Wednesday, April 2, 2008

A medieval tour

Today I'd like to invite you to a tour through medieval Germany - or, to be more precise, a tour showing you remaining old architecture, most times half-timbered houses, in several small cities in the State of Hesse, Germany.

A little background: One jokes that the forefathers of the Hessians, the Germanic tribe of the Chatti, somehow as the only tribe missed the big migration period ("Völkerwandung") in the very early medieval time. Maybe that's why the Hessians are very conscious and proud of their heritage - since they can't be proud of their discoveries and travels! True or not true - at least the Hessians show a lot of effort in caring for their old houses! ;-)

Let's start in the South of Hesse, in the Rhinegau, one of the wine-producing regions along the Rhine. Here we have a glimpse at Eltville, a small and nice town, with a plethora of restaurants offering good food and of course lots of wine, and a nice promenade. Here we see part of this promenade, and on the right side the old castle, originally built in the 14th century. You can see some ruins of it and the restored white tower. The tower was a so called "Wohnturm" BTW, a tower to live in, not one for defending the castle:


Click here for large version.


Now we venture into Eltville's cobblestone streets with a first glimpse of some half-timbered houses and one of the many restaurants, this one called "Yellow House". Unfortunately - you may have noted - this weekend before Easter weather is bad and cold, and no tables wait for the guests outside:


Click here for large version.


With a last look at the Old Town of Eltville - several colorful umbrellas included for free! - we leave this city:


Click here for large version.


Now we'll drive a few kilometers up the Rhine to Johannisberg, risking a look at a vineyard with the Rhine in the background. On the right you see a Romanesque basilica belonging to an old monastery, and this basilica was built in the 12th century to honor John the Baptist - that is how Johannisberg or "John's mountain" came to its name:


Click here for large version.


Venturing up to the North of Hesse we'll now visit Bad Wildungen, a small city and a health resort. It also sports a wonderful Old Town, here some glimpses of it. First the outer region of the Old Town in the evening light:


Click here for large version.


In a side street we discover this blue ensemble:


Click here for large version.


And finally a look at the market square including the Town Hall and a nice pano twin ;-):


Click here for large version.


To the East of Bad Wildungen we find Melsungen, a fascinating town with an Old Town almost completely filled with half-timbered houses. Here a look at the market square with the Town Hall on the right side – the building in red:


Click here for large version.


The sheer number of half-timbered houses you also can see in the side streets of Melsungen inspired me to this somewhat irritating, but at least really self made picture post-card of Melsungen, showing: one of those streets in the background, a sculpture on the left, some half-timbered houses on the market square on top and the Town Hall from 1556 at the right:


Click here for large version.


Last station on our medieval trip is Korbach in the North of Hesse. Here we first see
again a part of the Old Town - on the left with the spire the Town Hall, on the utmost right the public library in the largest half-timbered building of the city:


Click here for large version.


At a side street we discover something rare, a half-timbered house combined with baroque decoration - here it's door:


Click here for large version.


Now something quite corny, a Hotel named "Goldflair" located across the Town Hall, with gold foils in the windows underscoring its name:


Click here for large version.


And with this glimpse of the old market square with a nowadays unused pillory in its center we finish our tour. BTW: The pillory we see here indeed was never used. It was rebuilt in the 1960s for touristic purposes only - but it's modeled after the original that really once stood here - and that one was used for sure! ;-)


Click here for large version.


I hope you enjoyed this travel back in old times - despite the bad weather! And now back to todays world & work!

1 comment:

Cynthia Farr-Weinfeld, CHt. said...

As always, great photos, great panos, and a wonderfully told story behind it all! Thanks Phil, Cindy from Portland, Maine, USA