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Stop into the cathedral when you're in town - the wood carving on the doors is very detailed and beautiful. The inside of the church is impressive, too. Be sure to wander down into the crypt area below the altar. There's a much smaller, more intimate chapel down there, and some pieces from a previous site they dug up when building this church.
Written Aug 14, 2004
On a pier jutting out into the harbor you can see a giant revolving statue of Imperia, a voluptuous prostitue. She holds the leaders of state and church in the palm of her hand - a political statement if I ever saw one! ; ) I think she's based on a real woman from the past. Peter Lenk is the artist - he has a number of statues around Germany.
Updated Aug 26, 2004
The Rosgarten museum is one of the *must* things to do and see in Konstanz. It is located in the former butchers' guildhall, erected in 1304, the structure of course with several changes over the centuries. Since 1870 it hosts the museum.
On the ground floor you can see a wonderful model of the city Konstanz around 1600. The model was built 1862/63! In the other hall on the ground floor pieces of the stunning paleontological and mineralogical collection are on display. Among them is the largest collection of the so called "Pfahlbaukultur", a civilisation that lived around Lake Konstanz 9 - 12,000 years B.C.
Upstairs are the fantastic, very beautiful rooms from past centuries: the guild hall with wooden panels on ceilings and walls, carvings, furniture. You can see excellent works of art from mostly medieval times but also from Baroque and later.
Again upstairs, under the roof, is a very interesting exhibit about Konstanz from WWI to the end of WWII. Well done, the atmosphere is perfectly captured.
After all the sightseeing don't miss the lovely cafe in the same building. See my separate tip under "Restaurants"!
Tue-Fri 10-18 h
Sat/Sun 10-17 h
Admission fee: 3 Euro, Wednesday after 3 pm free!
Updated Feb 22, 2011
Address: Rosgartenstraße 3-5, 78459 Konstanz
Phone: 07531/900 246
The town hall is a complex of two buildings forming two courtyards. The facade to Kanzleistraße is decorated with frescos from 1864 depicting scenes from the town's history. The buildings, however, are much older - the guild house of the weavers and grocers was turned into the town hall 1589 - 94. The Renaissance style is clearly visible in the courtyard, especially on the facade of the back building.
Don't hesitate to open one of the doors and walk inside - it's a public building, after all. I even had a chance to peek inside the Gothic council's hall (pic 5) where the city council still meets nowadays.
Definitely walk through to the second courtyard which is a green oasis in the old town. Quiet, with benches to rest (picnic!). You can leave the courtyard through another door in the back, getting to the Blätzle square with modern buildings (shopping malls).
Written Feb 23, 2011
Another work of Peter Lenk, created in 1990, is the Laube fountain, often called Lenk fountain. It is not just another fountain, it is designed as a triumphal arch with a number of sculptures caricaturing the bad habits of nowadays society - like the obsessions with cars and sex, vanity etc.
I adore this monument. I've never seen something similar. Hat off to the sculptor, he did a great job. Take your time and watch the details closely. And you might feel like looking into a mirror, maybe ... :-)
Written Feb 23, 2011
Right across from the main portal of the Minster church is a modern annex to the Wessenberg house, now the entrance for the public to this building. The complex is home of the city's public library (in the modern annex) and the Wessenberg gallery with a permanent and also temporary exhibitions. In the quiet courtyard is a nice cafe.
Originally the Wessenberg house was built 1641. Inside nice stucco ceilings and fireplaces from that era are preserved. It was home of the last bishop of Konstanz, Ignaz Heinrich von Wessenberg - thus the name.
The permanent exhibit was mildly interesting - have seen much better ones. It's mostly drawings formerly owned by the Granddukes of Baden and paintings that von Wessenberg bought - mostly contemporary copies of famous works. Better go and see the originals somewhere else. On the other hand, the temporary exhibit that I saw was pretty interesting: A photo exhibit of students from a local school. Quite nice also the chance to rummage in the city library, no fee and no registration necessary.
The admission to the gallery is 3 Euro.
Opening hours: Tue-Fri 10 - 18 h, Sat/Sun 10 - 17 h
Updated Feb 22, 2011
Address: Wessenbergstraße 43, 78462 Konstanz
Three of the city towers that once were part of the fortifications are still preserved. Two of them are right by the Rhine river, at the northern end of the old town.
The western of the two towers is called Powder Tower. It was built 1321 by the Jews as their contribution for the construction of the fortifications. Ironically (and sadly) Jews were held for ransom in this tower between 1430 and 1443.
Farther east, right by the big bridge, is the Rhine Gate Tower from the 15th century, parts of it dating from the 13th century. The gate led to the Rhine bridge, the first one built in medieval times, replaced by a larger one in 1585 that burned down 1856. A modern bridge was built in short distance closer to the lake in 1863 - enlarged a couple of times it is still there nowadays. The Rhine Gate Tower is massive sandstone on the riverside but timber framed on the city side. It is home of the Fasnacht (carnival) museum. Not my cup of tea :-)
Between the two towers you see four sandstone statues from the 19th century depicting Dukes of Baden and Bishops of Konstanz. Another statue, right in front of the Rhine Gate Tower, depicts Saint Nepomuk, the saint of the bridges - how appropriate!
Written Feb 23, 2011
The so called "Konzilgebäude" has by far not the most interesting architecture in Konstanz, even less so as it is not accessible for sightseeing - it is now an upscale restaurant and conference place. But it is quite picturesque and seeing it may peek interest of people to know more about its history. That's where it becomes interesting.
Erected in 1388 as building for the merchants (Konstanz was on a main trading route from Milan to Germany) it was the upper hall where in 1417 Pope Martin V was elected during the council of Konstanz - the largest conference in medieval times with about 50,000 participants. The council had historic significance. With the election of the new Pope the schism of the three Popes (John XXIII, Benedict XIII, Gregor XII) was overcome. The sad part of the council was the execution of Jan Hus, though.
When I visited construction works went on in the building. I saw a sign with "Restoration" on it, but I guess its more redesign for larger conferences and more upscale dining in the future. Anyway, the average tourist won't be able to see the interior anyway.
Updated Feb 24, 2011
My favourite place in Konstanz is the tree-lined lake promenade that stretches east from the Rhine bridge. It starts off with some very beautiful turn-of-the-century townhouses while later gardens with beautiful single houses dominate the scene. There are flower beds, benches where you can rest and enjoy the views of the lake, the boats, the old town silhouette and - weather co-operating - the Alps in the far distance.
Soon you'll pass the Casino, a dependancy of the one in Baden-Baden, with nice garden and restaurant. Two upscale hotels follow, finally the Villa Prym vis-a-vis the yacht harbour with very beauitful garden. It was built for an entrepreneur in 1908 and is now occupied by the Yachting Club and the College of Communication Design. You're free to walk up to the villa and watch the stunning Art Nouveau frescos on the facade.
At this place the promenade turns into a small path that follows the shore of the lake. It's pure nature from there on, no landscaping design. I walked it to the new Thermal Bath where I caught the bus back into town. There's also a pier there from which boats go back to Konstanz old town (infrequently).
Written Feb 24, 2011
I almost missed this beautiful place. On the way back from Konstanz-Staad (where I gave up on visiting Meersburg due to lack of time) I got off the bus and decided to visit this chapel. Of course a thunderstorm with heavy rain caught me right on top of the hill. But I was on pilgrimage, so what bad could happen ...? LOL
Anyway, the complex of chapel, open wooden praying house, vicarage, cross column and fountain is absolutely picturesque. Even in the rain. The chapel was consegrated 1638 resulting from a vow that the people of Konstanz did in 1632 when they feared the city would be besieged by Swedish troops (as it happened from 1633 on). The Miraculous statue of St. Mary in the chapel dates from Gothic times, though, was brought here after the chapel was completed.
The chapel is always open. Feel free to go inside and watch the (very) small room. The interior is modelled after the original Loreto chapel in Ancona/Italy - altar, crucifixion group and frescos. The vaulted ceiling is blue, just like the sky.
Quite interesting for me was that there is a wooden open praying hall where the pilgrims use to follow the mass that is celebrated in front of the open altar on the western side of the chapel - unfortunately the doors to this altar are only open during mass.
Updated Feb 24, 2011
Address: Lorettosteig, 78464 Konstanz
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