Length 8.4 km (5.2 miles), terrain: flat, gain 28 meters
I first visited Magdeburg in the mid 1990s, and I wasn't very impressed back then. There was a nice cathedral and a nearby park, but most of the rest of town still radiated the uninspired character of its socialist past, full of drab concrete blocks, and older buildings which were falling apart.
So, on my return visit a few weeks ago, I was interested in seeing if my original judgement might be swayed in some way. And the current status: the city has been beautifully rebuilt, a total makeover, with lots of interesting neighborhoods, outdoor cafes and restaurants, and miles of riverside promenades. It's the perfect spot for some fun discovery using your own two feet.
This is the first of a couple of Magdeburg running routes that I'll write-up here. It will start in the heart of town, on the cathedral square, follow the city-walls for a few blocks, and then head north along the Elbe River, following the park-like promenade all the way to the old harbor, then back again. On the return leg, we'll turn inland to explore a few of the historic riverside neighborhoods along the way.
So lets get ourselves to the Domplatz (Cathedral Square), right next to that twin-towered gothic cathedral. The 700-year-old church is impressive within, too, so make sure you take the time to go inside later on.
So now, let's get going, and see what else Magdeburg has in store for us...
Turn towards the cathedral, and run around its back side, along Remtergang. This is a cool little neighborhood with some narrow lanes and hidden parks.
|Remtergang, with cathedral in background|
|On top of the Fürstenwall city wall|
Now you just keep going until the turnaround spot about four kilometers ahead.
You'll then run around the back side of a riverside restaurant and a cool beach bar (in the summer). Then comes a boat-landing section, with a big parking lot for the passengers. Riverboats cruise the Elbe from this spot.
|At the riverside restaurant|
You'll then pass some abandoned silos in the historic harbor, at the four-kilometer mark. Then the trail brings you to the Science Harbor Museum, (Wissenschaftshafen), with a few restored ships and harbor bridges and warehouses, a cool beach-bar, and other stuff for fans of Victorian-era technology.
|The lifting bridge at the old harbor|
|Beach bar with restored river tugboat in background|
|Cannon along the trail|
On the other side, along the hillside, you'll see a line of three ancient churches, beginning with the little Magdalena Chapel. Run up through the little garden to get a closer view, at the six-kilometer mark. Then run a block north, down Neustädter Straße to view the other two churches, one in the Catholic University, the other is the Wallonenkirche, once used by French-speaking Huguenaut refugees, originally a monastery.
|Magdalena Chapel and the other churches|
|Martin Luther at the Johanniskirche|
|The town hall with golden rider|
|Roland standing guard|
You'll soon come to the art museum in the restored thousand-year-old monastery Unser Lieber Frau, Magdeburg's oldest building.
Out front of the abbey church, turn right to run along Kreuzgangstraße for one block to that undulating pink building, topped by trees. This is the "Green Citadel", the last building designed by eccentric Austrian architect Friedensreich Hundertwasser. Hundertwasser hated square spaces and the results are refreshingly obvious in this creative project, topped by golden spheres and strange towers with spiraling balconies.
|Hundertwasser's Green Citadel|
|In one of the courtyards|