The most colorful building In the center of Magdeburg is the Grüne Zitadelle or Green Citadel, which is the last building to have been designed by the late Austrian architect Friedensreich Hundertwasser (1928-2000).
Since the outer walls are quite obviously pink and not green, you might be wondering why it is called the Green Citadel. This is because all sorts of greenery is supposed to grow on the roof.
Construction was delayed for several years because of financial problems and also because of protests by some of the citizens, but they finally started building in 2004, and now after two years they seem to be more or less finished.
The building includes 55 apartments, as well as offices, shops, an exhibition area, a hotel and a kindergarten.
See also my Bad Soden am Taunus tip Bad Soden’s Hundertwasser House for another one of his buildings.
I remember visiting Rotehorn - the city park and enjoying its unique and beautiful atmosphere and attractions.
It was a good part of my visit to Magdeburg, too!
I spent some time in the new districts, too, visiting their stores, cafes and parks.
One of the city sites is Liebfrauenkirche -
Church of Our Beloved Lady
- and the monastery itself.
It is located on the riverbank downtown.
This is what you can see visiting the Dom, the city cathedral.
The view is from another great old postcard I brought from my trip and have kept since my students' years.
The city cathedral suffered a big destruction during the last war and was restored according to old drawings and pictures...
Officially known as *Cathedral of Saints*, Magdeburger Dom was originally built in 937 and considered to be Germany's earliest Gothic church. With towers reaching 104m it is also the tallest in East Germany. It sits in the vast Cathedral Square surrounded by coffee shops and restaurants.
Opening times are:
Sun 11.30 - 17.00
There were several lovely churches in the city centre which we didn't have time to investigate unfortunately. St Sebastian's was one of them!
St Sebastian's is also considered to be a cathedral. The cornerstone was laid in 1015 by archbishop Gero. IIt was destroyed in the same city fire as the other churches and buildings in Magdeburg, and then re-built as a gothic church in the 14th/15th century.
I was thrilled and delighted to discover that one of my favourite artists - Hundertwasser (1928-2000) - had his last work built here in Magdeburg. It is very easy to find as it is close to the Cathedral. At a cost to build of 27.1million Euro, it contains 55 apartments, a hotel and a kindergarten.
This is definitely well worth seeing - Hundertwasser didn't believe in straight lines - either in his paintings or his buildings and with a 33m spiral tower , the bright pink "Grüne Zitadelle" is just stunning.
Global investors and chain stores have invaded Magdeburg soon after the reunification. Along Ernst-Reuter-Allee two new shopping malls have been built: Allee-Center on Breiter Weg and City Carré next to the train station. These indoor malls – Allee-Center is the better of the two – have plenty of shops of all kinds and food stalls like everywhere, good to grab a quick bite. However, the mall looks like any other mall and the shops are the usual chain stores you find everywhere. There are hardly any locally owned businesses in these malls, except maybe the butcher and baker.
Just like Karl-Marx-Allee in Berlin, Magdeburg has got its Stalinist boulevard as a reverence to big brother in Moscow. Now named Ernst-Reuter-Straße, the street leads in west-eastern direction from the train station towards the Elbe. Several blocks along this street have been built in the 1950s in the style of the Stalin era with its typical ornaments.
Liebfrauenkloster is older than the Dom, church and cloister show purest Romanesque style. The monastery, however, has long been closed down. DDR times profaned the church, renamed and used it as a concert hall. The convent buildings contain an art gallery with an interesting and high quality exhibition of DDR sculpture. They also show temporary exhibitions of contemporary art.
Sculptures have also been put up outside the museum in the grounds. You can see these without entering the museum. There are many sculptures elsewhere in Magdeburg’s streets, too.
The museum of cultural history has a permanent collection, the most famous item being the original Magdeburg Rider, and shows temporary exhibitions on historical themes, middle ages and early modern. The museum is ambitious and their exhibitions are usually very good. Check on their website if there is anything on.
Unfortunately their English website has not been updated since 2006. The German version is up to date, though.
The impressive castle-like building on Fürstenwall was erected in 1842 as office and residence of the Prussian president of the province. The so-called “normannic” style was popular for government buildings in those times. It is now occupied by the offices of the waterways and shipping authority (Wasser- und Schifffahrtsamt).
The former ramparts along the river bank have been turned into a promenade walk already in the 1720s. A rather short one, but still worth seeing. Parts of the city fortification are still visible. Stairs lead down into the Zwinger between the two town walls.
From the top you get a nice view of the back side of Dom and the Domplatz buildings, and over the Elbe.
The 15th century tower (rebuilt) has the cute Low German nickname Kiek in de Köken (“Peep into the Kirchen”) because the guards on the tower had a good view through the windows of the kitchen in the archbishop’s palace.
A paradise bird has landed on Breiter Weg and on the corner of Domplatz. The colourful house, named the "Green Citadel", has been designed by Friedensreich Hundertwasser and shows his typical style. It has only been completed in 2005, five years after the artist’s death, though.
When you visit the Dom on foot, make sure you don’t miss the small footpath around the choir. This is a romantic little spot. It is named Remtergang, from Remter, the small chapel in the back where the metropolitan chapter held their meetings. The path takes you through a gate and then to the promenade on Fürstenwall along the river bank.
The wide square in front of the Dom always feels a bit deserted, apart from the tour buses and groups stopping to visit the church. In the pavement the foundations of the first church are marked.
Along two sides there are baroque buildings that have been restored already in DDR times. They are occupied by the government of the Federal State of Saxony-Anhalt. The largest building closest to the Dom is the Staatskanzlei, the seat of the prime minister. Others host ministries.
The ugly Plattenbau block that once filled the side towards Breiter Weg has disappeared and been substituted by modern office and shop buildings.