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An afternoon stroll in Nuremberg’s old town


,, Nuremberg, with around half a million inhabitants, is the second-largest city in Bavaria. We missed it on a beer-and-castles tour of Germany last year, so this time, on our way back from Alsace, we decided to stop here for a day and see what the city has to offer. No beers this time: I would have been happy to sample a glass of whatever Orca Brau, Hopferei Hetrich or Ravenkraft had to offer, but we decided to dedicate our limited time to explore the architectural treasures of this Middle-Franconian city. In the center of town stands the Kaiserburg, or imperial castle, the walls of which encompass the whole of the city’s old town. As this was one of the Nazi's favorite cities, it was heavily bombed towards the end of World War Two, and so few of the buildings are original, but still, there’s plenty to see.


We parked our car in one of the multi-story parking garages in the city center (€2/h) from where we could easily walk to all the major sights. (It’s not worth parking further out – the rates are more or less identical everywhere) The fee is the same - €2 – to visit the Lorenzkirche in the town center. We’ve grown used to paying money to enter the houses of God, but this isn’t such a steep fee to see the interior of the city’s biggest church, built in the 14th century in the gothic style. Its most famous features are its rose window, which is nine meters in diameter, and the elaborately carved pulpit, but many other artistic masterpieces can also be found here.


The main square (Hauptmarkt) is just around the corner, and even before lunchtime, it’s filled with colorful stands offering all kinds of tasty treats to the hungry visitor. This is also where, in winter, the world-famous Christmas market is held, after an opening ceremony conducted on the balcony of the Frauenkirche. This Frauenkirche, or Church of Our Lady, is free to enter, though there are signs in many languages urging visitors to donate. This church is significantly smaller than St. Lorenz but no less interesting. On the façade is a mechanical clock, beneath which a little clockwork puppet emerges every day at noon to commemorate the ‘Golden Bull’ of 1356. A darker tinge is given to this pleasant picture when we learn that a synagogue stood here until 1349 until it was torn down by an antisemitic mob at the height of a pogrom.


Opposite the church is an ornamental well with a spire that rises nineteen meters into the air. On the Renaissance barrier which surrounds it are two brass rings, and it’s said that whoever spins them three times will be granted his heart’s desire. (Or not).


After this came to the church of St. Sebaldus because in my wife’s estimation, you can never see too many churches. Thank the Lord it was also right around the corner, and here too there was no entry fee. All the same, let’s just say it didn’t really impress. Though this Protestant church wasn’t built yesterday (1225-73) and is hardly ugly, the organ was a disappointment. They boast that it’s a gigantic instrument, with six thousand pipes, but what they don’t add is that it’s placed high up on the wall, and most of the mechanism is hidden behind a perfectly ordinary wooden box. More interesting was a monitor showing an animated video telling the history of the church from the thirteenth century, and showing the state it was in at the end of the Second World War.


The two most famous sights of the Kaiserburg are the castle itself (now a museum) and the Sinwell Tower, which was already closed by the time we reached it but was still interesting to look at from the outside. This is the part of time where the medieval, timbered buildings have best survived, and the most famous among them is the house of the famous Bavarian painter, Albrecht Dürer.


On our way back we came to the Weißgerbergasse, of which a huge number of photos exist on the internet (in fact, it might be a little oversaturated). We also found the spot from which most photos are taken, and it looks as though the whole street is lined with wonderful medieval houses, but in fact, just around the bend it’s all modern chain stores and apartment blocks built in the 1950s.

We sought out the Weinstadel wooden bridge, which Google lists as an interesting sight. Well, each to their own! Even if we weren’t much impressed by the bridge itself, though, the houses and squares along the banks of the Pegnitz are lovely."

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I’d say that Nuremberg is one of the most characterful German cities that we’ve visited. For breakfast, the salted pretzel (Brezel) with a cup of good tea or coffee is a must!

During the thirteen hours or so we spent walking about the city we saw every important sight, or at least everything that interested us. Must-see destinations include the railway museum (DB Museum) and the largest museum of German culture in the country – the Germanisches Nationalmuseum. By the way, the museum entry fees are a bit steep - €6-8 for an adult, and about €5 for a student ticket.

Anyone who likes visiting museums will find the center of Nuremberg fascinating. The pedestrian streets and the old but well-maintained buildings are all worth seeing. The city is divided by the Pegnitz river, and both the riversides and the bridges across it provide an impressive spectacle.

It’s also worth visiting the market square, which apart from its regular market fair, also boasts the Schöner Brunnen, or Beautiful Well, which, as the name suggests, is very pretty.

Whether you’re religious or not, Nuremberg’s many churches are not to be missed. They’re spectacular, both inside and out, but don’t expect a Baroque exuberance of interior decoration. Most are tall, Gothic buildings with brick interiors and large stained-glass windows. The best thing is, they’re all free to enter.

Even if just for a day, Nuremberg is well worth a visit. The atmosphere of this Bavarian city is quite unique, and the fine Bavarian cuisine is not the least among its attractions. Nuremberg gives a much better impression of real ‘Bavarianness’ than Munich, and there are so many sights to see that you’re unlikely ever to be bored – even if you see it all in a 13-hour, uninterrupted dash, as we did.“Almost all the sights are located within the city walls. The city wall has remained in very good condition (with 71 bastions) and encloses a relatively large area, which we essentially never left. On Saturday afternoon, we looked at the sights to the south of the Pegnitz River, which bisects the city center in about the middle, and the area to the north on Sunday.

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“Almost all the sights are located within the city walls. The city wall has remained in very good condition (with 71 bastions) and encloses a relatively large area, which we essentially never left. On Saturday afternoon, we looked at the sights to the south of the Pegnitz River, which bisects the city center in about the middle, and the area to the north on Sunday.

The main sights of the city include the old town itself, which is medieval time travel made a reality, including the house of Albrecht Dürer, the Gate Tower, the Church of St. Lawrence, the Fountain of Virtue, and the White Tower, which stands between a pedestrian street and a metro stop, the Dokumentationszentrum, a photo exhibition about Nazi Germany located within the unfinished Hitler Congress Center. Compared to the fact that the city was almost completely bombed in World War II, we can see quite a few old buildings because the locals specifically tried to restore the medieval street scene. Overall, it was a really enjoyable and relaxing weekend. I would strongly recommend visiting the city to everyone at any time of the year. 🙂”




Nuremberg - Old Town - e.l. photo

Practicals

Transport

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Nuremberg - sightseeing by bike

Accomodation

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Nuremberg - Old Town - Königstrasse - Hotel Drei Raben (Hotel Three Raven) - k.a. photo

Food

Best coffee in La Violetta

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“I can’t recommend restaurants in Nuremberg. Not because they aren’t good – there must be some restaurants serving great food there too – but it’s cheaper and there’s much better atmosphere if you buy Bavarian food at street stalls or smaller canteens. Some unmissable treats, besides the pretzels, include the local meatloaf (Leberkäse) and the Nuremberg sausage, which is quite unlike the kind of sausages to be found elsewhere, both in appearance and taste. And there is no need to fear that the portions won’t be filling enough. They cut us a slice of rump so thick that it left both of us completely full.”

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“Though life is no plate of sausages here either, the famous local specialty, the Nuremberg sausage, has been very cleverly integrated into the overall image of the city. While sightseeing, a tourist gets hungry, and if there’s one thing that can round off the experience, it’s a chance to eat a local specialty. In Nuremberg, this is the sausage that is sold in many parts of the city. There is the ‘standard version’ with three small sausages inside a bun, which can be accompanied by mustard or another condiment to taste. It is sold for three euros and is available even in restaurants if you ask for it to take away (mitnehmen is inscribed on the advertisements, which means take-out).

I walked into a genuine Bavarian restaurant next to St. Lorenz Church. The smell attracted me from afar, that siren song of sausages on a charcoal oven. The sandwich was delicious and filling, and if you want something to eat, later on, you can buy sausages in the downtown area to take away with you (that’s what I did).” (2019)

Nuremberg - sausages (Rostbratwurst)- one with cabbage, the other with potato salad - j.k. photo

Nuremberg - Atlantik Döner - the best dönet in the city (Karolinenstraße 45)- m.d. photo

Shopping

"Nuremberg, Bavaria's second-largest city: The old castle quarter, surprisingly intact, the high castle wall made of red sandstone with its many bastions, the old stone bridges, and wooden beamed houses exude an unmistakable medieval atmosphere. If you do visit, take at least four hours to walk around, without counting visits to the interior of the castle and other museums (Albrecht Dürer House, Toy Museum).

Gingerbread shopping on the main square is not to be missed, and the Christmas shop is a must – even in summer! I also bought a small bag of handmade gingerbread masterpieces, of the finest variety, which contains no flour at all (in any case, only a maximum of 10% is ever allowed) but only almonds, walnuts, marzipan, grated lemon, and orange peel and other spices.”


Public safety

Nuremberg is a very safe city for tourists (as well).

Nuremberg - Marriage Fountain (in German: Ehekarussell or Ehebrunnen), supposed to depict the tyrannical symbolism of the ups and downs of married life- Tom's photo

Others

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Nuremberg - j.k. photo

Nuremberg - j.k. photo

Background

Destination in brief

Nuremberg is in the northern part of Bavaria, north of Munich - about 110 minutes driving time  

Population (in 2020): 499,000

Religions: 26% Lutheran, 24% Roman Catholic

Average net monthly salary (in 2020): 2300 Euro (as the German average)

The dialect spoken in Nuremberg is Nürnberg-erisch and called Nermbercherisch by its speakers.

History

Nuremberg-born Peter Heinlein invented the pocket watch (in 1510).

Nuremberg - Statue of Albrecht Dürer, German painter (1471-1528), who was born in Nuremberg - j.k. photo

Attractions

Churches

Nuremberg - Church of Our Lady,a Catholic church (Frauenkirche) - j.k. photo

Nuremberg - St. Sebaldus Church (Sebalduskirche) - p.s. photo

Old Town

“The old town will be a defining experience for those who love the monumentality of medieval churches and appreciate the art of the Middle Ages. Because each church has a magical atmosphere, its interiors are decorated with very beautiful creations (you will find exquisitely beautiful winged altarpieces inside many of them). But even those who just walk the streets will be captivated by Nuremberg’s unique atmosphere, where next door to a 16th-century Renaissance house there is a familiar drugstore, and these two worlds do not disturb each other at all. The city is alive, evolving - We saw a lot of construction going on - yet it can still stay the same because it preserves its values, is proud of them, and cherishes them.” (2019)


Nuremberg - j.k. photo

Nuremberg - Old Town - Nassauer house - k.a. photo

Nuremberg - Old Town (Altstadt) - k.a. photo

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