The City of Bamberg
The City of Bamberg
Bamberg is perhaps most famous for its Altstadt and its long tradition of beer brewing. Locals say that the town was built on seven hills, like the city of Rome. The river Regnitz and the canal flow through the center of town. Bamberg is a medieval town that dates back to the Catholic settlement under the rule of Emperor Heinrich II, who erected the first cathedral in 1007. In 2007, the city commemorated the founding with festivities and exhibitions throughout the city. The old town and other historic buildings had luckily been spared the devastating bombing that destroyed the history and architecture of many other European cities during World War II. Because of this, Bamberg has one of the largest and best-preserved town centers in Germany and has been a UNESCO world heritage site since 1993. Bamberg is comprised of an interesting mixture of the modern and the traditional. In the Altstadt, you can find many examples of medieval architecture, churches and squares, and also unique shops, bars, and restaurants. After you cross one of the charming bridges, you enter the "new" city where you will encounter more modern buildings, department stores, cafés, and restaurants. This is where the university is located. It is an architectural mixture with many interesting buildings to see some new and some old, one example being the former library of the Geography and History located in an old slaughterhouse by the river. On the other hand, the new library for Languages and Literatures is an impressive, modern construction made of steel and glass. Today, Bamberg has 70,000 citizens and is a small modern town where you can find nearly anything and everything from traditional restaurants to Indian, Thai, and Mexican restaurants, cozy pubs, hip bars, and dance clubs. It is a classic college town, being small enough to navigate either on foot or by bike. You will soon come to recognize familiar faces and feel quite at home. Despite feeling intimate , Bamberg is also large enough to continually offer new things to do, exciting places to go, and new people to meet.
What to see and do
Bamberg is full of curious and interesting things. Take, for instance, the catacombs and the underground tunnel system under the streets and sidewalks of the old town. At approximately 10 kilometers (6.2 miles) long, this network dates back to the 17th century when it was used to store wine, beer and malt. Then there is the old town hall, built in the middle of the river in the 14th century to symbolize the former separation between the Catholic Altstadt and the secular new town. Adding to Bamberg's charm are many small, romantic alleyways and hidden paths and gardens, such as the baroque Rose Garden of the Cathedral or the former vineyard of the Michaelsberg Monastery (today a retirement home). You can visit the historic churches, walk along the banks of the river and across the bridges. You can also hike several of the hills and to enjoy different views of the city. It is also fun to explore the old mill quarter of the town with its spillways and even more small bridges. Little Venice is a quaint ensemble of medieval houses located directly on the bank of the Regnitz. Additionally, there is the City Park. It is located in between the river and the canal and occupies a large part of the central island. The park is not something one would expect in the center of town. It is a forest with wild, labyrinthine paths as well as clearings and meadows. This is where you go in the summer to sunbathe, swim, have picnics and parties, or enjoy refreshments at the Bootshaus. Also in the summer, you can visit one of the many beer gardens all over town. Many are located in the hills, atop the cellars where the beer was aged. In particular, Spezikeller, located on Stephansberg, offers a spectacular view of the city, and there is also the nearby Wilde-Rose-Keller that is a popular spot among students and locals. Bamberg is also home to the world-famous Bamberg Symphony, the E. T. A. Hoffmann Theater, and the former Bundesliga Champion Brose Baskets. There are also attractions in Franconia, the region surrounding Bamberg. If you like hiking, rock climbing or simply would like to get out of the city, you can go to the Fraenkische Schweiz, Hassberge, Steigerwald, or the Frankenwalde all areas with hiking and cross-country skiing trails and picturesque views of mid-range mountains. You can also take a bike tour along the river or through the mountains. The nearby towns are also worth a visit. Bayreuth is known for the Wagner Opera Festival. Würzburg is famous for its vineyards and its old fortress. Nürnberg is the largest city in Franconia boasting a medieval castle, reconstructed town wall, museums, and great shopping. You can also sample the different varieties of Franconian bratwurst (Fränkische, Nürnberger, and Coburger) and visit one of the many beer gardens: Franconia has the highest density of beer breweries, anywhere in the world. You can also tour the villages on the Main River, which winds through Franconia. They produce some of the best German wines, white or red, bottled in the famous Bocksbeutel. World-class destinations like Munich, Frankfurt, and Prague are just a few hours away.