Magdeburg, a fortified city of Prussia, capital of the province of Saxony, on the left bank of the Elbe, 76 m. S. W. of Berlin; pop. in 1871, including Sudenburg, 84,401; with Neu-stadt-Magdeburg (20,404) and Buckau (9,696), 114,501, besides the garrison, 7.254 men. The Altstadt, or the principal part of the fortification, extends along the river, and comprises 11 bastions. South of the Altstadt is the Sternschanze or star bastion, outside the Sudenburg gate, which is considered one of the strongest points. The two are connected by Fort Scharnhorst; and on an island of the Elbe, opposite the Altstadt, and united to it by a bridge, is the citadel, which serves also as a state prison, and in which Lafayette was confined. Another bridge leads to the Frie-drichsstadt or Thurmschanze (tower bastion), on the opposite or right bank of the river. So extensive are the works that an army of 100,000 men would be required to invest them completely. The houses of the city are for the most part large and handsome, but near the citadel are crowded, and many of the streets are narrow.
The most remarkable of the 10 Protestant churches of Magdeburg is the cathedral, built in the 13th and the first half of the 14th century, one of the finest Gothic monuments in N. Germany, surmounted by two towers about 350 ft. high, finished in 1520, with a nave 120 ft. high, a pulpit of alabaster, now sadly mutilated, 45 smaller altars, with a great variety and beauty in the Romanesque capitals and tympana, and containing the bronze statue of Archbishop Ernest, the tomb of the emperor Otho the Great, and relics of Gen. Tilly. In St. Sebastian's church is the grave of Otto von Guericke, the inventor of the air pump. The equestrian monument of the emperor Otho before the town hall is the oldest in the town. The town hall was built in 1691 and enlarged in 1866. Magdeburg is connected by steamers with Hamburg, and by five railways with the principal towns of Europe. A canal commencing 20 m. below the town unites the Elbe with the Havel.
The manufactures consist principally of woollen, linen, and cotton cloth, silk and cotton ribbons, leather, gloves, soap, and candles. There are also important cotton and worsted mills, beet-sugar and chiccory factories, breweries, distilleries, oil and vinegar works; and of late the number of machine shops and iron works has largely increased. - Magdeburg is of very ancient origin, and had the privileges of a town in the time of Charlemagne. A Benedictine convent was established there in 937 by Otho the Great, and an archbishopric in 967, which was raised by Pope John XIII. to the primacy of Germany. Luther spent one of his early years at the Franciscan school of Magdeburg, supporting himself by singing in the streets. On account of its being among the first to embrace the reformation, the town was excommunicated, and was besieged by the elector Maurice of Saxony, Sept. 16, 1550, and surrendered Nov. 9, 1551. During the thirty years' war Magdeburg, in 1620, resisted the imperialists for seven months; but On the morning of May 10 (new style 20) Tilly carried it by assault, and massacred about 25,000 of the inhabitants without distinction of age or sex, reducing the town to ashes, except the cathedral and about 140 houses.
In the despatch in which he announced the capture he wrote: "Since the destruction of Jerusalem and Troy such-a victory has not been." Upon the house ' of the commandant, whom he beheaded, may be still read the words: "Remember the 10th of May, 1631." By the peace of Westphalia of 1648, the archbishopric of Magdeburg was allotted to the house of Brandenburg. In 1806, after the battle of Jena, the fortress, though garrisoned by a large force, was surrendered to the French by Gen. Kleist after 14 days' siege. The last siege was the obstinate one which the French stood there in 1813-'14. In 1865 the suburb of Sudenburg was fully consolidated with the Altstadt. In 1869 an enlargement of the city was begun by demolishing the walls and gates of Sudenburg, and considerably advancing the fortifications.