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Magdeburg - Magdeburger Dom 02 | by Daniel Mennerich
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Magdeburg - Magdeburger Dom 02

The highly educated Prince-Archbishop Albert I of Käfernburg, having had traveled in Italy and France, decided to construct the new cathedral modelled upon the Gothic architecture that had intrigued him in France. The French style was completely unknown in Germany, and the hired craftsmen only gradually mastered it.

 

The construction of the choir started in 1209, only two years after the fire that destroyed the previous church, but this choir is still in a very Romanesque style, initially still using romanesque groin vaults, combined with a gothic center stone, which however is not needed for Romanesque groin vaults.

 

The Gothic influence increased especially between 1235 and 1260 under Archbishop Wilbrand. As the construction was supervised by different people in the span of 300 years, many changes were made to the original plan, and the cathedral size expanded greatly. The people of Magdeburg were not always happy with this, since they had to pay for the construction. In some cases already constructed walls and pillars were torn down to suit the wishes of the current supervisor.

 

Construction stopped after 1274. In 1325, Archbishop Burchard III. von Schraplau was killed by the people of Magdeburg because of extreme taxes. Folklore says that especially the beer tax increase caused much anger. Afterwards Magdeburg was under a ban, and only after the donation of five atonement altars did the construction of the cathedral continue under Archbishop Otto von Hessen. Otto was also able to complete the interior construction, and formally opened the dome in 1363 in a week-long festival. At this time the cathedral was dedicated not only to St Maurice as before, but also to Saint Catherine.

 

In 1360 the construction stopped again after the uncompleted parts have been covered provisionally. Only in 1477 did the construction start again under Archbishop Ernst von Sachsen, including the two towers. The towers were constructed by master builder Bastian Binder, the only master builder of the cathedral known by name. The construction of the cathedral was completed in 1520 with the placement of the ornamental cross on the north tower.

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Taken on July 12, 2015