How Worms got its name – Joan was right
Favorite thing: Haha, now this has a bit of VT history. The name of this city is Worms, and of course, Worms always meant Worms city for me, the city I grew up close to. When I was starting to write about Worms, Joan (scottishvisitor) dropped me a comment saying something about wiggling. It took me some time to realize what she meant and then I just could not stop laughing…. I never ever connected the name of the city to these little animals - one worm, more worms. And then, while reading in a little book about the city, I nearly fell of the chair from laughing and now I know, Joan was right in the beginning – Worms and worm(s) is not that far away from the meaning – lol.
So let me tell you the story I just learnt (and thanks to Fritz Reuter for writing about it in the little fascinating book about Worms’ gems):
Originally, the city was called Borbetomagus, a Celtic word meaning village in water-rich region (photo 1, from the Cathedral’s picture window). This adapted to Wormatia in Latin and became Worms later.
Fondest memory: Well, but for every official explanation there is always another one in form of a legend, which of course does sound way more interesting.
For Worms it is this one:
A beautiful young girl was captured by a dragon and everyone trying to rescue her ended up as yummie dragon lunch (or dinner, depending on the dragon’s sleeping habit). Finally a young and of course also beautiful blacksmith decided to put an end to all that dragon food. He made himself a steel jacket covered with sharp knives and went to say hello to the dragon. As expected, the hungry dragon ate him at once – but….. choked of course from all these knives – and sadly puffed out his last breath, erm… fire cloud. The brave blacksmith married the girl and they lived happily after at a place they named after the gruesome dragon, or worm (German name Wurm). Now Worms’ locals dialect transformed this into Worms, as Wurm is pronounced Worm in Worms’ dialect.
And voila :-)
Since then, the dragon is part of Worms’ coat of arms, at least on the one at the city’s town hall (see photo 2). And more worms = dragons, as the one sitting on top of the winegrowers' fountain, happily eating grapes (and not princesses).
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Information for Worms visitors
Favorite thing: Visitors are pretty good self-guided through Worms, as there are several walking tours, called “Zu Fuß durch zwei Jahrtausende” (on foot through two centuries). At every major point of interest, these panels are arranged in town.
They show the city’s centre (more or less rectangular from north to south), the particular position and the three suggested walks: small tour (kleiner Rundweg), big tour (großer Rundweg) and Nibelungen tour (Nibelungenweg).
Beneath the map is an extensive legend with infos on all the points of interest (I didn't take a picture, it would not have shown the text anyhow).
The helpful tourist info office is at Neumarkt (just opposite the Cathedral’s east) and supplies you with this map and other material.
Fondest memory: Neumarkt 14
Phone: +49 - 6241 - 25045
Fax: +49 - 6241 - 26328
Open: Monday - Friday: 9 a.m. - 6 p.m.
(April to October also Saturday and Sunday 9:30 a.m. - 1:30 p.m.)
Tourist Office (unfortunately only in German);
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Favorite thing: A visit to Worms may be made at any time, but note tht some of the museums are closed on Mondays and holidays. Worms has a populatio of about 80,000.
Tourist Information Office is at Neumarkt 14, behind the cathedral
Telephone +49 (06241) 250-45
Fax +49 (06241) 263-28
Favorite thing: All around the city I found these wonderful iron bird sculptures. They were dotted around at various sights in the city, and I counted four, but there were probably more. They ranged from little irons birds perched on metal trees, to the giant striding iron ostriches in the grounds of the Stadt Museum. This one is from the front of St Paulus, but I spotted two more in the Schlossplatz under the cathedral and another in front of the Kunsthaus Heylshof, which you can see in my picture of that.
Favorite thing: Driving into Worms this is the first view you see, I could not believe my eyes, I was quick to search for my Snap camera and I took this picture while in the car.
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