Erfurt Tourist Attractions
Erfurt View slideshowCapital of the Land of ThuringiaErfurt, formerly a powerful trading and university town with a history going back 1,200 years, lies in a wide stretch of the Gera valley, in the south of the fertile Thuringian Basin. It belonged to the Electorate of Mainz until 1802, when it passed to Prussia. Erfurt was the meeting-place of church Synods and Imperial Diets and the scene of the Congress of Erfurt (Napoleon's meeting with the Czar of Russia and the German princes) in 1808. The first German Garden Show was held here in 1838.ChurchesErfurt once had some 36 parish churches and chapels and 15 religious houses, earning it the style of the "many-towered city".
In spite of some bomb damage during the Second World War, Erfurt's charming old town center has largely been preserved intact. Since the war, much restoration of old buildings has been done. The dominant features of the town are its two medieval churches, the Cathedral and St Severus, on the Domberg in the heart of the city.
Address: Domstufen 1, D-99084 Erfurt, Germany
St Severus Church
The Severikirche (first recorded in 1121) on Erfurt's Domberg is an Early Gothic hall-church with double lateral aisles and a richly furnished interior (sarcophagus of St Severus and 15 m/49ft high font, two masterpieces by local sculptors).
Address: Kath. Pfarramt St Severi, D-99084 Erfurt, Germany
In the Domplatz are two handsome old houses which survived the bombardment of Erfurt by the French in 1813 - the 18th C Grüne Apotheke (Green Pharmacy) and the house "Zur Hohen Lilie", one of the finest Renaissance buildings in Erfurt (restored 1964-69).
St Peter's Church
Opposite the Domberg in Erfurt rises the Petersberg (St Peter's Hill), once crowned by St Peter's Monastery (founded 1060; rebuilt 1103-47; burned down during the French bombardment of the citadel in 1813). The Peterskirche (St Peter's Church), a Romanesque aisled basilica, is one of the earliest buildings of the Hirsau school in Thuringia. There are also extensive remains of the old citadel on the Petersberg (1664-1707). From the top of the hill there is a fine view of Erfurt.
Marktstrasse in Erfurt leads into the Fischmarkt, where the east-west and north-south trade routes intersected. In the center of the square is a figure of Roland (1591), the symbol of municipal authority. On the west side of the square is the house "Zum Roten Ochsen" (1562), on the north side the house "Zum Breiten Herd" - two richly decorated Renaissance buildings.
Northeast of the Fischmarkt in Erfurt is the famous Krämerbrücke, on the old east-west trade route. First recorded in 1117, it spans the Gera at the old ford (now again visible). The bridge, with houses along both sides (originally there were 62), is one of the most interesting features of Erfurt (shops selling arts and crafts and antiques).
On the near side of the Krämerbrücke in Erfurt is the Michaelisstrasse, lined with old burghers' houses. No. 39 was the old Erfurt University (1392-1816). The building is now occupied by the Wissenschaftliche Bibliothek (Library), with the world-famous Amploniana Collection (535 volumes containing 4,000 works in 15th C and earlier manuscripts).
In Allerheiligenstrasse in Erfurt is the Engelsburg, which around 1511 was the meeting-place of a group of humanists led by Crotus Rubeanus and Ulrich von Hutten.
Along Michaelisstrasse in Erfurt is Augustinerstrasse, with a well-known Augustinian monastery (founded 1277) and Augustinian church (1290-1350). The young Martin Luther became a monk here in 1505; his cell is shown to visitors. Among the surviving conventual buildings is the beautiful Comthureihof (1570-93).
Address: Augustinerstrasse 10, D-99084 Erfurt, Germany
Museum of Municipal History
Augustinerstrasse in Erfurt leads into Johannesstrasse, in the eastern part of which are numerous handsome old houses, including the richly decorated house "Zum Stockfisch" (Late Renaissance, 1607), now occupied by the Museum of Municipal History; the house "Zum Mohrenkopf" (1607), with fine half-timbering; the house "Zur Mühlhaue", with traces of Gothic work; and the high-gabled house "Zum Grünen Sittich und Gekrönten Hecht" (before 1600), also with fine half-timbering.
Along the Johannesstrasse in Erfurt is the Kaufmannskirche, with a richly decorated interior by local Renaissance masters. The parents of Johann Sebastian Bach were married in this church.
Johannesstrasse joins the Anger, one of Erfurt's oldest streets, now completely restored and lined with shops and restaurants. At the corner of the Anger and Trommsdorfstrasse is the Ursuline Convent, with a richly furnished interior (not open to the public).On the street (Nos. 28-29) can be seen the house called "Zum Grossen Schwantreiber und Paradies". Farther along the street is the Dacherödensches Haus (Nos. 37-38), with the finest Renaissance doorway in the town (16th C.), which was frequented by some of the leading intellectual figures of the Goethe period, including Goethe himself, Schiller and Wilhelm von Humboldt, who became engaged to Carolina von Dacheröden.
At the corner of the Anger and Bahnhofstrasse in Erfurt can be found the old Packhof (formerly a custom-house of the Electorate of Mainz), a richly decorated Baroque building which is now occupied by the Anger Museum (fine art collection).
Address: Anger 18, D-99084 Erfurt, Germany
St Bartholomew's Tower
Farther along the Anger in Erfurt is the Bartholomäusturm, the stump of a tower (12th C.) belonging to the family chapel of the influential Counts von Gleichen, whose town house was here. The tower has a carillon (1979) of 60 bells cast in the Apolda bell foundry.
Along Erfurt's Anger, past a monumental fountain of 1889-90 and the Wigbertikirche (1210), the court church of the Electoral governors of the town, is the Statthalterei, the old governor's residence, the town's most monumental secular building. Formed in 1711-20 from two older patrician houses, it has magnificent Renaissance decoration and a handsome Baroque facade. The Great Hall (area 200 sq. m/2150 sq. ft) was the scene of a memorable meeting between Napoleon and Goethe in 1808. Goethe frequently stayed in a nearby house belonging to the Dukes of Saxony-Weimar at Regierungsstrasse 72.
Church of the Discalced Friars
The Barfüsserkirche in Barfüsserstrasse has the oldest stained glass in Erfurt (13th C.) and some fine monuments. It is now occupied by the Museum of Medieval Art. Organ recitals are given in the choir.
Erfurt Preachers' Church
The Predigerkirche (Dominican) in Predigerstrasse is second only to the Cathedral and Erfurt's museums in its treasures of art.Also in Predigerstrasse is the house "Zum Güldenen Heer" (No. 7), one of Erfurt's few Roccoco buildings.
The Brunnenkapelle on Fischersand in Erfurt is now the seminary chapel and oratory of the Faculty of Theology and Philosophy.
The Neuwerkskirche in Erfurt's Neuwerkstrasse has an unusually rich Baroque interior, with the Neuwerk Madonna.
St Lawrence's Church
Near Hermann-Jahn-Strasse is the Lorenzkirche, with the earliest tombstones in Erfurt bearing inscriptions in German rather than Latin.
The Reglerkirche in Bahnhofstrasse has the largest carved altar in Erfurt (1450-60).
In Schottenstrasse stands the Schottenkirche (originally founded by Iro-Scottish monks), one of Erfurt's few surviving Romanesque buildings and perhaps its oldest church (before 1150).
The Folk Museum, housed in the Directors' House of the old Hospital, has an interesting collection of material on the history of Erfurt.
Address: Juri-Gagarin Ring 140, D-99084 Erfurt, Germany
International Garden Show
Worth seeing is the International Garden Show, an area of 100 hectares/250 acres on the site of the Cyriaksburg, a medieval stronghold on the south side of Erfurt. There is a Gardening Museum, which also commemorates the first Garden Show in 1838.Within the Garden Show grounds are an observatory (frequent special exhibitions) and an outlook tower, both housed in towers belonging to the old Cyriaksburg. Between the towers can be seen an old woad mill, a relic of the days when the production of dye from woad was an important element in the town's economy.
To the north of Erfurt, on the Roter Berg, is the Thuringian Zoo, with some 1,100 animals, including rare species of monkeys (black-and-white colobuses, John's langurs, Entellus langurs, Douc langurs).
Address: Zum Zoopark 8-10, D-99087 Erfurt, Germany
International Folklorefestival - Danetzare
Danetzare is a folk dance and music festival that takes place every two years in the month of June.
Address: Petersberg 3, Germany
Southwest of Erfurt stands Schloss Molsdorf, one of the finest Roccoco buildings in Thuringia, built by Count von Gotter between 1736 and 1745. Thoroughly restored, it is now a museum. It is set in a beautiful park laid out in 1826.
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