My tower is bigger than your tower.
Apparently status symbols have been with us for centuries. Today it might be your Lana Marks handbag or your Mercedes AMG Black, but in medieval Germany your status was determined by the height of your tower.
At one time Regensburg contained many towers, today over 20 towers still remain. The large medieval city center, with over 1300 original structures, is now a UNESCO World Heritage Site
Here merchants once flaunted their wealth by building the largest possible tower. The towers had a basis in practical use as storage for merchandise. However many of these towers’ upper floors were empty, having never been used except for display of wealth. Even today many towers still remain unfinished inside.
Originally a Roman city, one city gate remains from 179AD, the Porta Praetoria. To put that into perspective, and it’s an astonishing number, the gate is 1835 years old. The stones were installed without mortar, and are held together by a lintel stone. Now called the Watergate, the Roman ruins are a living reminder of the city’s history.
Always a prosperous town, Regensburg’s wealth also came from salt. It’s hard to understand today how important salt was. Salt mining goes back over six thousand years. Even the word “salary” derives from salt. Today Regensburg’s historic salt storage building is a visitor’s center. Constructed from massive German oak timbers several feet across, the interior now displays photos of the city during World War II. Fortunately the Messerschmitt plant was located outside of the city, so when it was bombed, much the center of the city was spared.
The old stone bridge, adjacent to the salt storage building, was constructed in 1200. This bridge once used by knights crossing the Danube making their way to the Holy Land and is still in use today.
On display in many of the shop windows, the classic German dirndl skirt is making resurgence. Shoppers here can find plenty of stores to explore. Mouthwatering displays of chocolates tempt browsers to sample some of the multitude of varieties.
Foodies will love trying the authentic sausage at Jacobs. This factory and restaurant has been in operation, in the same spot since 1135. Located by the river, sit and savor the smoky sausage, served with authentic German sauerkraut. Accompanied by mouthwatering fresh baked Rye rolls, homemade sweet spicy mustard, and the locally produced black beer this meal will have you coming back for more. The history in this town is astonishing. Germany may have had the first food laws, describing penalties for what could and could not be put in sausages. Although, Otto Von Bismarck said, “If you like laws and sausages, you should never watch either one being made.”
The Regensburg Cathedral, Dom St Peter, contains, amazing stained glass dating back to the Middle Ages. A Renaissance tower built in 1200. Still remains. Originally scheduled for removal upon completion of the gothic cathedral, unfortunately the cathedral leans on tower. Still visible today, at the time it was used to store grain. More information can be found at http://www.sacred-destinations.com/germany/regensburg-cathedral
For endless shopping, delicious food, beautiful stained glass, and a look back at status symbols from the past, Regensburg has plenty to offer.
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