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Magdeburg Guide

Guide

Magdeburg is located in the state of Saxony-Anhalt, and is also the capital of the state. The city is found on the Elbe River, and settlement is known to have existed long before it was first mentioned in 805. Magdeburg is one of the most important medieval cities, with its name in the history books for things such as the Magdeburg rights, Magdeburg's version of German Town Law, spreading throughout the central and eastern Europe.

The Sack of Magdeburg in 1631 also occurred here, during the 30 Years' War, and served to harden the Protestant stand. Leading up to the 30 Years' War was The Peace of Augsburg (a treaty signed in 1555 by the Holy Roman Emperor Ferdinand and the Schmalkaldic League, which was made up of Lutheran princes).

The treaty stated that the rulers of areas were free to decide which religion (Catholic or Lutheran) their region belonged to. Existing residents were permitted to move according to their chosen religion, but with the introduction of Calvanism, there was another religion to contend with that was not mentioned in the treaty. So Catholic, Lutheran and Calvanist began fighting.

The 30 Years' War was, in reality, a series of wars that latest from 1618 to 1648. In Germany itself, it was between Catholic, Protestant and Lutheran, but this soon spread to other areas, and people began fighting for reasons other than religious. The 30 Years' War could be seen as a continuation of the fighting between The House of Habsburg (an independent power of the Holy Roman Empire and Spain) and France, as France was only one of many countries with designs on Germany, or at least one of its states.

Spain, Sweden and Denmark also had in mind a hostile invasion. The war could also be seen as an escalation of the civil fighting amongst the religions.

The Sack of Magdeburg was a 6-month siege and subsequent plundering of Magdeburg by the Imperial Forces in 1631 - 25,000 residents died. Martin Luther had preached in the town in 1524, converting the population from Catholicism to Protestantism, and Magdeburg became the first major city to publish Luther's writings.

The Cathedral of Saints Catherine and Maurice is a building not to be missed - it is the highest church in eastern Germany, and was constructed over 300 years.

Looking for a hire car in Germany? Take a look at our Car hire Germany directory.