Marburg an der Lahn Local Customs

  • No castle ghost today, maybe tonight?
    No castle ghost today, maybe tonight?
    by Trekki
  • No castle ghost today, maybe tonight?
    No castle ghost today, maybe tonight?
    by Trekki
  • Local costume, common in Marburg's surroundings
    Local costume, common in Marburg's...
    by Trekki

Most Recent Local Customs in Marburg an der Lahn

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    Magnificent house at the market place

    by Trekki Updated Apr 26, 2009

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    Marburg, beautiful house at Markt (no 11)
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    This house is definitely not difficult to find, because it is located at the market place (where Barfüßerstrasse leads further west). In the half-timered house timeline it is rather new, of 1884 only (as the sign says, photo 3). This becomes obvious when you look at how the house is built: bricks instead of the typical clay/hay structure between the main wooden beams. Also, the several oriels and dormer windows are signs for the “modern” half-timbered architecture. The beams are lavishly carved and painted with flowers and ornaments. And of course an inspricption with a poem is not lacking. This one says Deutsches Haus, Deutsches Land, Schirm es Gott mit starker Hand, traslates into “German house, German country, may God protect it with strong hand”. [This inscription is of 19th century, when these words meant something good and not like now, where words like these have definitely a dark brown nazi-sick colour.]

    This house is at the market place, on the western side, with its façade to the east and south. So the best time to take photos is from morning to early afternoon (as in my photos).

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    Tiny plaza Heumarkt

    by Trekki Updated Apr 25, 2009

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    Wise words on the main wooden beam, Heumarkt
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    Heumarkt is a tiny plaza below Barfüßerstrasse (near the bookshop Arcularius, see shoppong section) and such a cute place to sit down for a while and admire the collection of beautiful houses here. The two ones next to each other (the red and the dark green one, photos 1, 3 and 4) have been renovated recently, the blue one at the corner is in need of repair, but this seems to be a case of foul play of the owner (I was told so…). Note the dark green hose, it has some extra special decoration, carved flowers and ornaments on the horizontal beams and a cute rhyme inscription, typical for the old days: Am Berge geborgen so stehe dies Haus. Der Sturm und die Sorgen ziehen hoch drüber hinaus, which would translate into something like “This house is secured at the hill, storms and sorrows shall haul high in the sky”. The name Heumarkt, by the way, translates into hay market. It was the place where hay was traded in the past. The blue house dates 1532 and the dark green one is of 17th century.

    These houses are located at Heumarkt/Hofstatt with their façades to the east. The best time to take photos is in the morning (as I did).

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    Wonderful gardens along the hills

    by Trekki Updated Apr 25, 2009

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    Beautiful frontyard near Kugelkirche
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    When you walk around the hills of the old town take the time and stop once in a while to admire the beautiful gardens. Even if there is often not much space, the people love their little green patches and take extra special care of the plants. Some houses have beautiful big gardens, lovely retreats from long days or for the weekend. My favourite ones are between St. Mary church and Kugelkirche and the tiny gardens in front of the houses next to Kugelkirche.

    I wrote this tip in September 2006, but have exchanged photos and revamped the text (April 2009).

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    Haus Grimm, another red one (Ritterstr. 3)

    by Trekki Updated Apr 23, 2009

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    The house in full glory
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    The name of this house is a bit misleading. Despite it is called Haus Grimm it is not the house where the famous Grimm brothers were once living, but it is the one of Justizrat Carl Grimm (a special kind of lawyer, no English translation possible). It was very big once with depot and stables in the first floor. Remarkable is that this house does not have many windows in the side wall but almost the whole first and second floor façade are all windows, these cute bull’s eye panes, brought here from Innsbruck in Austria. The wooden parts are very richly decorated with many scratched images and ornaments in the plaster.

    This house is in Ritterstrasse, on the southern side, with its façade to the north. This makes it a bit difficult to take good photos, but the best time is certainly in the (early) morning, when the sun is high enough to highlight it. Later in the morning is too late, because then the sun would be behind it (like in my photos).

    Directions:
    The house is located on the way to the church of St. Mary, if you walk north from the market place and then turn left (west) into Ritterstrasse.

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    A dream in red (Wettergasse 18)

    by Trekki Updated Apr 23, 2009

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    Dream in red, house corner
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    This house is my absolute favourite, the perfect dream in red. You might have guessed this, it is the one I have on my intro page. I often stood in front of it and was dreaming how it would be living in the third floor with this magic balcony and be surrounded by this magnificent wooden carvings. This house is certainly unusual for half-timbered houses with its many details, the oriel and the dormer window, the little tower and the many edges. But this adds to the beauty and the eye catching effect. It has a good location, because Wettergasse narrows down to the north (further on from the angle of where I took the photos), so it stands like a red ship among the other houses.

    This house is in Wettergasse, on the western side, with its façade to the south (balcony) and east (oriel). So the best time to take photos is in the morning, when the sun has risen just above the eastern side of Wettergasse.

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    Dragons and ghosts (Wettergasse 11)

    by Trekki Updated Apr 23, 2009

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    Carved dragon looks a bit dangerous
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    The house in Wettergasse 11 of 1899 looks a bit out of place with the decoration at the first floor. With its bright red door (photo 5) and the dragon and mermaid it could well be from Hamburg or any other northern German city or town. So far I failed to find out why the architect had this fascinating carvings placed on the first floor. Maybe as eye catcher, maybe the owner was a spice trader and wanted to see this reflected in the decoration? But it certainly fits to the shop which is located here: a tea house. The shop owner sells many kinds and flavours of tea, mostly of Tea Gschwendner, but she told me that she is flexible and also allowed to sell from other sources. She certainly makes a nice special mixture of black tea with lemon and orange flavour.

    This house is in Wettergasse, on the western side, with its façade to the east. So the best time to take photos is in the morning, when the sun has risen just above the eastern side of Wettergasse.

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    Magnificent Potter's House (Steinweg 8)

    by Trekki Updated Apr 22, 2009

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    The potter's house in full glory
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    One of my most favourite half-timbered houses in Marburg is the one in Steinweg 8, the potter’s house. It was built in 1900 (the year is shown on one of the tiles on the oriel in the first floor) by Otto Eichelberg, who has designed and built many of the houses during that time. It is richly decorated with all the typical half-timberes elements found throughout Germany: scraffito (or scratched plaster) with flowers and ornaments (photo 4) or simply the typical pottery tiles with decoration found in the pottery produced and sold in the shop (photo 5). The tiles at the oriel in the first floor are even more elaborate, with reference to St. Elisabeth, the lion of state of Hesse and the Marburg horserider with the “M” of the town. This “M” is also found in the rich decorated door of the town hall. I loved the other balconies as well, with their rich carvings and paintings.

    This house is in Steinweg, 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.

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    Be at the market place on the hour :-)

    by Trekki Updated Apr 21, 2009

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    Ms Justitia, elegant without the blindfold
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    Yes, this is very important: try to be at the market place on the hour, because the clock or better clock system is very funny to watch. This is fascinating because the whole mechanism is rather old and still excellent functioning. Clock maker Christoff Dohrn planned this whole ensemble in 1528. It was restored in 1889 and is running since without any problems thanks to the excellent maintenance and care of Hans Schira, concierge at the city hall*. Ok, what is special with this clock? Every hour it makes sounds and the surrounding figures move. First of all the cock at the top (photo 4) beats its metal wings, then the trumpeter blows his trumpet (photo 2), both cock and trumpeter beat and blow the number of hours. Mrs. Justitia (photo 1), without the usual blindfold lets her scales swing and Mr. Death (photo 3) turns the watch glass. He is a bit old, if you look carefully at photo 3 you can see that he is in need of knee surgery (left knee), maybe the cold winter days made his kneecap vanish? This all produces this funny noise and if you listen carefully you will hear the scale and the watch glass move and hear that the supposed crowing is not done by the cock but by the trumpeter. Oh, and the bowl with the moon below the cock is also turning. If you open the link below and wait until 2 minutes and 43 seconds you can hear this all. I forgot to take a video when I was in Marburg. Maybe next time and maybe next time I try to book a guided tour on the loft to hear this all better. But don’t worry, this sound is audible almost everywhere on the southern slope of the castle hill.

    (* haha, now that I read what I wrote, it sounds as if Mr. Schira is taking care of the clock since 1889.... no, not of course, he is the actual concierge)

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    Meet Christian, a Marburg original :-)

    by Trekki Updated Apr 21, 2009

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    Christian, the Dienstmann :-)
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    When you walk through Wettergasse to admire the half-timbered houses and when you have arrived at a point where you can either continue down Neumarkt (street) into Steinweg for more half-timbered houses and Elisabethkirche or continue walking uphill to the castle through the “backdoor” (= the secret path up to the castle) you are at the so-called Wasserscheide (water divide) of Marburg. And this is where they have placed a statue of Christian, the porter (the German word is even more funny, old German: Dienstmann, which literally translates into service man, but has a funny dusty old sound to it). Christian was the officiating porter No. 4. He must have been a very funny guy, didn’t mince his words, was almost always squiffy and had always a cheroot in his mouth. Marburg must have missed him very much, that’s why they have set up this little bronze statue as memorial.

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    You might still see the old traditions

    by Trekki Updated Apr 21, 2009

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    Local costume, common in Marburg's surroundings
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    When you walk through the streets of Marburg or its surrounding villages you might see elder locals in their traditional clothing or costumes. It might have decreased by now (I felt this in May 2008, but cannot really judge from one long weekend only), because many shops where these locals would buy fabrics and accessoires have moved elsewhere or went out of business like the one at Schuhmarkt (photo 5). But when I was living in Marburg, I often saw them and they wore their traditional costomes with pride.
    If you are interested in this kind of costumes and the culture in general of Marburg’s surrounding farm villages, I strongly suggest that you visit the castle museum’s top floor (floor 5) where they have a very nice exhibition with costumes, furniture and daily working tools which are still in use in traditional households.

    (My photos 1-4 are of exhibits in the museum).

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    Castle vineyards – for the castle ghost ?

    by Trekki Updated Apr 4, 2009

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    No castle ghost today, maybe tonight?
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    (This tip is not new. I only shifted it from off path to the local custom section. But then it appears new....)

    Maybe to add some special feeling for a historical atmosphere, a little vineyard has been set up at the castle's southern part. It is too small to be turned into some wine – but well, maybe it's a special wine, just made for the castle ghost?

    Update, April 2009:
    In the meantime I found out that it is not the castle ghost (but who knows what happens during the night) who takes care of this vineyard but a private initiative of locals who have rented this little piece of land. They recultivated some old grapevines and make their wine in a little cellar in the walls of Bickell-Treppe (the stairs up to the castle). Because it is only a small quantity, they won’t sell it but keep working on the quality and improve it.

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    In a University Town the Dogs Can Read...

    by Kathrin_E Written Jun 8, 2009

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    ... as this sign shows, which is directed at them and says: "Please do not use the path and the lawns as dog toilet."

    Found in the graveyard off Barfüßertor.

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    Marburg is a Clean Place

    by Kathrin_E Written Jun 4, 2009

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    Washing the garbage bins

    This little truck is a specialized mobile washing machine. It was on tour in the old town to wash the garbage bins!!

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Marburg an der Lahn Local Customs

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