Time stands still in Bamberg.
Pinch yourself; it’s hard to remember this is the 21st century. Find yourself in the center of this medieval town in the north of Bavaria, and you will believe that time has stood still. A UNESCO world heritage site; since the 1950s Bamberg has undergone a continuous program of restoration of its historic properties. Amazingly around 93% of the original buildings remain.
What makes Bamberg unique according to UNESCO is that “it covers the three centres of settlement: The Bergstadt, with the cathedral, the former Prince-Bishop's Residence, the Parish Church of Our Lady and the former vintners' settlement; the Inselstadt, between the two-arms of the Regnitz River, which was founded in the 12th century with a market; and the Theuerstadt, a late medieval area of market gardens with scattered houses and large open spaces, which has retained this character to the present day.”
Start your exploration at the unusual town hall. Created when wood beams were driven into the riverbed for the foundation, it is part of a bridge on the Regenitz River. To this day the building seems to perch precariously on edge, ready to drop in at any time. Once completely encased in plaster, one section fell off when a bridge nearby was bombed during World War II, and has remained naked. The remainder whimsically painted, includes a plaster leg that sticks out of an imaginary hole at the base of the building
Along the confluence of Regenitz and Acmy Rivers many buildings abut the water. Called little Venice, while the buildings are not as grand as those in Venice, they are quintessentially German. Boats moored nearby bob in the current and rowboats are tied up at tiny docks behind wood timber and plaster houses.
Many original structures were covered over with plaster or stone to prevent fire. Restorations reveal the original timber and stucco buildings hidden behind the facades. Wander the maze of streets, and revel in the massive size of this historic community
Climb the steep steps to the Prince Bishop’s Palace and the massive Church of Our Lady. Home to the most northerly buried pope, he died after a very short time in office and under mysterious circumstances, likely poisoned. He died in Rome and was brought to Bamberg at a time when such distant burials were unheard of. In the basilica you can view the carved likenesses on the massive tomb of King Henry of Germany and Canonized Queen Cunigunde who advanced cause of Christianity in Germany.
After all the sightseeing a snack is in order. Stop at one of the amazing pastry shops that serve dessert to perfection. Windows are chock-full of tantalizing dessert selections, macaroons, tarts, cookies, chocolates, and elaborately decorated cakes. Your order comes wrapped like a present in decorative paper and is graciously presented. A tantalizing flavor, a lightly sweet, flaky pate sucree crust is covered with a perfectly proportioned layer of honey nougat, then smothered with a layer of roasted hazelnuts, that glisten with a light sugar glaze. Almost too beautiful to eat, and yet consumed instantly.
Local resident Willy Messerschmitt designed the M17 sports plane in1925. He won many competitions with this plane, allowing him to build the first Messerschmitt factory. Thankfully for Bamberg he located the Messerschmitt plane factory in nearby Regensburg preventing excessive damage during the war. The result is nothing short of amazing; with so many authentic historic buildings you could easily forget what century you are in.
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