We decided we needed to explore another Bavarian town and it was suggested by a local that we must see Regensburg. So off we go once again to the Hauptbahnhof for the one hour 25 minute train ride which always has delays and ends up being 2 hours.
We enjoy gazing at the Bavarian countryside through the train windows. Jim took this picture during a twenty minute delay, just standing still.
We arrived in Regensburg around 10:30 and were happy to see blue sky as rain was predicted.
Regensburg is located along the Danube River and is the largest and best preserved medieval old town in Germany. The Altstadt (old Town) combines Roman, Romanesque, and Gothic architecture reflecting 2,000 years of urban living. It was declared a Unesco world Heritage Site in 2006.
The quaint cobblestone streets and lovely pastel painted buildings with wonderful shops were a delight to amble through. We decided to go directly to the Tourist Office to try and book some tours we had read about but the only English speaking tour was at 2pm for the Town Hall; however we were able to download an app on our phones with a GPS component that would give you the history of the building or site along the tour path as you reached it.
On our way to the tourist office and the town hall we first encountered St Peter’s Cathedral which was partially covered in scaffolding unfortunately.
There was a demonstration going on in front of the cathedral by Tradition, Family, Property Student Action – Europe in defense of moral values and christian civilization. Basically a right wing group against the progressive leanings of Pope Francis and other liberal Bishops and Cardinals.
After the Cathedral we finally reached the Rathaus. Medieval town Hall with 180 foot clocktower built in 1737.
Prinzess Cafe, in the square in front of the Town Hall and Tourist office is said to be the oldest coffee house in Germany and also known for its chocolates. It opened in 1686. We ordered hot chocolate and pastry and were not impressed with either.
An impromptu serenade that set up next to us at the Prinzess Cafe. German people are required to get married in a civil ceremony before they have a religious ceremony. Every Thursday and Friday weddings are performed at the town hall and this seemed to be part of a brief wedding.
The spire of the St Peter’s Cathedral dominates all the buildings in the town. We took this photo in one of the charming alleys that we walked through. The other spire is covered with scaffolding.
King Ludwig l in front of the cathedral. In 1835 he gave the order to remove all features of the cathedral that were not Gothic.
The tower you see to the far right was referred to as the “Donkey Tower”; so called because there is a dirt ramp all the way up inside so donkeys could carry the massive stones up for the church renovation from Baroque to Neo Gothic. It is the only original tower that survived post renovation.
While roaming the streets following our audio tour on our phones we came across Niedermunster Parish Church.
This is a simple Parrish church next to the Cathedral.
We were delighted that the organist was playing the organ. Here is a very short audio recording.
The site of the city has been occupied since the Stone Age, and the Romans constructed an outpost here in the 2nd century. The remains of the walls around their camp have been incorporated into newer buildings that you see here and below.
One of the many interesting buildings we saw was the Goliathhaus. This mural was created in 1573 and depicts Goliath as a massive giant in armor, reaching upward several floors. His left arm is shown cleverly resting on the building window as he peers downward towards David who by comparison is much smaller, bent over and preparing to sling a stone towards Goliath and we all know how the story goes after this.
Baumburg tower was built around 1260 and has been preserved unchanged. It was built by a wealthy patrician family in the Middle Ages as a status symbol. Usually the bottom floor would have a chapel and the top floors would be completely empty.
This was Oscar Schindlers house when he lived in Regensburg, but presently houses a Michelin Guide recommended Restaurant that is Japanese and named Aska. The chef is from Osaka Japan. We would have loved to have lunch here but it would have “eaten” up too much of the time we had to spend in Regensburg (sorry Audrey and Neil)🥲.
These plaques in the sidewalk are in front of houses of people who lived there and died in a concentration camp. It gives their name and the camp they were sent to and date of death. We first learned of these and saw many of them when we were in Berlin, Krakow, Prague and Paris.
Former home of Karl Meyer, Holocaust victim.
For nearly 750 years people have been coming together in Regensburg cathedral to pray. The present St Peter’s Cathedral has been a World Heritage Site since 2006. That same year Pope Benedict XVI, a native Bavarian and onetime Archbishop of Munich, celebrated a mass there and returned again in 2020. The Baroque Silver Altar was donated between 1695 and 1785. The Main Altar by Richard Tribe that is in use today was erected in 1976, 700 years after the dedication of the first altar. The Cathedra (bishop’s throne) stands between the choir stalls. This is the origin of the word Cathedral.
Annunciation Group (circa 1280), “Smiling Angel” and Mary statues (above and below) were carved by Master Ludwig and are among the greatest masterpieces of European sculpture.
Altar of Our Lady where people light candles.
These stained- glass windows were donated by King Ludwig I of Bavaria between 1829-57.
The organ with 5,871 pipes is suspended on four cables from a steel framework in the roof structure. Unfortunately we did not get to hear this organ being played.
The 39 medieval stained glass windows with over 1,100 panes, date from the years 1310-1450. Unlike in most cathedrals they are completely preserved and bathe the interior in a “holy light”.
The Vault is the Burial site of the bishops of Regensburg and one priest.
Father Johann Maier was executed by the Nazis shortly before the end of WWII. On April 22nd 1945 a Nazi leader called on the people of Regensburg to defend their city and not surrender to the US Army. On the next morning April 23 the priest was among a crowd of people rallying for a peaceful surrender to the US Amy, he tried to warn the crowd to be calm. He was arrested, put on trial and publicly hung the next day April 24. The Bishop was frightened into silence and hid himself in the cellar. The Nazi leader fled the city 2 days later on April 26 and Regensburg peacefully surrendered to the US Army on April 27.
St John’s Parish Church, immediately next to the Cathedral.
Quite simple compared to other churches that we have seen.
Our second organ recital of the day. Quite unusual to hear organ music in all of our church visits.
The Stone Bridge (Steinerne Brucke) is a 12th Century bridge across the Danube linking The Old Town of Regensburg with the town of Stadtamhof. For more than 800 years, until the 1930’s it was the city’s only bridge across the river. It is a masterwork of medieval construction and an emblem of the city.
There is a legend that the master builder of the cathedral and the master builder of the bridge had made a bet as to which of them would finish first. As the production of the cathedral began to progress much faster the bridge builder made a deal with the devil that if he helped him win he promised the first three souls to cross the bridge would belong to the devil. The bridge builder won, then cleverly sent two roosters and a dog over the bridge. The photo above was taken at the halfway point on the bridge. It is the bridge builder looking across to the cathedral.
Views from the bridge looking back at Regensburg.
The Cathedral from the bridge.
Regensburg was one of the major trading centers and hubs in the salt trade. In the 17th Century, this historic building was built as a storehouse to accommodate the increase in demand at the time, however they only used the first two floors, the rest was just for show.
Unfortunately we did not have time to do a boat cruise on the Danube
Some fancy residences in a nice square.
We booked the 2pm tour of the Town Hall and had a very good guide. These are stained glass windows in the reception Hall. The old town hall is a monument to the past greatness and importance of the Imperial City and is now a museum.
The Regensburg Town Hall was erected in the 13th century. The Imperial assemblies convened by the emperor were held here. The ceiling and walls are panelled in Hungarian ash.
This ceiling reminded us of our bedroom ceiling at 87 Beacon St.
This painting in one of the rooms depicts the seven virtues.
The green structure in the corner is a ceramic stove that burned wood and was the only source for heat at the time.
This is the Imperial Hall which originally served as a dance and banqueting hall for the citizens of Regensburg.
The coat of arms of Regensburg showing two crossed silver keys on a red shield and the head of two serpents .
The lady in this picture did a video on her camera of the entire 90 min tour.
Our tour ended in the basement rooms of the torture chamber.
In this room there are devices used to carry out sentences in public for minor crimes. They included the pillory where the accused were made to stand on in the public square where they were exposed to humiliation and ridicule. Hanging on the wall are wooden devices called fiddles. The head went through the the large circle and the wrists went through the smaller circles, The middle one is a double fiddle when quarreling people were locked up and had to stand face to face with each other.
In this room the painful questioning was carried out. The conviction of the accused was only possible after a confession.
Here we are being shown a torture device in which they had the accused sit on then would put heavy weights on their lap. The ladder was used to stretch people. The rooms and torture devices are all original, nothing has changed. King Frederick the Great (aka Frederick II) abolished torture as soon as he came into power in 1740.
Behind this screen sat the people who questioned the accused, if they did not like the answers to their questions, the accused was tortured. There was always a medical doctor present during the tortures who would order them stopped if he felt the accused were going to die during the torture before they got a confession.
This was one of the holding cells. They would drop food down through the grates and a hole in the floor was the toilet.
Another holding cell.
Colorful architecture of this charming town.
This is St Emmeram’s Basilica which was founded about 739.
Video tour of the church interior.
Very macabre, but many European churches have stuff like this.
Regensburg Palace or Schloss Thurn und Taxis is said to have more rooms than Buckingham Palace, and the rooms are stuffed with antiques and gilded knick-knacks-even after the family auctioned off treasures worth 27 million euros to pay debts and tax bills. We ran out of time to take this tour as they closed at 15:00 which disappointed Sandy but not Jim.
After a long day we took the 17:55 train home arriving about 20:30.