Thursday, 18 October 2018

Magdeburg Southern Riverside Running Route

Click here for route map
Length 7.3 km (4.5 miles), terrain: flat, gain 41 meters

This Magdeburg running route will also take us along the Elbe River, but this time heading southwards. It includes an interesting mix of medieval ruins, riverside promenade, and through the extensive parkland of the Werder island between the Elbe and the Old Elbe. The whole island is a park, with lots of recreational activities available.
The state parliament of Sachsen-Anhalt on the Domplatz
We'll start this run at the same spot as the other Magdeburg route: at the beautiful cathedral square. So get yourself to the Domplatz, and let's discover this scenic side of town, with its classical buildings and ancient walls.
Berlin Wall at the cathedral
There is a section of a newer wall here: a piece of the Berlin Wall is standing right out front of the cathedral, so that's as good a spot to start as any. Run towards the back of the gothic cathedral and turn right to run out to the old city walls near the river, where you're surrounded by half-timbered, gothic buildings.

Now turn right, and you'll look out over part of the old city fortifications at Bastion Cleve. The old fort has been restored and there is a bronze miniature showing the old city walls from the Seventeenth Century. Magdeburg was once Prussia's strongest fortified town, and you can get a good feel for it by standing above the massive stone walls.
Bastion Cleve and the cathedral again
Now run around the back side of the restored ramparts and continue into the green park just beyond, Fürstenwall Park. This little park has a lot of big trees, and a war memorial to soldiers who died in the war against France in 1870.

Let's circle the park and monument, and come back towards Bastion Cleve, where there is a beer garden overlooking the river from the raised heights of the Fürstenwall. Now it's time to get over to the riverside, so cross that narrow pedestrian bridge that crosses the riverside road, Schleinufer, and then turn right, heading down the steps.

You're now running southwards in the parkland of the promenade, with the water to your left side. There are nice new waterside apartments lining the shore here. Not a bad spot to live. It's nice to see that the city has come back to life since Germany has reunified.

At the one-kilometer mark, you'll run under an old railroad bridge, the Hubbrücke, which is now used by pedestrians to get over to the parkland of Werder island.

You'll soon run under another bridge to Werder, the blue steel arch of the Sternbrücke. We'll cross that bridge later, but now we'll just keep enjoying the park and water from this side of the Elbe. The park gets wider here in Klosterberge Park.
Along the Elbe at Klosterberge Park
After the 2-km mark, though, the park narrows to a point, so we'll turn around there and follow the trail northwards along the western edge of Klosterberge Park (along the left side) to see a bit more of the park on the inland side. There is another beer garden (yay!) and a Botanical Garden and a pond at the 3-km mark, which you'll pass before you get back to the Sternbrücke.

But this time we'll cross the bridge to the east side of the Elbe and explore a bit of the island, which sits between the present river and the Alte Elbe (Old Elbe). There's even a narrow third river bed that splits the island down the middle, the Taube Elbe.
Stadthalle on Werder Island
When you cross the bridge, you can take a look at the old steamship, the Württemberg sitting there up on dry land, and the big Stadthalle exhibition grounds, with its lookout tower.

Almost the whole island is occupied by the Rotehorn Park, with extensive tree-lined trails for great running. This route will only explore a bit of the park, but you could spend a lot more time continuing around this interesting island.

We'll head south from the Stadthalle along the trail called Heinrich Heine Weg, past the adventure playground and the skateboard park. There is a gravel trail next to a paved street, so it's good to stay on the gravel, although hardly any cars go down the road.

When the road splits, turn left on the pedestrian trail heading northeast. This soon takes us over a wooden bridge to a little island, Marieninsel, set picturesquely in a little lake. There is a beautiful Greek-temple-style pavilion on the island, which sits in the Taube Elbe.

You could continue onwards, seeing the east side of the island, if you wish. There are sports fields and boat clubs, and if you head to the south point of the park, you'll come to the remains of an old fort, Fort XII. As its name suggests, there were at least a dozen such dirt-walled forts once guarding the approaches to the city.
Boat club in Rotehorn Park
From the Marieninsel, head back west, past the Stadthalle and re-cross the Sternbrücke, back to town.

Now, we'll continue northwards again on the riverside promenade, approaching the old-town as we pass the new apartments again, at the 6-km mark.

When you come to the little pedestrian bridge leading up to Bastion Cleve, let's ignore it and continue along the river for a little bit, passing the riverside restaurants and the rocks out in the river.

To the left, across the street, you can see the stone city walls, the Fürstenwall. When you see a pink pedestrian bridge leading from the northern end of those walls, cross the road to the left using the zebra stripes. The idea is to run along the back side of the town walls, through a series of interesting old courtyards.
Tree growing up through the Fürstenwall, from courtyard
So now turn left behind the wall onto Fürstenwallstraße, before the modern office building. It doesn't look like the street will go anywhere, but just run next to the wall and you'll continue into the courtyards further on. They have some quiet gardens, fountains, statues and old trees: a hidden gem that most people only see from above if they look down from the walls.

You'll exit the last courtyard via an arched gate in the stone wall, where you turn right and head uphill past the beautiful old houses behind the cathedral. Now just continue up the hill to the cathedral square again, with its dancing fountains and classical buildings, and maybe decide to enjoy a beer in that beer garden across the square!

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