Nuremberg, Germany - December, 2008

For the Christmas holidays we decided to go to Nuremberg, Germany. The Nuremberg Christmas Market is one of the largest in Europe and one of the oldest as it dates from the mid 16th century.

The Church of Our Lady is situated at the Hauptmarkt and overlooks the Christmas Market. It was donated in 1355 by Emperor Charles IV and built on the foundation walls of the synagogue of the former Jewish quarter.

Inside the church there are a few interesting features. Behind the altar (which is made of stone and seems to come up from the floor) there is the wooden painted altar that can fold up and be used when travelling.

To the left of the altar there is this nice wood carving of the Virgin Mary

To the right of the altar there again with the Virgin Mary, the baby Jesus and the Magi.

The Christmas market takes up the entire Hauptmarkt as there are approximately 180 different stalls that sell hot wine, sausages, candy and Christmas ornaments.

Another view of the Christmas market this time with the Church of Our Lady in the background. While it is not visible in this picture, in front of the church there was a small stage where different singing groups would perform during the day.

In the middle of the Hauptmarkt is an old fountain covered by this elaborate gold encrusted structure. Being winter the fountain was not operating so there was no spouts of water.

On the old fountain there is a small ring that legend says if it is twisted will bring you either money or happiness depending upon which way it is twisted.

On a regular basis there were horse drawn carriage rides that left from the Hauptmarkt (where the Christmas Market) is held. We did not take the carriage ride but since Susan likes horses we took a picture of them.

The largest church in Nuremberg is Lorenzkirche, it was begun in 1270 and it took more than 200 years to complete. It is a pure representation of the Gothic style. Much of the church's stained and painted glass dates from the 15th century.

To the left of the altar is the Gothic Tabernacle, this is made from stone by Adam Krafft and it was completed in 1496.

Hanging from the ceiling is this large wooden sculpture of Mary that is from the 15th century.

St. Sebaldus Church is a medieval church that was completed in 1275. It is one of the most important churches of the city, and also one of the oldest, it takes its name from Sebaldus, an 8th century hermit and missionary and patron saint of Nuremberg.

Inside St. Sebaldus Church, just behind the altar is the elaborate shrine of St. Sebald. His remains are encased in a monument cast in brass in 1519 and during WWII the remains were encased in a large brick structure in order to protect them from the bombings.

This is a nice view of the area directly below Kaiserburg, which was the official residence of the German Kings and emperors for hundreds of years. In this area there are a number of restaurants and shops that you can visit after your time in the castle.

Nuremberg Castle, also known as Kaiserburg, was the home of the German Kings from 1050 to 1571. To get into the castle you have to walk up a hill, his picture shows the tower of the castle and to the right the entrance.

Here is another view of the Nuremberg castle with the platz (plaza in english) below it and the different restaurants and shops.

One of the large towers of the castle.

This is another picture of the castle, but this time from the interior. You can walk up the tower to the left, but our tour did not give us enough time to get up and down.

Inside the castle most of the rooms have a medieval appearance. This picture was taken quickly, which accounts for the slightly blurry appearance. On the shield is a painting of a two headed eagle, the symbol of the German royalty.

In the castle there was a chapel for the King and other members of the court. The king of course would not sit on the lower level, but one level above the rest of the congregation. This picture shows where he would sit along with the other members of his family.

As seen previously the two headed eagle was the symbol of the German kings. In one of the rooms the ceiling was painted with different symbols, with the eagle of course being prominent.

A significant portion of Nuremberg was destroyed near the end of WWII however even on the new buildings there are sometimes paintings that hark back to the middle ages as on this building.

There are a number of medieval "turrets" spread throughout Nuremberg and this is one of the more ornate. Unlike some of the others in the city it is made of stone and not wood.

Here are some more examples of the turrets, a few of these are not made of stone but wood. If they were made of wood they can be taken down and moved if the residents moved to another house.

Along the major pedestrian walkway besides there being crafts and food for sale there were a few musical performers to be seen and heard. The most unique was the man dressed as Santa Claus, playing an accordian with a small dog on his shoulder.

While the dog normally spent his time on Santa's shoulder, he did take a break here and there so Susan took the opportunity to say hi.

Originally Nuremberg's city wall had a length of three miles with five gates. From the 13th to the 16th century the wall was continuously strengthened and is one of the reasons why the city withstood all attacks during this time. Nearly three miles of the wall are still standing.

Another view of the city wall but this time from the outside.

Portions of the city wall have these large towers breaking up the wall. To the left of this tower there is a small shopping area with a restaurant and shops highlighting the local crafts, we ended up purchasing a few Christmas ornaments in these shops.