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Stendal is the largest city in the Altmark. It lies on the Uchte, which flows north parallel to the Elbe, which is only a few kilometers to the west. Stendal is known as the city of brick Gothic and is called the "heart of the Altmark". The city was a member of the Hanseatic League. Today Stendal is the district town of the district of Stendal. The city's most famous son is Johann Joachim Winckelmann, founder of scientific archeology and custodian of ancient antiquities in and around Rome. The Winckelmann Museum is dedicated to his life and work.

Stendal was founded in 1151 by Albrecht the Bear, received, like most of the towns in the Slavic region, Magdeburg law and gained various privileges under the following margraves, for example, in 1215, the exemption from the court of the burgrave, although the whole of the northern march came under the suzerainty of 1196 Archdiocese of Magdeburg was advised. When the Mark was divided between the brothers Johann I and Otto IV in 1258, Stendal became the seat of the older (Stendal) line of the House of Ascania, which died out in 1320 with Heinrich von Landsberg. At that time, Stendal was one of the most important cities in the Mark and, as mentioned, joined the Hanseatic League. In the 15th century the city was at the head of a league of the cities of the Altmark. In 1530 the Protestant doctrine found its way here, but was violently suppressed by Joachim I; the Reformation was only carried out in Stendal under Joachim II.



Middle Ages to the 20th century
Archaeologists have discovered a wooden box fountain in Rathenower Straße, which dates to the year 889 and indicates a suburban settlement.

A document allegedly issued by Emperor Heinrich II in 1022, in which the village of Steinedal appears among the possessions of the Michaeliskloster in Hildesheim, is a forgery from the 12th century. The original document from Heinrich II. (No. 479) does not contain this place name. The Brandenburg Margrave Albrecht the Bear founded a market in his village of Stendale around 1160 and granted the town Magdeburg rights. Excavations have confirmed that the construction on land in the area of ​​the market south of the "Old Village" in Stendal began around 1160.

In the 12th and 13th centuries there was an approximately 60-meter-long brick department store on the market square, which is considered the oldest department store and one of the largest and most important north of the Alps.

The parish of St. Jacobi was founded in the 12th century. The construction of a Franciscan monastery at Mönchskirchhof began in 1230. In the 13th century, the Stendal Seafarers' Guild was formed, which traded with its own ships in the Baltic and North Sea region. The oldest written mention of the merchant church of St. Marien comes from the year 1283. Around 1300 Stendal received city walls, at the same time the Tangermünder Tor was built. The field stone substructure is still preserved today as the foundation of a newer gate structure. In 1338 a Latin school was built on Brüderstraße, which later became a grammar school, whose famous pupil in the 18th century was the later archaeologist Johann Joachim Winckelmann. He attended high school from 1726 to 1736.

There is evidence that Stendal belonged to the Hanseatic League from 1358 to 1518. Alongside Brandenburg an der Havel, Stendal was the oldest mint in the Mark Brandenburg. In the margraviate of Brandenburg, several cities, including Stendal, paid the margrave a one-time settlement and were given the right to mint the so-called Eternal Penny.

In the 14th century the refectory of the Franciscan monastery was built at the Mönchskirchhof, which today houses the city library. At the place where the Stendal Castle still stood in 1215, construction of the Stendal Cathedral began in 1423. In 1440 the Uenglinger Tor was built. In the 15th century the town hall was built in various stages with a Gewandhaus, choir and side wing. The St. Catherine's Monastery (foundation of Elector Friedrich II for Augustinian women, today Altmärkisches Museum and Musikforum) was built in 1456. In 1462 the carved wall that is still preserved was completed in the town hall festival hall.

From 1488 Joachim Westfal, the first printer of the Mark Brandenburg, worked in Stendal. In the same year, the citizens of Stendal revolted against the beer tax. In 1502, the Brandenburg Elector Joachim I married Elisabeth (1485–1555) in Stendal, the daughter of the Danish King Johann I. In 1518, Stendal left the Hanseatic League together with Berlin, Brandenburg, Frankfurt (Oder) and Salzwedel. The Stendaler Roland was erected in 1525. In 1539, through the Reformation, Lutheran teaching became an official religion in the Altmark. Luther's pupil and colleague Konrad Cordatus was the first Lutheran superintendent on site from 1540. In 1535, 1540 and 1549 Achim von Zehmen, married to Margarete von Lüderitz, was named mayor of Stendal. In 1682 1,205 people (including 537 children) died of the plague in the city. From 1771 to 1830 the city fortifications were partially demolished, the turning tower, the gate tower, the Arneburg gate and the cattle gate were demolished.

The Magdeburg – Stendal – Wittenberge railway line was opened in 1849. At the same time as the Berlin-Lehrter Railway, the Stendal Central Station was opened in 1871, and construction began in 1869. In 1873 the main railway workshop was built, which in 1881 was transferred to the Royal Prussian Railway Administration and after 1920 became the Stendal Reichsbahn repair shop (RAW Stendal). The Altmark Museum was founded in 1888. In 1906 a fountain was built on the Sperlingsberg in memory of the honorary citizen Friedrich Hermann Haacke, which is popularly known as "Sperlings-Ida". The Stendaler horse-drawn railway ceased operations in 1926 after 34 years.

In 1909 Stendal left the Stendal district and formed its own urban district. The city was reintegrated into the district in 1950.

First World War

On August 3, 1914, the first squadron of the hussars stationed in Stendal (Magdeburg Hussar Regiment No. 10) entered the First World War. The first wounded, around 160 soldiers, arrived in the city's hospitals on September 8, 1914. In December 1916, more than 11,000 prisoners of war were housed in the team prisoner camp at the Stendal parade ground. In 1917 two bells from the cathedral and one bell from St. Mary's Church were dismantled and handed over to the "Metal Mobilization Office". In the course of the November Revolution, on November 8, 1918, a “workers and soldiers council” took over police power in Stendal. After the Compiègne armistice was signed on November 11, 1918, a scattered collection point was set up in the hussar barracks. In addition, the prisoner of war camp was almost completely cleared by January 1, 1919 and converted into a transit camp for released German prisoners of war.

Second World War
During the Second World War, the city came increasingly into the focus of Allied bombing attacks, mainly because of the armed forces stationed there. There were frequent aerial battles over Stendal, in which Allied bombers also crashed over the city or nearby. Stendal and the fighter squadrons stationed there at the Stendal-Borstel air base (including Jagdgeschwader 301 "Wilde Sau") were directly in the flight path of the bomber groups that had been assigned to Berlin as a target. On February 22, 1945, an attack by the 8th US Air Force with 73 "flying fortresses" Boeing B-17s on Stendal (with 214 tons of bombs) killed 300 people in the Röxe district alone. The main train station was also hit. On April 8th of that year, another attack by the US Air Force with 73 B-17s and 179 tons of bombs hit St. Nicholas Cathedral, which was partially destroyed: especially the cloister, frescoes, tracery and lattice friezes. The medieval stained glass windows had previously been relocated and were thus saved. In April 1945 one of the most controversial companies of the final phase of the Second World War, the Elbe Special Command, started from the Stendal-Borstel airfield.

On April 13th, Mayor Karl Wernecke, who was a member of the NSDAP, handed the city over to the American armed forces. Thereupon Joseph Goebbels called Stendal "because of cowardly handover" as "dishonorable". On May 4, 1945, the German 12th Army (Wenck Army) surrendered under General Maximilian von Edelsheim in the Stendal town hall. British troops took over the administration in Stendal on June 12, but were replaced by the Soviet Army on July 1. The Red Army brought the former mayor Wernecke to the Sachsenhausen special camp, where he died in December 1945. As a result of the flow of refugees, Stendal housed around 65,000 residents on June 16, 1945; at the beginning of the war there were only around 34,000 inhabitants.

In the GDR, Stendal was the most important industrial location in the north of the Magdeburg district, including the Reichsbahnausbesserungswerk (RAW) Stendal, the VEB Dauermilchwerk Stendal, the steel furniture and heating equipment factory (STIMA) Stendal and the VEB Geological Exploration / VEB Geological Research and Exploration Stendal. Stendal was also the seat of the District Veterinary Institute (BIV) Stendal, which emerged from the Animal Health Office (TGA) and the District Veterinary Clinic and was converted into the State Veterinary and Food Inspection Office after 1990.

In 1974, construction of the Stendal nuclear power plant began north of Stendal, but it never went into operation and was canceled after reunification.

After the turn
At a public hearing on September 27, 2009, 78% of the residents voted to rename the city to “Hanseatic City of Stendal”. The name change came into effect on January 1, 2010.

Stendal as a garrison town
In 1640 Stendal became a garrison town for the first time. As a result, an old Prussian regiment founded in 1715 was stationed in Stendal on foot until 1806. From 1860 Stendal was again the location of troops, including from 1884 location of the Magdeburg Hussar Regiment No. 10, which was disbanded in 1919. In its tradition, from 1919, the 3rd Cavalry Regiment stood in the city, which withdrew in 1937. In 1936, the first German paratrooper troop was founded at the Stendal-Borstel airfield, of which Max Schmeling was a member. There was also an infantry regiment (No. 93) and various Luftwaffe fighter squadrons in the city.


Until the fall of the Berlin Wall, Stendal was the seat of the border command north of the GDR border troops and also the location of the 207th Motorized Rifle Division (MotSchtzDiv) of the group of Soviet armed forces in Germany.

At the end of 1994, the last Russian troops withdrew, which ended Stendal's time as a garrison town.

Population development
The population development began to decline during the First World War. However, the city quickly recovered from this and reached almost 37,000 inhabitants shortly before the outbreak of World War II. After the Second World War, it grew to over 40,000 inhabitants for the first time due to the immigration of displaced persons from the former German eastern territories. In the period from 1950 to 1964 the city lost over 4,600 inhabitants and in 1964 its population fell to the pre-war level. With 35,931 inhabitants, Stendal reached an all-time low in the post-war period in 1964.

From 1965, the city grew steadily, mainly due to the construction of the large settlements Stadtsee and Stendal Süd, and on December 31, 1989, it reached its all-time high with 51,461 inhabitants. Since 1990, the city's population has declined sharply due to emigration and the surplus of death rates, and by mid-2007 it fell back to around the level of 1964. The resulting vacancy rate for rented apartments has been counteracted since 2000 by demolishing, dismantling and accompanying renovation of the prefabricated housing estates. By resolution of the city council, with the area-based integrated action / urban development concept (SEK) adopted on February 18, 2002, the complete demolition of an entire residential area (Stendal-Süd) was initiated for the first time in Saxony-Anhalt. The city's two major landlords - Stendaler housing association and Altmark housing association - demolished around 6,000 apartments between 2000 and 2013. With its infrastructure, Stendal is preparing for a population of 35,000. Since 2014 there has been a slight stabilization of the population development. Due to the regional reform of Saxony-Anhalt in 2009-2011, Stendal became a unified municipality on January 1, 2010. The incorporation of ten communities that took place on this day increased the population from 35,900 to 40,974 (figures from December 31, 2008).



Stendal is not far west of the Elbe in the south-eastern Altmark. Berlin is around 120 kilometers away, Hanover around 150 kilometers. Leipzig is around 160 kilometers and Hamburg around 180 kilometers away. Stendal is about 55 kilometers north of Magdeburg on the Wolfsburg – Berlin axis.



The annual mean precipitation is 493 mm and is therefore relatively low. Lower values are registered at only 2% of the measuring stations of the German Weather Service. The driest month is February, with the most rainfall in June. In June there is twice as much rainfall as in February. Precipitation varies only minimally and is extremely evenly distributed over the year. Lower seasonal fluctuations are recorded at only 3% of the measuring stations.