Entering the old City of Nürnberg

This is one of the more interesting entrances to the old city.  It curves inside the wall and is more like a tunnel.  You can see the curve in the middle photo.  The third photo shows the exit into the city, but it also gives a feel of how dark it would have been without lights.
Most of the old German cities have only a small section of their old wall remaining, due to the horrific bombing of World War II.  Some tore down remaining walls because the openings were too small to allow fire trucks into the old section, or they felt they needed to widen the streets for modern traffic.  I'm so glad that Nürnberg did not do this; being enclosed within a city wall is the only way you can get a feel for the size both of the city and the thickness and height of the wall.  It emphasizes the fact that everything is within walking distance, and helps give a feel to life "back then."
I was awed to think that both Albrecht Dürer and Maria Sylabilla Merian walked this town and through this entrance.

The Frauenkirche on the Market Square

The large Frauenkirche (Church of Our Lady) on the Market Square is something to see, especially at noon.  As music plays, doors below the clock open to reveal a statue representing the Holy Roman Emperor.  Then figures representing seven electors come out, bow to the emperoror and go around the emperor three times before disappearing again inside.  This is called the walk of the little men, or the Mannleinlaufen.  The clock then chimes the time, after which the doors close.
The clockworks were made 1506-1509.  I find it amazing that they are 500 years old!  And still working!  The clockworks were constructed by Joerg Heuss; Sebastian Lindenast made the figures.  During WWII the clockworks were kept in the Art Bunker under the castle, which is why they survived intact.
I find it fascinating that Maria Sybilla Merian heard and saw this same clock and figures in action.   

The Beautiful Fountain

image of fancy spire of Schoenebrunnen — Beautiful FountainThe tall fancy spire you see above the market booths is the Schoenebrunnen, or the Beautiful Fountain, and is very aptly named!  It is the most beautiul fountain I’ve ever seen.  And probably the tallest.  The workmanship that went into making this is absolutely incredible.

detail of the Beautiful Fountain, SchoenebrunnenHere is a close up of this fountain.  The photo was taken through the fancy wrought iron fence which encloses it.

Man touching a golden ring on the fountain's ironworkThe golden ring is supposed to bring good luck when you turn it.  Yes, it does move!  Of course, you have to find it first, and that is no easy task!  The ornate iron work is such that the ring blends in beautifully, and even the change of color does not stand out immediately.

another section of ironwork with a second iron ringAnd, unbeknownst to a lot of tourists, there is an iron ring on the other side of the fountain.  Some of the local people asked me if I knew about this one, and when I said no, they beckoned me to this side and said that turning this one ensures that you have children.  Apparently especially important after the plague which wiped out so many. Can you find it?

A Walking Tour of the Old Town

MarketSpargel mkt

The first thing I did was to take a walking tour just to get a basic idea of where things were and what there was.  Supposedly a 2 1/2 hour tour, ours lasted another hour because our guide took the time to answer questions as well as adding more information when the group showed more interest.  Walking around the town also showed us very quickly just how steep the terrain was going up to the base of the castle.  And from the base on up to the castle grounds was even more so!

We started at the Hauptmarkt, or the main market area.
The photo on the left shows the booths set up by the vendors.  They filled the entire large otherwise open square.  This square is the main market area of ancient Nürnberg where farmers brought their fruits, vegetables, eggs, animals, etc. to sell on market days.  As you can see, this still occurs (but without the animals).
The twin spires in the background are part of St. Sebaldus church, the church Maria Sybilla Merian Graf attended and where her second daughter, Dorothea, was baptized.  The family lived just a short way up the hill from this church.
The white stuff in the photo on the right is white asparagus.  This was the season for fresh asparagus and many of the sellers had it for sale.