Bamberg, Germany

April 6th, 2012 | Posted by Steve in Buildings | Flowers | Germany

Bamberg, Germany  March 27, April 1 & April 6, 2012


This post shows photos I shot on three different walking tours of old Bamberg.  All of these are within 2 miles of my hotel.  The streets, like downtown Boston, gradually turn in various directions so sometimes it is hard knowing where you are facing, or even where you are.  These photos do not encompass all of the interesting old buildings or churches in Bamberg, only a few.

The part of town I’m staying in is called Domberg.  The hill above my hotel is called Cathedral Hill.  It houses the Michaelsberg Abbey, the Bamberg State Museum & former King’s residence, the rose garden, the Domplatz, the huge Cathedral of St. Peter & St. George & other churches.  These will be in future posts.

Below the terraces of Cathedral Hill is flat land along the river stretching in a NW-SE direction. The flat lands are entirely built up as are those on the other side of the river.  Above us the hillside has some open land and even some vineyards.

The Markus Bridge (Markusbruke in German) comes over the Regintz river and dead ends into Untere Sandstrasse which means ‘lower sand street’.  My hotel is to the north of the bridge.  A pleasant old section of town heads to the SE where there are lots of shops, some restaurants, and walking bridges over the river into downtown Bamberg.

Some of the older buildings on either side of the river are dated.  Most dates seem to be in the 1600’s to the mid 1800’s.  I saw one sporting a date of 1299 and a church dated 1008.

This is a view toward the old section of town on my side of the river.  It is from the T in the road where the bridge hits Untere Sandstrasse.

Crossing over the bridge and looking SE toward the old City Hall this view awaits.

Over the Markusbruke and heading toward downtown is an old residential section.  These homes have the river as their backyard.  Everything is built right up to the street (or the river where applicable) to make the most use of space.  A little color appears here and there.


Farther along the Old City Hall commands a view of the river.  A bridge has been here since the 11th Century.  The original town hall was built in the middle of the 14th Century, then rebuilt in 1440 after a fire.  The current building took its shape from 1744-1756.  The style is apparently a mix of Baroque and Rococo.  It is very impressive and there are lots of photos of it here.

Immediately across from the Old City Hall is this building with this impressive exterior.  I even saw it featured on a video of Bamberg on my TV.  It is in an upscale shopping district.  The ground floor has some expensive retail shops.  There is a plaque on the wall stating it was originally the city library.



The Old City Hall is completely surrounded by water splitting the river in two.  Just upstream is a small urban dam or control system that controls the flow of the river.  When the gates are open the river moves a pretty good clip.  Kayakers use this part of the river for recreation.

Two bridges connect either side of the river to the Old City Hall.  These are the Untere (lower) and Obere (upper) bridges.  There are monuments along the bridges.  Here is a large Christian monument.  I have seen many places in Germany with Christian monuments or small shrines.  Many of the depictions are of Jesus, or Jesus on the cross or on his way to the cross.

The upper bridge passes right through the Old City Hall.  This is the tower facing roughly west.

This is a coats of arms detail on the building.  Many monuments have parts that look to be covered in gold leaf.


This is looking roughly north from the upper bridge.  The lower bridge is close by in the middle distance.  Some of the frescos painted on the city hall are shown.  The kayakers have installed some markers above the eastern split in the river to give them a course to follow.

This is the tower & part of the west face of the Old City Hall.

Stepping back and zooming in the lens gives this view of clock tower.

The Germans love flowers.  Many buildings, residential or commercial, are decorated with flowers when they are in season.

On the lower bridge is this monument to Kaiseren (Queen) Kunigund.  Kunigund was wife of the Holy Roman Emperor Henry II and apparently was instrumental in the founding and development of Bamberg.  Both her and her husband were canonized by the church in Rome.  They are buried in Bamberg.

–>> Here I am going to tell a story on myself that I have not told before.  The statue of the queen brought back a particular memory from high school.

The queen’s name triggered the memory of Voltaire’s great novel Candide.  Candide was the hero of the book, and his love, the heroine, had the same name as the queen in the statue.

While I was in high school some of my classmates discovered a book named Candy, which was a spoof of Voltaire’s work Candide.  In Candy, the heroine, goes off into the world finding strange characters and sexual escapades.  Many of my friends were reading the book, and talking about it.

I decided I should read the book so I could “be in the know”, but I had to find it first.  In those days the nearest place to get a book was 1) Pickwick Books in Hollywood, 2) Monterey Park Bookshop, and 3) the Montebello Public Library.

Pickwick was pretty far to travel.  It was at least 15 miles one way and Hollywood was on the opposite side of L.A. from me.  Without a car it was a bit too far to adventure.

Monterey Park Bookshop was maybe 2 miles away.  The owner, an old man transplanted from the east coast, ran the shop.  He must have been in his late 60’s at the time.  If I recall correctly, he served as a Marine in Haiti.  He also told me he had had a meeting with President Franklin Roosevelt once.  Finally, and most importantly, he could talk about any subject under the sun and often did solo if you didn’t interrupt or run out of the store.

If you visited the shop you had to budget 5 minutes to travel there (or less), 2 minutes (or less) to get your book, 60 minutes (or more) to listen to him talk politics and socioeconomics, and another 5 minutes (or less) to travel home.  Now that was a big adventure!

I don’t recall going to Monterey Park Bookshop looking for the book Candy.  I do recall walking into the old Montebello Public Library, and asking the woman at the desk for the book Candy.  She said “Oh!  You must mean Candide!”  And 3 minutes later I was walking out with Candide under my arm.

I went home to read the book.  My eyes popped out of my head!  I couldn’t put it down!  Candide, published in 1759, is full of sex, rape, war, religious persecution, torture, disfigurement, horror, disillusionment, hardship, heartache, adventure, & scandal.  In other words it was like life, except concentrated on the pages of an 18th century novel.

Eventually I came to the realization I had read the wrong book.  Most of my friends had no idea of what book I was talking about just as I had no idea of what book they were talking about.  The few who had read both brought the error to my attention.  After that I just let it slide.

I never did read the book Candy, and I never knew what all my friends were talking about.  The movie based on the book was made in 1968, and I never saw it either.  But I did read Candide!  And I still think I’m better off for it.

– Back to Bamberg, Germany.  Along the lower bridge is a plaque about the 2nd World War.  Apparently someone has disagreed with the sentiments expressed on the plaque.

From the lower bridge you get this view looking down the river toward my hotel & the Hall of Records.  The bridge in the distance is where I shot the 2nd photo of this post.


Statues and monuments should not be thought of as things cities used for decoration during an earlier classical time.  Crossing the lower bridge toward the main part of town is a modern sculpture from 1987 by Igor Mitoraj.  I think it is quite powerful.  The base has graffiti on it that says “Ami go home”.  I don’t know if it is a person named Ami, or short for American, but whoever it is the writer definitely wants them to go home.

My black and white interpretation of the photo is about the best photo I’ve done in Germany this trip.  I can’t wait to try printing it at home.  You decide for yourself.

Further downtown along the Gruner Markt street is the church or cathedral of St. Martin.  The statue shown here overgrown with moss is near the church to the right of where I got this shot.  Further up the street is Maximilian place or plaz, the site of the current New City Hall.

A side street back to our hotel shows this modern sculpture of a reclining woman.

On my April 1 walking trip there was a single church I wanted to get a shot of, the Church of St. Elisabeth.  It is apparently a UNESCO site.  The time of day was right, the colors were right and it is just down the street from my hotel.  Off to one side there is a brightly painted shrine.  Then there is the Church itself.  The interior photo was a “grab shot” I got on April 6.

The next 2 posts will be about my trip Saturday March 31 to Hohenschwangau & Neuschwanstein Castles.  The post after those will be the Michaelsberg Abbey.  Eventually I will get to the photos of Cathedral Hill shot on April 6.

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