Next to the bookshop Arcularious (see shopping section) in Barfüsserstrasse is a house with a cute ground floor: an old wise man guards the vertical beams between the shop windows (photo 2), Green Man with blue eyes are in the horizontal beam above the windows and the entrance has a beautifully carved and painted “arch” with the date of construction (1900). It is only sad that the rest of the house was plastered and is not yet restored to its former half-timbered glory.
This house is in Barfüsserstrasse, on the southern side, with its façade to the north. It is almost impossible to have sunlight shining onto the house, so the best time might would be early morning.
Opposite of the house with the cute faces in Barfüsserstrasse is another prominent house, which belonged to a merchant once. The inscription says that it is dated 1525 (photo 3), but dendrochronological tests showed that it must have been newer, because the oaks used for the beams have been cut between 1674 and 1677. On the show-side to the street it has several highlights, such as Hermes, Greek god of travellers and trade, with the Green Man above his head, in one of the corner beams (photo 4). On the horizontal beams are several images referring to trade, like the ones in the main photo and photo 2, and also images of an owl, symbol for wisdom, and of Landgrave Philipp (founder of the university) and Emperor Wilhelm II, who wasn’t even thought of in 17th century. But this shows how much the façade of these houses were reflecting the owners’ businesses and the times, because they were often restored according to the events of the time. This one was restored in 1907, as it can be seen in the photo of the Hermes statue. And by then, Wilhelm II was emperor.
This house is in Barfüsserstrasse, on the northern side, with its façade to the south. So the best time to take photos is between morning and afternoon, because the sun arrives here almost during the whole day.
Marburg, one of the oldest German university towns, also has a community of students' fraternities. They have been established since 1815, after the liberation wars against Napoleon. Their original idea of standing for fatherland and patriotism might have been a good idea these days, but over the years it turned into a very much sick behaviour, mainly during WWII. After WW II, some of these fraternities have kept their…. Ideology (our country sadly does not well if ever act against “brownish” attitudes). It surely depends on each individual’s personal point of view as of how to perceive these fraternities. My view is very much negative, I despise them. But I lived and studied here and thus had experienced them as very much arrogant, foreigner hostile and elitist behaviour in the public, with a lot of provocative actions [like raising the right arm (!!!!!!) for greetings….].
The fraternities are facing a lot of protest actions, not only during festivities such as Labour Day (May 1st). It is mainly throwing of paint bombs by some liberal students. On one of the houses, Alemania in Hainweg, you can also see that they have a definite need to protect their coat of arms from the paint bombs by shielding it with a piece of plastic.
I wrote this tip in September 2006, but have exchanged photos and revamped the text (April 2009).
The traditional clothing, which differs from region to region and almost from village to village, was still worn by old women from rural areas around Marburg around 2000. I remember seeing those "Hessen-Omas", as we respectlessly called them, quite often in town. There were some shops in Marburg that sold these clothes. When I revisited now after seven years I did not see any of them - coincidence, or have they died out?
A friend once told me how she spotted an old woman in Tracht hitchhiking on a country road (bus connections to the villages are lousy)... Yes she gave her a lift, she felt she simply had to...
The three dolls in the photo show traditional clothing of women from the catholic (left) and protestant (right) areas around Marburg, the one in the middle wears a man's clothes.
These dresses are NOT Dirndls!!!
In case anyone wants to see them: the dolls are on disply in a showcase in Elwert-Passage, the passageway from Reitgasse to the upper end of the Oberstadt lift.
When you are in the old town and have extensively visited Wettergasse, have taken photos of all the houses, have sampled your icecream at Cafè Klingelhöfer and have walked down to the potter’s house in Steinweg, you should continue walking down Steinweg (street) because it has more beautiful houses left and right of the street. Some of them are of newer dates like the ones opposite of the potter’s house with interesting cast iron balconies. Some have cute turrets and some have elaborate sgrafitto. At the end of Steinweg you can walk straight to Elisabethkirche or make a stop in between sightseeing and have a coffee in the tiny pedestrian street.
Steinweg runs north to south, so any time of the day is good, but the majority of the houses you might like to take photos of are on the eastern side, with their façade to the west. So the best time to take photos of these is in the afternoon, when the sun is no longer high in the sky.
Opposite of Elisabethkirche (to the south) is the good old institute of physiology and pathophysiology. To the first time visitor it looks as if it belongs to the church, as the architecture is almost similar. But this was intended end of 19th century, in a way to demonstrate that modern science and belief in god can peacefully coexist. Next to the institute (in Pilgrimstein, street) is the institute of microbiology, so the students and staff can both work hand in hand. No photo of the latter, unfortunately, because I was maybe too shocked to take photos during my visit in May 2008. Since I know the microbiology, the house was fully always covered with ivy and looked very much romantic, but they obviously have removed this lately (before I came back) and now it looks almost naked. I spent many evenings and days inside, because my ex-husband (dentist… what can I say) wanted to work on a scientific topic for his thesis and chose the effect of a newly developed antibiotics. He didn’t have much time though and it was me finally who worked on the tests. Since then to the annoyance of my physicians I refuse to take antibiotics without a proper antibiogram.
Between both institutes is a tiny garden and memorial to one of the greatest German physiologists, Emil von Behring.
This house near the market place, at Markt 18 (street) to be precise, is one of the oldest stone houses in Marburg, built before 1319. Moreover it is a secular house, which is unusual because stone as building material was too expensive these days and almost only used for castles and churches. It is not easy to define the exact building date but it was already built before the big fire in Marburg 1319 and in some parts inside are still showing signs of the fire. It has a beautiful stepped gable and two very different functions. The main house itself is home to the Registry Office with the bright red entrance door and down the steps at the outside (main photo) is one of the most famous cult pubs of the city: Hinkelstein. It got its name due to a huge menhir which hangs above the bar.
Well, I don’t know if I should recommend to get married here. I got, ages ago and it was … not successful. But this has nothing to do with this house more with my stubborn refusal to subjungate to egocentric patriarchs (no matter where).
Walk uphill from the market place, pass St. Georg fountain and then it is to your left. You cannot miss it, it is the only dark stone house.
A closer inspection of the physical faculty is something you might like to do if you are interested in physics or geophysics. It was here where Alfred Wegener was working (1909-1919) and it was here where he first published his theory about what was only later recognised as facts: plate tectonics. Physics is located in Renthof, which is on the way to the castle via the “secret path” or from Wettergasse onward up the hill (behind the statue of Christian). The building on the right (northeastern) side is the one where the memorial plaque to honour Wegener is located and also the one with the observatory (for weather rather than for astronomy, main photo) is mounted on top. But the main building (photo 2) is also interesting despite its rather plain architecture. It has lovely relief work and statues at the façade. I consider myself very lucky to have had my lessons in physics here in this building, in an auditorium of the old style (half round and steep).
The department of physics is well aware of their history and tradition and one of the rare faculties in Marburg which really takes care of and wants to attract foreign students – their website has a very much extended English version (see link below). No wonder that the students who are responsible for the setting up of camera obscura at the castle have made an English flyer for this as well. Congratulations to the foresight and innovation of these guys :-). In case you are interested in physics, read the fascinating 28 pages pdf about history of the department of physics.
In case you will have some ice cream in the old town (see restaurant section), you might end up at Cafè Klingelhöfer. And while you are waiting in the queue or already have selected your flavours take some time to admire the façade of the café’s house. It was built 1898 for the Klingelhöfer family which is in business since 120 years. That’s why they also have this cute emblem with the bell (Klingel = bell, photo 3) as their signature outside. The house is richly decorated with wooden carvings including the typical half-rose in my main photo and imitations of bull’s eye windows in the oriels.
This house is in Steinweg (no. 38), on the eastern side, with its façade to the west. So the best time to take photos is in the afternoon, when the sun is no longer high in the sky.
When I walked from church St. Marien to Kugelkirche, I came across this lovely house with several funny inscriptions: the coat of arms with a chicken (main photo) and one with a cute little black sheep and a half moon (photo 2 and 3). Later I found out that the noble family of Huhn zu Ellershausen (Huhn = chicken) indeed lived here, as the inscription say, until 1571. But I didn’t find out what the black sheep and the half moon means. Next time I go inside and ask, although the basement rooms seem no longer inhabited. The shop which was once inside (antiquarian bookshop) has moved a couple of houses uphill. I also didn’t find out what the note on the book (photo 5) means, maybe a reference to the antiquarian bookshop, maybe the owner also sold or sells old notes? I have to ask the best source for every old story of Marburg, Mr. Lucker of Hesse-Stübche.
This house is in Kugelgasse, on the southern side, with its façade to the north and east (the one in my photos is actually to the east). So the best time to take photos is in the morning.
This is something very much related to us as a travel site: a travel agency, which operates already since years and is specialised in budget travel. The house they are located in is extra special, in a way storytelling with all the different carved masks and ornaments as if the architect already knew it might be home to a travel agent one day. The house was built in 1906.
This house is in Am Grün (street), on the eastern side, with its façade to the west. So the best time to take photos is in the afternoon, when the sun is no longer high in the sky.
Am Grün is a street name, very unusual but on the other hand also typical for Marburg with the several funny street names. It is running parallel to Lahn river, south of Weidenhäuser Bridge and accessible from the old university to the south.
Lucky students of pharmaceutical biology! Their insitute is located in a very much romantic place and in a wonderful old building. It was once meant to have staff apartment, pharmacodiagnostic collections and a lecture hall for the students and now it also houses laboratories. Upon a closer look the building reveals its purpose: flowers at the capitals and at the windows and the motto above the entrance door In Minimus Deus Maximus, translates into something like in the small things the grand god reveals, which is related to the institute’s head Albert Wigand and his studies and scientific first description of several diatoms.
In front of the institute is their herbal garden. The complex is part of the old botantical garden.
This complex is in the north of the old botanical garden with its façade to the south. The best time to take photos is during the whole day because it is open space in front of it.
Yes, they are. They can have maybe the oldest house complex all to their own! Their faculty is located behind Elisabethkirche and the houses once were built by the Order of the Teutonic Knights in 13th century. It was their living quarters and rooms for general purposes like praying, kitchen, storage of goods and stables. The main storage for grain was next to it, that’s where the Mineralogy Museum is now (see to-do section). The whole complex is being called Deutsches Haus, a reference to the Teutonic Knights; their German name was Deutschhausritter. The entrance portal is newer though, of Renaissance times.
As I could see on newer photos, the tree in my main photo has been cut in the meantime. This is because they are doing archaeological digging around Elisabethkirche, with the purpose to find more evidence like graveyards of the Teutonic Knights.
This Deutschhaus complex is facing to the south and except of Elisabethkirche there is no building which hides the sun.
The Homepage of Faculty of Geography has more information about the location and its history, but… you guessed, in German only.
When you do a half-timbered houses walk through Marburg you might find two different house numbers at some of the houses. I noticed it but without the help of Mr. Lucker of Hesse-Stübche I would never have found out what this means, because it is mentioned nowhere. These unusual house numbers are painted on the wood and not on little metal plates (these are the actual ones) and their origin is quite funny. When Napoleon came to town in 1806 to ransack around and destroy the castle fortress, he decided to number the houses. His riding troops got paint buckets and had to do this, that’s the reason why these numbers are higher than the usual eye-level. Only a couple of houses have their old numbers restored, like the one in Metzgergasse 5, Napoleon’s number 243 (main photo) and a house in Weidenhäuser Strasse (across Lahn river, photo 4). What I found extra cute is that the owners of the house in Metzgergasse (the Lucker family of Hesse-Stübche) have painted their today house number 5 in the Napoleon style as well (photo 5).
Thanks Mr. Lucker for telling me this all!
Marburg’s oldest half timbered house is located “behind” the old university at the corner of Hirschberg and Reitgasse (which leads uphill to Café Vetter), house number is Hirschberg 13. It was built in 1321 (according to dendrochronological tests) and is considered to be one of the earliest half-timbered houses in Germany. The vertical wooden beams are covering all three floors, typical for the building style of these houses. And also typical is the fact that each floor is a bit bigger than the one beneath, which makes the façade look as if it would topple over. But it does not, this was usual in the Medieval times, because the tax one had to pay was based on the size of the ground floor. Consequently, the upper floors were extended to give more room.
The other houses of Hirschberg are also beautiful. The blue one at the corner (photo 4) is of 16th century with magnificent carved corner beams.
Hirschberg 13 is located in.. haha, Hirschberg (street), on the eastern/southern side, with its façade to the south/west. So the best time to take photos is during midday. The other houses have the façade to the east, so the best time would be in the morning.