Bamberg, Germany on Tues., October 21, 2014


Today we had another “sailing morning,” so we listened to a lecture on “The Past, the present and the (possible) future of the European Union” by Machtild Fischer in the lounge.  It was quite interesting and was a nice way to pass the time–learning something new, as I love to do.

By one o’clock we were heading out to the buses, which drove us into the old town section of the city of Bamberg.  Bamberg is located in Upper Franconia in the state of Bavaria on the River Regnitz, near the confluence of the Main River.  Bamberg is often called “The German Rome” or “The Franconian Rome,” because it was built on seven hills.  Each hill is topped by its own beautiful church.  The names of the seven hills are Domberg (Cathedral Hill), Michaelsberg, Kaulberg/Obere Pfarre, Stefansberg, Jakobsberg, Altenburger Hill, and Abtsberg.

Bamberg city view (photo by www.bavaria.by)

Bamberg city view (photo by http://www.bavaria.by)

For a short time, Bamberg was actually the center of the Holy Roman Empire.  Pope Benedict VIII visited Bamberg in 1020 and “personally consecrated some of the city’s churches” (from Wikipedia).  According to our ship newsletter, Bamberg’s “diverse and impressive architecture could easily serve as a dictionary of building styles embracing everything from 12th-century Romanesque to 18th-century Rococo.”  In fact, the whole area of Bamberg’s Old City was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1993.  The population of Bamberg is approximately 71,000 people.

On the bus to Bamberg, Ann, Sam & Dom, 10-21-14 (photo taken by Sue)

On the bus to Bamberg, Ann, Sam & Dom, 10-21-14 (photo taken by Sue)

We exited the bus and listened to the tour guide, who told us where & when to catch the bus later, and then began leading us along the city streets.  One of the first buildings he pointed out was the Gasthaus zum Sternla.  This is the oldest inn and restaurant in Bamberg, having opened in 1380.

Tour guide pointing out the Gasthaus zum Sternla, 10-21-14

Tour guide pointing out the Gasthaus zum Sternla, 10-21-14

Listening to the tour guide, 10-21-14

Listening to the tour guide: Sam, Dom, Tom, Sue, Sherry, Scott, Barb, Ann, & Ross, 10-21-14

We continued up Lange Street, listening to our guide and looking in the store windows as we walked by, until we came to the Grüner Markt (Green Market), an outdoor market square area.

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Colorful goodies in a Bamberg store we passed, 10-21-14

Colorful goodies in a Bamberg store we passed, 10-21-14

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Approaching the market square area, Grüner Markt, 10-21-14

Approaching the market square area, Grüner Markt, 10-21-14

We passed some gorgeous fresh fruits and vegetables under the tarps in the square, but didn’t have time to buy anything.  I suspect that, in the spring and summer, the vendors also offer plants and flowers for sale.

Dan, Ann & Barb in the market square, 10-21-14

Dan, Ann & Barb in the market square, 10-21-14 (photo taken by Sue)

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Scott, Lois, Barb, Bill, & Bill G., 10-21-14

Scott, Lois, Barb, Bill, & Bill G., 10-21-14

Neptune Fountain in Grüner Markt, 10-21-14

Neptune Fountain in Grüner Markt, 10-21-14

We turned away from the market and headed toward the River Regnitz.  Here we came upon a wonderful sculpture, called “Centurione I” or “Face in the Sun,” created by Igor Mitoraj in 1987.  (Mr. Mitoraj, who was a Polish-born artist, had died just a few weeks before we were here, on Oct. 6, 2014 at the age of 70.  He lived in Oederan, Germany.)

Centurione I (or Face in the Sun) sculpture by Igor Mitoraj, 10-21-14

Centurione I (or Face in the Sun) sculpture by Igor Mitoraj, 10-21-14

(Photo by mbell1975, flickr.com)

(Photo by mbell1975, flickr.com)

Our guide then pointed out the old slaughterhouse along the river.  He said the workers used to just dump all the animal waste into the river throughout the slaughtering process.

Old Bamberg slaughterhouse, 10-21-14 (photo taken by Barbara)

Old Bamberg slaughterhouse, 10-21-14 (photo taken by Barbara)

Susan & Sam looking toward the slaughterhouse, 10-21-14

Susan & Sam looking toward the slaughterhouse & the Bamberg harbor crane, 10-21-14

Closeup of the steer sign on the slaughterhouse (photo by Tony Page at travelsignposts.com)

Closeup of the steer sign on the slaughterhouse (photo by Tony Page at travelsignposts.com)

Our guide also said that the appearance of the buildings and fishermen’s houses lining the sides of the Regnitz River gave this area the nickname “Little Venice.”

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"Little Venice" (10-21-14)

“Little Venice” (10-21-14)

Walking on the bridge, 10-21-14

Walking on the bridge, 10-21-14

We came up to the back end of the Altes Rathaus (Old City Hall).  There is a half-timbered section (which we’ll see in a moment) that was built around 1440.  The building was enlarged, and this section was added in 1668.  According to our ship newsletter, the Baroque frescoes were added to this section in about 1768.  “Since 1995, (the building) has housed the Ludwig Collection of porcelain and faience.”

Sherry & Lois checking out the Altes Rathaus, 10-21-14

Sherry & Lois checking out the Altes Rathaus, 10-21-14

On the other side of the bridge from the Rathaus is a statue of a woman.  It is called “Kaiserin Kunigunde” or Empress Cunigunde.  Kunigunde was the wife of Holy Roman Emperor Henry II (Heinrich II), who ruled as Roman Emperor from 1014 (although he was crowned King of Germany prior to that in 1002) until his death in 1024.  He was the last member of the Ottonian dynasty of Emperors, because he died without an heir.  (There is a tomb in the Bamberg Cathedral which commemorates Heinrich II and Kunigunde.  We will see that later.)

Kaiserin Kunigunde statue, 10-21-14

Kaiserin Kunigunde statue, 10-21-14

Lois, Jan & Susan listening to the guide talk about the Kaiserin Kunigunde statue, 10-21-14

Lois, Jan & Susan listening to the guide talk about the Kaiserin Kunigunde statue, 10-21-14

We left the bridge and the river for the time being and began walking through the city streets.

Jan, Susan & Lois (10-21-14)

Jan, Susan & Lois (10-21-14)

Tom, Dan & Scott, 10-21-14 (photo taken by Sue)

Tom, Dan & Scott, 10-21-14 (photo taken by Sue)

Ann, Dom & Scott, 10-21-14 (photo taken by Sue)

Ann, Dom & Scott, 10-21-14 (photo taken by Sue)

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Some of the group decided to take a break at this Hofbräu for a bit.  The rest of us would meet them back here after the tour.

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Scott & Ann taking a break, 10-21-14

Scott & Ann taking a break, 10-21-14 (photo taken by Sue)

I liked the colors of this beautiful timbered building.

I liked the colors of this beautiful half-timbered building.

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We moved on toward the Altes Rathaus.  As you will remember, we already saw the largest and newest part of the Old City Hall as we were walking across the bridge.  Now we would see the original part of the building.  This half-timbered section was built around 1440.  It was actually built on a tiny island in the middle of the Regnitz River.  The story goes that the bishop of the city had refused to give the townspeople any land on which to build a city hall, so they became resourceful.  They jammed some poles down into the riverbed to create an artificial island, built the building on the island, added a bridge (the Obere Brücke) on either side of it, and voilà!  The Altes Rathaus is one of Bamberg’s most famous and interesting buildings.

Looking toward the Altes Rathaus

Looking toward the Altes Rathaus

Walking toward the Altes Rathaus, past a medieval eagle statue

Walking toward the Altes Rathaus, past a medieval eagle statue

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Susan walking back across the bridge

Susan walking back across the bridge

A small dam behind the bridge

A small dam behind the bridge

Now our guide led us up to the archway in the Altes Rathaus, where he showed us a sign memorial to a former resident of Bamberg, Claus Schenk Graf von Stauffenberg.  He was an officer in the German army who was not a supporter of Hitler, but he was “swept along with the nationalistic tide after the quick victory in Poland” in 1940, according to the History Learning Site.  However, the attack on the Soviets (“Operation Barbarossa”) in June of 1941 was what “greatly angered” Stauffenberg, because he was appalled by the atrocities committed by the German forces against the Soviet people, among other atrocities.  In 1942 he decided that he must try to overthrow Hitler.  He planned an attack, called “Operation Valkyrie.”  On July 20, 1944, he and a co-conspirator carried a bomb concealed in a briefcase into a briefing room of Hitler’s “Wolf’s Lair” headquarters.  The bomb exploded.  Four men were killed but, unfortunately, Hitler survived the attack.  On July 21, 1944, Stauffenberg and three other conspirators were executed by firing squad.  In 1980, a road in Berlin (the Bendlerstrasse) was renamed the Stauffenbergstrasse in his honor.  A memorial was set up in the building where Stauffenberg had worked and where he was arrested (the Bendlerblock).  The German government also erected a memorial in the courtyard where Stauffenberg was executed.  There was a movie, called Valkyrie, made in 2008, that was based on this incident.

Walking up to the archway in the Altes Rathaus: Bill G., Lois, Dom, & Sam, 10-21-14

Walking up to the archway in the Altes Rathaus: Bill G., Lois, Dom, & Sam, 10-21-14

The memorial to Claus Schenk Graf von Stauffenberg, 10-21-14

The memorial to Claus Schenk Graf von Stauffenberg, 10-21-14

Claus Schenk Graf von Stauffenberg (Nov. 15, 1907--July 21, 1944) (photo from jewishvirtuallibrary.org)

Claus Schenk Graf von Stauffenberg (Nov. 15, 1907–July 21, 1944) (photo from jewishvirtuallibrary.org)

Now we shifted gears, turned around and walked through more city streets.  Eventually, we came to another famous place for which Bamberg is known.  The city of Bamberg, by the way, is called “Germany’s Beer Capital,” and there is good reason for this.  According to our ship newsletter, this city has “ten independent breweries producing 30 different ales, so it is understandable that the beer consumption per capita here is higher than anywhere else in Germany.”  There are many good beers made in Bamberg, but probably the most famous beer brewed here is called “Rauchbier, ” (smokebeer), “an almost black beer, whose distinctive smoky flavor derives from its malt being roasted over beech-wood.”  The home of this special concoction is called the “Brauerei Heller-Trum” of Bamberg, or simply “The Schlenkerla.”  (Our guide told us that one of the first brewers had suffered an accident, which caused him to walk somewhat crookedly.  The people called him “Schlenkerla” (the little dangler) because one of his legs sort of dangled as he walked.  After awhile, the brewery itself became known as the name.)  Our guide showed us this brewery and told us that, after the tour, a visit here would be well worth our time.

Walking through Bamberg's streets on the way to the Schlenkerla, 10-21-14

Walking through Bamberg’s streets on the way to the Schlenkerla, 10-21-14

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At the sign for the Schlenkerla: our guide, Bill, Dom, & Sam, 10-21-14

At a sign for the Schlenkerla, advertising their “Aecht Schlenkerla Rauchbier” (Original Schlenkerla Smokebeer): our guide, Bill, Dom, & Sam, 10-21-14

The main sign for the Schlenkerla, which shows "the little dangler," the brewer who walked crookedly after suffering an accident

The main sign for the Schlenkerla, which shows “the little dangler,” the brewer who walked crookedly after suffering an accident

The Schlenkerla, where they brew "smoke beer," 10-21-14

The Schlenkerla tavern, where they brew “smokebeer,” 10-21-14

Now we moved on to the Bamberg Cathedral (the Cathedral Church of St. Peter and St. George).  Henry II had ordered the building of a cathedral in 1004, which was consecrated in 1012.  That cathedral, however, was partially destroyed by fire in 1081.  According to Wikipedia, “The new cathedral, built by St. Otto of Bamberg, was consecrated in 1111, and in the 13th century received its present late-Romanesque form.”  The Bamberg Cathedral contains the marble Imperial Tomb of Heinrich II (Henry II) and his wife, Kunigunde, which was carved by sculptor Tilman Riemenschneider between 1499 and 1513.

The Cathedral is also famous for its beautiful Bamberger Reiter (Bamberg Horseman), which is a statue of a man on a horse that dates to around 1200.  The sculptor is unknown, as is the identity of the rider, though it is thought that it depicts the Hungarian king from the 11th century, Stephen I.

The Bamberg Cathedral (the Cathedral Church of St. Peter and St. George), 10-21-14

The Bamberg Cathedral (the Cathedral Church of St. Peter and St. George), 10-21-14

The Cathedral doors, 10-21-14

The Cathedral doors, 10-21-14

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Not sure who this depicts, but it's possibly Pope Clement II.  "Bamberg Cathedral is the site of the only papal burial outside of Italy and France." (Wikipedia)

Not sure who this depicts, but it’s possibly Pope Clement II. “Bamberg Cathedral is the site of the only papal burial outside of Italy and France.” (Wikipedia)

Lois near the Imperial Tomb of Henry II and Kunigunde

Lois near the Imperial Tomb of Henry II and Kunigunde, 10-21-14

The Imperial Tomb, 10-21-14

The Imperial Tomb, 10-21-14

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The Bamberg Horseman (der Bamberger Reiter), 10-21-14

The Bamberg Horseman (der Bamberger Reiter), 10-21-14

After exiting the Cathedral we walked over to the Bishop’s Old Court (the Alte Hofhaltung), where the bishop of Bamberg lived prior to moving to the New Residence (the Neue Residenz), which is just across the road.  The Alte Hofhaltung now houses the Historical Museum.

The Alte Hofhaltung (the Old Court) of the Bishop, 10-21-14

The Alte Hofhaltung (the Old Court) of the Bishop, 10-21-14

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Walking through the archway to the Rose Gardens, 10-21-14

Walking through the archway to the Rose Gardens, 10-21-14

You can see the the Church of the Benedictine Michaelsberg Abbey, built in the 12th century, on Michaelsberg Hill, 10-21-14

You can see the the Church of the Benedictine Michaelsberg Abbey, built in the 12th century, on Michaelsberg Hill, 10-21-14 (From left, Ross, Lois, Bill G., our guide, & Sherry)

Another view of Michaelsberg Abbey, 10-21-14

Another view of Michaelsberg Abbey, 10-21-14

View of the city rooftops from Cathedral Hill, 10-21-14

View of the city rooftops from Cathedral Hill, 10-21-14

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IMG_0427The Neue Residenz of the bishop was initially designed to have a second full wing on the left (facing us).  The project ran out of money, however, so construction was stopped and one can see the unfinished edge where the blocks stick out into the air.

The Neue Residenz of the bishop after the 17th century, showing the unfinished edge of the building

The Neue Residenz of the bishop after the 17th century, showing the unfinished edge of the building

The Neue Residenz (photo by bamberg.info)

The Neue Residenz (photo by bamberg.info)

After this, the tour was over, as our tour guide’s wife drove over to pick him up!  The rest of us walked down the steps from Cathedral Hill and back to the streets.  Bill and I made a beeline back to the Schlenkerla, where we each had a refreshing glass of Rauchbier (smokebeer).  The dark beer tasted only slightly smoky, not too overpowering, and was quite delicious.  Here’s my beer coaster!

The front of my coaster

The front of my coaster

The back of my coaster

The back of my coaster

Aecht Schlenkerla Rauchbier (photo by blogdenosdois.com)

Aecht Schlenkerla Rauchbier (photo by blogdenosdois.com)

Bill and I then returned to the Hofbräu, where we met the rest of our group and ate sausages and drank more beer!  We had a great time in Bamberg!

Tom, Ross,

Tom, Dom, Sam, Ross, Bill G., Sue, Ann, Fox, Sherry, Scott, Bill, Dan, & Jan at the Hofbräu, 10-21-14

Ann, Ross

Ann, Ross, Lois, Bill G., Dom, Sam, Fox, Bill, 10-21-14

Scott, Sherry,

Scott, Sherry, Dom, Sam, Bill, Dallas, Dan, & Jan, 10-21-14

After lunch, Bill and I headed over to the Käthe Wohlfahrt store, where we bought a beautiful Bier Stein for our son, Austin.  We requested that it be shipped to him in Montana.

The Käthe Wohlfahrt store where we bought Austin's bier stein

The Käthe Wohlfahrt store where we bought Austin’s bier stein

Austin's bier stein

Austin’s bier stein

IMG_0370After we made it back to the ship, we were treated to a Bavarian Beertasting in the lounge.  Two young German men wearing their lederhosen told us all about the different types of German beer.  There were four different samples for us to try: “Ammerndorfer Hell” (a bright lager from the Dorn brewery, Ammerndorf), “Rossdorfer Pils” (a Pilsner from the Sauer brewery, Rossdorf), “Krug Bräu Lagerbier” (a dark lager from the Krug brewery, Breitenlesau), and “Gutmann Weisse” (a wheat beer from the Gutmann brewery, Titting).  They were all very good, and it was fun to learn something new!

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Some of the many types of beer brewed by Bamberg's 10 breweries

Some of the many types of beer brewed by Bamberg’s 10 breweries (photo by bavaria.by)

We had a very busy and interesting day today.  Bamberg was one of my favorite German cities!

Bamberg's coat of arms

Bamberg’s coat of arms

Other interesting things to know about Bamberg:

*The city of Bamberg celebrated the 1,000th anniversary of its founding in 1973.

*Witch trials were held in Bamberg during the 17th century.  Approximately 1,000 victims were put to death, the majority between 1626 and 1631, under the rule of Prince-Bishop Johann Georg II Fuchs von Dornheim.

*Bamberg has underground tunnels which were originally constructed for sandstone mining.  During WWII the tunnels were used as air raid shelters.

*Another famous resident of Bamberg was Ida Noddack-Tacke.  She was a chemist and physicist who discovered element #75, rhenium.

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