A Travellerspoint blog

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A Photo Walk Through Stralsund

Stralsund skyline - snapshot from the highway

Stralsund skyline from sea


Stralsund was a day trip during our concert tour through Mecklenburg in 2014. This was our "tourist day". After a morning rehearsal in Güstrow our conductor gave us the rest of the day off for some sightseeing.

Our coach carried us to Stralsund. Many of us joined a guided tour. I preferred to walk on my own, explore and catch the spirit of this historical Hanseatic city with the camera.

And to go "churching" at my own, slow pace, of course - I think you know me by now.

For a change, this here is going to be more like a photo gallery than a thorough description.

The majestic Marienkirche, Church of Our Lady

Meant to impress 1: The facade

Meant to impress 2: the entrance hall underneath the steeple

Meant to impress 3: the interior
... and no, this is not the biggest church in Stralsund!

Burial vaults of wealthy families in the side chapels, and the baptismal font

On the way into town

Pedestrianized shopping street

Historical houses, and the smaller church of St Jacobi
(It's the photo that is crooked, not the steeple...)

The town hall, front and back

The medieval facade is Stralsund's landmark. It's a trick, showing off.... there is nothing behind the upper part.

Courtyard and arcades in the town hall

Market square with the town hall and the even more majestic Nikolaikirche, church of St Nicolai

Street views with the steeples of Nikolaikirche.
It's hard to lose your way in Stralsund: From almost everywhere you can see at least one steeple. All it takes is knowing to which church it belongs.

Narrow passage between town hall and Nikolaikirche

Historical houses off the main square

Interior of Nikolaikirche and some of its many art works

In the harbour

This boat promised a cruise out into Strelasund, the branch of water between Stralsund and the island of Rügen. I could not resist!


Tall ship Gorch Fock I in the harbour, now a museum ship

The bridge to Rügen

A glimpse of Rügen with the village of Altefähr

Back on shore: The Gorch Fock I again

A Backfischbrötchen for lunch - another temptation I could not resist. Isn't this a cute snack bar?

A typical street corner in the old town

Gothic townhouses

Renaissance townhouses

Baroque townhouses

There are reasons why the ensemble of the old town is listed as Unesco World Heritage.

And another streetview

Outside the maritime museum, which I did not have time for - next time!

A different streetview for the conclusion

Posted by Kathrin_E 11:13 Archived in Germany Tagged mecklenburg-vorpommern Comments (0)

Waren an der Müritz: Concert in a Lakeside Town

Waren's skyline with the two churches


Waren was the third city during our concert tour where we performed. We always did the same programme, pieces for choir and organ. Taking a whole orchestra with us would have doubled the group and caused exorbitant costs. One young organist was far easier to transport, and the organs are always there.

The protestant church in Waren does a series of such concerts over the summer, with various ensembles performing. The town is not famous for being a centre of music, though, but for something very different. Waren an der Müritz – the name indicates the importance already – is known and visited because of its location on the shore of Müritz lake. This is not only the largest among Mecklenburg’s countless lakes, but the largest lake in the whole country which is entirely German. A popular question in quiz shows, by the way… Bodensee (Lake of Constance) is much bigger but we share it with Switzerland and Austria.


Our bus took us over from Güstrow in the morning and dropped us off by the church. We had a rehearsal in the late morning, then we got time off for touristic purposes. In the afternoon we all went on a boat cruise on the lake. Then it was already time for dinner, and afterwards to return to the church and change into our concert dress. If you see a horde of people all wearing elegant black clothes, it’s either a funeral or a choir!

Waren’s old town is located on a hill that appears almost like a peninsula, being surrounded by three different lakes. The protestant Georgenkirche (Church of St George) is the oldest building in town. The brick gothic church dates back to the 13th, the steeple to the 14th century. The interior underwent thorough changes in the 19th century, though, hence its present appearance is widely neo-gothic.





The town centre is a pleasant country town and holiday resort. The architecture is widely 19th century, including the town hall. In summer, flowers are everywhere. A farmers’ market takes place in the main square in the morning (not sure if daily, it was a Saturday) which adds lots of colours and liveliness.




The second church in town, Marienkirche, is the parish church of the Roman-Catholic community.

It has older roots, as the gothic facades show. But the present interior is neoclassical, all bright and white. The 19th century has refurbished here, too.



Then we walked along the lakeshore towards the boat landing. There are two boat landings in different locations, which caused confusion in certain people…






The Mecklenburg lakes are popular for all kinds of water sports, in particular for canoeing. Most lakes are interconnected by small canals. Multi-day canoe and camping tours used to be a popular and cheap way to spend the summer holidays already in DDR times, and they still are. On the larger lakes sailboats can run, too, but many smaller lakes are too shallow for anything but canoes. For people who love being outdoors and don’t mind getting wet every now and then, canoeing on the Mecklenburg lakes is a perfect holiday activity.

Not for me, though. I’d prefer sitting on the deck of a cruise boat to splashing along with a pair of paddles.

The cruise took us out onto the waters of Müritz lake. This looks big enough, but in fact it’s just the so-called Binnenmüritz, the bay at the lake’s northern end. We did dot see the full extent of the whole lake.


Instead, the boat carried us through the canal over to the neighbouring Kölpinsee. We then turned around and returned to Waren on the same way. Riding through a canal with a close view of the banks is certainly more interesting than crossing the middle of a wide lake where you see nothing but water and the thin greenish line of a distant shore.

The weather is changeable in these maritime climates where the wind is always strong and the clouds move fast. As we experienced on the boat, it can change from brightest sunshine to a downpour within minutes.



If you don’t like the weather, wait for 10 or 15 minutes, and then hurry in order not to miss the sunny interval…


Posted by Kathrin_E 01:44 Archived in Germany Tagged lakes boats mecklenburg-vorpommern Comments (0)

Mecklenburg Landscapes


These photos were taken during a train ride between Oranienburg and Demmin via Neustrelitz. The landscape was shaped by the glaciers of the last ice age. It consists of low rolling hills, once the moraines that the glaciers pushed along. This part of Mecklenburg is farmland, with stretches of forest and the occasional lake in between.

Clear skies and white clouds are typical for Northern Germany.

A stretch of forest in between.

It was late May. The blooming canola fields tinted the hills yellow.

More Canola

Corn flowers in a meadow - taken from the running train!

The suburbs of Neustrelitz

Allotment gardens

Fields and trees, and hedges to break the wind

Farm buildings

A village and its church. The wind park behind isn't too pretty, but that's the price we have to pay for 'clean' energy.

Clouds above the fields

Wide landscape view

Posted by Kathrin_E 09:50 Archived in Germany Tagged landscapes mecklenburg-vorpommern Comments (3)

Dargun: A Conference at the End of the World



… or so it felt. Some people hold their conventions in strange places.

It was a conference on protestant church architecture, which is my favourite research topic. Somehow the organizer had heard of me and invited me to give a paper, all expenses paid. An occasion that one does not refuse…

It was all a bit weird – not wanting to go into details – but I met some interesting people among the other participants.


Dargun is located in the eastern part of Mecklenburg, neither close to the coast nor the lakes. In other words, in a rural area where hardly any stranger ever sets foot. One of those areas that suffer from economic decline, lack of jobs and many young people moving away.

Getting there required three hours on local trains from Berlin, and finally a taxi ride from Demmin because there are practically no public transport connections apart from school buses. Add the train trip from Karlsruhe, and all this sums up to almost a full day of travel. I had to arrive one day earlier because of that, so I had the first morning to myself, until lunchtime when the conference started.

It was a beautiful day in late spring, with chestnut trees in bloom and everything fresh and green. Nobody there knew me yet, so I dared taking out my little travel companion. Russell the Wombat and I explored the palace and church ruins, the park and a bit of the lakeshore promenade.


In former times Dargun had some importance as the seat of a Cistercian abbey. The convent buildings were beautifully rebuilt in baroque style while the early gothic church remained. After the reformation the complex served as a palace where widowed duchesses from the house of Mecklenburg resided. The palace was surrounded by a park which is now partly reconstructed.

Unfortunately the palace was burnt down by the Soviet army at the end of World War II. Most of it is still a ruin. In recent years a local association has been founded with the purpose of raising money for securing the ruins and, hopefully, rebuilding them some day.

Open-air concerts take place in the courtyard over the summer (hence the chairs outside).

The nave of the church has been repaired and covered with a new roof, so it can be used for services.

The central risalit of the main wing is renovated. It hosts the tourist information, rooms for exhibitions, and a smallish hall where our conference took place.

The rebuilt part where we had our conference

The rest of the buildings are roofless ruins, inaccessible and a sorry sight. It takes imagination to visualize their past splendour.




The former economy building in the abbey grounds hosts a shop and a small café. This shop is absolutely worth visiting. Equipped with old-style furniture, it is a sight in itself. The shop is run by a very friendly young lady together with her father. This place deserves more customers. They sell all kinds of products from various small local businesses: food specialities like sausages and salad dressings, honey and jam, spices, tea, schnapps, chocolate, ceramics, gifts, jewellery, cosmetics… and souvenirs and booklets about Dargun and surroundings. I bought a shampoo bar on the first day, tried it on my hair the second morning, and hurried back to the shop during coffee break to buy a year’s supply!


Another side building hosts a museum on local country life. Opening hours are very limited, no chance to visit it during my stay.

They are prepared for visitors in Dargun, but they are too far from the tourist regions to receive significant numbers. The location of Dargun on the shore of a lake is also pretty. But since this lake is not connected to the network of waterways further west, they do not receive the canoe tourists either. It’s all rather dead.

Gastronomy is, sorry, pathetic. We stayed in a hotel by the lake, in a fine location, a nice building, but some dusting and fresh paint would suit it well. Owners and staff were friendly people, but having all rooms in the house booked for the participants of the conference – we are talking about some 25 people, not 250 – obviously overwhelmed them. On the first evening we drank them dry. After our first beer we wanted another. Believe it or not: They were unable to provide 10 people with a second beer. And there is nowhere else to go in this place!


Church and town hall


Two evenings were spent in Demmin, the “metropolis” of the area. Demmin qualifies as a town, and it is the transport hub for the area since it has a train station. A bus was hired that transported us all there. The parish community had arranged a cold dinner for us, and afterwards a concert in their church. The first concert was for organ, the second one with a soprano singer. The musicians were participants in the conference. Live music is always a good evening entertainment, we enjoyed this very much. Afterwards we had hoped for a nightcap or two at the hotel… but, as I already said, that turned out to be a problem.



The main church of Demmin is a huge brick gothic church, although both architecture and furnishing scream 19th century. In fact, it dates back to the middle ages, but after various destructions and refurbishings it received its present shape in the 1850s and 1860s. The architect in charge was Friedrich August Stüler from Berlin, one of the most important Prussian architects of that time.


One medieval gate tower is preserved, now called Luisentor. All I have is a zoom photo from the square by the town hall. In 10 minutes one cannot walk very far, and 10 minutes was all the schedule allowed, between dinner and the concert, to run off and see the town.


Morning by the lake



In the last morning I woke up very early. A look out of the window convinced me to go for a walk by the lake before breakfast.

I found a quiet trail on the western shore, opposite the town.

It was a picture-perfect May morning, complete with swans on the water and everything.

Only romance was missing…






Posted by Kathrin_E 15:41 Archived in Germany Tagged mecklenburg-vorpommern Comments (0)

Advent in Passau


The image on a postage stamp sums up Passau's features

Passau's unique selling proposal is its location at the confluence of three rivers: Danube/Donau, Inn and Ilz. Landscape and city together form a great panorama.

At the same time this location is their biggest problem, as the city is in danger of floodings. The old town is located on the peninsula between Donau and Inn and if one of them, or worse: both, brings a flood wave the lower part of the old town is drowned. Half a year after my visit the city was hit really really hard. The flood of June 2013 has been the worst they had for 500 years.

I visited in December 2012, though, when everything was dry and calm. There was snow on the ground and the weather, especially at night, was frosty. My so far only visit to Passau dated back 40 years, I was a small kid then and did not remember much. Reason to go again. So I picked Passau as the first base during my 2012 Advent trip, to see the Christmas market and the city and some places in the surroundings. As usual, a four-night stay was too short to cover everything I would have wanted to cover. Reason to visit again in the future...


Passau has recently become a rather busy tourist spot, it seems, because it is a major stop or even start/end point for cruises on the Danube. I am not sure if the current river cruise hype will do the city much good. It was December and there were just one or two cruise ships in town, but the cruise passengers showed. I really do not want to know what's it like during peak season when the inmates of eight or ten or more cruise ships invade the town. The entire Danube bank almost up to Dreiflüsseeck has boat landings lined up, one of which is used for a local company's day cruises, all the others are meant for cruise vessels. I noticed lots of souvenir shops of the tackiest kind in the old town, the kind that caters for overseas tourists who know little about the diversity of Germany's states and regions (think cuckoo clocks, Berlin bears, Bavarian folkloristic items, snow globes depicting Cologne cathedral and beer steins all in one place). Passau is a beautiful city, let's hope it won't become the next Rothenburg.


Christkindlmarkt - Christmas Market



Passau's Christmas market takes place in Domplatz, the square in front of the cathedral. It is a medium-sized market but quite atmospheric due to the illumination, the surrounding baroque buildings and the general flair. The stalls sell a mix of some nice crafts and 'the usual stuff'. Food offers include local specialities, no need to worry about dinner. The little stage sees performances of Christmassy music in the late afternoon and early evening, rather low-key, but this is authentic folk music not tourist oompah-oompah, worth stopping and listening for a while.

The Christmas market begins on Friday before the first Advent Sunday and terminates on December 23.


Dom - The Cathedral



The cathedral is the most impressive building in Passau's old town. Passau has been the seat of a bishop since the early middle ages. The present baroque cathedral dates from the second half of the 17th century. A lot has been written about the history and architecture of the cathedral and of course about its pride, the largest church organ in the world. I do not want to repeat everything. So here are just a few personal observations.

I visited in December, hence night fell early. I found the interior most impressive after dark. There is little illumination, so the gold shines and the vaults disappear in obscure darkness.


During Advent and Christmas season there is a Nativity scene set up in front of one of the altars in the left side nave. The altarpiece depicts the Nativity, too, so this is the right place. Press the button on the left to turn on the light in the showcase.

I attended the Christmas concert of the Regensburger Domspatzen in Passau's cathedral (the famous boys choir tours the region with their Christmas programme and perform in several places) which was absolutely fantastic. In Regensburg they do this concert in the Audimax of the university, a 1970s concrete lecture hall - here in Passau the ambience befitted their angelic voices much better.

Some practical remarks: The concert schedule and the how-to are on the website of Dommusik Passau (google) - unfortunately in German only. There is no online booking system, it has to be done by phone. In case you intend to visit a concert in winter, make sure you get seats on a bench, not on the additional chairs that are put up for concerts only. Why? The benches have heating underneath while the chairs stand on a stone floor without heating. For example, in the middle nave, seats 1 and 2 are chairs while seats 3 and higher are on the bench. Then there are chairs again at the end of the row. Bit complicated. Enquire when buying the tickets.

Around the Dom








The cathedral is the most impressive building in Passau's old town. Passau has been the seat of a bishop since the early middle ages. The present baroque cathedral dates from the second half of the 17th century.

A close look at the proportions, in particular from the east, reveals that older, medieval structures have been integrated into the present baroque architecture.

Domplatz is the centre of religious life in the diocese of Passau, and a popular location for events like the Christmas market. The mighty facade of the baroque Dom with its two steeples dominates the eastward front of the square. The other sides are surrounded by baroque town palaces, many of which are used by institutions and administration of the diocese. The monument in the middle of the square depicts Maximilian (Max) I. Joseph, who became the first King of Bavaria in 1806.


Walk round the cathedral through Innbrückgasse. The narrow passage along the southern side of the cathedral is easily missed but worth looking for.

Photographers who like to play with perspective will especially enjoy the various glimpses and views of the facades, the white steeple high up, etcetera. Due to the topography of the hill and the steep descent towards the Inn bank behind, there was little space to build the bishop's residence and offices behind the cathedral. Only this small alley was left. Access is either from Domplatz through the arch underneath the right steeple, or from Residenzplatz around the choir of the cathedral.

I found Residenzplatz the prettiest square in town. "Square" has to be translated to "trapezoid, almost triangular" here, though. The square is surrounded by baroque buildings. The largest and most striking of them is the bishop's palace with the museum of the diocese, which occupies one entire front.

The square is slightly inclined. The upper end leads towards the choir of the Dom. Seen from this side the gothic origins and proportions are clearly visible under the baroque ornaments. The middle of the square has a fine baroque fountain, which in December was ornated with a large Advent wreath.

Domkreuzgang - Cloister of the Cathedral


Not much is left of the cloister by the cathedral. The arcaded passages around the courtyard are long gone. This one is not as impressive as other cloisters. Nevertheless entering is worth it for two reasons:


First, the view onto the side facade of the cathedral which gives an idea of its dimensions. From nowhere else in the narrow town you can look at the Dom in whole from close by.

Second, the collection of historical tombstones which have been assembled along the wall under protecting roofs. These originate from graves of clerics who were buried within the cloister. Many of them are elaborate pieces of stonemasonry from different eras, with reliefs showing an image of the defunct or biblical scenes.

Access to the cloister is free. The entrance is outside Domplatz round the corner towards Steinweg through a large gate.

A Different Presentation of Nativities

Civil servant's nativity

This presentation of nativities was on display in the windows of an empty shop in Luragogasse, just round the corner from Domplatz and the Christmas market. (No idea if they do this every year or if it was a unique project.) Various artists designed nativity scenes related to unusual topics and from unusual materials that they were given or selected themselves. The works were then sold in an auction, I assume for charity.

These nativity scenes were indeed unusual, some outright weird. There was, for example, the civil servants' nativity, made from office items, or the housewives' nativity with brushes representing the figures... Clever, witty, and funny. I was standing in front of those shop windows, laughing my head off.

6753507-Housewives_Nativity_Passau.jpg Housewives' nativity
6753509-Nativity_on_tour_Passau.jpg Nativity on tour
6753505-Eco_Nativity_Passau.jpg Eco Nativity

Dreiflüsseeck: Where 3 Rivers Meet

Danube on the left, Inn on the right


Passau's old town sits on a peninsula between the rivers Donau (Danube) and Inn. The peninsula ends in a pointed triangle known as the corner of the three rivers, as there is also the mouth of the Ilz on the opposite side of the Donau. The point is covered by a small park.

The three rivers are known for the differing colours of their waters: blue Donau, black Ilz, yellow-brown Inn. The colours are caused by the different sediments the rivers are carrying. Given that I visited in early winter, though, the different colours were not visible. All the water was the same muddy grey. The colours will show in other seasons. A board with an areal view gives an idea what it is supposed to look like.

In warmer seasons this place will not be as quiet, though. The landings for the cruise ships are lined up along the Danube bank until almost at the tip, and if there are five, six or more cruise ships present, old Passau can be expected to be very busy.


Inn Promenade and Planet Trail

The sun model, start of the Planet Trail





The Inn is a side river of the Danube but almost as big as the Danube itself. It comes down from the Austrian Alps. Its waters carry a lot of sediments, hence their colour is yellowish, compared to the 'blue' Danube.

Coming straight from the mountains the Inn is prone to floodings when the snow melts or after heavy rainfalls in the Alps. The Inn seems to be responsible for worse floods than mother Danube - the worst happens when floods of both rivers meet right here, with the old town in between both. My photos date from early December 2012, everything was calm and dry then. The river bank along the Inn has a long promenade walk starting from Dreiflüsseeck along most of the town. A pleasant walk. Parts of the city's fortifications are preserved, including a fat round tower right on the river bank. Families: Just behind the car bridge there is a large playground that your kids will enjoy.


On the opposite hilltop you'll spot Mariahilf abbey, a monastery of the Pauliner order and pilgrimage church - if you feel energetic, climb up for a view of the old town.

A planet trail (Planetenpfad) has been installed on the Inn bank. It represents the solar system and its 8 planets in their correct proportions. It is supposed to give an idea of the vastness of the distances in relation to the size of the different planets. The scale is 1:1,000,000,000. This means that the total length of the structure is 4.5 kilometres. If you feel like a nice long walk by the river, you can start from the sun at Dreiflüsseeck and follow the Inn promenade until Ingling power plant where you finally reach Neptune.

Statue of the Poet Emerenz Meier



On the bank of the Danube there is the statue of a young lady named Emerenz Meier. Emerenz was a talented writer. A signboard by the statue explains her life and work in both German and English. She was born in 1874 into a poor family in the Bavarian Forest. Around 1900 she owned a pub in Passau which was mostly frequented by artists. In 1906 she emigrated to the USA together with her family. She died in Chicago in 1928. Daily life, housework and the need to earn her living often interfered with her artistic ambitions. Since women are good at multitasking, she nevertheless kept writing. In a short poem she summed up the troubles of a female poet:

"If Goethe had had to prepare supper, salt the dumplings,
If Schiller had had to wash the dishes,
If Heine had had to mend what he had torn, to clean the rooms, kill the bugs -
Oh, the menfolk, none of them would have become great poets."
(translation quoted from the signboard)

They found her a beautiful spot. Together with the castles and river in the background she is really photogenic. To my joy, being a Soroptimist myself, I saw that the statue has been donated by the local Soroptimist Club!

Flood marks in Ort


A city with three rivers is obviously prone to floods and Passau is having its share. The Inn, which comes straight from the Alps, is probably the worst of the three.


I spotted these flood marks in a little square which is simply named Ort (place) on the corner of the baroque palace. This is in the lowest part of the old town but not on the river bank, it's a few metres uphill. Nevertheless the water level went up to about 2.5 to 3 metres above ground. Scary.

This baroque palace is, according to the inscription above the portal, an orphanage that was built thanks to a private donation in 1751.

After watching the news about the big flood in June 2013, the memory feels even scarier. The flood that affected Passau in 2013 was half a meter higher than the highest of these flood marks. All the lower parts of the old town were under water...

Imagine 3 to 4 metres of water above your head.

Niedernburg Convent and Blessed Gisela

Niedernburg convent seen from Veste Oberhaus


Niedernburg church and convent is located in the lowest part of the old town. It was a convent of Benedictine nuns which dates back to the era around 1000 A.D. Emperor Heinrich II granted it the status of a free imperial abbey. Heinrich's sister Gisela, the Queen of Hungary and wife of King Stephan, the very same Stephan who christianized Hungary, entered the convent after the death of her husband and became their abbess in 1045. She died soon after and was buried in the Southern transept of the church.

The tomb of Blessed Gisela is a popular pilgrimage destination, especially among pilgrims from Hungary. The tomb is covered in wreaths and flower bouquets with ribbons in the colours of the Hungarian flag. The present stone tomb which contains Gisela's relics was erected in the 15th century. Her skull can be viewed through the arcades.


Parish Church of St Paul




St Paul is the parish church of the old town. The building is actually rather small compared to the cathedral, but due to its location on a steep rock above the street it looks a lot bigger than it is. Its facades and steeple dominate the street views of Rindermarkt and Steinweg. The pink church shows a baroque appearance (17th century) but its origins date back to the early middle ages. The church forms an impressive gateway from the city centre and pedestrian zone into the old town. A statue of the titular saint, St Paul, is standing in a niche on the corner of the choir, looking down into Steinweg. The interior is usually accessible through a wooden gate and up a steep stairway from Rindermarkt. During my visit the church was closed due to restoration works but these should have been finished in the meantime.

The church of St Paul works as a gate tower to the old town. It is located on a steep slope which blocks the way from Rindermarkt into the old town, so a short tunnel has been built through the substructions for the street, and a smaller curved tunnel for pedestrians.


Do not walk through the main tunnel, as the two tourists tried who walked into my photo. It is just wide enough for cars (it's a one-way street), the tunnel is curved so drivers cannot see too far what's ahead of them - in other words, being a pedestrian in their way might be dangerous. Keep left when coming from Rindermarkt, keep right when leaving the old town along Steinweg, and use the small side tunnel for pedestrians.

Winter Visit to Veste Oberhaus

The castles: Oberhaus and Niederhaus


The ridge and point between the rivers Donau and Ilz is occupied by two heavily fortified castles, Veste Oberhaus on the hilltop and Veste Niederhaus down by the mouth of the Ilz. They protect and control this strategic location at the meeting point of the three rivers which have always been busy travel routes both in war and peace. The castles belonged to the Prince Bishops. As Oberhaus is located notably higher than the old town, it was also useful to control the town in case the citizens were in for some uproar against their ruler. Niederhaus, the lower fortress, is a private property and cannot be visited. It ised to have a much higher tower, but this was taken down in the era of the cannons to provide free view and shooting range for the troops on the upper fortress.

Oberhaus contains a historical museum and an art exhibition and a vast building complex with several baileys and inner courtyards to explore. The castle museum is open from March 15 to November 15 and over the Christmas holidays. During these periods there is a shuttle bus from Rathausplatz to Oberhaus and back every 30 minutes; the ticket includes the bus and the museum.

I knew that in early December the museum on Veste Oberhaus would be closed, so the options were limited. Seeing a bit of the buildings and the view of the city justified the climb for me, though.

To reach Veste Oberhaus on foot, I crossed the Danube on the suspension bridge. A signpost pointed me to a stairway just opposite the bridge which lead up the very steep and rocky slope. In winter the shortest walk along Wehrgang, i.e. on the walls, is closed. Only the longer way to the left is open, but it is not cleared from snow and ice. Conditions were a bit icy but not too bad, it was walkable with some care. I was not looking forward to the walk back down, though, but gladly found an alternative, as there is a street down the other side of the hill to the Ilz bank, from where I walked through the tunnel and back to the bridge into the old town.

The uphill footpath leads through the forest, so at first the view is limited because of the trees and bushes - in summer it will probably be mostly obscured. Rather high up the path reaches first a viewing terrace in the forest, then an even better viewpoint just outside the fortifications. The second one provides the full view over the old town.


Past the parking lot (yes it is possible to access the castle by car) I entered the fortress from the upper side through a curved gate tunnel under the 17th century bulwarks. This part is higher than the actual castle and protects the most vulnerable side towards the hilltop. The way then leads slightly downhill past the observatory and the economy buildings to the wooden bridge into the actual castle.

Due to the winter closure of the museum, the innermost courtyard was also closed. The larger first courtyard was accessible, though. I hope to return some time in the warmer season to see it all!


In this first courtyard I spotted a fascinating sculpture emtitled "The Biga". A "biga" is a cart drawn by two hourses, in analogy to a "quadriga" which has four. The life-size horses are naked - nevertheless they are controlled by the woman with invisible reins and tied to the cart with an invisible harness and towing bar. The horses obey her and parade in front of the cart. These missing elements which the viewer has to imagine add to the magic of the sculpture.

The Biga is a late work of the sculptor Hans Wimmer. A large collection of his works is on display inside the castle museum. Due to winter closure I could not enter to see it, only have a glimpse into the window: there are more horse statues inside. Animals, especially horses, were one of Wimmer's main topics, but he also dealt with human figures.

On the way down I discovered the street on the other side of the hill which leads town to the Ilz bank and Veste Niederhaus, the lower castle right by the riverside. This street is still rather steep and paved with cobblestones and had to be walked carefully but it was a lot easier than the forest path I had climbed up.

Photo Gallery of Old Town Views and Details





Posted by Kathrin_E 02:16 Archived in Germany Tagged bavaria bayern christmas_market advent Comments (0)

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