Thursday, January 26, 2006

GOSLAR, Germany: The Market Square

Okay, then! Strap on your seatbelts 'cuz we're going to 1000-year-old Goslar! This will come in categories, of course, true to my form, and then will have a photo album of the whole shootin' kaboodle at the end. But for now, these are just static impressions of a delightful little town in the Harz Mountains some 45 mi/72km southeast of Hannover. Goslar: Germany's first free Imperial town, an early member of the Hanseatic League, founded in 922 by Emperor Heinrich I, and now a UNESCO world heritage city of approximately 50,000 people.

The market square of any European town we visit is where we immediately head on our trips. This time especially so since our above hotel was the 512 year-old Kaiserworth on the south side of the Square, which used to be the guild hall of the merchants when it was built in 1494! Our room was the far right window on the second floor ("first" floor in Germany!), in line with the statues of the emperors, all looking out on the spectacular view of the center fountain or focal point of the Square (below).

It was rainy or overcast all day Saturday when we did most of our galavanting, and it was so freezing-cold on Sunday I almost got frostbit every time I took my glove off to take a picture. But I didn't care. (Overcast photos are better than no photos at all, as far as I'm concerned. And maybe we'll just have to go back when the sun is shining!) The incredible craftsmanship of the radiating coblestones for picture-perfect Perspective still absolutely awes me. And this is exactly where they hold their Christmas Market in December.

Atop the Romanesque fountain is a copy of the imperial eagle (above). The original sits in the Town Hall in safe-keeping from the pranksters who damaged its wings and legs. But the two bronze basins with their dragons and lion heads are the original ones that have endured for centuries.

Speaking of the obligatory Rathaus (Town Hall), it's on the west side of the Square, left of the fountain from our hotel window (above), built in the middle of the 15th century.

Continuing clockwise from the Town Hall is this magnificent half-timbered building on the north side of the Square, with enough sun to say Hello just as we were checking out. (Go figure!) To the right of that is the photo (2nd from the top) of the fountain in the northeast corner of the square, followed by this Baroque building (below) that houses the carillon/glockenspiel donated by the owner and operator of the Rammelsberg metallic ore mines.

Four times a day, at 9a, noon, 3p and 6p, a procession of miners (below) tells the history of mining in Goslar. At other times during the day only the bronze bells are clanged, cast from the metal ore mined there. Because of those rich ore deposits, Goslar was one of the seats of the Holy Roman Empire of the German Nation from the 10th to the 12th century.

And that's a thumbnail start! There's more to come: the palace, half-timbered houses, the Market Church, etc. I eat this stuff up and have decided it's the architecture that is soulful for me, more so than the history. But, of course, how can you separate the history from the architecture!


  1. GLORIOUS photos and architecture! Spectacular! I just love these buildings. Too bad it was so cold.

  2. Vey nice architecture! Very nice town to visit! I like old buildings of that period. The carillion reminds me one I've seen in Münich, at the Alte Rathaus. It also reminds me a movie I saw when I was young about 'Kaspar Hauser von Nürnberg'. I don't remember the director's name. Could be shot in Goslar instead of Nuremberg.

  3. Wonderful photos. I love all the detail. I think I'm so smitten by European buildings because they are so much older and to me just better looking. At least more intricate and well preserved at that. Nothing here is like that or very few things are. They are usually destroyed anyhow. I miss that always....

  4. Ruth: Yes, I love the buildings, too. Donica says we need to go back in the Spring when it's warmer!

    Mei: So many of these town squares in Europe resemble each other, though I would never say if you've seen one you've seen them all! I've been to Nuremberg but would love to go back. Yes, very nice towns to visit!

    Expat Traveler: Don't you just feel that maybe you lived here in a past life?! That's how I feel all the time when I'm over here.

  5. Beautiful photos! You've caught the atmosphere so well.

  6. Thanks, Christina. You're such a good fan :)

  7. What a great hotel you stayed in! The whole little city is just superb. I especially like the photo of the buildings with the little bit of sunshine. Seems that the buildings are floating. Like they are somehow miniatures on a board!

    Altogether very nice Ginnie.