A day in Augsburg

Todays adventure takes us on a short 30 minute train ride on an ICE high speed train to Augsburg Germany. Their top speed is 300 kph. We only saw 270 kph or about 170mph.
The city of Augsburg was founded in 15 BC on the order of Emperor Augustus, making it the third oldest city in Germany. This Roman colony was established at the convergence of the Alpine rivers of Lech and Wertach.
Arrival at Augsburg Station.
Königsplatz is the main plaza of the city with many cafes, restaurants and shops.
The architecture is very similar to Amsterdam with it’s pointed roofs.
St Anne’s Church in Augsburg is a medieval church building that was originally part of a monastery built in 1321 by the Carmelite friars and converted in 1545 to a Lutheran church after the Reformation.
In 1518 Martin Luther stayed here when he was in Augsburg to meet the papal legate, Cardinal Cajetan, who wanted Luther to denounce his 95 theses and submit to the pope, which history proves that he certainly did not.
Largely viewed as the founder of the Protestant Reformation, Luther interpreted the Bible into an understandable form for the common man and launched a religious reform movement to rival the most powerful force in Europe-the Catholic Church.
The church is notable for it’s elaborate Baroque interior.
We found this interesting. These are famous children of Evangelical Christian Pastors. Katy Perry (nee Hudson) is the daughter of pastors Mary and Keith Hudson. Her dad has reportedly called his pop star a “devil child” and asks people to pray for her.
From our first introduction in Paris we can never resist the European markets.
Flowers, fruits, vegetables, local vendors of various crafts are always a source of joy for us to wander through.
Colorful streets of Augsburg.
Augsburg town Hall (Rathaus) was designed and built by Elias Holt 1615-1624. Due to its historic and cultural importance, it is protected by The Hague Convention for the Protection of Cultural Property in the Event of Armed Conflict.
The Goldener Saal or Golden Hall, is the most impressive of the Rathaus’s rooms. It is richly ordained with large doorways, magnificent murals and vaulted ceiling.
This oval in the ceiling depicts the architect Elias Holt with his drawings.
The Town Hall was destroyed by an air raid in 1944 and was reconstructed in 1996.
Magnificent marble floor of the Golden Hall.
The ceiling’s vibrant colors dance harmoniously with delicate patterns and ornate motifs, showcasing the meticulous craftsmanship of Renaissance artisans.
Doorway leading into one of the four Prince’s Rooms off of the main hall.
The Prince’s Rooms are four in number off of the Golden Hall.They were originally used for distinguished guests of the council. They have beautiful wood carved ceilings and paneled walls.
A view from one of the windows of the Golden Hall.
The Gothic Augsburg Cathedral founded in the 11th century in Romanesque style, but with 14th century Gothic additions.
The cathedral contains what are believed to be the worlds oldest antique stained glass windows, likely to be close to 1000 years old.
Crypt of the Cathedral.
All the pews are hand carved
Interesting door knocker on a house in Augsburg.
The city has lovely canals, also like Amsterdam and has been listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site for its more than 500 year-old history of water management.
The most fascinating part of our visit to Augsburg was to see The Fuggerei, which is the oldest social housing project in the world and still in use today.
It is a walled enclave established by Jakob Fugger in 1516 as a place where needy citizens of Augsburg could be housed for 0.88 Euro per year, and 500 years later the rent has not increased. There are conditions to living there though. You have to be a Catholic with a low income and no debt, and be a respectable member of society. You have to say three prayers a day for the Fugger family. You have to be back home by 10pm when the town gates are locked or you will have to pay a fee to get in. The Fuggerei was meant to last forever with no changes to the rent, rules and regulations.
Portrait of the founder Jakob Fugger. The Fuggerei is still under the control of the Fugger family today even though Jakob had no offspring.
Before the Fuggerei was connected to the public water system, residents had to use several pumping wells. This one is still functioning.
For centuries streets and alleys were not illuminated during the night. However residents could find their way to their home in the dark because each door bell pull was individualized so no shape felt the same.
Today, the Fuggerei comprises 140 flats in 67 houses. It houses about 150 residents of all ages and marital status and the rent of 0.88 Euro per year remains the same. Many residents stay forever, others move in under extreme circumstances, recoup their strength and move out. Residents very often mention that they have at last found peace from their cares and problems. Applications for those seeking residence are strictly vetted by the Fuggerei administration in cooperation with the social authorities. This museum shows pictures of many of the residents. If they don’t want their pictures taken there is a picture of their front door.
This is an original bathroom of a residence installed in 1980. Today all the tubs have been removed and replaced with walk in showers for safety reasons.
When the nearest church became protestant during the Reformation, the Fugger family ordered the erection of St Mark’s Church at the Fuggerei in 1580 to provide for its Catholic residents.
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart’s great-grandfather Franz used to live as an impoverished master bricklayer at the Fuggerei with his family for 13 years until he passed away.
Until today, the Fuggerei is still surrounded by a wall, the entrance is closed between 10 pm and 4:30 am. At night, a night watchman opens the gate for returning or leaving residents in return for a tip of 0.50 euro (after midnight). Traditionally, residents of the Fuggerei work as night watchman. This provides for a very safe environment.
The first victim of witch hunting mania in Augsburg, Dorothea Braun lived here. She worked as a caretaker in the infirmary and was accused of sorcery by her 11 year old daughter. After severe torture the 48 year old confessed. She was found guilty by a court of law in Augsburg where she was beheaded and burned.
This is the Fuggerei Bunker. During World War II, almost 70 percent of the Fuggerei was destroyed in an air raid. Two hundred people survived in this shelter.
These are rare photos of the Fuggerei in flames on the Feb 1944 attack, only a few officially appointed photographers were permitted to document the destruction.
In total you can find 17 houses with patron saints on the facade. By adding sculptures like these the house was put under protection of the respective saints. During the Reformation, many of these sculptures disappeared, however they were preserved in the Fuggerei which remained Catholic.
Remaining photos were taken on our walk to the train station after ending a very interesting day in this city.
Bronze fountain in the Town Hall Square depicts the city’s founder Caesar Augustus as well as four river gods representing the main watercourses in Augsburg.
Colorful buildings on Maximilianstraße, again reminiscent of Amsterdam.
Fugger Family home. Jacob Fugger (1459-1525) was a major German merchant, mining entrepreneur and banker. His overall wealth today would be around $400 billion making him at the time far richer than Elon Musk is today, and we may add much more humble and benevolent.

4 responses to “A day in Augsburg”

  1. Thanks for the great local history of the Fuggerrei. After 600 years of occupation and 99,550,000 thrice daily prayers the Fugger Family’s time left in purgatory must be measured in the microseconds.

  2. Sandra Thomas Rowe Avatar
    Sandra Thomas Rowe

    Thanks for sharing your visit to Augsburg–it was fantastic!

  3. I loved the tour of Augsburg. The history of the Fuggerrei is so interesting.

  4. Fascinating history of the Fuggerrei…..what a model to be followed!!

    Great pics of a lovely city..thanks

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