Photo courtesy of Berghold Werner/Wikimedia A towering cathedral in Bamberg, Germany, where a majority of the medieval architecture still remains.
Many people at Fordham love to travel, myself included. I enjoyed going to national parks with my family when I was a child, visiting family in upstate New York or taking a road trip to the Gulf Coast every now and then.
When I visited Germany in my freshman year of high school, however, I was truly amazed with one of the cities we visited, and it is still, by far, my favorite place to visit in the world.
Bamberg, located in the north of Bavaria, which is called Upper Franconia, is on the banks of the Regnitz River near its intersection with the Main. It was founded as a bishopric in the Middle Ages and grew to be a thriving imperial city. Much of the medieval architecture still remains in the old town today because the city was not bombed during World War II. Bamberg still has the look and feel of a “quintessentially German” city. In 1993, UNESCO(United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural organization) designated Bamberg as a World Heritage Site due to its rich history of architecture and culture.
Modeled after Rome, the city was also built on seven hills, which offer a picturesque view of the countryside that surrounds the town. The Altenburg is a medieval castle located on the top of one of these hills and offers one spectacular view over the city.
Another treasure of the city is the Bamberger Dom, or the cathedral. It was built during the late Romanesque period of the Middle Ages and is truly an imposing building with its four towers. The Bamberger Reiter (Bamberg Horseman) is a fascinating, powerful statue within the church. Although no one can agree on the identity of the person depicted, the figure stands as the symbol and protector of the city.
A short walk from the cathedral are two other Bamberg landmarks: St. Michael’s Abbey and the Altes Rathaus (old town hall). The abbey, located on another hill of Bamberg, offers another great view of the old town. In the back of the abbey is a beautiful café where one can relax and enjoy the atmosphere of this beautiful town. The Altes Rathaus, which is situated in the middle of the bridge that crosses the Regnitz River, is one of the most iconic buildings in the city.
What would a trip to Germany be without great food and drink? Bamberg is home to eight great breweries that not only offer unique drinks but also traditional German food, including the German favorites such as wiener schnitzel and various kinds of sausages. Two of my favorite dishes that one can find around Bamberg are Klöße, which are boiled potato dumplings stuffed with bread, and the Döner Kebab, which is similar to a gyro.
Many of the breweries offer great Klöße, but my favorite Döner is from a little storefront right off the Grüner Markt, the main square in the center of town. The Markt also has a fresh market every day that extends from the square into the small, twisting and winding medieval streets of the city.
Bamberg, although you may have never heard of it, is one of Germany’s hidden treasures. You can easily reach it by train from either Frankfurt (through Würzburg about three hours) or Nuremberg (one hour).
Once you experience this gem of a town, I can promise you, you will definitely want to return.