Since the 13th century this particular tower, the so-called "Welsche Turm" has dominated the north-eastern corner of the city's defence installations. It formed part of the city wall and secured the northern end of the Elbe river fortifications. It was near the tower that imperial troops under Tilly broke through the walls, invaded the city and brought nearly complete destruction upon Magdeburg in 1631.
Today it hosts a permanent exhibition dedicated to the life and work of the famous scientist and Lord Mayor of Magdeburg. In addition, it is a very popular venue for cultural events, exhibitions and conferences.