Monday, 10 February 2014



Grosse Strasse
Grosse Strasse or Large Street, is still preserved at Nuremburg in Northern Bavaria, alongside Hitler's huge unfinished Congress Hall in Dutzendteich Park. This was the huge parade ground for the Nazi Rallies at the 1930's, a grim reminder of that hideous era when the party was gaining strength.  

Zeppelin Stadium is one of the remaining stands.


Rags to riches


One of the greatest attractions in Nuremburg is the Schöner Brunnen (Beautiful Fountain) which is to be found in the Market Place.  Reminiscent of a Gothic spire, this richly decorated fountain was erected in the late 14th century and it was surrounded by a grille in 1587.  

A brass ring attached to the grille is the result of a ‘rags to riches’ story about a poor youth who worked for a rich jeweller in the town.  He fell in love with his employer’s daughter but the father refused her hand because of the youth’s lowly status.  The youth went off to seek his fortune and when he returned, a rich man, he found that his love had married another.  The very next day a one-piece brass ring appeared on the fountain grille and our hero was gone.


It is said that touching the ring brings good luck!


The Pfarrhof

A very nice stone building in Nuremburg  has a very fine oriole projecting from the front of the building.  The Pfarrhof was originally a wooden building where clergy lived.
According to tradition, the infant Crown Prince Wenzel was about to be baptised there when he ‘sullied’ the water.  Whilst fresh water was being warmed, the Pfarrhof was accidentally burned down.  The Prince’s father. Emperor Karl 1V financed the construction of the new stone building.

The ruined Wernerkapelle at Barcharach in the Middle Rhine area of Germany has a dark secret.   Werner was a local boy whose body was found nearby and investigations concluded that he has been brutally murdered.  Local Jews were suspected of the crime and of using the boys blood for their rituals and Werner was regarded as a saint by the local people. Donations by pilgrims to the site contributed towards the construction of the Gothic chapel which commenced in 1294.  It was destroyed by war in 1689 since which time the ruins have been protected as an ancient monument.

The Mighty Draught

The incredible drinking feat ‘Meistertrunk’ or mighty draught, took place in Rothenburg ob der Tauber in Germany during the Thirty Years War.  The story goes that on 30th October 1631, the commander of the Imperial Forces, General Tilly, took the town and because of stiff resistance from the citizens, he ordered the town to be plundered and destroyed and its councillors executed.  The keeper of the town wine cellar offered Tilly a three-and-a quarter-litre tankard of heavy Franconian wine, “as a toast to his arrival”.  The general said that he was willing to grant the town a pardon if one of the councillors could drink the wine in one go.   A former Mayor, Councillor Nusch managed the feat and saved the town.   Apparently he needed three days to sleep off the effects of his heroic action.


This legend is re-enacted several times daily when the figures of Nusch and Tilly appear in the baroque gable end of the City Councillors’ Tavern situated in the Market Place and the actual tankard can be seen in the city museum.

Photographs courtesy of Rothenburg Tourist Office

The Holy Robe
In 1959 a relic of St Peters Cathedral in Trier, Germany, was placed in a sealed shrine in a special chapel in the Cathedral.  Legend has it that the relic is The Holy Robe of Christ said to have been worn by him during the Crucifixion.
It is supposed that the relic was discovered in Jerusalem in 326 by The Empress St Helena, mother of Emperor Constantine and placed in her son’s new church in Trier.
The Nibelungs treasure

A statue of Hagen throwing the Nibelungs’ treasure into the River Rhine can be seen on the river bank at Worms in Germany.
 The story of the ‘Nibelungenlied’ is linked with the Rhine where the hero of the poem, Siegfried, is murdered by Hagen, a faithful follower of the Burgiundian kings. The gold treasure of the Nibelungs therefore passes into the hands of the Burgundian’s before being thrown into the Rhine by Hagen. The poem reflects an actual historical event – the destruction of the Burgundian kingdom by the Huns at the behest of a Roman general in 436.


The Elwedritsch

The Elwedritsch is a mythical egg laying creature with a long beak, described as chicken like with  small antlers. It has scales instead of feathers and the wings are of little use.  It supposedly originates from the cross breeding of domestic fowls and mythical wood creatures such as goblins and elves.  It is said to inhibit the area around Neustadt an der Weinstrasse in Germany living mainly in the undergrowth of forests and under the vines.   


  1. Elwedritschen  in the Market Square at Neustadt an der Weinstrasse

The creature has increasingly been portrayed by artists as female by adding breasts  The Elwetritsch is supposedly very shy, but also very curious and gullable people are sometimes encouraged to indugle in a hunting process.  A hunting party consists of a "Fänger" (catcher), equipped with a big potato sack and a lantern, and the "Treiber" (beaters). The catcher is led into the woods where the Elwetritsch is supposed to live, instructed to wait in a clearing with his sack and lantern, while the beaters will supposedly disturb the Elwetritsch. The light of the lantern is said to be attractive to the curious creature, so it will come to investigate and will then be caught by the catcher. While he waits, everyone heads back to the pub to wait for the catcher to realize that he has been fooled!
Zeller Schwarze Katz
The Mosel Region in Germany is noted for its fine wine.  Each village has its own distinctive vineyards and it is easy to find a wine which is suitable to ones taste.    The wine from the village of Zell is particularly notable and is known as ‘Schwarze Katz’ or Black Cat.   Legend has it that in 1863, three wine merchants from Aachen were in Zell to taste the wine and find out which was the best cellar to buy from.  In one particular winery they went into lengthy negotiations and finally they opted to choose from three casks.  Suddenly the owner’s black cat sprang onto one of the casks and arched its back in a threatening manner, whereupon the merchants took it as an omen that it was the best wine and without even tasting it, they bought it.   Since that time, Zell wine has been known as ‘Schwarze Katz’.


The Roman Wine Ship


In 1884, workers on road extensions through Neumagen-Drohn on the Mosel in Germany, were amazed when they exposed a massive Roman Fort which had been built by Emperor Constantine.   Amongst the many treasures unearthed was an incredible 3rd century tombstone in the shape of a Roman wine ship.   Whilst the actual relic can be seen in the museum at Trier, a copy can be seen at Neumagen.


The Bridge Monkey


Just alongside the town gate on the bridge over the River Neckar at Heidelberg in Germany there is a bronze monkey or ‘bruckenaff’ holding a mirror. Installed in 1979 it was sculptured by Professor Gernot Rumpf and the theme of the sculpture is ‘humility’.   Alongside is a plaque which reads:

“Why are you looking at me?

Haven’t you seen a monkey in Heidelberg?

Look around and you will probably see

More monkey’s like me”.

 Old drawings show that there was a brass monkey at this spot as far back as the 15th century when a traveller abroad brought a real monkey back to Heidelberg. The local people were amazed to see it and just stared at it – hence the legend. The original bronze disappeared during the Palatinian War of Succession of 1689-1693.

To touch the bronze is said to bring good luck!

Largest Cuckoo Clock


What is said to be the largest free-hanging cuckoo clock in the world can be seen suspended outside a shop in St Goar on the Middle Rhine in Germany.  Some 33 years old, this time piece is 3.5 metres high and 2.5 metres wide.  It weighs about 5 cwts.  Carved from linden wood it is entirely handmade and handpainted.  Because the clock has two faces, the biggest problem faced by the designers was to arrange the working so that a cuckoo pops out on both sides to call time every half hour.  Music also plays as a stage at the top of the clock revolves, revealing a set of four dancing figures.


Another very large cuckoo clock seen at Triburg in the Black Forest.


Der Kieschtock

The Black Forest is of course noted for its wood carvings. In the lovely village of Unterkirnach a strange carving can be seen standing outside the town hall. It depicts Der Kieschtock, a huge grotesque figure carved from a tree trunk and roots which is a symbolic figure of the area. It is a kind of bogeyman which reminds people of the power of the forest and is much in evidence at the shrovetide festival 'Fastnet'.

The Squares of Mannheim


The city centre of Mannheim in Germany is divided into squares and instead of street names, letters and numbers show the way to the correct address. This unique system is based on chess and was introduced in the 18th century.



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