Nuremburg – Famous for Scholars and Sausages

Bavaria’s second city is over 950 years old and, arriving for the first time, you could be forgiven for thinking you were in a Brothers Grimm fable set amid spires, turrets and gabled roofs. But much of this mediaeval metropolis is brand new, and it’s a tribute to post war town planners that Nuremberg retains its sense of history, 60 years after 90 per cent of the city centre was pulverised by Allied bombers.

Nuremburg is a city in Bavaria that was built on the Pegnitz River around about 1050.

During the Middle Ages, Nuremberg belonged to the country of Franconia and was celebrated for its precision scientific instruments and, less happily, for its Iron Maiden torture device, supposedly created in the image of Jesus’s mother Mary. It was also the ‘unofficial’ capital of the Holy Roman Empire and a key staging-post between the ports of Hamburg and Venice and the great markets of Paris and Prague.

The Iron Maiden aside, the very first printing shop in Europe was established in Nuremburg in 1493, where the Nuremburg Chronicles, which was an illustrated history of the world from the creation to the 15th century, was first published.

The city also ranks in importance because of its place as an early centre for the study of the heavens. An astronomical observatory was first built there in 1471 and the first star charts were printed there.

Nuremburg is an English translation of the city’s German name Nurnberger, and it is here that the famous Nurnberger Rostbratwurst is made; a sausage that is both small and thin, yet reputed to be the most popular sausage in Germany, a country in which the citizens can go crazy over sausage.

Unlike most of Bavaria, Nuremburg is Lutheran, not Catholic. The sense of separation isn’t just a religious divide. The citizens here never wear lederhosen, they rarely fly the Bavarian flag, and the emphasis is on wine, not beer, which is the most popular drink in the bigger Bavarian city of Munich, which is 165 kilometres south.

Whilst a great many scientific and artistic achievements have had their genesis in Nuremburg, that city’s history in the mid-20th century is littered with the remnants of Nazism.

It was in Nuremburg that Hitler held his massive rallies which finally saw him assume power in Germany, and it was in Nuremburg that many prominent Nazis met their fate when the full horror of their behaviour was revealed at the famous Nuremburg Trials.

Today Nuremburg is a friendly and progressive place which offers the visitor a cornucopia of tantalising treats. It is a city of character and charm, and is a vastly different to the humourless place its recent past would suggest.

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