Regensburg claims to be Germany’s best-preserved medieval city. And certainly, it may well be. It’s totally charming, and was Larry’s favorite city of the trip. Definitely one of mine, as well. The large medieval city center has been pretty much undisturbed since the time of Napoleon, escaping the ravages of many wars. Many of the “historical” buildings in other cities are actually rebuilds/reproductions of buildings that had been destroyed in WWII.
Walking through streets of houses built in the 13th century gives you a real glimpse into history. Protected by UNESCO, even the pigments used when repairing buildings must be historically authentic.
The famous stone bridge, built in the years 1135–1146, is a marvel of medieval architecture.
Although there had been a wooden bridge built nearby, it wasn’t able to withstand the floods of the Danube. It was replaced by the stone bridge, which was the only bridge in the area for 800 years, making Regensburg vitally important. It took 11 years to build the bridge, and required cofferdams to be built around the footings so to keep the water away from them during construction.
As I walked across the bridge and looked at the footings, and the beautiful view of Regensburg, I couldn’t help but think about Ken Follet’s “World Without End” (or as I tend to think of it, “the book without end”), which describes the building of a similar bridge. Here it was, in real life.
But Regensburg isn’t just authentic, it’s beautiful. It was very difficult to narrow down my photos to decide which ones to put in this post. One of my favorite spots was the Bischofshof (Bishop’s residence). The lovely courtyard contains a small cafe, which we returned to later in the day for some refreshment.
The courtyard also contains a statue (from modern times, 1980), called the Gänsepredigtbrunnen (goose sermon fountain). It depicts the medieval story of the Goose Sermon: a fox who was too slow to catch geese dressed up as a clergyman and gave a sermon to the geese. When the geese fell asleep, he was able to catch them. It’s an allegory about false preachers and their gullible believers.
Here’s the front – the bishop preaching to the geese:
And the back, with the fox under the bishop’s robe grabbing a goose by the neck:
Of course, there is the fabulous Gothic cathedral, which is built of a combination of both green and white stone (the cheaper green stone was used when they could not afford the more expensive white stone). Here’s a look at the detail around the doors – it’s worth clicking for a closer look so you can see how elaborate the sculptures are. The stained glass windows were also particularly beautiful:
There were buildings with murals, and the most beautiful doors you could imagine. I’m a sucker for doors, and took pictures of a lot of them.
And of course, the wonderful signs. This one is for the Walfisch (Whale) restaurant. In ancient times when so many people were illiterate, business signs had to depict the name or purpose of the business. In some of the historical areas of Germany, businesses are still required to use this type of sign. Even McDonald’s in Salzburg.
We also had a good time at the Drubba clock store, where we had a presentation on the history of the Black Forest cuckoo clocks. There were clocks with Harley Davidson motorcycles, and a model of a clock from 1640 which used a stone as the weight and had only an hour hand.
The animated clocks were the most fun, of course. In the photo below, the clock on the left has a man climbing a ladder towards a pretty woman in the window, while another man (her husband? father?) comes after him with a pitchfork. The clock on the right has dancing couples with the women wearing their Bollenhut hats with red pom-poms to show that they’re single (they switch to black pom-poms after they’re married). The water wheel on the left side of the clock actually works, and had water in it. It was so fun to see the clocks in action.
More photos of beautiful Regensburg here.
All posts for this vacation can be found with this tag: Europe2013