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Sunday, 3 June 2012

Nuremberg

Nuremberg




Nuremberg is a city in the German state of Bavaria, in the administrative region of Middle Franconia. Situated on the Pegnitz river and the Rhine–Main–Danube Canal, it is located about 170 kilometres (110 mi) north of Munich and is Franconia's largest city.

Nuremberg was probably founded around the turn of the 11th century, according to the first documentary mention of the city in 1050, as the location of an Imperial castle between the East Franks and the Bavarian March of the Nordgau. From 1050 to 1571, the city expanded and rose dramatically in importance due to its location on key trade routes. King Conrad III established a burgraviate, with the first burgraves coming from the Austrian House of Raab but, with the extinction of their male line around 1190, the burgraviate was inherited by the last count's son-in-law, of the House of Hohenzollern. From the late 12th century to the Interregnum (1254–73), however, the power of the burgraves diminished as the Hohenstaufen emperors transferred most non-military powers to a castellan, with the city administration and the municipal courts handed over to an Imperial mayor from 1173/74. The strained relations between the burgraves and the castellan, with gradual transferral of powers to the latter in the late-14th and early-15th centuries, finally broke out into open enmity, which greatly influenced the history of the city. 

Nuremberg is often referred to as having been the 'unofficial capital' of the Holy Roman Empire, particularly because Reichstage (Imperial Diets) and courts met at Nuremberg Castle. The Diets of Nuremberg were an important part of the administrative structure of the empire. The increasing demand of the royal court and the increasing importance of the city attracted increased trade and commerce to Nuremberg. In 1219, Frederick II granted theGroßen Freiheitsbrief (Great Letter of Freedom), including town rights, Reichsfreiheit (or Imperial immediacy), the privilege to mint coins and an independent customs policy, almost wholly removing the city from the purview of the burgraves. Nuremberg soon became, with Augsburg, one of the two great trade centers on the route from Italy to Northern Europe. In 1298, the Jews of the town were accused of having desecrated the host and 698 were slain in one of the many Rintfleisch Massacres. Behind the massacre in 1298 was also the desire to combine the northern and southern parts of the city, which were divided by the Pegnitz river. The Jews of the German lands suffered many massacres during the plague years. 

Albrecht Dürer's House
The cultural flowering of Nuremberg, in the 15th and 16th centuries, made it the centre of the German Renaissance. In 1525, Nuremberg accepted the Protestant Reformation, and in 1532, the religious Peace of Nuremberg, by which the Lutherans gained important concessions, was signed there. During the 1552 revolution against Charles V, Nuremberg tried to purchase its neutrality, but the city was attacked without a declaration of war and was forced into a disadvantageous peace. At the Peace of Augsburg, the possessions of the Protestants were confirmed by the Emperor, their religious privileges extended and their independence from the Bishop of Bamberg affirmed, while the 1520s' secularisation of the monasteries was also approved. 

Nuremberg held great significance during the Nazi Germany era. Because of the city's relevance to the Holy Roman Empire and its position in the centre of Germany, the Nazi Party chose the city to be the site of huge Nazi Party conventions – the Nuremberg rallies. The rallies were held annually from 1927 to 1938 in Nuremberg. After Adolf Hitler's rise to power in 1933 the Nuremberg rallies became huge Nazi propaganda events, a centre of Nazi ideals. The 1934 rally was filmed by Leni Riefenstahl, and made into a propaganda film called Triumph des Willens (Triumph of the Will). At the 1935 rally, Hitler specifically ordered the Reichstag to convene at Nuremberg to pass the anti-Semitic Nuremberg Laws which revoked German citizenship for all Jews. A number of premises were constructed solely for these assemblies, some of which were not finished. Today many examples of Nazi architecture can still be seen in the city. The city was also the home of the Nazi propagandist Julius Streicher, the publisher of Der Stürmer. 

During World War II, Nuremberg was the headquarters of Wehrkreis (military district) XIII, and an important site for military production, including aircraft, submarines, and tank engines. A subcamp of Flossenbürg concentration camp was located here. Extensive use was made of slave labour. The city was severely damaged in Allied strategic bombing from 1943–45. On 2 January 1945, the medieval city centre was systematically bombed by the Royal Air Force and the U.S. Army Air Forces and about ninety percent of it was destroyed in only one hour, with 1,800 residents killed and roughly 100,000 displaced. In February 1945, additional attacks followed. In total, about 6,000 Nuremberg residents are estimated to have been killed in air raids.

Nuremberg was a heavily fortified city that was captured in a fierce battle lasting from 17 to 21 April 1945 by the US , which fought house-to-house and block-by-block against determined German resistance, causing further urban devastation to the already bombed and shelled buildings. Despite this intense degree of destruction, the city was rebuilt after the war and was to some extent, restored to its pre-war appearance including the reconstruction of some of its medieval buildings. However, the biggest part of the historic structural condition of the old Imperial Free City was lost forever. Between 1945 and 1946, German officials involved in the Holocaust and other war crimes were brought before an international tribunal in the Nuremberg Trials.

Today, Nuremberg's many sights make sure that no visitor will be bored. From the Germanische Nationalmuseum, Albrecht Dürer's House, the New Museum for Art and Design right through to the Documentation Centre Party Rally Grounds, over 30 museums offer exhibitions on a wide variety of topics.

Those who prefer open-air exploration, may take a look at some of Nuremberg's many historical buildings. The imperial castle is particularly impressive. Nuremberg's churches and fountains are also well worth a visit. All those who are curious for more, can visit the "Tiergarten" one of Europe's most beautifully landscaped zoos, the Planetarium, the State Theatre and Opera and many fascinating small theatres.


Within the city you will find the famous Nürnberger Bratwürste, in the surrounding area Fränkische Bratwürste. Nürnberger are only about half the size, but contain more spices than Fränkische. Consequently one typically eats three Fränkische or six Nürnberger. In restaurants Bratwürste are served with Sauerkraut or potato salad. In some better restaurants you can order also "Saure Zipfel", cooked Bratwürste in vinegar-onion sauce with fresh horseradish and bread. On the street you can also buy two or three sausages in a roll ('Drei im Weggla'). But be careful to get "real" Nürnberger and not "foreign" Thüringer Bratwürste. Nürnberger Bratwürste / Nürnberger Rostbratwürste is also protected under EU law withProtected designation of origin status. .


Nuremberg's main shopping district ist the Lorenzer Altstadt, the part of the old town south of river Pegnitz. There are three shopping streets running from the white tower to the vicinity of St Lawrence church: The cheapest stores can be found in Breite Gasse, in Karolinenstrasse you find mid-priced stores and Kaisserstraße, next to the river, offers luxury goods. At their eastern end the three streets are connected by the street Königsstraße, which runs from the main station via St Lawrence church to the main market place. The biggest department stores, Karstadt, Galeria Kaufhof and Breuninger, are located here. On Trödelmarkt you find some small snugly shops. At Sebalder Altstadt you find antiques, curiosities and designer shops. 

Every year, Germany's most famous Christmas Market opens its stalls for visitors from all over the world, right in the middle of the city, on Nuremberg Main Market Square. At 5.30 p.m. on the Friday before the first Advent Sunday, the Christmas Angel opens her market, reciting the solemn prologue from the gallery of the church of Our Lady. And as every year, by Christmas Eve, more than two million visitors from all over the world will have sampled the delights of the Christmas Market.

About 180 wooden stalls, festooned with red-and-white cloth, have given the Christmas Market its name of "Little Town from Wood and Cloth". 200 stall holders present their traditional wares: Nuremberg spicy gingerbread, fruit loaves, bakery goods and sweets, typical Christmas articles such as Christmas tree angels, cribs, Christmas tree ornaments and candles, toys as well as arts and crafts products. Favourite souvenirs include "Nuremberg Plum People", little figures made from prunes. And of course, by way of refreshments, there are always rolls with Nuremberg roast sausages and mugs of mulled wine. Nuremberg Christmas Market with its traditional image has also been a model for other Christmas Markets. The "Little Town from Wood and Cloth" has also been much in demand as a picturesque backdrop for TV productions.




                                                        Nuremberg’s Top 5:
       
  1. Lorenzkirche (St. Lawrence's Church). The building of this basilica, one of the most important buildings in Nuremberg, in high gothic style started between 1243 and 1315. The western façade between the two steeples is decorated with a rosette window and can be dated via the joint coats of arms of Charles IV and his third wife Anna von Schweidnitz who got married in 1353. Plans were changed during building, integrating the side chapels between the buttresses for the side aisles (1391) and the galleries above the side portals. Between 1439 and 1477, the vast late gothic hall chancel was added. During World War II, St. Lawrence's Church was badly damaged. Reconstruction started after 1945, directed by Julius Lincke (re-consecration on 10 August, 1952). The interior contains important works of art, including numerous epitaphs, stone and wooden sculptures, and most remarkably the tabernacle by Adam Kraft (1493/96), the Annunciation with corresponding chandelier by Veit Stoß (1517/18), the Deocarus Altar (1437) and the Krell Altar (1483). The pulpit is a neo-gothic work.
  2. The Toll Hall (Mauthalle) was built above the last-but-one city moat between 1498 and 1502 by Hans Beheim the Elder as an Imperial Corn Store. Carts could be driven into the house from both narrow sides of the three-storey sandstone building with its five attic storeys. Hatches for a block-and-tackle above the gable axes and on the eaves sides assisted in transporting the goods inside. In 1571/72, the City's Toll and Weights and Measures Office moved in. In 1896, Toll Hall, which had up until then been used by the Customs Administration, was sold by the Bavarian State to the Foundation for the Hospice of the Holy Spirit and the Landalmosenamtsstiftung, another foundation administered by the City. The house which in 1897/98 had been transformed into a shop and commercial building, burnt out completely in 1945, and was reconstructed in simplified form between 1951 and 1953. Today, the cellar vault supported by 26 pillars houses a restaurant with its own micro-brewery.
  3. The Germanisches Nationalmuseum. Founded in 1852, the museum houses a large collection of items relating to German culture and art extending from prehistoric times through to the present day. With current overall holdings of about 1.2 million objects, the Germanisches Nationalmuseum is Germany's largest museum of cultural history. Formerly the Germanisches Museum, it was founded by a group of individuals led by Franconian baron, Hans von und zu Aufsess, whose goal was to assemble a "well-ordered compendium of all available source material for German history, literature and art". The buildings incorporate the remaining structures of the former Nuremberg Charterhouse, dissolved in 1525 and used for a variety of secular purposes until in 1857 what was left of the premises, by then badly dilapidated, was given to the Museum.
  4. Albrecht Dürer's House.  Under the heading "Back to Dürer", this house presents the residence and workplace of famous artist Albrecht Dürer (1471-1528).   The house was built around 1420. It has five stories; the bottom two have sandstone walls, while the upper stories are timber framed; the entire structure is topped by a half-hip roof. In 1501, it was purchased by Bernard Walther, a merchant and prominent astronomer. Walter remodeled the house, adding small windows to the roof so that it could function as an observatory. Walther died in 1504, and Dürer purchased the house five years later. Special attractions include a painting and printing workshop from Dürer's time, where various artistic techniques are demonstrated. The lady of the house herself, Agnes Dürer, guides visitors through her house by audio-guide (in five languages), telling them much about the everyday life in this artist's household. By special request, she even appears in person to guide visitors through the house.
  5. The Imperial Castle, symbol of Nuremberg, rises high above the city. The castle, where between 1050 and 1571 all Emperors of the Holy Roman Empire of the German Nation were in residence at least for some time, is one of the most important imperial palaces of the Middle Ages. The Palas (main building) with its sumptuously furnished Emperor's rooms, the Roman double chapel, the deep well, and the Sinwell Tower, as well as a comprehensive collection of weapons and utensils can be visited today.









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