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Magdeburg

 

Magdeburg is the capital of the state of Saxony-Anhalt. The city lies on the Elbe and is one of the three regional centers in the country. With 236,235 inhabitants (State Statistical Office as of June 30, 2020) Magdeburg is the second largest city in Saxony-Anhalt after Halle (Saale) and the fifth largest city in the new federal states. Magdeburg ranked 32nd on the list of major cities in Germany in 2019.

The city was first mentioned in a document in 805. In 968 Otto I, the first emperor of the Holy Roman Empire (and together with Otto von Guericke namesake of today's "Ottostadt Magdeburg") founded the Archdiocese of Magdeburg. In the Middle Ages, the Hanseatic city gained great importance through free trade and Magdeburg city law. In the late Middle Ages it was one of the largest German cities and the center of the Reformation and the resistance against recatholization in the Schmalkaldic League. After the almost complete devastation in the Thirty Years' War ("Magdeburg Wedding"), Magdeburg was expanded to become the strongest fortress in the Kingdom of Prussia.

In 1882 Magdeburg became a city with over 100,000 inhabitants. During the Second World War, the city was hit hard again: After the air raid on January 16, 1945, 90% of the densely populated old town, 15 churches and large parts of the Wilhelminian-style district were badly destroyed. During the GDR era, several buildings damaged or destroyed by the war were demolished, including the ruins of the Ulrichskirche in 1956. From 1952 to 1990 Magdeburg was a GDR district town, and since 1990 it has been the state capital of Saxony-Anhalt.

The city at the intersection of the Elbe, Elbe-Havel and Mittelland Canal has an important inland port and is an industrial and commercial center. Mechanical and plant engineering, health management, environmental technologies and recycling management, logistics and the manufacture of chemical products, iron and steel products, paper and textiles are of economic importance.

Magdeburg is both a Protestant and a Catholic bishopric. The symbol of the city is the Magdeburg Cathedral.

There are numerous important cultural institutions in the state capital, including the Magdeburg Theater and the Magdeburg Cultural History Museum. Magdeburg is also the location of the Otto von Guericke University and the Magdeburg-Stendal University of Applied Sciences.