The idea of a city break in Nurnberg or Nuremberg, the second largest city in Bavaria, came during the drive to Wales. It was right on our route and we wanted to visit the Dokumentationszentrum Reichsparteitagsgelände, the documentation center of the Nazi party. Because of the short time available, it was not to be. Instead, I discovered an unexpectedly beautiful city, with an old center full of history and crowded with tourists, even though it was the end of October.
Being the center of Nazi propaganda during the 1920s, the city was 90% destroyed during the Second World War. It was completely rebuilt and today it is an important tourist town and the place where the most beautiful Christmas markets in Germany are held. Although it has only 518,000+ inhabitants, the city of Nuremberg has both metro and tram in its local transport structure. After the end of the war, between 1945-1949, the Nuremberg Trials took place here, where the biggest Nazi war criminals were tried and punished.
The main tourist area of the city is the medieval city, which stretches over a length of 1300 meters and a width of 600 meters and which includes most of the tourist attractions (old memorial houses, restaurants, squares, churches, monuments). In the medieval period, the historical town was divided in two by the current Pegnitz river, with the names of the Upper Town and the Lower Town.
Because we had accommodation right near the southern side of the old city, it was very easy for us to visit most of the tourist attractions. In addition to that, we were also helped by some young who worked on the terraces next to the hotel. The hotel, which is located in a pedestrian area, did not have its own parking lot and we had to park for 15 euros per day at Parkhaus Stentor, in a building located 150 meters from the establishment.
We started our visit to the old town with the Konigstor (King's Gate), one of the main entrances on the southern side. From here we continued north on Konigstrasse and all the tourist sights came our way.
The first of them was St. Martha Kirche, a reformed neo-Protestant church that was spared during the war but mostly burnt down in 2014. It is a small church undergoing restoration.
The next objective encountered was St. Lorenz Kirche (Saint Lawrence Church), an imposing building, visible from all corners of the old town. It is approximately 100 meters long and 81 meters high (the towers). It is an evangelical Lutheran church built in Gothic style about 800 years ago. It was heavily bombed during the war, and its roof and towers were destroyed, but they were rebuilt in record time.
Close to the church, in Lorenzerplatz, we admired one of the most beautiful artesian fountains in Nuremberg, the Tugendbrunnen (Fountain of Virtue), a bronze and sandstone jewel built in the mid-14th century. At the base of the fountain there are six allegorical figures symbolizing six of the human virtues and at the top another one with a sword and scales symbolizing justice.
After another 100 meters of walking, we reach the Pegnitz river, which is crossed by several bridges and divides the old town in two. We chose to cross the Museumbrucke (Museum Bridge), but on the left, we were attracted like a magnet by the animation on the neighboring bridge, Fleischbrücke (Meat Bridge).
We couldn't pass by, so we went to see what it was all about. I met a kind of smaller fair here, something similar to what we have. On one side of the bridge, a band was playing happy German songs, and on the other, stalls were selling traditional food products and ... wine. At the lower end of the bridge, at round "express" tables, tourists and locals together consumed traditional products and enjoyed a glass of wine in a joyful, festive atmosphere.
We returned to the other bridge and after a few tens of steps, we arrived at the Hauptmarkt, the central square of the city, the place where the famous Christmas markets take place. It is a vast expanse paved with cubic stone and guarded by buildings with special architecture. On the place where the market is located, there was once a Jewish quarter, which was destroyed in the program of the 14th century, apparently caused by the plague pandemic of those times.
On the place where the synagogue was, on the eastern side of the square, another place of religious worship, the Frauenkirche (Church of the Mother of God), was built during the reign of Emperor Charles IV. It is an evangelical Lutheran church built in the Gothic style and is over 600 years old. This edifice was also bombed during the war and was rebuilt respecting the original architecture. It should be noted that the architect who worked on this church is the same one who also worked on the cathedral of St. Vitus of Prague, Peter Parler.
In the northern part of the square is another interesting tourist attraction with a rich history, the Schöner Brunnen (Beautiful Fountain). Built-in the 14th century in the form of Gothic arches, it is 19 meters high and has numerous beautifully colored allegorical characters. The characters that adorn the fountain symbolize the world's vision of the Holy Roman Empire (philosophy, the seven arts, religion, electors, etc.).
A brass ring is mounted on the iron grill, which tourists believe brings good luck if you make a wish and spin it three times. Most of the tourists in the market, even the children, climbed on the grate of the fountain to spin the ring. Since we don't believe in such stories, we admired the fountain up close, then we saw each other on our way. Originally the ring was made of gold, it was stolen several times and was replaced with a brass one, but it was also stolen about five times and replaced each time.
From the square, we passed another Evangelical Lutheran Church, St. Sebald Church. It is built in Gothic style, it is the oldest in the city and together with St Lorenz, it represents the two great medieval churches in Nuremberg. It suffered major damage during the Second World War, but was restored. Unfortunately, we didn't have time to visit it inside.
From this point, the pedestrian route climbs gently and after admiring the bust of Albrecht Dürer, the famous painter who was born and died in Nuremberg, we arrive at the Kaiserburg (Emperor's Castle), a place with a special panorama of the city.
The castle is built on a sandstone ridge that dominates the city and together with the rest of the walls is considered to be one of the most important medieval fortifications in Europe. The castle, a real complex of medieval buildings, is divided into three parts and has several entrances. The main entrance, which is also the most convenient, is from Burgstrasse, but I noticed that the most used one is the one in the middle, a steep path leading directly into the inner courtyard.
Because the narrow path was too crowded at the time of our visit, we preferred to visit the castle gardens first. They are located to the left of the castle and offer a superb panoramic view of the city. From here you can see the spires of the churches in the old town and the red tile roofs of some taller medieval buildings. Then followed the visit to the castle and from the courtyard, we left through the north side, where we were impressed by the thickness of the outer walls. The castle has a rich history, complete information can be found on Wikipedia.
Until next time, enjoy your holidays!
Subscribe to our email newsletter and unlock access to members-only content and exclusive updates.