This post is the second part of our weekend road trip through Northern Bavaria. The trip started in Bamberg (check our post about Bamberg here), one of the UNESCO World Heritage sites of Germany. From there, we parted to our second destination: Nuremberg.
Nuremberg - BEYOND THE HORRORS OF WWII
We arrived in Nuremberg (Nürnberg in German) late afternoon. We had elected Nuremberg as the city where we'd sleep since it was the furthest city we wanted to visit. We took a night walk around the old-town in search of a restaurant to have dinner and visited it in daylight the following day.
The city is said to be founded in the XI century and ever since it grew in importance since the Imperial Diet (the deliberative and legislative body of the Holy Roman Empire) and the courts met at Nuremberg. Actually, the Empire did not have a capital, thus the Emperor went in journeys throughout the realm and the Nuremberg castle was one of the favorite stopping places.
As a matter of fact, Nuremberg has also a dark important side during the World War II and the rise of Nazism since it hosted the Nazi rallies and, later on, it became the site for the trials of war crimes at the Palace of Justice. There are the remaining structures of the Nazi Rally Grounds that can be visited showcasing the unbelievable megalomania of Hitler and its party. As it is located outside the old-town and needs some hours to visit, we left it for a later opportunity.
A nice walk through the city
1. Head to the Imperial Castle
The starting point of this walk is the Imperial Castle. Located on the top of a rocky hill in the north part of old-town Nuremberg, the Imperial Castle was one of the most important fortified imperial palaces of the Old Holy Roman Empire. But palace is a very strong word to use here, it is more like a group of medieval fortified buildings. Although from far it seems like a single complex, it consists of three distinct sections: the Imperial castle (Kaiserburg), the former Burgraves' castle (an adjoining structure built for managing the imperial property while the emperor was out visiting other parts of the realm), and the part built by the Imperial City at the eastern site (Reichsstädtische Bauten). The sections are separated from one another by gates and walls. As we still had another city to stop at we did not have time to visit the castle, but if you have time, the ticket for visiting the whole complex costs 7 EUR (more information here).
2. Go down the hill and do part of the ramparts
Keeping the medieval spirit, you can go around the old-town walking on the four-kilometer circuit of well-preserved old walls which date back to the XIV-XV centuries. Highlight for the Tiergärtnertor, a curved pathway gate nearby the castle which is a very nice spot. Of course, there are plenty of other gates and towers, many of which can be explored if you have enough time (and courage) to do so.
3. Head up to the most picturesque street for a photoshoot: Weissgerbergasse
Now, a photo tip! Head up to the iconic street of Nuremberg: the Weissgerbergasse with preserved historical half-timbered buildings filled with bars, restaurants and galleries. Its curviness gives a perfect perspective for a nice picture of traditional German Architecture.
4. Stroll around the old town and cross the Hangman's Bridge
Continue the tour heading to the Henkersteg (Hangman's Bridge) which is a wooden footbridge with a tower where the hangman from Nuremberg used to live. Nuremberg is crossed by the river Pegnitz which creates nice canals around the old-town with some small islands and its bridges and green areas. The Fleischbrücke (Meat Bridge) is a single arch bridge in the center of the old-town built in the end of the XVI century and lasted undestroyed ever since, including during WWII.
5. The Weisser Turm (White Tower)
Now take the direction of the Weisser Turm (White Tower). This tower was built in the XII century as part of the second fortification line out of the existing three lines of Nuremberg. It is located in a more commercial and renovated part of town, which emphasizes its medieval look. It got its name because it was covered in a white plaster, but after it was destroyed in a bombing during the World War II, it was re-erected without said plaster.
6. Saint-Lorenz Church
Continue a bit further up where you will find the Saint-Lorenz Church, a medieval temple whose building started in 1250 and presents an impressive facade with a magnificent portal richly decorated with statuary and rose window. Its two towers mirror the ones at Saint-Sebald Church and are 80 and 81 meters high.
7. Enjoy the vibrant ambiance of the Market Square
Now cross the river and go to the Market Square, it is the heart of the old-town and holds many festivals and events all year round, including the famous Christmas Market, the origin of the renowned Lebkuchen, a traditional gingerbread from Nuremberg which has been baked for more than 600 years. In the square, you can find the Schöner Brunnen (Beautiful Fountain), a XIV century fountain of 19 meters high and with the shape of a Gothic spire. It is adorned by 40 colorful figures representing the elements of the world view of the Holy Roman Empire. There are also two brass rings embedded in opposite sides of its surrounding fence that are said to bring good luck to those who spin them.
8. visit Saint-Sebald church
Nearby the Market Square facing the old town hall, there lays the oldest of the churches of Nuremberg: the former catholic Church of Saint-Sebald, built in the XIII century and transformed into a Lutheran parish since the Reformation. It homages Sebaldus, a hermit and missionary who lived in the VIII century and is nowadays the patron saint of the city of Nuremberg, whose bones are presumed to be in the silver embossed "casket". This temple was severely destroyed by a bombing during the World War II but rebuilt afterwards.
9. Taste the traditional sausages of nuremberg in Bratwursthaüsle
And now, the final and well-deserve stop at the Bratwursthäusle. Located just behind the Saint-Sebald Church, nearby the Market Square, the Bratwursthäusle is a traditionally decorated German-cuisine restaurant that has been serving the famous sausage from Nuremberg since 1313: the Nürnberger. You can have potato salad and the very German Sauerkraut as side dishes, everything washed down with a glass of one of the famous German beers.
Stick around for the last part of our trip in a magical little medieval destination... (check it out here).
And now it's your turn to let us know your impressions, thoughts and also tips to visit Nuremberg. Did you have time to visit the Nazi Rally Grounds? Did you have the opportunity to visit the castle? Which other attractions would you recommend? We look forward reading your comments in the section below.