Fotoeins Fotografie

questions of place & home

Posts tagged ‘Magdeburg’

Petrikirche, Taufkirche, Eisleben, Saxony-Anhalt, Sachsen-Anhalt, Germany, fotoeins.com

Tracing Martin Luther’s steps in 16 German cities

Above/featured: “Luther war hier. // Luther was here.” Eisleben, Germany – 27 Oct 2016.

In pre-teen years, I attended a Catholic elementary school by weekday, and a missions-oriented Protestant church by weekend. I already had multiple questions running around my pre-scientist brain, like electrons appearing and dissipating in a fuzzy halo. When various disparate elements began to settle with few satisfying answers, I left behind the churches and their respective religions. But one thing that’s remained is my love of history. History has never been boring, because I carry the past (as offspring of immigrants), and I’m determined to bring history’s lessons into the present.

Even in youth, I had to ask: why was one set of churches called “Protestant”? What was under protest? How did one man help spark a movement that would help merge and create a version of a language that continues today, that would bring accessible means to literacy for the public, and that would begin to change rule by religion to rule by law?

Martin Luther (‘Luder’, at birth)

From his birth in Eisleben; to formative years in Mansfeld, Magdeburg, and Erfurt; to the bulk of his working and teaching years in Wittenberg; to his death in Eisleben, Martin Luther set upon a course that helped change language, education, culture, religion, and governance. In many ways, Luther had much to thank Jan Hus for the latter’s efforts to reform the Catholic Church in Bohemia one hundred years earlier.

Every year on the 31st of October, a number of cities, regions, and federal states in Germany mark an important event in this movement. It’s widely understood Martin Luther walked up to the Castle Church in Wittenberg and pinned his 95 Theses to the church doors on 31 October 1517. Even if direct evidence Luther actually posted papers to the doors is debatable, what’s not is that 2017 marks the 500th anniversary of the Reformation in Germany.

Martin Luther, Reformation, German Reformation, Wittenberg, Marktplatz, Saxony-Anhalt, Sachsen-Anhalt, Germany, Deutschland, fotoeins.com

The illuminated Luther memorial stands tall in front of Wittenberg’s town hall at Market Square. As UNESCO World Heritage Site, the town hosts 4 sites: Luther House, Melanchthon House, St. Mary’s Town Church, and the Castle Church. 2017 is the 500th anniversary of Luther’s Reformation in Germany. Various German federal states, regions, and cities will mark the quincentenary throughout the year. Photo at Wittenberg Marktplatz on 30 Oct 2016.


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Lebenszeit, Zeitzaehler, Gloria Friedmann, Platz am Elbbahnhof, Magdeburg, Sachsen-Anhalt, Germany, fotoeins.com

Magdeburg: Elb(e) and flow of time

I feel every hour of every day more keenly, especially as some of my contemporaries have recently died far too early. As children, we all felt we were held back, against the sluggish crawl of time. Today, we’re holding on as hard as we can, engulfed within the surge of time. Is it better to give in to the flow, or is it better to stand and making turbulence in the tide?

Along the Elbe river promenade in the east German city of Magdeburg, a sculpture appears to keep track of time in a neighbourhood not far from the city’s Cathedral.

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Green Citadel, Grüne Zitadelle, photo by Andreas Lander, Magdeburg Tourism MMKT, Hundertwasser, Magdeburg, Sachsen-Anhalt, Saxony-Anhalt, Germany, fotoeins.com

Magdeburg’s Hundertwasser landmark: the Green Citadel

“It’s so pink!”

“Yes, but by design, there’s a lot of green foliage integrated within and around the building.”

“But why is the building pink?”

“That colour irritates a few people, particularly some at the big bank next door and even some at state government offices nearby.”

Wouldn’t that be fitting for Hundertwasser, who declared straight lines as “godless” and called his final work “an oasis for humanity and nature in a sea of rational houses”?

In art and in architecture, there’s no mistaking an inevitable clash between what’s “fanciful” and what’s “functional”. Not only has this conflict always been around in some shape or form, it’s a sign there’s change, disruption, or rebellion against the staid of the contemporary. What’s also true is that what’s believed to be “common” has rarely been universal, by place or in time.

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Magdeburger Dom: oldest Gothic cathedral in Germany

As the largest Gothic church in northern Europe, Cologne’s Cathedral gets a lot of love in words and pictures for its size and splendour. But the distinction of oldest Gothic church in Germany goes to Magdeburg. The church is the city’s landmark and the church’s benefactor is part of the city’s nickname as “Ottostadt”. The full name of the church is “Dom zu Magdeburg St. Mauritius und Katharina”, or Magdeburg Cathedral of Saints Catherine and Maurice, reflecting the history at this very location since the 10th-century.

Magdeburg Cathedral is important because:

  • it’s the burial place for Otto the Great, the first German Holy Roman Emperor,
  • it’s the first church constructed in Gothic style on German soil, and
  • it’s the largest consecrated space in east Germany.

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Morning view, Morgenblick, city view, Stadtblick, Hubbruecke, Elbe river, Romanesque Road, Strasse der Romanik, Magdeburg, Sachsen-Anhalt, Saxony Anhalt, Germany, Deutschland, fotoeins.com

Magdeburg: the Otto city where Romanesque meets Luther

Above/featured: From Hubbrücke bridge over the Elbe river, churches left to right are Dom, Kloster Unser Lieben Frauen, and Johanniskirche, respectively. Photo on 3 Dec 2015.

I’ve seen the city on the map, lying halfway between Hannover and Berlin. Over the last 15 years, there’ve been far too many ICE trains along that very same stretch, bypassing the heart of Saxony-Anhalt. Curiosity eventually wins, and I’m on a train to Magdeburg.

Magdeburg is the capital city of the German federal state of Saxony-Anhalt, home to two famous Ottos, a centre for the state’s Romanesque Road, and one of the stations for (Martin) Luther Country. Founded by Charlemagne in 805 AD/CE, the city is one of the oldest German cities, celebrating their 1200th anniversary in 2005. Magdeburg was an important medieval city in the Holy Roman Empire, a member of the Hanseatic League and important trade centre along the Elbe river, a welcome settlement for Jews in the 10th-century, and one of the first places to begin separating church- from civic-rule of law in the 13th-century with the Magdeburger Recht (Magdeburg Rights).


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