Monday, June 3, 2013

Nuremberg: A Walled City

Rhine-Main-Danube Canal in Nuremberg, Germany

In my last my post I pointed out that walking into Wittenberg was like walking into the past, and it was, but walking into Nuremberg, a spectacular old walled city, was one of the more surreal experiences that we had on our journey.  Many cities in the area were once walled cities and often parts of the walls remain, but Nuremberg's city center is still surrounded by the majority of its wall, two magnificent brick walls that once housed a very deep moat.  Walking through the gates, we could really get a feel for life in the city during medieval times.
One of four city gates
When I took this photo, I was standing on the outer wall looking toward the inner wall.  The bench at the bottom of the wall helps put this size of the wall into perspective.
Nuremberg was likely founded around the turn of the 11th century.  The first documentary mention of the city was in 1050.  It was originally noted because of an Imperial castle, and the city grew for many years due to its location on key trade routes.  It was also the unofficial capital of the Holy Roman Empire. Nuremberg is located about 170 kilometers north of Munich and is situated on the Pegnitz River and the Rhine-Main-Danube Canal (In German, the Danube River is called the Donau).

Heilig-Geist-Spital on the Rhine-Main-Danube Canal
The Frauenkirche (Church of our Lady) is one of the most magnificent sights in Nuremberg (note that we missed the Imperial castle).  The Frauenkirche was built in the grand market in the 1300's.  Unfortunately we were not able to go inside the church because a service was in session.

The St. Lorenz church, below, was badly damaged during WWII, along with much of Nuremberg, and was later rebuilt.  It is one of the most prominent churches of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Bavaria.

St. Lorenz Church
Church in the city center
Nuremberg is famous for its medieval walls, gothic churches, bratwurst, toy manufacturing and the Christmas market, but Nuremberg also has a much darker side.  Nuremberg had a close association with the Nazi's and was destroyed by the allies during WWII.  Because of its association with the Nazi regime, Nuremberg was chosen as the site of the war crimes trial in 1945.  After the war, Nuremberg was in the American sector, and American troops were stationed in the city until 1992.

Street in Nuremberg
Nuremberg is also famous for the 1935 Nuremberg laws.  The law defined who was a Jew based strictly on heredity and only granted German citizenship to ethnic Germans.  This law became the basis for deciding who would be transported to the concentration camps in the East.

Despite the cities dark side, Nuremberg was incredible and worth the visit!

Check out more posts from my trip... and look for more to come!

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