Nuremberg, with its 500,000 inhabitants, is the second largest city in Bavaria and the main centre of Franken, a region of splendid parks and hills covered with vineyards.
Although the old part of the city was almost completely destroyed during the Second World War, Nuremberg managed to maintain the character of the city, during its reconstruction. Nuremberg combines the liveliness of a modern city with the fascination of an old medieval town. In the old city, beautiful Gothic churches, rows of old wooden houses and tranquil cobbled square, create a unique atmosphere, seen every year by thousands of tourists.
Nuremberg sadly became famous during the Nazi period, due to the enormous mass rallies held here and for having given its name to the antisemite laws, passed by the Third Reich, for whom the city became a sort of symbolic capital. After the end of the war the city was chosen as the sight to hold the trials ( referred to as The Nuremberg Trials) against the Nazi war criminals. The city, following the war, was rebuilt with the Altstadt ( Old Town) being constructed almost entirely using the original stones and bricks, in such a way as to faithfully reproduce the original aspect of the city. The artistic treasures, housed in the churches, were taken and conserved in hiding places by the nazis and therefore escaped damage from the bombardments and are today in perfect condition.
The main sights of interest are almost all located within the Altstadt, the old part of the city, enclosed within the reconstructed city wall and surrounded by a dry moat. Altstadt, with the waters of the river Pegnitz flowing through it, has a relaxing and pleasant atmosphere. The majority of the centre is pedestrianized, thus maintaining the chaos of the city outside the fortification. The image of the centre is not all medieval, there are also large areas of modern architecture, which blends in, creating a harmonious mix of old and new.
A visit of the city can begin at Kaiserburg, which is reached following a steep climb up the Burgstrasse. Theatre of many Imperial assemblies, during the period from the 11th to the 16th century, this castle was considered the 'coffers' of the German empire and, in spite of numerous modifications and damage caused during the wars, it still stands as an interesting silhouette against the Nuremberg skyline.
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- Tiergartnerplatz is located nearby and is the site of Albrecht Durer Haus: the house where, at the beginning of the 15th century, the great artist lived. The interesting Spielzeugmuseum is located in Karlstrasse and houses a collection of toys from every era. The museum is open Tuesday to Sunday from 10am to 5pm Haptmarkt is the commercial centre of the ancient city, site of the famous Christmas market (Christkindlmarkt) and the location of the elaborate Gothic church Frauenkirche. The church's facade comprises the clockwork mechanism designed by Mannleinlaufen. At mid-day every day the clock strikes and seven statues of princes dance around Charles IV, accompanied by the music of a glockenspiel. The square is also the site of the Goldener Brunnen, a splendid fountain built in 1396. The Alte Rathaus and the 12th century St. Sebaldus church, the oldest church in the city, are located a short distance from Haptmarkt. The Germanisches Nationalmuseum, situated in Kartausergasse, is an important museum dedicated to the German culture. The museum houses collections of German sculptures, archaeology, weapons and scientific and musical instruments. The museum is open from 10 to 5, Tuesday to Sunday ( Wednesday until 9pm) Handwerkerhof, the medieval reconstruction of the city's craftsmen's district, is situated in the south-west of the city, where it is possible to purchase interesting items.
- The rallies of the National Socialist party, which took part in Nuremberg, were organised to obtain maximum support for the party. Already by 1933, these rallies had reached such large proportions, that it was necessary to design a large complex on the city outskirts in order to accommodate the mass of participants.
- This complex referred to as Luitpoldhain, is the place where even today, stand some of the building constructed during that regime. The site now serves as a memory to the victims of the regime. The Luitpoldarena, is located near the north entrance of the park, easily reached by the number 9 tram or 36 bus. Luipolarena is the site where the SS and the SA, held their parades. At one time this was also the site of the building where the Nazi party held their congresses, but it was raised to the ground during the 1945 bombardment.
- The Kongressbau is however still standing and serves as one of the most shocking examples of the arrogance of this regime. Constructed in Neoclassic style, it represents a modern and renewed Colosseum. The Grosse Strasse, situated behind this building, leads to the Marzfeld, a large field used for military parades. Its dimensions are enormous, 2 km in length and 60 metres wide. Today part of the field has been converted into a car park. Returning to Kongressbau, the visitor passes the Stadion, one time used for Hitler Youth meetings and today returned to its initial use that of a sports field.
- The Zeppelinfeld, transformed by Albert Speer, an architect of the regime into a stadium for the more important parades, stands a little further to the north. Behind this stadium, in the museum, it is possible to watch a documentary about Nuremberg and the Third Reich, entitled Fascinazion und Gewalt ( Fascination and Strength).
- A visit to Nuremberg can be combined with visits to some of the surrounding towns, situated not far from the city, such as Erlangen, Bamberg and Bayreuth. Bamberg is particularly interesting for the atmosphere of its old town centre and for the fascinating variety of styles of its buildings. The main monuments include:
- 1. The Roman Gothic Dom, with its spectacular decorative sculptures
- 2. The picturesque Altes Rathaus, the old town hall, which stands on two twin bridges in the middle of the river Regnitz.
- 3. The Neue Residenz, imposing residence of the Archbishop
- 4. St. Michael Baroque Church.
- The fame of Bayreuth is due to the annual festival, which sees thousands of admirers of the music of the German composer Richard Wagner, flock to the town. The festival takes place in Festpielhaus, a room constructed specifically for the composer, for his operas. It is situated on a hill to the north of the city. Festpielhaus was inaugurated in 1876, with a complete presentation of the opera Ring and which today hosts exclusively the works of Wagner.
Maps and transportation
Getting to Nuremburg
Given that the majority of the city sights are located in the centre and the centre is a cobbled pedestrianized zone, it is very easy to visit them on foot. For destinations further afield, there is the efficient public transport system VGN.
Practical information and resources
Currency : Euro
Electric suply: 220Volts, 50 Hertz
Climate : Nuremberg has a pleasant climate with warm summers, mild winters and an average rainfall of 700mm. The temperature ranges from 1 °C in January to 20 °C in the summer months
Language : German
Opening hours : Shops are open Monday to Friday 9am to 6pm and Saturday mornings from 9am to 1pm. The large supermarkets and shops generally stay open on weekdays from 9am to 8pm and Saturday from 9am to 4pm. Banks are open 8:30/9am to 1/2pm
Telephones : To call Germany dial the number 0049 followed by the area code without the initial zero and the private number. The national code for Nuremberg is 0911
Nuremberg does not lack in possibilities to pleasantly end a day's touring of the city. There are numerous restaurants which offer typical Franken dishes including bratwurst, to sample perhaps with a fine German beer. The city also has fine foreign restaurants, in particular Italian, and a vast choice of bar and beer houses.
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