Erfurt Things to Do

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    Domberg 2013
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    Houses in Domplatz, 2013
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    Two foolish virgins
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Most Recent Things to Do in Erfurt

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    Krämerbrücke

    by Kathrin_E Written Jun 8, 2013

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    The “Bridge of the Merchants” crosses the small stream Gera that runs through the city centre. The Via regia, an important medieval trade and travel route, ran over this bridge. Houses are built on both sides so when you walk over you’ll think you are in a normal street on solid ground, not on a bridge – just like Ponte Vecchio in Florence, in a different style of architecture of course. The construction of the half-timbered houses is best observed from outside the bridge. The river banks North of Krämerbrücke have the better view but (photographers!) bad light on sunny days. If you want to take pictures, walk over Rathausbrücke, the next bridge on the Southern side.

    Access from the East (Wenigemarkt) leads through the arched gate in the steeple of St Ägidien church.

    The bridge is known for the many little shops in the old houses. They sell arts and crafts, antiquities and such and are pleasant to look at even if you aren’t souvenir hunting.

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    Collegium maius of the Old University

    by Kathrin_E Written Jun 8, 2013

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    Erfurt’ university was opened in 1392, hence it is one of the oldest universities in Germany. The Collegium maius was built after 1510 as office of the rector and main aula. The building was badly damaged by World War II bombs and remained a ruin until its recent restoration.

    Location: Michaelisstraße, opposite the church of St Michael

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    Kaufmannskirche

    by Kathrin_E Written Jun 8, 2013

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    The “Church of the Merchants”, located at the Northeastern end of Anger, was the parish church of a wealthy quarter in the city centre. It was founded in the 11th century by travelling merchants and counts as the oldest parish in Erfurt. The present church dates from the 14th century. Already in 1521 the community introduced the reformation, a year later Martin Luther himself preached in here.

    The interior contains a set of precious art works from the early 17th century – i.e. post-reformation, the themes and images were designed according to Lutheran theology. The high altar, baptismal font and pulpit were all created by members of the same local artist family.

    The splendid woodcarved altarpiece shows once more scenes from the New Testament: Annunciation and Birth of Christ, 12 year old Jesus in the temple and Baptism frame the large relief of the Last Supper in the centre. The inscription below quotes the words of institution of the Holy Communion in five languages and scriptures.

    I was especially impressed by the pulpit. Note Adam and Eve standing at the bottom of the column that carries the pulpit. Above them there is godfather with a gesture of blessing.

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    Reglerkirche

    by Kathrin_E Written Jun 8, 2013

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    Reglerkirche is the first church you come across when walking into town from the train station. From the outside the building is a mix of styles. The Southern steeple remained from the first Romanesque church, the nave is gothic, and the Northern steeple was substituted by a baroque one in the mid 18th century.

    The church was used by a convent of Augustinian canons until the reformation in 1525, since then it has been a protestant parish church. The interior of the gothic basilica contains a remarkable altarpiece, dated around 1465, which depicts scenes from the Passion of Christ, Resurrection and Pentecost (photo 4).
    Also worth a look: a stone relief inserted in the left wall of the choir with Christ in pain and the Arma Christi, the items involved in the Passion (photo 5).

    The church is open from 10.00-13.00 on weekdays.

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    Personalities Every German Child Knows

    by Kathrin_E Updated Jun 8, 2013

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    Sandm��nnchen
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    Instead of the usual painted lions, or cows, or rhinoceroses that populate the streets of certain cities, in Erfurt you'll encounter unique funny fellows in the street. The visitor from overseas may wonder who and what they are - every German kid, big or small, will know. These are puppet characters from the most popular TV shows for children.

    Photo 1: The Sandman, on a bench on Rathausbrücke. He has been around on the screen since 1959 and has accompanied three generations of Germans to a good night's sleep. Every evening at 6 p.m. a short episode of a few minutes is shown. Actually there used to be two sandmans: the "Western" one in West German TV, the "Eastern" one in DDR TV. Since I grew up 30 kms from the border, I was able to watch both, and I always liked the Eastern one better. After the reunification of the two German states, there were big discussions which of the two sandmans was to continue. In the end the DDR sandman won indeed, so he is an example of DDR culture that survived to this very day.

    Photo 2: Bernd the Bread, in Fischmarkt next to the town hall. Bernd is a loaf of bread with too short arms, his constant complaint, and generally a depressive character who complains about everything and doesn't like doing anything. His preferred pastime would be sitting at home staring at the wallpaper, but he is dragged into weird adventures instead. Sort of an anti-hero, very funny.

    There are more. In Anger square, for example, you'll find the Mouse, the Duck and the little blue Elephant. Sorry, I missed taking a photo of them. They are the heroes of a programme called Sendung mit der Maus, the Show with the Mouse, which isn't just entertainment and cartoons but also information and education. The show has a number of topics each time which are explained in an easy-to-understand way: How is bread made? Why are plants green? How can you obtain electricity from sunlight and sand, i.e. how is a solar collector made? How are astronauts trained? What happens to the garbage in the bin? Etcetera, etcetera. Imagine the usual four-year old kid who fires away question after question... This show has been successful since 1971 (I was five when it started, the perfect clientele).

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    Allerheiligenkirche and Columbarium

    by Kathrin_E Written Jun 7, 2013

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    Columbarium
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    The gothic Church of All Saints is located in the corner of Marktstraße and Allerheiligenstraße, halfway between Dom and Fischmarkt. The steeple occupies the corner, quite prominent in the street view. The ground is shaped like a pie slice, which gives the two naves an irregular, trapezoid form. A row of columns separates the two naves. The right nave serves as catholic parish church while the left nave has recently been turned into a columbarium.

    The columbarium project, which was completed in 2007, has caused a lot of discussion in expert circles. The church was too big for the small parish community and they were looking for a sensible use of the extra space. Burials inside churches have a long tradition in christianity, but this modern example is a rarity.

    15 columns made from steel, glass and limestone have been erected in the left nave. Each column has 6 levels, each with 7 compartments for urns. All spaces were sold within weeks after the inaugiuration, so this kind of burial place must hit a nerve.
    The nave is closed off by a glass wall. Only visitors to graves can enter. But you can see it well through the glass wall, as in photo 1.

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    More Anger

    by iandsmith Updated Apr 3, 2012

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    A facade to savour
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    This storefront at Anger 23 with its lacework portal is just of the handsome buildings that were built on the edge of the now historic center in the 19th Century. Sadly, many old houses were torn down to make way for newer structures as shown in this sturdy, but almost bland by comparison, edifice on the corner of Anger and Grafengasse.

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    Domplatz

    by Maryimelda Written Mar 21, 2012
    Domplatz
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    Although the Domplatz was only named so in 1945, the busy square has been in existence for centuries. It was and still is an important market square in Erfurt and of course is overshadowed by the huge cathedral (dom) and by the Frauenkirche which stands by its side. The very efficient tram system passes through the Domplatz and it is home to some fine restaurants, houses and buildings in general.

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    Magnificent buildings

    by Maryimelda Updated Feb 20, 2012

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    Arguably my favourite
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    Erfurt is a city which boasts more magnificently kept homes and buildings than I could ever count. Every where you walk you will find them and they are a delight to feast your eyes on. Many of them are of course, historical for some reason or another, but all are worth the walk around to see. Very few are alike and I guess that most of them reflect the taste of the owners, which to my mind is excellent indeed. Be sure your camera is well charged and at the ready. You'll find yourself snapping continuosly.

    My favourite would have to be Haus Zum Breiten Herd on the Fischmarkt and the Gundehaus which is right next door is also just beautiful.

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    Wenigemarkt (Little Market)

    by Maryimelda Updated Feb 20, 2012

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    Wenigemarkt
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    Wenigemarkt is situated at one end of Kraemerbruecke and is also where the Agidienkirche can be found. Both the church and the bridge were built around the same time in the 14th century. When I was in Wenigemarkt, unfortunatley there were repairs or roadworks underway which meant that the lovely market could only be seen over and around the bollards and barricades that were being used to separate the roadworks from the people. Even so it was easy to see that this Little Market was a very attractive part of Erfurt all the same.

    There are some lovely cafes there and once again it seemed to be a good place to sit and watch the world go by over a nice Latte Machiato.
    This was at one time, the most easterly market place of the Kingdom of the franks and was where Frank and Slavic traders met to do business.

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    Fischmarkt

    by Maryimelda Updated Feb 20, 2012

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    Looking away from the Rathaus
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    The Fischmarkt is the main square of Erfurt. It is home to the Rathaus primarily and to many of the most beautiful and ornate houses in the city. These include "Zum roten Ochsen" (1562) now an art gallery (Kunsthalle), "Zum Breiten Herd (1584) popular for its plaques depicting the five senses and its next door neighbour the Gildehaus. It is also where you will find the so called "Roland" statue which is sometimes referred to as "Mann auf der Saule" or "the man on the column". Of course there are many wonderful eateries where good food, beer and people watching are the main activities.

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    The Rathaus

    by Maryimelda Written Feb 14, 2012

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    Erfurt Rathaus
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    The neo-gothic town hall of Erfurt dominates the Fischmarkt. It was built between 1870 and 1875 and replaced a gothic building which stood there previously.

    The Rathaus features many fine works of art by historical painters such as Eduard Kaempffer who painted the historical works adorning the staircase and Johann Peter Theodor Janssen whose works hang in the festival room and also show scenes from Erfurt's past.

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    Hauptbahnhof

    by Maryimelda Updated Feb 14, 2012

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    Historical Hauptbahnhof
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    This is not just any old Hauptbahnhof. This one has been a silent witness to one of the most significant historical events in the recent history of the city of Erfurt. The forecourt (Willy-Brandt-Platz) is named for Willi Brandt in memory of the first summit which took place in the Erfurter Hof Hotel which is in front of the station. Willi Brandt for West Germany met here with Willi Stoph for East Germany. It was from one of the windows in the hotel that Willi Brandt waved to the hundreds of people waiting in the forecourt to get a glimpse.

    The original Hauptbahnhof is historical listed and in recent times has been added to with a glass, light flooded building which has been built to accommodate the ICE trains and their requirements especially since Erfurt will be an important stop on the route from Berlin to Munich.

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    Anger Museum

    by Maryimelda Updated Feb 14, 2012

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    Eye catching and magnificent

    I did not go into the museum because I just didn't have time and I must confess, I'm not into museums too much unless they are a bit quirky, like the Criminal Museum in Rothenburg Ob Der Tauber or the Matterhorn Museum in Zermatt or the Shoe Museum in Hauenstein in the Rhineland Palatinate. However, I digress.

    The Anger Museum is a wondrous sight as much from the outside as it probably is on the inside. This fabulous baroque building was built in 1705 as a packing and weighing station. It became a museum in 1826 and houses a fine collection of medieval art.

    The building is bright yellowin colour and very ornate and is as eyecatching as any building could possibly be. No prizes for guessing where it can be located, but even if the name didn't give its location away, it would be nigh impossible to miss on any walk around Erfurt. Quite simply, magnificent!

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    Kraemerbruecke (Merchant's Bridge)

    by Maryimelda Updated Feb 14, 2012

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    Entry portal Agidienkirche
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    This bridge is fascinating to say the least and especially attractive to the likes of me who loves quaint little shops and cafes and the like. It is a stone bridge which was built in the 14th century to replace a timber bridge which had become too small. It was widened in the 15th century and then became what it is today. Originally it was home to 62 houses but in later years these were widened into 32 most of which are still inhabited.

    The bridge is the longest in the world at 125 meters that is completely covered in houses which are still in use. It spans both channels of the river and its original bridgeheads were two churches, the Benediktikirche which was demolished in the 1800's and the Aegidienkirche which is still operational today and which is the portal to the bridge at the Wenigemarkt end.

    I know that at times, I am none too bright, but I really showed my dumb side here. I was wandering around Erfurt with my trusty map and brochure and figured I had to be somewhere near the famous Kraemerbruecke. A little bit bewildered I went into the cutest souvenir shop and bought a couple of toys for my grandchildren and since the owner spoke very good English I asked him for directions to Kraemerbruecke. His answer was simple, "You are on it!" Well as I said, I figured it was close but I had no idea it was so well disguised. All part of its charm, I guess.

    Erfurt has many wonderful attractions but this one alone would be enough to bring me back again and again.

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