The European city of contrasts, that, at the same time, terrifies with its dark history and impresses with richness of culture. It was here that Veit Stoss created his works, and the first globe, as well as the first pocket watch, were made. Although 90 percent of the buildings were destroyed during the Allied raids, the city was reborn like a phoenix rising from the ashes.
The tumultuous history of Nuremberg is full of ups and downs. The city was built around a castle that protected the trade routes at the German-Slavic border. Since the 13th century, the city had been known as a trading centre, and enjoyed the status of a free city, where culture and art thrived – a fact experienced also by the Poles. It was Nuremberg that Nicolas Copernicus published his epoch-making work “De revolutionibus orbium coelestium” (“On the Revolutions of the Heavenly Spheres”). Unfortunately, the fame and importance of the city had diminished over time, which was one of the reasons for its bankruptcy. The metropolis was saved by Napoleon, who, in 1806, incorporated it into the Kingdom of Bavaria, and thus paid its debts. Almost 100 years later, the ignominious Nuremberg Laws were introduced, and in 1945 most of the city was laid in ruins during the Allied bombing.
Most famous for:
The subsequent Nuremberg trials.
Most interesting architecture styles:
A breakthrough moment in history:
Bombing in 1945.
Famous historical monuments:
The castle, Schöner Brunnen fountain, Albrecht Dürer’s house, town’s fortifications.
One definitely needs to:
visit the Toy Museum.
Something for gourmets:
Nürnberger Rostbratwürste – famous grilled sausages; St Elizabeth’s gingerbread.
A place for a walk:
old town, the Handwerkerhof shopping street.
Off the beaten track:
The city’s underground.
Veit Stoss, a sculptor, Albrecht Dürer, a painter, Kaspar Hauser, a mysterious boy whose identity has remained unknown even today.
The enigma of Kaspar Hauser
The event that took place on May 26, 1828, shows the intriguing and dark side of Nuremberg – it was then that a mysterious boy was found on the street. Up to this day historians have been puzzling over the story of this probably 16-year-old child, who could not write, read and was mute. He only spoke a few words and introduced himself as Kaspar Hauser.
As his story became famous all around Europe, it is no wonder that various scientists started coming to Nuremberg in hopes of unravelling the mystery. Theory propounded at the time linked him with Archduke Karl Ludwig, the grand duke of Baden. Probably this trail led to two assassination attempts on Hauser’s life. The young man was killed in 1833 in the court gardens of Ansbach, where he went to meet a stranger who was supposed to know his true identity.
Following Veit Stoss’s Trail
Nuremberg is not only a city full of dark stories, but also of great art, where unsurpassable Veit Stoss, known in Poland as the creator of the altarpiece in the Saint Mary’s Church in Kraków, created his masterpieces. The Romanesque-Gothic St Sebaldus Church houses the late Gothic epitaph of Paul Volckamer from 1499. This was the first work of the sculptor in Nuremberg after he left Kraków. The same church features also his later work – Nicholas Wickel’s crucifix made in 1520 for the Blessed Virgin Mary church, whose name comes from one of its founders.
The crucifix, created by Stoss, is located above the statues of Mary and John the Apostle. Another crucifix, also created by the master, can be seen in the Germanisches Nationalmuseum in Nuremberg, which is one of the most popular museums in the world. The crucifix was probably ordered for the chapel in the Hospital of the Holy Spirit. Moreover, St Lorenz church houses a group of sculptures, known as Angelic Salutation by Veit Stoss. The artist passed away in 1533 in Nuremberg.
Museums and monuments
A complex consisting of the Imperial castle (Kaiserburg), the former Burgraves’ castle (Burggrafenburg), and the the Empire State castle (Reichsstädtische Bauten), towers over the city. Although the fortress was destroyed during the Second World War, it was soon restored to its former glory. It is worth mentioning that in the castle basement the Stoss’s altar, stolen from Kraków, was stored. When sightseeing, one should not miss the magnificent Renaissance town hall, designed by James Wolff, whose basement holds an old prison with a special cell, where arsonists awaited the judgment sentence. Furthermore, the Old Town Square also features a remarkable fountain called Schöner Brunnen which, apart from the Castle, is one of the most recognizable tourist attractions of the city. A 19-meter-high openwork tower, decorated with numerous statues, stands above the former water intake. A brass moveable ring embedded in the fence surrounding this beautiful monument is said to bring good luck.
Nuremberg is a city where Albrecht Dürer, considered the most eminent creator of the Renaissance, was born, worked and died. Today, we can not only visit his home, but also admire his masterpieces in the National Museum with, among others, the painting of Hercules killing the Stymphalian Birds or the portrait of Michael Wolgemut. Moreover, you should also visit the Toy Museum as well as the Transport Museum as they will delight both children and adults! The former houses approx. 65 thousand exhibits, whereas the latter features antique locomotives and wagons, and the beautiful Nuremberg railway line. However, that is not all when it comes to original attractions – the Handwerkerhof shopping street will take you back to the Medieval Times thanks to the defensive walls, houses, as well as stands with craft and local products. When walking around Nuremberg, it is worth buying Nürnberg Card +Fürth that entitles you to use public transport and provides access to the majority of the most interesting places. It costs about 25 euros.
Towards the light
Nuremberg is one of the most beautiful examples in Europe which is a proof that dark history finally gives way to bright ideas and great art. It is worth visiting this extraordinary city and see for yourself how beautifully it has recovered after the destructive war.
with original Nuremberg gingerbread, grilled sausages and advent concerts.
The 19-meter-high openwork tower
above the old fountain.
The Marriage Merry-Go-Round
an unusual, grotesque fountain.