German town law

Town charter for Höchst on Main and Gau-Algesheim from February 11, 1355
Timeline of medieval German charter cities grouped by type.

Set of early town privileges based on the Magdeburg rights developed by Otto I.

- German town law

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Magdeburg rights

Magdeburg rights (Magdeburger Recht; also called Magdeburg Law) were a set of town privileges first developed by Otto I, Holy Roman Emperor (936–973) and based on the Flemish Law, which regulated the degree of internal autonomy within cities and villages granted by the local ruler.

City charter of Kraków, Poland's medieval capital; inscribed in Latin.
Monument to the Magdeburg Rights in Kyiv

They became the basis for the German town laws developed during many centuries in the Holy Roman Empire.

Lübeck law

The family of codified municipal law developed at Lübeck, which became a free imperial city in 1226 and is located in present day Schleswig-Holstein.

"Bardewik Codex" of Lübeck Law, written in 1294, Jurjewetz, Kunsthist. Museum I-OKM-2010

It still serves as a foundation for German town laws in many of those cities.


Second-largest city of the German state of Bavaria after its capital Munich, and its 518,370 (2019) inhabitants make it the 14th-largest city in Germany.

Old fortifications of Nuremberg
The Imperial Castle
Nuremberg in 1493 (from the Nuremberg Chronicle).
Map of Nuremberg, 1648
Wolffscher Bau of the old city hall
Old town of Nuremberg in the 19th century
The British-built Adler was the locomotive of the first German Railway between Nuremberg and Fürth.
Nuremberg rally, 1935
Defendants in the dock at the Nuremberg trials
Map of Nuremberg
Nuremberg in Bavaria
Albrecht Dürer's House
Christkindlesmarkt with Schöner Brunnen
The Nuremberg State Theatre
Bardentreffen 2013
Nürnberger Bratwurst
The Hochschule für Musik Nürnberg
The main railway station
An U-Bahn station in Nuremberg.
An automatic U-Bahn train on the line U3
Max-Morlock-Stadion is the soccer stadium of Bundesliga club 1. FC Nürnberg
Twin towns/sister cities and associated cities of Nuremberg
Adam Kraft
Albrecht Dürer
Hans Sachs, wood engraving
Peter Henlein
Maria Sibylla Merian, 1679
Sigismung, 1433
Frederick I, Elector of Brandenburg
Ludwig Andreas Feuerbach
Markus Söder, 2018
Olga Jensch-Jordan, 1931
Maximilian Mueller, 2008

In 1219 Emperor Frederick II granted the Großen Freiheitsbrief ('Great Letter of Freedom'), including town rights, Imperial immediacy (Reichsfreiheit), the privilege to mint coins, and an independent customs policy - almost wholly removing the city from the purview of the burgraves.

Środa Śląska

Town in the Lower Silesian Voivodeship, in south-western Poland.

Medieval town walls
Saint Andrew church
Nativity of Mary church
Town hall
Exaltation of the Holy Cross church
Prosecutor's office
Post office
The golden crown of the Środa treasure

At around 1235, he granted the settlement a special law, based on the Magdeburg law, but adapted to the local conditions (średzkie law/Neumarkter Recht).


Capital and second-largest city of the German state of Saxony-Anhalt, after Halle (Saale).

Kaiser Otto I and his wife Edith arrive near Magdeburg (Hugo Vogel 1898, Ständehaus Merseburg)
Gaspar Schott's sketch of Otto von Guericke's Magdeburg hemispheres experiment.
Districts of Magdeburg
Population 1400 to 1870
Population since 1871
Magdeburg Christmas market
The GETEC Arena
Lake-Stage at Elbauenpark
Magdeburg Vertical-lift bridge (Hubbrücke)
Cathedral of Magdeburg
The three churches at night
Grüne Zitadelle
Otto von Guericke
Erich Ollenhauer Bundestag 1954
Friedrich Wilhelm von Steuben 1782
Map of Magdeburg, 1900
Sealing stamp (1850–1923)
Magdeburg after World War II
Destroyed Magdeburg
Magdeburg is the capital and seat of the Landtag of Saxony-Anhalt
Otto-von-Guericke University Magdeburg, created in 1993
The Green Citadel of Magdeburg, built in 2005
Magdeburg during the 2013 Elbe flood
Magdeburg's centre has a number of Stalinist buildings from the 1950s.
Aerial view of the University area
Campus tower of the Otto-von-Guericke University Magdeburg
Magdeburg library
Magdeburg-Stendal University of Applied Science
View over Magdeburg in 2012
Cathedral of Magdeburg
Kloster Unser Lieben Frauen
The three churches on the banks of the Elbe river
Magdeburg Hauptbahnhof
Magdeburg Opera
The Grüne Zitadelle (Green Citadel)
View over Elbauenpark with Jahrtausendturm
Elbe river in Magdeburg
City Hall with Sankt-Johannis-Church
Jerusalem Bridges
The Elbe in Magdeburg
Magdeburg Water Bridge
The Hasselbachplatz, an important transport hub
The Magdeburger Reiter
Allee-Center shopping centre is one of seven shopping centres
Magdeburg Christmas market
Entrance - Zoo Magdeburg
Campus tower of the Otto-von-Guericke University Magdeburg
Aerial view of the Magdeburg-Stendal University of Applied Sciences

Magdeburg's version of German town law, known as Magdeburg rights, spread throughout Central and Eastern Europe.

Upper Silesia

Southeastern part of the historical and geographical region of Silesia, located today mostly in Poland, with small parts in the Czech Republic.

Moravian-Silesian Beskids
Silesian flag used by Silesians
Coat of arms of Upper Silesia as drawn by Hugo Gerard Ströhl (1851–1919)
1746 map of Upper Silesia, Homann heirs, Nuremberg
Silesian Parliament in Katowice
Silesian dumplings
Silesian gorals

Promoted by the Lower Silesian Duke Henry I the Bearded, from 1230 also regent over Upper Silesia for the minor sons of his late cousin Duke Casimir I of Opole, large parts of the Silesian lands were settled with German immigrants in the course of the Ostsiedlung, establishing numerous cities according to German town law.

Kulm law

Legal constitution for a municipal form of government used in several Central European cities during the Middle Ages.

Constitution of the Year XII (First French Republic)

It was initiated on 28 December 1233 in the Monastic State of the Teutonic Knights by Hochmeister Hermann von Salza and Hermann Balk when the towns of Thorn (Toruń) and Chełmno (Kulm) received German town law, in particular as a modification of Magdeburg rights.

History of Poland during the Piast dynasty

First major stage of the history of the Polish state.

Important early stages in the history of the Polish state and church took place on the island of Ostrów Tumski. Remnants of the original palatium–chapel complex of Poland's first Christian ruling couple have been found beneath the church in the foreground. The Poznań Cathedral is located on the right.
Expansion of the Polans territory under the Piast dynasty in the 10th century
An image on the Gniezno Doors at the entrance to Gniezno Cathedral depicts Bolesław buying Adalbert's body back from the Prussians
Poland (992–1025); area within dark pink color represents the borders at the end of the rule of Mieszko I (992); dark red border comprises the area at the end of the reign of Bolesław I (1025)
Mieszko II shown allegorically with Duchess Matilda of Swabia
St. Andrew's Church in Kraków (built in the 11th century)
St. Leonard's Crypt is all that remains of the second Romanesque Wawel Cathedral of Władysław Herman
Płock Cathedral is the burial place of Władysław I Herman and Bolesław III Wrymouth
Poland during the rule of Bolesław III Wrymouth
Collegiate church in Tum
Mongol invasion of Poland (late 1240–1241) culminated in the Battle of Legnica
Ostsiedlung or German settlement in the east, miniature from Sachsenspiegel
Thorn (Toruń), established by the Teutonic Knights became a member of the Hanseatic League
Henry IV of Wrocław in the Codex Manesse, about 1300
Archbishop Jakub Świnka
Gothic Cathedral of St. John the Baptist in Wrocław
A fragment of a sandstone sarcophagus depicting Władysław I the Elbow-high in Wawel Cathedral, Kraków
Sarcophagus of Casimir the Great at Wawel Cathedral
Poland at the end of the rule of Casimir III (1370) is shown within the dark red border; Silesia (yellow) was lost, while the kingdom had expanded to the east
Foundation of the Collegiate church in Wiślica by Casimir III the Great
Queen Jadwiga was the great-granddaughter of Władysław I the Elbow-high
St. Mary's Church in Kraków

The German, Polish and other new rural settlements represented a form of feudal tenancy with legal immunity and German town laws were often utilized as its legal bases.


Term for the High Medieval migration period of ethnic Germans into and beyond the territories at the eastern periphery of the Holy Roman Empire and the consequences for settlement development and social structures in the immigration areas.

Phases of German eastward expansion adapted from Walter Kuhn
The Limes Saxoniae border between the Saxons and the Slavic Obotrites, established about 810
The division of the Carolingian Empire, Treaty of Verdun, 843
West-Slavic peoples in Europe until 1125 (yellow borders). Prussia (identified as Pruzzia) has not been a Slavic, but Baltic land.
Stages of German eastern settlement, 700-1400
lands of the Teutonic Order in 1410
Teutonic state in 1466
Three-field system with ridge and furrow fields (furlongs)
Timber Frame House
St. Mary of Brandenburg, built on top of the pagan Triglav sanctuary, by Zacharias Garcaeus, 1588
Sachsenspiegel depicting the Ostsiedlung. A Lokator receives the foundation charter from the landlord and acts as village judge. Settlers clear forests and build houses.
Ethnic Germans in Central/Eastern Europe, 1925
Subcarpathian (Małopolska) Germans in the 15th century
Bilingual German-Sorbian road signs in Saxony, Germany
German eastward expansion 895—1400, Historischer Schul-Atlas, 1893
Viktor Kress, governor of the Tomsk Oblast, Russia is ethnic German.

The introduction of German town law, resulting in far-reaching administrative and judicial rights for the towns. The townspeople were personally free, enjoyed far-reaching property rights and were subject to the town's own jurisdiction only. The privileges granted to the towns were copied, sometimes with minor changes, from the legal charters of the (Lübeck Law in 33 towns at the southern coast of the Baltic Sea), the Magdeburg Law in Brandenburg, areas of modern Saxony, Lusatia, Silesia, northern Bohemia, northern Moravia and the Teutonic Order state, the Nuremberg Law in southwestern Bohemia, the Brünn Law (Brno) in Moravia, based on the charter of Vienna), the Iglau Law (Jihlava) in Bohemian and Moravian mining areas. Besides these basic town laws, several adapted town charters.


City on the Łyna River in northern Poland.

Old Town Hall on the Market Square
Saint James's Parish Church (now Pro-cathedral) in the Old Town
Battle of Allenstein (Olsztyn), February 3 1807
Historic building that was once the headquarters of Gazeta Olsztyńska (Olsztyn Daily Newspaper)
Kopernikusplatz (postcard, 1917)
Józef Bem Square, 2020
Headquarters of various Polish organizations in the interbellum
Home Army monument
Olsztyn Castle
Interior of the Olsztyn Castle
Remains of the Jewish cemetery
Lake Ukiel (Krzywe)
Lake Kortowskie
Lake Tyrsko (Żbik)
Districts of Olsztyn
Stefan Jaracz Theatre (built 1925)
Museum of Nature
Old townhouses at the Rynek (Market Square) in the Old Town
Michelin Polska tyre company
Tram network in Olsztyn re-opened in December 2015
Olsztyn-Mazury Airport
Main library building of the Olsztyn University
KOS Orlik - A public football field near the 18th Primary School
Statue of Nicolaus Copernicus in front of the castle
Plaque commemorating Feliks Nowowiejski on his former home
High Gate
Our Lady Queen of Poland Church
New City Hall
Astronomical observatory
Jerusalem Chapel
Sacred Heart church
Voivodeship office

Allenstein was granted municipal rights by the cathedral chapter of the Bishopric of Warmia in October 1353.