Nuremberg is an really beautiful city and despite rain (drizzle & mizzle all day) and a temperature of about 7degrees we headed out after breakfast to explore. We left our hotel and headed towards the Kaiserberg (Kings Castle) at the top of the Alstadt, stopping on the way to see the Albrecht Durer House (he’s a very famous German painter of the late 1400s. We walked through the walls of the old town and approached the castle from the back. Built in stages early 11th century, mid 12th century and the last bit in the 1500’s … it is huge and amazing and well preserved. German Kings had no special castle of their own and went from city to city as the affairs of state dictated. The good folk of Nuremberg had a splendid castle and a citizenry willing and financially able to ‘put the king up’ whenever he needed to be in town.
The entry fee of 5.50 euro got us into the palace and museum .. decided the towers were not going to be possible. The museum is housed in part of the castle and 3 floors cover things like the history of the castle and a really good collection of weapons, armour etc… I couldn’t help think about the history staff at school as I took photo after photo of medieval weapons and suits of armour. Then into the palace which you can only see on a guided tour (in German … so they gave us a little book which is really interesting) We also visited the double chapel (two story chapel with a hole in the floor and a special extra seat upstairs for the king). We left the tour before they headed to the tower and looked around some more before heading back down into town.
Next stop was St Sebaldus … built in 1230 it was smashed in 1945 and has been totally re-built. It’s stunning beauty is testament to the determination of the people of Nuremberg to rebuild their city. It was especially lovely today as there was a lady playing the massive organ. A photo display inside shows the massive devastation inflicted by allied bombing in April 1945 and behind the very simple main altar is the tomb of St Sebaldus, the Patron Saint of Nuremberg.
A late morning tea stop and we headed for the Documentation Centre … housed at the Nazi Party Rally Grounds. A new exhibition opened in 2001 and pulls absolutely no punches in telling the history of the National Socialists and their rise to power and subsequent actions which lead to WW2. It is brutal in its honesty, and the audio guides are excellent. You can work/listen your way through the exhibition at your own pace, stopping and listening to the audio guide at each stop. Each part of the display has a number which you dial into the audio guide and listen to a commentary on that section if you want more info. Since all the accompanying text is in German our audio guide machines got a thorough workout.
After the Documentation Centre we followed the ‘trail’ round for a closer look at the half completed ‘Congress Hall’ a 20,000 seat auditorium where Hitler planned to address the faithful. It was never finished because they ran out of money.
Braving the rain we walked to the Nazi Party Rally Grounds, also known as the Zeppelin field, scene of the mass rallies in the mid 1930’s. It’s falling into disrepair and signs say it will take something like 7 billion euros to fix .. part of me wants it fixed, another part wants it to crumble to dust.
We had dinner tonight in a little place round the corner and then wandered some more in the top of the Alstadt. I sort of wish we’d planned another day here, Nuremberg is an enchanting city.