Magdeburg (Saxony-Anhalt)

by Georg Braun and Frans Hogenberg


Date of first edition:  1572

Date of this map: 1572 (second state; first state of same date had no mention “cum privilegio”)

Dimensions (not including margins): 32,2 x 45,7 cm

Condition: Very good. Strong paper, slightly browned. Wide margins. Centre fold as published.  Nice colouring.

Condition rating: A

Verso: text in Latin

Map references: Van der Krogt 4, 2564 (2nd state); Taschen, Br.. Hog., p. 89; Fauser 8272

From: Civitates Orbis Terraarum, Vol. 1


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Magdeburg commented by Braun

“Magdeburg […] is the noblest city in Saxony […]. Here there are splendid houses, magnificent streets, large and richly decorated churches: the church of St Maurice built by Emperor Otto is particularly handsome. In Magdeburg there used to be a fortified castle surrounded by fishermen’s huts like a village or some other open bourg.
There used to be burgraves here as in Nuremberg: whether they were Saxons or Vandals, however, is uncertain. It is known, however, that after Otto a burgraviate was created by Imperial mandate and numbered amongst the four burgraves in the empire.”

TRANSLATION OF THE CARTOUCHE/ Magdeburg was called Parthenopolis (virgin city) after Venus, who was once worshipped here: it is the capital of Saxony, remarkable for its wealth and power and known for its narrow city walls and its proximity to the Elbe.

Taschen on Magdeburg

In this plan view seen from a lofty bird’s-eye perspective, Magdeburg – the name is probably derived from ‘Magadoburg” (Ger. mächtige Burg, “mighty fortress”) – lies on the right bank of the Elbe. The Gothic cathedral of SS Maurice and Catherine is clearly recognizable on the right (Der Dom).

Further left is the ensemble of St John’s church, where Martin Luther preached in 1524, and the town hall overlooking the Alter Markt, the old market square on which it is also possible to make out the famous equestrian statue of the Magdeburg Knight and a Magdeburg Roland statue.

And further

Magdeburg gained a reputation as a stronghold of Protestantism and became the first major city to publish the writings of Martin Luther. St. John’s Church as well as the entire city fell victim to a disastrous (and in view of its date, an unnecessary, criminal  and ridiculous) air raid of January 16, 1945: resulting in  2.500 dead inhabitants. Only 46 years later, on 16th January 1991, reconstruction work began which was largely thanks to the initiative of a board of trustees and which was completed in 1999. Today St. John’s Church is open to the public and has become a popular venue for a wide variety of unusual events.

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