The Altmark (English: Old March  ) is a historic region in Germany, comprising the northern third of Saxony-Anhalt. As the initial territory of the March of Brandenburg, it is sometimes referred to as the "Cradle of Prussia", as by Otto von Bismarck, a native from Schönhausen near Stendal.
The Altmark is located west of the Elbe river between the cities of Hamburg and Magdeburg, mostly included in the present-day [update] districts of Altmarkkreis Salzwedel and Stendal. In the west, the Drawehn hill range and the Drömling depression separate it from the Lüneburg Heath in Lower Saxony; the Altmark also borders the Wendland region in the north and the Magdeburg Börde in the south. Adjacent east of the Elbe is the historical Prignitz region.
The population is small. The cultural landscape within the North European Plain is rural and widely covered with forests and heathlands. The largest towns are Stendal, with a population of 39,000, and Salzwedel (21,500).
Before the Migration Period of 300 to 700 AD, the Lombards had settled the future Altmark. Subsequently, Old Germanic Saxon tribes lived in the northwest and Polabian Slavs in the eastern territories along the Elbe. After the Saxon Wars, waged by Charlemagne from 772 to 804, the lands became part of the Carolingian Empire. They formed part of the Eastphalian territory of the Duchy of Saxony, which, from 843 onwards, constituted the eastern borderlands of East Francia under Louis the German. The bishops of Verden and of Halberstadt promoted the Christianisation of the Saxon population.
In 936 the German king Otto I allotted the territory of the later Altmark to the Saxon Count Gero, in order to subdue the West Slavic Wends settling on the Elbe. Gero thereafter campaigned in the Slavic lands far beyond the river Elbe and thereafter established the Saxon Marca Geronis stretching up to the Oder in the east. Upon Gero's death in 965, his marca was split and the Northern March was granted to Dietrich of Haldensleben, who nevertheless turned out to be an incapable ruler and lost all the territories east of the Elbe in the Slavic Lutici uprising of 983. He retained only his margravial title and the initial land basis of his predecessor Gero's conquests west of the river.
For over one and a half century, the lands east of the Elbe defied German control, until in 1134 Emperor Lothair of Supplinburg bestowed the Northern March on the Ascanian count Albert the Bear. Albert signed an inheritance contract with the Slavic Hevelli prince Pribislav and in 1150 succeeded him in his eastern territory around the fortress of Brandenburg an der Havel, which became the nucleus of his newly established Margraviate of Brandenburg in 1157.
As the Brandenburg margraves expanded their territory during the course of the Ostsiedlung , the original western territory of the Northern March became known as the Altmark (literally "Old March") in contrast to the Mittelmark (Middle March) and Neumark (New March) beyond the Oder river; the written record first mentions it in 1304 as Antiqua Marchia.
As part of Brandenburg, from 1415 held by the House of Hohenzollern, the Altmark became part of Brandenburg-Prussia and (from 1701) of the Kingdom of Prussia. After Prussia's defeat at the hands of Napoleon in 1806, the terms of the Treaty of Tilsit (1807) assigned the territory of the Altmark to the new Kingdom of Westphalia. Prussia regained the area upon Napoleon's defeat (per Article XXIII of the Final Act of the Congress of Vienna, 1815); however, it was incorporated into the new Prussian Province of Saxony rather than being attached to the Province of Brandenburg.  Within Prussian Saxony, the Altmark was subdivided into the districts of Salzwedel, Gardelegen, Osterburg, and Stendal, all administered within the Regierungsbezirk of Magdeburg.
After World War II the Altmark, lying to the east of the inner German border, became part of the new state of Saxony-Anhalt in the Soviet occupation zone. The regional administration of East Germany saw it administered within Bezirk Magdeburg from 1952 to 1990. With German reunification in 1990, the Altmark became part of a reconstituted Saxony-Anhalt.
The region is drained by the Elbe, joined by the Havel at Havelberg, and its left tributaries of the Milde-Biese-Aland system and the Jeetzel river.
The largest natural lake of the Altmark is the Arendsee.
The Altmark is located off the main traffic routes. The Bundesautobahn 14 leads to the Bundesautobahn 2 from Hanover to Berlin, it however ends north of Magdeburg. A continuation through the Altmark towards Schwerin is planned. Beside which the Federal roads B71, B107, B188, B189, B190, B248 run through the region.
Stendal station is a stop on the Hanover–Berlin high-speed railway. Other lines include:
Coordinates: 52°43′N11°24′E / 52.717°N 11.400°E
Saxony-Anhalt is a state of Germany, bordering the states of Brandenburg, Saxony, Thuringia and Lower Saxony. It covers an area of 20,447.7 square kilometres (7,894.9 sq mi) and has a population of 2.19 million inhabitants, making it the 8th-largest state in Germany by area and the 11th-largest by population. Its capital is Magdeburg and its largest city is Halle (Saale).
Salzwedel is a town in Saxony-Anhalt, Germany. It is the capital of the district (Kreis) of Altmarkkreis Salzwedel, and has a population of approximately 21,500. Salzwedel is located on the German Timber-Frame Road.
Altmarkkreis Salzwedel is a district in Saxony-Anhalt, Germany. It is bounded by the districts Gifhorn, Uelzen, Lüchow-Dannenberg in Lower Saxony, and the districts of Stendal and Börde (district).
The Archbishopric of Magdeburg was a Roman Catholic archdiocese (969–1552) and Prince-Archbishopric (1180–1680) of the Holy Roman Empire centered on the city of Magdeburg on the Elbe River.
Stendal is a district (Landkreis) in the north-east of Saxony-Anhalt, Germany. Its neighbouring districts are : Jerichower Land, Börde, Altmarkkreis Salzwedel, Lüchow-Dannenberg in Lower Saxony, and the districts of Prignitz, Ostprignitz-Ruppin and Havelland in Brandenburg.
The Province of Saxony, also known as Prussian Saxony was a province of the Kingdom of Prussia and later the Free State of Prussia from 1816 until 1944. Its capital was Magdeburg.
Werben (Elbe) is a town in the district of Stendal, in Saxony-Anhalt, Germany.
Schönhausen is a municipality in the district of Stendal in Saxony-Anhalt in Germany. It is the seat of the Verbandsgemeinde Elbe-Havel-Land.
Packebusch is a village and a former municipality in the district Altmarkkreis Salzwedel, in Saxony-Anhalt, Germany. Since 1 January 2010, it is part of the town Kalbe.
Krevese is a village and a former municipality in the district of Stendal, in Saxony-Anhalt, Germany. Since 1 July 2009, it is part of the town Osterburg (Altmark).
The Province of Magdeburg was a province of the Free State of Prussia within Nazi Germany from 1944 to 1945. The provincial capital was Magdeburg.
The Bezirk Magdeburg was a district (Bezirk) of East Germany. The administrative seat and the main town was Magdeburg.
The Nordthüringgau was a medieval county in the Eastphalian region of the German stem duchy of Saxony.
Stendal is a railway station in the town of Stendal, Saxony-Anhalt, Germany. The station lies on the Berlin-Lehrte railway, Hanover–Berlin high-speed railway, Magdeburg-Wittenberge railway, Stendal–Uelzen railway, Stendal-Tangermünde railway and Stendal–Niedergörne railway. It is an important railway hub for regional trains and is also used by Intercity and Intercity-Express (ICE) trains regularly. Until the winter 2012 timetable Stendal station was only by Deutsche Bahn trains. Since December 2012, the station has also been served by some services operated by Ostdeutsche Eisenbahn. It is classified by Deutsche Bahn as a category 3 station.
The Magdeburg-Wittenberge railway is a two-track, electrified main line in the east of the German state of Saxony-Anhalt. It is one of the oldest lines in Germany, opened in 1849 by the Magdeburg-Wittenberge Railway Company, which operated it until 1863, when it was taken over by the Magdeburg-Halberstadt Railway Company. It was nationalised in 1879.
In the Slavic revolt of 983, Polabian Slavs, Wends, Lutici and Obotrite tribes, that lived east of the Elbe River in modern north-east Germany overthrew an assumed Ottonian rule over the Slavic lands and rejected Christianization under Emperor Otto I.
Salzwedel station is the station of the district town of Salzwedel in Altmark in the German state of Saxony-Anhalt. Until 2004, it was a railway junction, but as a result of the closure of nearly all branch lines it has lost most of its importance. Only one railway line still runs through Salzwedel.
The S-Bahn Mittelelbe is part of the public transport network of the metropolitan area of Magdeburg, the state capital of Saxony-Anhalt. The S-Bahn is operated by the Elbe Saale Bahn, a subsidiary of DB Regio Südost, on behalf of the Nahverkehrsservice Sachsen-Anhalt. The S-Bahn currently consists of one line between Schönebeck-Salzelmen, Magdeburg, Stendal and Wittenberge, using the Schönebeck–Güsten, Magdeburg–Leipzig and Magdeburg–Wittenberge lines.
Altmark is an electoral constituency represented in the Bundestag. It elects one member via first-past-the-post voting. Under the current constituency numbering system, it is designated as constituency 66. It is located in northern Saxony-Anhalt, comprising the districts of Altmarkkreis Salzwedel and Stendal.