbe. One is the Fähre Westerhüsen and the other one is the Fähre Buckau. Ferry services are offered from March to October, Tuesdays-Sundays 10:00am to 6:00pm. Other river services are listed in the freetime section.

By taxi

Most taxis are operated by the Taxi-Genossenschaft Magdeburg eG. When you are in town call 737373 to request a taxi at any time.

By S-Bahn

There is one S-Bahn line that crosses Magdeburg. The S-Bahn is part of the Deutsche Bahn Network and is therefore operated by the Deutsche Bahn (DB). S-Bahn train stations are shown as a white S on a green filled circle. Trains are running every 30 Minutes. Night schedules are different. The S-Bahn is a good choice if you want to get into the city from the suburbs and if you need to get out of the city. S-Bahn stations are often connected to DB train stations.

The Magdeburger Ring (road B71) crosses Magdeburg and is the most important road. It is like an "innercity highway". In order to get into another part of the town quickly you may use the B71 and get off at the exit you want. Using the B71 might be better if you want to avoid traffic lights and long ways through the city.

S-Bahn tickets are available at any S-Bahn station, most likely at the Magdeburg main station (Hauptbahnhof). S-Bahn tickets are sold by the Deutsche Bahn and not by the MVB



The Gothic cathedral of St. Maurice and St Catherine, known as the Magdeburger Dom, is possibly the most well-known sight in the city. It was built on the remains of a roman cathedral from 1209 to 1520. The romanesque Abbey Kloster unser lieben Frauen (Cloister Our Dear Woman), founded in the 11th century, is one of the most important romanesque buildings in Germany. Today it is, amongst other things, home to an art gallery. Also worth seeing is St. John's Church (Johanniskirche), recently rebuilt as a multipurpose space after being severely damaged in WWII.

Other important buildings

In the Elbauenpark the so-called Millennium Tower attracts many visitors. There is an exhibition on nature and history of humanity inside. In the city centre near the Kloster Unser Lieben Frauen and the cathedral is the Green Citadel, a house designed by the famous architect Friedensreich Hundertwasser.

  • Kulturhistorisches Museum, Otto-von-Guericke-Strasse, home to the famous statue Magdeburger Reiter



Magdeburg is one of the greenest cities in Europe and the second greenest city in Germany. Riding your bike in Magdeburg is a perfect freetime activity. Since most of the streets have cycle tracks on the sides you will not have any problems with taking your bike into the city. Streetcars, busses, ferries, and S-Bahn trains allow you to take your bike with you, however, you may have to purchase an extra ticket for your bike.

A very nice way to explore the idyllic nature in and around Magdeburg is using the Elberadweg. This cycle path leads you all the way along the river Elbe and invites you to explore the unique biosphere reserve around Magdeburg. The cycle path's symbol is a white e on a blue ground. Signs guide you along the path and show you directions and distances to other towns, villages, and attractions. Many restaurants and beer gardens are right next to the river, as well as some nice hotels, playgrounds and parks. The web site for the Elberadweg is (partly in English).

River cruises

There are several different river cruises offered by the Magdeburger Weiße Flotte GmbH. Here are some of the offers:

  • Panoramafahrt: A 1.5 hour cruise along the skyline of Magdeburg. Starts and ends at the mooring Petriförder. Adults 8€, children 4€
  • Große Acht: A cruise along the biggest waterway cross of Europe. Starts and ends at the mooring Petriförder. Adults 19.90€, children 12€
  • Kleine Acht: A cruise along the biggest waterway cross of Europe. Starts and ends at the mooring Rothensee. Adults 14€, children 8€
  • Trogbrückenüberfahrt: A small cruise over the waterway cross. Starts and end at the mooring Rothensee. Adults 5€, children 3€
  • Kaffeefahrt: River cruise from the city center out to the town Schönebeck. Starts and ends at the mooring Petriförder. Adults 12€, children 6€
  • Fahrt in den Abend: Rivercruise in the evening. Starts and ends at the mooring Petriförder. 15€ for everyone

Times and current special prices can be found directly at the moorings or in the tourist information center (Ernst-Reuter Allee 12, phone: 0391/19433). Tickets can be purchased on board. Reservations are not necessary most of the time if you come early enough. If you want to reserve tickets, contact the tourist information center in the city center (address and phone above)! Also contact the tourist information center for day-trip offers!


There are numerous shopping malls all over the city. In the center you have Karstadt, which used to be a mall during the cold war and is therefore the oldest of the city with its building still representing socialist architecture. After the reunification the city center got several new malls like the Allee Center, the Ulrichshaus and the City Carré. You will also find numerous stores (as well as bars and cafés) along the Breite Weg, which used to be one of the largest shopping streets in Europe before WWII and has now regained most of its popularity with modern architecture.

Some malls were also established in the suburbs of Magdeburg like the Elbe-Park, Flora-Park, Börde-Park and Pfahlberg. You'll find pretty much all kinds of goods at any of the named places.

For the most part stores are open from 8am to 20pm (22pm in some cases) from Monday to Friday. On Saturdays only the large malls open until 20pm, smaller stores are open until 12pm or 18pm. On Sundays stores are usually closed apart from stations and petrol stations.

To buy clothing visit Alle Center


For anybody coming and going, the "Zimmervermittlung" of the TouristInformationMagdeburg (TIM) should be the first adress. Their Telephone number is 0391/5404904 and their email

There is an International Youth Hostel at Leiterstr, directly behind the Maritim hotel.

Maritim Hotel Otto-von-Guericke-Str. 87 39104 Magdeburg Tel. +49 (0) 391 5949-0 Fax +49 (0) 391 5949-990

Hotel Stadtfeld Maxim-Gorki-Straße 31/ 37 39108 Magdeburg Tel. +49(0)391 506660 Fax +49(9)391 5066699

  • Halberstadt — with a church playing a musical piece that's scheduled to end in the year 2640
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  1. The capital city of Saxony-Anhalt, Germany

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