Although born in the tiny village of Röcken nearby, the world famous philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche grew up in Naumburg and attending school there. The family moved after his father, a pastor in Röcken, died. During the GDR years the name of Nietzsche was unpopular with the elite, due to him becoming a figurehead for the far-right movement in the country. His home was therefore left to rot. It was only after re-unification that the house was restored and turned into a museum. Still, even now, it looks an unimposing site. A dull, square building in a row of much more colourful houses.
Towering above the Marketplace and the Town Hall is the second of Naumburg's impressive churches, the Stadtkirche St Wenzel. The church's existence owes itself the competition between the town's citizenship and the bishopric that dominated political life from the Dom. It dominates the Markt, as it was intended to, especially its spectacularly tall spire. This tower was deliberately built to be higher than the nearby competing cathedral, and offers great views of the town and countryside around. Poignantly, the church's position is right next to the two powerhouses of Naumburg, the Markt which was central to the town's economic success, and the town hall where the growing power of the people took shape.
Considered to be one of the most outstanding buildings in Germany, this cathedral was relegated to the status of a Protestant Parish church during the reformation. The cathedral consists of four towers piercing the Naumburg skyline above a cluster of monastic like buildings below. From all approaches the Dom imposes itself on the town, and inside is just as impressive. The high roof makes for an incredible acoustic effect, and the pale skin like textures of the walls offset against the extravagant sculptures that abound within.
The entrance fee is a little high, at 4 euros for what won't take you more than half an hour or so to wander around, plus you have to pay an extortionate 5 euros to be able to take pictures. That said, it's probably just about worth it, except for the pictures. You don't have to pay to walk around the inner yard, and you can freely take pictures of the Dom from there.
Naumburg Cathedral - proper name: St Peter and Paul - was the main reason why my dad wanted to visit Naumburg. And rightly so: It really is a beautiful cathedral. It looks so georgous! I hope that the main pic of this Naumburg page can show it to you at least a little.
The cathedral is Late Roman or Early Gothic, which way you want to see it. Parts of the building go back as early as the beginning of the 11th century, when Ekkehard, the margrave of Meißen, decided to have his new residence at this place near the river Saale. Additions to the building have been made in the 13th century.
Unfortunately it is not allowed to take pictures in any of the buildings, so I don't have any.
What is very special in this cathedral is that the western choir features twelve statues of donors who gave money for the construction of the cathedral. It is very rare that worldly people (not saints) are depicted in such a manner in a place like this. The most important statues are Ekkehard and Hermann, the first donors, and their wives Uta and Reglindis. Especially Uta is very famous. Her statue is so beautiful, that she is still known as the most beautiful woman of the Middle Ages .
What do you think? She's depicted on the left here: www.naumburgermeister.eu
Furthermore, the man who worked these statues is anonymous. He is only known as the Master of Naumburg, which adds to the fascination of the cathedral and the donors.
Unfortunately, as so many things, the statues were ill-used during the Third Reich. They were promoted as the perfect "aryan" people that should be idols to the Germans. Thank God that today we can see them just as they are: Beautiful, historic artworks made by a man we sadly do not know anything about.
You can see more pictures of the statues if you follow these links (sorry, I wanted to create a direct link, but it did not work out):
www.brandenburg1269.de/naumburgerdom.html (scroll down)
The fee you need to pay to visit the cathedral is quite high. Yet, the cathedral was full of visitors. I am used to this because I often visit the cathedral in Cologne, but this one was even fuller! The atmosphere was very busy and hectic and I did not feel like being in a church. I had never experienced something like this...
This was even increased by the fact that some museums are attached to the cathedral, or rather, that some rooms are used as museums.
When you enter the cathedral, after having payed your fee and leaving your backpack and jacket at the entrance (I felt like visiting the Bundestag!) you first enter a small museum room about the cathedral of Reims. The reason for this is that the Master of Naumburg also took part in the construction of that cathedral, but to be honest, I did not find it too interesting as I have not been to Reims. In other rooms you can learn about the master and the construction of the Naumburg Cathedral, this was much more interesting to me. You can also visit the cloister and the cathedral gardens, and see a lot of artworks that are connected to the cathedral.
The interior of the cathedral itself is very beautiful, especially the statues mentioned in the other tip, and the extraordinary rood screen (Lettner). There is an iron-wrought banister depicting Franz von Assisi that I liked very much. A small figure representing him is standing at the top of the banister, and many different animals a crawling up the banister as if to meet him. The last is a peacock with his wonderful trail. I think that this is an extraordinary artwork!
Opening times: 10.00 - 19.00 daily, 10.00 - 22.00 on fridays (summer 2011)
Fee: 12€ for adults, 8€ for students, 2€ for pupils
Audioguides in German, English and French can be used for free
Steinweg is a small alley that leads from the marketplace to the cathedral. All houses are beautifully restaurated and it looks very nice. It reminded me of a small Heidelberg or Salzburg!
The alley was very busy, many tourists and locals were browsing the shops and cafés. I especially liked the charmlingly decorated houses and took some pictures of them. Many had interestng features, like the wrought-iron signpost in the main picture or the painted oriels in pictures 2 and 3.
Naumburg's marketplace was very busy when we visited because the annual pottery market was taking place (see Shopping Tip). Nevertheless, it was very beautiful. The sun was shining and the place looked so idyllic, like the perfect image of a German town.
The square is framed by town houses in baroque and renaissance style. There is also a fountain with a statue of St Wenzel, but because of the market we could not see it.
We had a rest on the steps of a building and just enjoyed the atmosphere for a while. A nice memory!
The Town Hall is located at the marketplace. It was built in 1517 and was the first town hall in Naumburg built of stone. All the previous ones had been wood or framework houses and had burnt down one after the other due to fires that had destroyed the town (this happened at least thrice).
The beautiful portal that you see in the main picture was added in the beginning of the 17th century.
Today, there is also a restaurant located in the building, called "Ratskeller".
St Wenzel's Church is a church near to the marketplace. It was constructed in the 15th century and is of Gothic style, but unfortunately we could not see the interior because it was closed. My guidebook says that it features some works of Lucas Cranach and the organ was sometimes played by Johann Sebastian Bach. The whole interior was renovated in baroque style in the 18th century.
You can see some pictures of the interior here: www.stadt-naumburg.de/Sehen/wenzelskirche.html
The tower of the church is 72m high and thus the highest tower of the town.
This church was a town church of the free Naumburg and did not belong to the clergy, so it was very important for the town.
April and November: daily 13.00 to 15.00, closed on Sundays
May to October: daily 10.00 to 12.00, 14.00 to 17.00, Sundays 11.30 to 13.00
December to March: Open only by appointment
From May to October, there are concerts played on the organ every wednesday, saturday and sunday for a small fee of 2,50
In the middle ages Naumburg was seat of a bishop. The present cathedral was mostly built in the first half of the 13th century and is one of the most famous late Romanesque buildings in Saxony-Anhalt. The four steeples are a landmark in Naumburg's silhouette.
After the introduction of the reformation the first protestant bishop in the whole empire was installed in 1542. The last bishop died in 1564 and the diocese became property of Saxony. The cathedral was turned into a parish church.
Everyone who has ever done a German crossword puzzle will have come across a "Naumburg founder statue" with 3 letters: UTA.
The statues in the western choir of the cathedral depict the founders of the church, some of whom were buried here: two Margraves of Meißen and their wives, counts, dames and knights. They were, however, created roughly 200 years after the death of the persons they are said to depict, so these are not portraits.
The twelve statues with their expressive faces and movements look as if they were alive. Some communicate with each other through glances and gestures - or even with you.
Photos in Wikipedia - unfortunately I did not take any myself.
Tucked away in a corner of the Marketplace is the unassuming little Hohe Lilie, a 15th century late Gothic mansion. It now houses the town's museum. It costs 2 euros to enter, and it is open every day except Monday.
The pale walls of the double gates of Marientor make up the last remnants of the once formidable fortifications of the city. It dates from the 15th century, and is considered to be one of the best preserved in the country.
This is a pleasant Renaissance building overlooking the Markt. The town hall contains a significant symbol of the struggle between the bishopric and the town's people, showing two dogs fighting over a bone to represent the conflict that resulted in the town's two competing churches.
This is the last ramaining of five town gates. Its foundation dates back to the 14th century when the town got walled. In front of it is a vast square with a cafés and small shops selling antiques, souveniers and clothes.