The Rathaus is the seat of the President of the Senate of Bremen and of the Mayor of the Free Hanseatic City of Bremen. Since 2004 it has enjoyed the status of UNESCO World Heritage site.
It was built in Brick Gothic style in the early 15th century and was considered to be an extremely significant example of its type. In the late 16th and early 17th century a new Weser Renaissance facade was added to the front of the building and in 1909 to 1913 a new Neo Renaissance facade was added to the back. It is finished off with many distinctive scupltures on its outer walls.
When more than half of Bremen was destroyed in WWII, the Rathaus was relatively unscathed due to the boarding up of the outer walls. It was completely restored in 2003.
Once a year the Rathaus plays host to the Bremen Schaffermahl which is a banquet in the traditional style.
It is the oldest quarter of Bremen and a former center of economic activities. There are many cute and beautiful houses and shops. It was just after Christmas when I visited this quarter. You just promenade on various small pavement.
Another stunning building on the market square is Bremen former merchants' guildhouse, now the chamber of commerce. Built in 1537/38 in the Flanders Renaissance style. t was built in 1537/38 by Johann den Buschener in the style of the Renaissance buildings of Flanders. During decorative refurbishment of the front of the building facing the market in 1594, the merchants' coat of arms was added above the entrance, next to that of the city of Bremen. This depicts – in line with the historical self-image of Bremen's merchants as imperial traders – the crowned, double-headed imperial eagle. Below it, the motto of Bremen's merchants, "Buten un binnen, wagen un winnen" (outside and in – venture and win), was added in 1899.
The first thing we noticed, strolling from the main station to the city centre,was the windmill in Wallanlagen Park. This is a great place for a walk, or simply to wind down and relax.
The windmill is open to the public and also houses a restaurant.
(2 weeks notice required)
Mill dating back over a century in Wallanlagen Park. Open to visitors, also houses a restaurant.
You cannot miss the Bottcherstrasse which was built in the 1920s, this fascinating 110 metre-long lane houses shops and restaurants, museums, workshops and a carillon.The name Böttcherstrasse derives from the coopers (böttcher) who used to live and work there. Today, this narrow lane is home to arts and craft shops and studios. We need to thank Ludwig Roselius, who at the start of the 20th century, began to buy up all the houses in the dilapidated street. He then had it completely rebuilt, resulting in a creation that is both homogenous and architecturally remarkable. With the help of architects Bernhard Hoetger, Eduard Scotland and Alfred Runge, Roselius – the inventor of decaffeinated coffee – achieved his goal, turning this pathway between the market square and the Weser river into a street of houses designed specially to be of architectural merit, in a mixture of art deco and brick-built styles that has a special charm all of its own. Roselius' principal aim was a return to traditional Low German culture in language, art and crafts.
Walking around, we noticed a lttle pedestrian street that said, Bronze movement and we decided o explore. We came accross the Fountain of the Seven Lazy Brothers by Bernhard Hoetger, which is based on a local legend.
The legend goes like this:
They were the sons of a Bremen farmer and not exactly renowned as hard workers. As they could find no work in Bremen, they went out into the world. Some years later, they returned to Bremen with a wealth of knowledge and experience and began to work in their father's fields. They dug ditches to drain the fields and constructed a dyke along the river Weser to prevent flooding. They also paved a road and built themselves houses next to it.
Unwilling to believe that the seven lazy brothers could have changed, the people of Bremen continued to pour scorn on them, saying the brothers were simply too lazy to get their feet dirty while working in muddy fields. Now, of course, we know that the seven lazy brothers were not lazy at all but actually very smart. The fountain in the courtyard of the Paula Becker Modersohn House in Böttcherstrasse still depicts the brother as idle. But have a look at the gables of the Sieben Faulen Haus (Seven Lazy Brothers House). Here you can see the industrious brother standing tall and proud as they look down on the city.
Lovely little story, don't you think?
Another definate visit is to the Protestant/Lutheran church with a history spanning more than 1,200 years. Built in early-Gothic style from the first half of the 13th century, you will discover that the oldest sections are the crypts. It is set between the town hall and the State Parliament, and the cathedral completes the ensemble of historical buildings on Bremen's market square. Its two towers, one of which is open to visitors, are visible from afar and dominate the city skyline.
During the turbulent times of the Reformation, the originally Catholic cathedral became first Calvinist and finally Lutheran. In the cathedral's lead cellar, you can discover the mysteries of the mummies.
Sun, public holidays 2-5pm
(closed: 1 May, 3 Oct, 24/25 Dec, 31 Dec, Good Friday, and for official church occasions and concerts)
Easter Sunday to 1 Nov.: tower open
Thu 7pm vocal soloists, motets, organ recitals
The reason for our visit to this fantastic city. I am inserting the fairytale as I found it on the internet, for those who are not aware of it.
A fairy tale by the Brothers Grimm
There once was a man who had a donkey which had carried his sacks to the mill unflaggingly for many long years but was now getting old and weak so that he was becoming more and more unfit for work. The donkey's master was considering whether to stop feeding him but the donkey noticed that there was an ill wind blowing and ran away, setting off for Bremen where he thought he could become a town musician.
When he had covered a short distance he came across a hunting dog lying on the road, yapping like someone who has run himself into the ground. "Well, why are you yapping so, old snarler?" asked the donkey. "Ah", said the dog, "because I am so old and getting weaker every day and can't go hunting any more, my master wanted to kill me but then I took to my heels. But how shall I now earn my living?" "You know what", said the donkey, "I am going to Bremen to become a town musician. Go with me and take up music too. I shall play the lute and you can beat the drums." The dog was happy with this and they went on together.
Before long they came across a cat sitting at the roadside with a face as long as a fiddle. "Well now, what has crossed you, old whisker-face?" said the donkey. "How can I be happy when I am in for it", replied the cat, "just because I am getting on in years, my teeth are getting blunt and I prefer to sit and muse in front of the fire than to chase around after mice, my mistress wanted to drown me; I managed to get away but now I am really in a fix. Where shall I go?" "Go with us to Bremen. You are good at making music at night; you can become a town musican." The cat thought this was a good idea and went with the others.
The three fugitives went past a farmyard where a farm cock was sitting on the gate and crowing with all its might. "Your crowing goes right through us", said the donkey, "what's up?" "I prophesied good weather" said the cock, "because it's the day of our Blessed Lady, on which she washed the little shirt of Baby Jesus and puts it out to dry; but because it is Sunday tomorrow and guests are coming, the housewife has no pity and has told the cook to put me in the soup tomorrow; and she's coming to cut off my head tonight. So now I'm crowing as hard and as long as I can." "Come on, old redhead", said the donkey, "come along with us instead, we are going to Bremen. Anything is better than waiting here to die; you have a good voice and when we play music together there will surely be a place for you." The cock was pleased by this suggestion and all four of them went on together.
But they couldn't reach the city of Bremen in one day and they came to a wood where they decided to spend the night. The donkey and the dog lay down under a large tree; the cat and the cock went up into the branches but the cock flew up to the top of the tree where he felt the safest. Before he fell asleep he looked around in the direction of all four winds and thought he saw a little light shining in the distance; so he called to his friends that there must be a house not so far away since he could see a light shining. Then the donkey said, "We had better go over there for the accommodation here is pretty bad." The dog said he could also do with a few bones with a little meat on them. So they set off in the direction of the light and soon it got brighter and larger until they came to a brightly lit robbers' house. Being the largest of the four, the donkey approached the window and looked inside. "What can you see, old grey nag?" asked the cock. "What can I see?" answered the donkey. "A table laid with lovely things to eat and drink, with a band of robbers sitting around and having a good time." "Why can't we do the same", said the cock. "Ooh yes, if only we could be there!" said the donkey. The animals conferred amongst themselvers about how they could chase away the robbers and finally they hit on an idea. The donkey would put his front hooves on the window ledge, the dog would jump on the donkey's back, the cat would climb on the dog and the cock would fly up and sit on the cat's head. So they all did this and, at a signal, they began to play their music: the donkey brayed, the dog barked, the cat miaowed and the cock crew. Then fell through the window into the room, shattering the window-pane as they went. The robbers jumped out of their skins at the terrible clamour, thinking it must be a ghost, and fled in great fear to the woods.
Now the four companions sat down at the table and made do with what was left over, eating as if it was their last meal for a month.
When the four musicians had finished they put out the light and looked for a place to sleep, each according to his nature and desired comfort. The donkey lay down on the midden, the dog behind the door, the cat on the stove near the warm ashes and the cock sat on a perch; and, because they were tired after their long journey, they were all very soon asleep. Sometime after midnight the robbers noticed from afar that all lights in the house were out and everything seemed to be quiet. So the leader said: "We shouldn't have let ourselves be frightened out of our wits", and asked one of the robbers to go and check up on the house. The robber found everything quiet, went into the kitchen to make a light, and mistaking the glowing fiery eyes of the cat for live coals, he held a match to them thinking it would light. But the cat was not in a joking mood and jumped at his throat, spitting and scratching. The robber was terrified and tried to run out of the back door but the dog, which was lying there, jumped up and bit him in the leg; and as he ran past the midden in the farmyard the donkey lashed out with his hind hoof; but the cock, who had been roused from his sleep by the din and was now fully awake, called out "cock-a-doodle-doo!" from his perch. The robber ran back to his leader at full pelt and said "there's a dreadful witch in that house; she spat on me and scratched my face with her long fingers; and by the door there is a man standing with a knife, who stabbed my leg; and in the farmyard there is a black monster which attacked me with a wooden club; and on the roof there is a judge sitting who called out "bring the scoundrel to me". "So I got away as fast as I could." From that time onwards the robbers did not dare to go near the house but the four Bremen Musicians liked it so much that they didn't want to leave again. And they all lived happily ever after.
A truly stunning place to lay your eyes upon, Bremen's town hall is regarded as the jewel in the crown of the historical market square. The Upper Hall, where the city council used to convene, is the most magnificent ceremonial venue in Bremen. The model ships that hang from the ceiling bear witness to the importance of commerce and maritime trade for the city. Their miniature cannons can even be fired if the occasion demands. At the start of the 20th century, the grand old town hall was in need of an extension. Designed by architect Gabriel von Seidel, the modern building blends seamlessly with the medieval section to form a harmonious whole.
From the train station we made our way to the "Altstadt" and market square. Probably the most magnificent building is the town hall. In front of it stands the proud statue of Roland, which symbolises the freedom of the city. Both have been awarded UNESCO World Heritage status. If you turn clockwise on the Hanseatic Cross near the statue, you can see St. Peter's Cathedral, the State Parliament and the Schütting guildhall. Just past the Schütting, a narrow lane leads to Böttcherstrasse. On the western side of the Kontorhaus shopping arcade follows a row of beautiful gabled buildings.
on the western side of the market square, from left to right, you will see the Sparkasse bank building with its 1755 facade, the Rathsapotheke (council apothecary) and the Akzise (customs house) from 1595 (replaced in 1830), followed by the more recent Deutsches Haus.
There's quite a good run of these in the summer months. They sing just outside the St. Petrus cathedral. They wear old Ukrainian military costumes, there's only men, black shiny boots up to their knees.
The remarkable monument of the Bremen musicians can be found on one of the squares of the city.
The well-known fairy tale of Grimm brothers "Die Bremer Stadtmusicanten " associates with Bremen. The bronze monument to these world famous heroes is established on the market square. The author of the monument - Gerhard Markks (1953).
The Liebfrauenkirche (Our Lady's Church) is the oldest church of the town (11th century). Its crypt features several impressive murals from the 14th century.
Different reorganizations of Liebfrauenkirche were made in the thirteenth and sixteenth centuries. The western facade with two towers in height of 98 meters was updated in the end of XIX-th century.
Many of the sights in Bremen are found in the Altstadt (Old Town), an oval area surrounded by the Weser River, on the southwest, and the Wallgraben, the former moats of the medieval city walls, on the northeast. The oldest part of the Altstadt is the southeast half, starting with the Marktplatz and ending at the Schnoor quarter.
You can watch my 4 min 59 sec about Bremen Video Bremen part 1 out of my Youtube channel or here on VT.
To examine the centre the city from above we advise to rise on a tower of the Cathedral. Difficulty of rise will be awarded by very fine views.
Unfortunately, windows are closed by lattices. Therefore the view is limited.
You can watch my 4 min 11 sec about Bremen Video Bremen part 2 out of my Youtube channel or here on VT.