The capital and second-largest city in Saxony-Anhalt, Magdeburg lies on the Elbe River and was once one of the most important medieval cities in Europe. It was here that Otto I, the first Holy Roman Emperor, was buried and it was the birth-place of the Magdeburg rights, an influential town law that spread throughout Central Europe.
At the heart of the city is the Gothic-style Magdeburg Cathedral where Otto the Great is buried and one of the only buildings to have survived the devastation of the Thirty Years’ War. It was rebuilt in the mid-20th century following damage during World War II and is renowned for its beautiful sculptures of the “Twelve Virgins” and Otto the Great, as well as being the tallest church in eastern Germany.
Magdeburg was also the birthplace of Otto von Guericke, an influential German scientist, inventor and politician who is renowned for his discoveries associated with the physics of vacuums. If you want to learn more, be sure to explore the Guericke Mile that leads through the city past locations that played a significant role in his life.
Delve into the local heritage at the Museum of Cultural History, which explores Magdeburg’s importance during the medieval period and the people and events that have shaped the city. Its exhibits include paintings from the 15th to the 20th centuries, highly-prized textiles and goblins from Flanders, as well as furniture and ceramics from various centuries.
Another destination not to miss in Magdeburg is the Kloster Unser Lieben Frau-en, an 11th-century monastery that houses a contemporary art gallery and sculpture park. It’s considered one of the most important Romanesque complexes in Germany and was used as a school from the 17th century before being transformed into the impressive contemporary art gallery seen today.