afternoon stroll in Nuremberg’s old town
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
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.
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).
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.
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.
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.
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."
“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.
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.
“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. 🙂”