From this page, you can pay a virtual visit to selected towns and cities once endowed with and/or associated with Magdeburg law: click on the links to read our detailed essays by international academics from a range of disciplines, such as history, archaeology and art history.

Barczewko / Alt-Wartenburg (PL)

A civic settlement in the ‘Great Wilderness’, founded and destroyed within a quarter of a century

At the side of Lake Wadag, at the village of Barczewko/Alt-Wartenburg near Olsztyn (Warmian-Masurian Voivodeship, north-eastern Poland), lie the walls of the first town of Wartenburg (Barczewko), destroyed during hostilities in 1354. Today’s Barczewo stands on the site of its re-establishment at a different location, since which time the remains of the first town have lain… read more

Berlin (DE)

Berlin-Cölln. Two medieval market towns on the banks of the Spree: how they evolved into a dual city assured of its place in the world

It is difficult to imagine the Berlin of today without its emblem, the bear, that graces its coat of arms. On pretty much any walk through the city, we will encounter it innumerable times, as a part of monuments, pointing out the sights, or in the logos of companies or organisations, transporting a sense of connection with their base. We know that Berlin took the bear as its seal in medieval times… read more

Leipzig (DE)

Endowed with Halle and Magdeburg law between 1156 and 1170

The city of Leipzig in the German state of Saxony has a current population of almost 600,000, making it the largest in the German region encompassing Saxony, Saxony-Anhalt and Thuringia. The most powerful influence in Leipzig’s rich history is its long tradition of hosting trade fairs and serving as a mercantile centre of significance at European level. Its university, founded in 1409, was and remains… read more

Lviv / Lemberg (UA)

One city, four municipalities

The city of Lviv (L’viv/Lemberg) in today’s Ukraine is situated on what was once a trading route from the Bavarian cities of Regensburg and Nuremberg to Prague, Kraków and beyond to Constantinople and the Black Sea ports. Archaeological finds bear witness to settlement in the region starting in the sixth century CE. The first indicators of the city… read more

Kraków / Cracow (PL)

A European metropolis of Magdeburg lawThe establishment of a new town under Magdeburg law, proclaimed on 5 June 1257 by Duke Bolesław V the Chaste (whose reign spanned 1243–1279), was a foundational event for Kraków/Cracow in the true sense of the word. Notwithstanding the primarily legal and planning-based character of the endeavour, the city’s foundation generated… read more