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Favorite thing: Don't worry, you won't catch this if you visit the town. But it is deadly. One of the deadliest viruses on the planet. And it was first seen in the wild here, in Marburg, when workers at a nearby industrial plant were accidentally exposed to it in 1967. It only infected 31 people, but it killed nearly a quarter of them. When you consider cholera only kills about 5% of its victims, you can get an idea of how potent it is.
Nowadays the Marburg virus has moved on, and is infecting people in other parts of the world. It was last seen in Uganda.
Fondest memory: Not the Marburg virus that's for sure!
Written Oct 25, 2011
Favorite thing: The brothers Jacob and Wilhelm Grimm studied in Marburg from 1802 to 1805. The town honours their memory. The two became famous when they published their collection of fairy tales in 1809.
The tales were not invented by the two authors. They are a collection of tales and stories which used to be passed on orally from generation to generation. They are known all over the world now - Cinderella, the Bremen Town Musicians, Snow White and the Seven Dwarves... Many of these tales originate from Hessen. Some are of French origin - one of the brothers' best sources was a Huguenot woman from the Hofgeismar region north of Kassel who told them the tales her family knew through her ancestors.
A figure like Red Riding Hood, however, is as hessisch as can be. Red Riding Hood is a girl from the Schwalm, a region northeast of Marburg. The traditional Schwälmer clothing for young girls, as worn by the doll in the bookstore window, includes a red hood.
If you travel this region with kids, carry a copy of Grimm's Fairy Tales and follow the traces.
Written Jun 6, 2009
Favorite thing: River floods occur about once or twice a year. However, hardly anyone in town is really worried about them. The flood gates to Weidenhausen will be closed, the dam protects this low-lying suburb. The rest of the town is situated high enough to be safe.
The bike trails along the river will be closed if the water level is too high.
There is only one problem that troubles the car users among the citizens: a dramatic lack of parking space. The big parking lots in central Marburg are mostly located on the river terraces and when these are flooded, finding parking is difficult.
In each flood there is always someone who forgets to rescue his car from the river bank in time, to the laugh of the car haters in town.
Conclusion: don't park on the river bank if there are flood warnings.
Written Jun 6, 2009
Favorite thing: You will notice a lot of blind people in the streets of Marburg, many of whom move around on their own with remarkable confidence. Marburg is the seat of Deutsche Blindenstudienanstalt, a school and study centre for the visually impaired. The university is equipped to support visually impaired students and enables them to get a university degree like everyone else. Many of them stay in Marburg after finishing their education because they know the town and find their way.
If you hear the tack-tack-tack sound of a white stick on the pavement, jump aside. These guys and gals know perfectly well where steady obstacles like lantern posts, stairs, houses are and move with enormous speed. Mobile obstacles, like you, better move out of their way...
Everyone in town is used to dealing with blind people. Sometimes one has to warn them when they run towards a puddle or a big pile of dog droppings, or pick one up who has lost his way in the middle of a busy street.
About all pedestrian traffic lights in town have acoustic signals that change sound when the traffic light turns from red to green and from green to red.
Next to Elisabethkirche and in market square small bronze models of the surrounding architecture have been put up. They can be explored with the hands. Explanations are given in both Braille and normal scripture.
Written Jun 4, 2009
Favorite thing: Fleckenbühl, a farm in the countryside of Cölbe near Marburg, is a project for drug addicts who want to quit and find the way back to a sober, clean, drug-free life. Anyone who seriously wants to can come and stay and will find help. People are not sent or brought there by any authorities and they are not picked up - they have to reach the place on their own and out of their free will. The project offers help with detoxification and legal problems. The ex-addicts live together in the community on the farm and learn to deal with their problems. Everyone gets as much time as he or she needs. The project is successful. Many have been able to leave after a while and start a new life.
The project is happy about donations but their financial base are their own businesses. They operate an organic farm, a wholemeal bakery, organic grocery stores, a pottery, a painter workshop and a relocation service. The idea is giving people the option to work according to their wishes and talents, even do a regular apprenticeship to learn a profession, as soon as they are ready. They compete on the regional market with their products and services and work for clients 'outside' like any other business would. I have used their relocation service when I moved to Karlsruhe, for example.
Fleckenbühl website (in German)
Fondest memory: Fleckenbühl operates an organic food store in Weidenhausen, next to the bridge. They offer small warm dishes at lunchtime. Their wholemeal bread and cakes are yummy!!!!
Updated Jun 2, 2009
Favorite thing: Slate is a popular and common material both for roofs and facades. This stone can be split into thin but durable slabs. These are then nailed to a wooden construction. Roofs with complicated shapes, angles and corners can better be done with the small slate slabs than with tiles. Slate coatings on facades are often used on the side of the house that is exposed most to the weather.
A good slater uses the small stone slabs to create patterns, even ornaments, like the eagle in photo2.
Photos 3-5 have been taken in black and white on purpose to emphasize the graphic structures.
Written Jun 1, 2009
Favorite thing: Marburg's old town has half-timbered houses from the 14th to the 19th century. A few general observations help to see the differences in construction and style throughout the centuries.
The oldest houses from the middle ages are those that have long timbers that extend over the full height of the facade. These are rare (photo 1 and 2).
Later on, the construction was built from shorter timbers, storey by storey. Each storey protrudes a bit further, both to enlarge the ground and for reasons of statics. This style was used in the 16th and 17th century, thus is not medieval any more (photos 3 and 4).
18th and early 19th century half-timbered houses had flat facades which were covered in plaster to make them look like stone buildings.
The later 19th century rediscovered the 'medieval' style. 19th century houses can be recognized by elaborate, colourful and often exaggerated ornamentation (photo 5). These are often the ones visitors will find most beautiful.
Written Jun 1, 2009
Favorite thing: Elizabeth (1207-1231) was the daughter of the Hungarian king. At the age of four she was sent to Wartburg castle above Eisenach and betrothed to Landgrave Ludwig IV of Thuringia, whom she married in 1221. They had three children. The marriage did not last long, though. Her husband participated in the crusade and died.
Elisabeth's ideal was Francis of Assisi. Already as a countess she helped the poor, the sick and the needy whereever she could - to great dislike of her husband. The legend tells that Ludwig caught her on the way to the hospital with a covered basket full of bread and confronted her, but when he looked into the basket it was filled with nothing but roses.
After Ludwig's death Elizabeth had to leave the Wartburg. She took up residence in the castle of Marburg and joined the Franciscan Third Order. Outside the town she built a hospital and served the sick and needy with her own hands. Unfortunately she overstrained her forces. She died at the age of only 27 in 1231 and canaonized four years later. Her grave soon became one of the most visited pilgrimages in Western Europe.
Although Marburg has been protestant for almost 500 years and thus has long abandoned the worshipping of saints, Elizabeth's memory is still honoured and her holiday on November 19 commemorated even in the protestant Elisabethkirche. On the weekend after November 19 there is an open-air market (Elisabethmarkt) in the streets of the town.
Statues and reliefs depicting Elizabeth can be found in many places all over town.
Written May 30, 2009
Favorite thing: "Other cities have a university, Marburg is a university", as a saying states. The town has 75.000 inhabitants, among them 15.000 university students. All well-to-do Marburger citizens have, according to another old saying, four things: a house, a garden, a pig and a student.
If you ask me where the university is I'll answer: Take a map of the town and a saltshaker. Shake the saltshaker above the map. Then you see the location of the university.
In other words, there are university buildings all over town. The administration is located in Biegenstraße. Many historical buildings in the old town are occupied by university institutes. Most science and some medicine faculties are however located in the new (ugly) campus up on the Lahn hills.
The university was founded in 1527 by Landgrave Philipp the Generous of Hessen and named after the founder. His portrait is depicted on the university seal. A year earlier Philipp had introduced, as one of the first princes in Germany, the reformation. The closed-down Dominican monastery buildings became the first seat of the new university - these have been torn down in the 19th century and substituted by a neo-Romanesque complex which is nevertheless still named the Old University, only the church has survived.
A town with so many independent young adults must have a lively nightlife. The old town is full of little pubs and buzzing with life, except during the holidays - you notice immediately in the streets when the semester is over. In August when most students are away the town is more or less dead.
Website of Philipps-Universität Marburg
Updated May 29, 2009
Favorite thing: The town's general appearance is formed by the topography of the landscape. Marburg is situated in the valley of the river Lahn in a river bend. The old centre is the hill with the palace on top. The old town (Oberstadt) extends along the slopes of this hill.
Already in medieval times a settle ment of the Teutonic Order was built outside the town in the valley bottom around the 13th century pilgrimage church of St Elizabeth.
A suburb on the opposite side of the Lahn bridge (Weidenhausen) also has medieval origins.
The town grew around the foot of the old town hill in the 19th century with new suburbs being built in the valley bottom, and later also up the ridge (Lahnberge) on the outer side of the valley. In the 1970s some neighbouring villages were incorporated into the town, so that Marburg's boundaries now extend to the back side of the hills.
Written May 29, 2009
2 Reviews and 33 Opinions Welcome hotel is just opposite the lift to old town , great plentiful rich breakfast ,parking garage...