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Magdeburg Cathedral
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Magdeburg Cathedral

 

Magdeburg CathedralMagdeburg Cathedral, dedicated to St. Maurice and St. Catherine, is the first Gothic cathedral erected on German soil as well as the highest cathedral in East Germany with a height of 104m. The beginning of the cathedral can be traced back to 937 when Emperor Otto the First founded a monastery and dedicated it to St. Maurice (until today St. Maurice and St. Catherine have remained the patrons of the cathedral). In 955, the church building was transformed into a basilica in Romanesque style, and in 968 Magdeburg became an Archbishopry. Otto the First had many precious Italian pieces of art shipped to Magdeburg (such as the baptismal font and columns) which can still be admired in today's cathedral. Together with the Emperor's palatinate the monumental cathedral formed the centre of the so-called "Third Rome". When Otto the First died in 973, he was buried at the side of his wife Editha in a tomb in the Magdeburg Cathedral. In 1207, the imperial cathedral suffered extensive damage in a devastating fire. Two years later reconstruction work began on the site of the former building and it took more than 300 years to build the monumental Burial place of Otto The Greatand venerable cathedral of today. The reconstruction process was carried out in five steps: From 1209 to 1220, the High Choir with choir walk and chapel crown were built. From 1220 to 1235, the gallery was added and the long choir extended. New proportions were set for the long nave and the High Choir from 1235 to 1253. In a next step, from 1274 to 1363, the long nave was extended to the west and the overall length of the cathedral was 120m. After that, building activities stopped and were not resumed for more than 100 years. From 1477 to 1520, the two cathedral towers were completed and they gave the monumental building its proud height of 104m. Much of the interior decoration was lost or destroyed in the course of the centuries. Fortunately, some beautiful and internationally renowned pieces of art have been preserved and can be admired today: Foundations of and art (Easter candle-holders, bronze grave slab) from the early Romanesque cathedral, Gothic sandstone sculptures from the 13th century (the Imperial Couple, St. Maurice, St. Catherine, The Clever and Stupid Virgins, the miracle-working Madonna), the famous war memorial designed by Ernst Barlach in 1929 and the crucifix made by Jürgen Weber in 1988.

 

 

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