Thursday, March 16, 2006


True to form, almost a week later, my photo album is ready to tell you about our one-day jaunt to Hildesheim this past Saturday. When we went to Goslar in January for a weekend get-away, Donica and I noticed that we passed Hildesheim within half an hour after we got on the train. We had heard it was a quaint little town to see, so we bookmarked it as a one-day trip.

It has everything we'd want in a quaint town, with the old market square, half-timbered buildings and the churches. AND IT SNOWED THE ENTIRE TIME (that was for DreamWalker in New Zealand who has never seen snow fall!).

First, the MARKET SQUARE. What it's most known for is this Butchers' Guild Hall from 1529, once considered to be "the most precious half-timbered house in the world." That is, until it went up in flames in 1945, the year I was born! (No, you really can't blame it on me!) It was reconstructed (8 years' worth) to its original state, held together by 7500 wooden pegs!

Then, of course, always the prerequisite Rathaus (Town Hall), from 1268. This is where we ate a wonderful lunch in the Ratskeller, below ground level. That's also where I took yesterday's "Glass" window photo as my appetizer for this post (and my submission to Tuesdays Photos :).

The Butchers' Guild Hall and Rathaus face each other across the square, east and west. On this particular Saturday, in the snow, there was a farmer's market on the square. I'm guessing it's there every Saturday, rain or shine. People always need to "buy and sell" their produce!

On the south side of the square are 2 more wonderful buildings: the Tempelhaus on the left with its Renaissance bay window from 1591, and the Wedekindhaus on the right from 1598. I love these buildings!

Now, the CHURCHES! The two we did NOT go in were St. Andrew's and St. Michael's.

St. Andrew's Gothic church, from 1389, boasts the highest church tower in lower Saxony, measuring 114.35 m. You can climb the 364 steps up to the 75 m. mark for a breath-taking view (if it's not snowing!). It also has one of the largest church organs in northern Germany. But as I said, we didn't step foot inside. Another time, perhaps.

St. Michael's church, from 1010, was under construction until September, which kept us from seeing its famous painted wooden ceiling from the 12th century, portraying Christ's lineage. It was originally an early Roman fortress with its mathematical architecture and has been on the UNESCO World Cultural Heritage list since 1985. Bishop Bernward, who built the church, lies buried in the crypt.

The church we DID go into, however, was Hildesheim's Dom, St. Mary's Cathedral, from 872, with renovations and additions in the 11th, 12th and 14th centuries. Oh my! Talk about architecture! And its courtyard with graves and cloisters! It, too, is part of the UNESCO World Cultural Heritage.

How do you describe a church having a tower that looks like this! And that's just one part of it (you'll have to go to the album for the basilica entrance).

The cathedral's nave looking towards the choir (above).

A chandelier in St. Anthony's Chapel, from 1038, showing the New Jerusalem, bearing witness to the splendor of God's reign after the Last Judgment.

Looking out from the cloisters to the courtyard (above).

The wintered branches of the 1000 year-old rose bush against St. Anne's Chapel from 1440. After the 1945 bombing during WW II, it sent out new shoots from its rootstock in a few weeks' time.

As you know by now, I never know where to start and finish these posts on the places we visit here in Germany (or elsewhere). I never feel I can give them justice. But at least you get a taste of what we saw...with our very own the middle of a snowstorm! It doesn't get much better than this, as far as I'm concerned.


  1. lovely photos. I really love the wooden buildings, so amazing. Makes me miss Europe since you can't find that here.

  2. great pics! i simply MUST get to germany...

  3. I saw your post during my lunch break and I though: "NO. You're going to wait until you get home and take you time to go through this.". I'm glad I did. Those pictures are great! I love half-timbered house and the Butcher's Guild hall must be the most impressive that I've ever seen! The many bells on the Rathaus: What were they used for?

  4. The picture with the view of the courtyard from the cloisters is my favorite! Makes me want to jump right into that scene.

  5. Gorgeous, gorgeous, gorgeous.

    I agree with Amy about the cloister arch photo.

    This is the next best thing to being there!

  6. Expat: I know exactly what you mean. Nothing quite like Europe!

    Tracie: Yes, you MUST :)

    CS: You're a sweetheart for taking that kind of time. Thank you. The Rathaus bells are like a carillon and I'm guessing they ring every hour? I did hear them at least once and it was so melodic.

    Amy: Ohhhh. I know what you mean. I'd love to take you there this very minute.

    Ruth: You, too, of course. Wouldn't we just oooh and aaah!

  7. Every single time I read your posts about the the architecture in Germany and see the photos I want to hop on a plane and get over there to see it all for myself.

  8. Shame on me for not having visited Hildesheim yet! Your pictures are wonderful. Beautiful buildings.

  9. Oh those are great pictures! Really beautiful! I should try to get to Hildesheim to see it all myself.

    You should go to Wernigerode sometime. Their Rathaus is so adorable and there's a great castle up on a hill overlooking the town.

  10. Ginnie, I love the architecture of the buildings in your pictures. And I always love seeing cathedrals both inside and out. They have a way of filling me with awe. Thanks for posting these.

    [Originally posted on Thursday, March 16, 2006 6:57:33 PM on another post in error, so I moved it for him.--Ginnie]

  11. The time you took to make this album was well worth it. These buildings are simply breathtaking. It's like some mad sculptor/artist/toymaker was set loose with wood, glass and primary colors.

  12. Fantastic pics. I'm off to work now, but intend to peruse the album when I return. I love the sense of history one gets from old buildings.

    Oh, and I honestly didn't know roses could live that long !!

  13. Mr. Fab: Maybe one of these days you'll make it happen. I was 60 when all these Germany trips started happening, so you've got time :)

    Christina: You'll just have to take a day some weekend and do it. Is that something Mr. M would enjoy...and the boys? Maybe in the Spring! Thanks for your compliment!

    Dixie: And thanks to you, too. I always love recommendations to other cities so I'll have to Wiki Wernigerode. Don'y get me started on castles! I may like them even more than the churches, at least on the outside.

    Tim: I agree about the cathedrals. Just amazing in Europe!!

    Lisa: Thank you for that support. Sometimes I think I labor too much over the albums but I know I will always appreciate them long after they're done. Now you know why my words just can't do them (the buildings) justice!

    DW: Thanks to you as well. And I certainly did not know roses could live that long either! We had rose bushes in Pasadena that were 60 years old and THAT was supposed to be long!

  14. Hallo Ginnie.
    Du hast eine schöne Bildauschnitte gemacht !!
    Danke schön für mein blog besuchen ;-)
    Nice framing, Ginnie !!
    Thanks for your visit o my blog.
    jm ;-)

  15. Wow, those are amazing photos! And thanks for the stories behind the buildings. I'm an architecture fan and easily impressed by anything older than the 1900's. I was all excited about my little post about the gold rush of 1848-49 - in California terms, that was a long time ago.

  16. JM: Thanks to you, too :)

    Madretz: And you! The USA arcitecture is pretty amazing in many cities (like here in Atlanta) but you're right--it's all so YOUNG in comparison to Europe. It never ceases to astound me!

  17. I finally take time to comment! I am in contact with a professional organist for the time being. I am sure I would appreciate pictures of Sankt Andreas organ. Or he would. Next time you go, if you can make some shots :-)...

  18. Absolutely, Mei. If we go back I'll remember you and the organ!

  19. Wow! Wow! Wow!
    Absolutely beautiful!
    I love those decorated house!
    The inside of that cathedral is simply inspiring!
    But my favorite is the view from the cloisters to the courtyard! I have a special affection for cloisters and your picture is just "magnifique"!

  20. Yes, Clo. You would have been in heaven then! Thanks for the comment.