Nuremberg is the second-largest city in the region of Bavaria in southern Germany. It’s common for travelers to fly into the region’s capital of Munich and spend a day tour and explore the prolific city of Nuremberg.
Nuremberg, Germany – The Franconian Utopia
Arguably the most influential region in the history of Western Europe, Nuremberg’s past extends from tribes nearly 2000 years ago. The unofficial capital of Franconia got set up by the Franks, who are considering themselves as far back as the 3rd century. They would move north and east to what is today Belgium and France.
The Franks power and wealth allowed them to build some of the most historically elaborate and breathtaking churches and monuments in Germany. Nuremberg has structures still standing that are dating as far back as the roman empire. The preservation of its monuments, artifacts, and landmarks is a seemingly impossible feat, and is nothing less than a testament to the people living there.
Nuremberg Castle and City Walls
Dominating the skyline of the Old Town rises the cluster of historic structures that together make up Nuremberg Castle. The Imperial Castle of Nuremberg is carrying real power in the era of the Holy Roman Empire.
Imperial courts met here, and every newly-elect emperor’s obligation is by decree to hold his first Imperial Diet at Kaiserburg. The imposing 351-meter-tall fortification was the home of all legitimate German kings and emperors from 1050 to 1571. Nuremberg Castle is one of the most important surviving medieval fortresses in all Europe.
The city walls were first put up in the 1000s and got their modern appearance when they were modified for canons in the 1500s. In the long history of Nuremberg’s fortifications, the city was only captured once. In 1945 Americans took the wall’s original construction, which is nearly a millennium after. Some four kilometers of the Medieval walls are still standing, and they incorporate the castle to the north and 67 defensive towers.
Nuremberg’s Underground Passageways
Over the course of centuries, Nuremberg’s tunneled into the sandstone bedrock in the north of the Old Town to create a labyrinth of passageways, cellars, and water conduits.
The tunnels are estimating to consist of up to 20,000 square meters and are anchored in the city’s beer brewing industry.
There were over 40 breweries in the city in the Middle Ages, and each one had its own cellar cut from the sandstone. As production got higher, the cellars grew and shared storage. Even today the Hausbrauerei Altstadthof still stores barrels of its Rotbier in the Nuremberg passageways.
The production of the local sausage is in Nuremberg and it’s protected by the EU Laws. Nürnberger Bratwurst production is dating since 1567. The flavor is also like no other German sausage as they taste good with fresh marjoram. The sausages themselves are smaller than their German cousins, generally consisting of about 3 inches long. The locals of Nuremberg cook the bratwurst on grill over a beech-wood fire with sometimes as many as 6 in a serving, and then comes with sauerkraut, potato salad, horseradish.
For more information about tours for the historical sites or guides to the traditional culinary locations and recommendations, click the link here.
Nuremberg’s Germanic National Museum
The Germanic National Museum is a treasure for the German-speaking world. Displaying its artistic and cultural past with over 25,000 exhibits and containing more than 1.3 million items. Some art exhibits you can’t leave without seeing are Albrecht Dürer’s rhinoceros, Lucas Cranach portrait of Martin Luther, and Rembrandt’s famed Wide-Eyed Self-Portrait.
The museum highlights a collection of roughly 300,000 prints and drawings, paintings representing all the major classes, as well as historical musical instruments, sculptures, and antique toys and dollhouses.
Nuremberg’s Toy Museum
Nuremberg’s superb Toy Museum is widely regarded as the leading museum of its kind in the world. It’s location is in a historic home dating from 1517. The museum is celebrating Nuremberg as a traditional toy-making capital in Germany. Many of the older toys, some dating back to the medieval era, were made in the city itself, which was renowned for centuries for its doll makers. On the first three floors are the pre-war games and toys, like dolls, dollhouses, magic lanterns, wind-up figures, and a model railway that is nothing less than extraordinary. The top floor is all about toys since 1945 like Lego, Playmobil, and Barbie, and has an interactive zone with building sets, table football, and all kinds of nostalgic toys and games for all ages.
Albrecht Dürer’s House
As a place of historical significance and home to arguably Germany’s greatest painter. Albrecht Dürer’s House is incomparable building, as no other examples of a 15th-century artist’s house in Europe exist.
The five-story house itself dates to 1420 and is currently serving as a museum with dedication to Dürer’s life and work. Along with its many fine displays of some of his best-known creations, the museum houses authentic period furniture and a reproduction of Dürer’s studio workshop.
Nuremberg’s Neues Museum
The Neues Museum is a must-visit for any art lover, with its large and impressive collection of modern and contemporary art. This world-class museum is a work of art itself. Consisting of bright open spaces, clean lines, and interesting architectural features such as its exquisite spiral staircase.
The artwork covers works from 1950 to today. It has notable exhibits of applied and fine art often shown side by side adding a unique perspective to the experience.
For guides or tour information for the museums, click here.
St. Sebaldus Church
The 8th-century Saint Sebald in Nuremberg’s patron saint. St. Sebaldus Church was constructed from 1225-73 and in the chancel, you can view his tomb. The tomb’s design contains Early-Renaissance bronze figurines depicting scenes from his life by famous Peter Vischer.
It’s simply one of the many incredible works of art in the church. Other works include the Tucher family epitaph, stained-glass windows, and wood sculpture by the Renaissance virtuoso Veit Stoss.
St. Lorenz Church
The spectacular twin-towered 14th-century Gothic church of St. Lawrence is the city’s largest church. One of its notable features is a large rose window, nine meters in diameter. Inside you can find lavish works of art that are providing the city’s richer classes over the centuries. Other notable features include its unique three-part organ boasting over 12,000 pipes. It is one of the largest such instruments in the world. It also includes a set of 16 bells, the oldest of which date back to the 1300s.
Frauenkirche: The Church of Our Lady
The Church of Our Lady dates back to 1352. This must-see Gothic landmark you won’t want to miss when you’re visiting Nuremberg’s Hauptmarkt. The building’s stunning facade is rich with detail. The church has notable features in its interior, which designs are by Emperors in mind. Some include the Tucher Altar from 1440, and two handsome monuments by famous Adam Kraft.
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The Hauptmarkt is home to the Schöner Brunnen aptly named 14th-century “Beautiful Fountain”. Heinrich Beheim is the designer and architect of the popular fountain(1385-1396). The design is like a Gothic church spire and has forty polychrome figures on four levels. Those evoking the “worldview” of the Holy Roman Empire. Be sure to touch the fountain’s famous gold ring for a spot of good luck. In the Second World War the monument was wrapped in a concrete shell and came through unscathed.
It’s also where you’ll find the Old Town Hall built in 1616. Notable for its magnificent doorways, dungeons, and torture chamber. Between the two buildings is another famous fountain, the Gänsemännchen, built in 1555. Depicting a Franconian peasant carrying two geese, with the water flowing from their beaks.
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The Future of Nuremberg
When people think of Nuremberg, they think of gingerbread, toys, Christmas. Others think about the Reich Party Rally Grounds or the Nuremberg Trials or any combination. However, the old town of Nuremberg stands in the shadows of it’s history, as seemingly unconquerable. As it’s towering imperial castle as it restores its history and moves towards the future as it always has. The Gothic churches, medieval houses, and innovative people prevail throughout Nuremberg. Existing in an atmosphere of lively co-existence of the medieval and modern.
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