The capital of Saxony-Anhalt is one of the country’s oldest cities, founded some 1200 years ago and home to the first Gothic cathedral on German soil. Magdeburg’s newest architectural attraction, meanwhile, is the whimsical Grüne Zitadelle (Green Citadel), the last building of eccentric artist-architect Friedensreich Hundertwasser.
Few people could deny that Magdeburg is aesthetically challenged, thanks to WWII bombs and socialist city planners in love with wide boulevards and prefab concrete apartment blocks, the so-called Plattenbauten. But the Elbe River – demoted to industrial waterway in GDR times – is again a vital part of the city's green side, lined with beer gardens, beach bars, a promenade and a paved bikeway. The most historic parts of town are Hegelstrasse and nearby Hasselbachplatz.