We took the tram into Magdeburg today, feeling spoiled by the riches we have experienced so far. Because Magdeburg isn't a tourist hot-spot but a pretty standard, working city reminiscent of so many, similar places which have had to recover from being almost totally destroyed in the war.
With map in hand, we did a recce of the main sights, starting at the Town Hall where a set of mosaic coats of arms are set into the pavement.
High above the Town Hall was a bell tower and there on the door was a large poster listing the various pieces of music to be played on the hour throughout the day. It being almost 11am, we stopped and listened. Delightful!
Meanwhile, a young man was cleaning the statues with a small brush and a duster.
Now, whilst in Dresden, at that exhibition of mathematical instruments, we'd seen this machine. Beautifully made, it was designed to show the effect of a vacuum.
Here in Magdeburg, a statue across the way was of none other than Otto von Guericke, the scientist/engineer who designed that machine, using 16 horses to show that the two cups could not be separated once the air inside them had been removed. Strange to see another reference to that experiment!
Did anyone mention Martin Luther recently?
Resisting the temptation to buy a pair of Schluffis , we carried on through the shopping centre with the intention of finding the cathedral.
How funny that the cathedral spires remain hidden and yet the Hundertwasser building is so prominent!
Not funny at all is the small memorial set into the granite stones on the pavement; a stark reminder of the cruel fate of some Magdeburg inhabitants not so long ago.
Around the corner was the Grune Zitadelle in all its glory. There's an hotel in there and for a while, we'd considered staying there instead of the Parkhotel we eventually booked. Having seen the situation, we all agreed, we'd made a wise choice.
Not far then, to the Cathedral, accessed by the heaviest of doors with a bird for the handle.
Inside is rather more splendid than that unassuming door might suggest, though the clean and simple lines and clear glass windows give the whole building a light and airy feel.
The Holy Roman Emperor Otto 1 lies in a huge sarcophagus here, behind the altar. His wife Eadgyth is also buried here though only on googling for a link to further information did I discover that she is none other than our King Alfred's Granddaughter. Well well.
The other significant feature in the cathedral is this rather brutal war memorial, created by Ernst Barlach.. The wiki page about the cathedral, link above, gives a little more detail to the background of this piece and is worth a read, putting it into perspective both in terms of the design and its relevance to recent history.
Making our way back to the Rathaus, where we had begun, we stumbled upon another reference to those experiments by Otto von Guericke!
Rather than dine at the hotel this evening, we'd decided to enjoy a late lunch in a moregemütlich setting. Actually, I'm not sure this was gemütlich in the conventional sense at all, but our waiter was delightful and we felt very much at home.
A quick zip around the shopping centre then, before catching the #6 tram back into the park.
A cool - no cold! - pool awaited...