Augsburg - a historic place
In about 15 BC, the romans founded a military camp on a narrow strip of land at the confluence of the Wertach and the Lech. By the 1st century AD it had become the capital of Rhetia, Augusta Vindelicorum. The town retained its importance in the Middle ages, and the rise of the great merchant families of Fugger and Welser eventually made Augsburg one of the most influential of all the trading and financal centres in Europe.
Take a walk around the city. There are some beautiful houses and churches in the city centre, which shows the rich history of this nice city.
Also don't miss to visit one of the nice cafés and restaurants in the centre of Augsburg. Click on the picture to see the Afra church.
Mozart slept here (so did Goethe)
This relief portrait of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart is on the outside of a building in the Ludwigstraße, behind the Augsburg Theater.
In earlier times there was an inn here called the White Lamb (Gasthof zum Weissen Lamm). The great German writer Johann Wolfgang von Goethe stayed here from the 16th to the 19th of March, 1790, which is why his relief portrait is on the building, too.
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart stayed here for two weeks in October 1777, when he was 21 years old. He gave several concerts during that visit, and had his first erotic adventures with his cousin "Bäsle," to whom he later wrote a famous series of racy letters.
He stayed here again for one night in October 1790, a little over a year before his death at the age of 35.
Basilica of Saints Ulrich & Afra
The other main church in Augsburg is directly south of the Dom along the broad Maximillianstrasse, a long avenue of fine buildings and fountains. The basilica's towers topped by onion domes beckon from Ulrichsplatz.
For centuries the basilica was the more important of the two great churches, serving as the burial place of most of the local bishops until a Benedictine monastery was established on the site in 1012. Afra was a Christian martyr persecuted by the Roman Emperor Diocletian, whilst Ulrich was a local bishop. After Ulrich's canonisation, the Benedictines arrived to build their monastery here to protect the saints' graves (and to profit from the pilgrims visiting them).
The monastery was bombed in WWII and an administrative building for the diocese was built on the site in the 1970s. The basilica itself is said to have had been built and rebuilt about four times, with the Gothic building which stands now dating from the 1500s. The interior was highly decorated in a baroque style for its 700th anniversary in the early 1700s. This explains the ornate confessionals, benches and gratings which are worth a look.
The aforementioned Fuggers, a wealthy family of local merchants, established what is said to be the world's oldest example of social housing in 1521.
The Fuggerei is a self-contained walled district of about 70 houses. Its 150 residents continue to pay the traditional rent of three daily prayers to the Fuggers plus an annual peppercorn payment of one guilder (calculated today at 88 euro cents). However, the three gates to the settlement close each evening and residents who miss the lock-out are required to cough up.
It's a pleasant area for a stroll amongst the amber-coloured buildings covered in ivy. House number 14 is home to the Fugger history museum, complete with an apartment showing 400-year-old original furnishings.
The website has opening hours and admission charges for visitors. The museum has just been remodeled so maybe they are being more strict about collecting an entrance fee, but on our visit the gatehouse was empty and we entered without paying.
St. Ulrich and Afra
Both, St. Ulrich Church and Afra Church are are landmark of Augsburg. St. Ulrich is the yellow Lutheran Church, St. Afra is the white Roman Catholic. Both churches were built after the "Peace of Augsburg" (1555) between Catholics and Protestants.