To wrap up our trip to Germany, we are going to examine the masonry of Nürnberg. Our friends took us on a day trip to Nürnberg to show us the sights of the city. We started at the Kaiserberg Nürnberg, also known as Nuremberg Castle.
Parts of the castle were erected beginning in the 1100s with additions over the centuries. It has three courtyards containing buildings of increasing importance as you move deeper into the castle. The photo above is from the “outer courtyard”, which is actually the middle courtyard. The two-story building at the left is the “deep well” and dates to 1563. It supplied all of the castle’s water, which was important if the castle was under siege. The tower at the center is the Sinwell Tower, which was noted for its circular shape. It is the tallest tower at the castle and probably served primarily as a lookout post. The entire castle complex was constructed on top of a sandstone hill; many of the stones used to build the castle appear to be sandstone as well. Much of the castle was damaged during World War II bombing raids, but following the war it was meticulously reconstructed using the original stone wherever possible.
The base of the castle has several cellars that were used to store supplies over the centuries. During World War II, the Nazi party stored confiscated art in one of these bunkers, which is now a museum. (Just as described in the Monuments Men.)
To the southwest of the castle is a square containing the Albrecht Dürer House, where the famed engraver lived between 1509 and 1528. The house, which dates to the 1400s, is visible in the center of the photo. Like other buildings in Nürnberg, it was heavily damaged during WWII and was partially rebuilt in the late 1940s.
Nürnberg has some beautiful stone churches, and St. Sebaldus Church (Sebalduskirche in German) is no exception. Currently a Lutheran Church, St. Sebaldus was begun in the 1200s but was altered during the 14th and 15th centuries to update the exterior with a Gothic design. The wikipedia page for the church shows the architectural chronology of the building using 3D models. The towers, seen below, date to the 15th century.
It was impossible to get the entire church in a single photograph, but the one below of the side of the church tells a more complete story of the church’s construction. The upper story, just below the red tile roof, is part of the original thirteenth-century Romanesque church. The Gothic-style aisle at the first floor dates to the early fourteenth century. And the chancel just visible at far left was constructed in the late fourteenth century.
Another beautiful church is St. Lorenz, which was constructed in the early 1400s. Like St. Sebaldus, it has been an important Lutheran church since the Reformation.
St. Lorenz, like St. Sebaldus, was heavily damaged during Allied bombing raids in World War II, but both were rebuilt and restored in the late 1940s and 1950s. The restoration of these buildings is impressive, as you would be hard pressed to find portions that look like they were built in the twentieth century.
Nürnberg also has several bridges crossing the river Pegnitz. Bridges are usually the first thing to be destroyed during wartime, so I would guess most of the bridges are reconstructions. This building straddles the river and is made of the same pinkish-gray sandstone that you see all over Nürnberg.
My favorite bridge was the Henkersteg, or hangman’s bridge. A wooden foot bridge was built in this location in 1457, but was rebuilt five times between the fifteenth and eighteenth centuries. It was destroyed during World War II and was rebuilt in the late 1950s.
The hangman’s bridge is connected to the hangman’s tower, below right, which housed the execution chamber and the hangman’s residence. It was built in the early fourteenth century, with modifications in 1400, and was probably heavily restored after World War II.
Our last stop on this masonry tour of Nürnberg is the weißer turm, or the white tower. It looks pink with a gray foundation today, but presumably it was painted or stuccoed white at some point in its history. Originally a toll gate, it was completed in 1250 and was part of the last city wall of Nürnberg. This imposing tower is now a U-bahn station – the best looking subway station I have ever seen.
And although it’s not masonry, there is an interesting bronze fountain at the base of the weißer turm. It was designed by sculptor Jürgen Weber and was installed in 1984. Called the Ehekarussell, or marriage fountain, it depicts the ups and downs of a marriage. Clearly the marriage didn’t end well.