|The Siege of Magdeburg 1631|
The effect of this act and the propaganda that accompanied it was that Protestant kings, princes, independent cities, and even French Catholics rallied to aid Gustavus’s army, preventing the conquest of northern Europe by the Imperial forces of Austria and Spain.
Following the end of the Thirty Years’ War, Magdeburg was slowly rebuilt. The physicist Otto von Guericke (1602 – 86), whose experiments proved the existence of a vacuum, was one of the survivors of the siege and eventually became the mayor.
Almost a century later, the composer George Philipp Telemann (1681 – 1767) lived and worked in Magdeburg. Over half of the city, including the old town, was destroyed by Allied bombing on the night of January 16, 1945. Today many fine Baroque and other buildings are slowly being restored to create what promises to be a very beautiful city.
Places to Visit
Weinkeller Buttergasse (Wine Cellar Butter Alley) is a unique example of 13th-century architecture that was discovered in 1947 when workmen were clearing away rubble created by Allied bombing. Today it is a restaurant that attempts to recreate a medieval atmosphere.
Johanniskirche (St. John’s Church), Jakobstrasse, overlooking the river, is a haunting ruin which is being restored as a memorial to war and a reminder of its destructive power. In many ways this church typifies the pathos of Magdeburg’s tragic history.
Kulturhistorisches Museum (Museum of History and Culture), Otto von Guericke Strasse 68 – 73, is an impressive neo-Renaissance type of building designed in 1906 by an Austrian architect Friedrich Ohmann. Inside the vestibule one finds the original magnificent Magdeburger Rider (1240) which, like the Bamberg Rider, is one of the earliest equestrian statues produced in Europe after the fall of the Western Roman Empire. The ground floor of the museum is devoted to the work of Otto von Guericke and provides fascinating insights into the rise of modern science.