Cathedral Square (Domplatz), formerly known as New Market, looks back on more than 1000 years of history. Emperor Otto the First decided to set up his favourite palatinate here and it became an imperial residence which earned its place among the largest ones in middle Europe. It was meant to be the centre of his empire.
The remnants of the ancient palatinate were carefully excavated between 1959 and 1968. At that time, traces of a Carolingian fortress and prehistoric artefacts were also found here. What remained of the imperial palatinate were the foundations of a large hall with side columns, exterior and interior apsides, two spiral staircases and spanning walls within the interior construction.
Just like the first cathedral in Romanesque style, the Ottonian palatinate probably fell victim to the devastating city fire in 1207. After that, it simply served as a quarry for the reconstruction of the cathedral.
At the end of the 17th century, much construction work began to transform Magdeburg into the strongest Prussian fortress and the Cathedral Square again suffered many changes. After 1688, it was paved with stones and became a drill ground for soldiers living in the surrounding barracks. The pavement pattern was designed to meet the demands of heavy drill activities.
Most of the buildings at Cathedral Square were erected in Baroque style at the end of the 18th century. Some magnificent buildings deserve a special mention such as the houses at Cathedral Square No. 1 which belong to the old and new bailiwick, the former Kurfürsten castle built at the end of the 18th century at Cathedral Square Nos. 2 and 3, the so-called Fürstenhof (sovereign's court) at No. 5, and the northern side of the square which was restored to its previous splendour in 1953. You will learn more about this northern side of the square at the next stop of our city tour.