Augsburg founded by the Romans, is more than 2,000 years old and is considered a gem of the Romantic Road. Architecture from the Renaissance era can be seen throughout the city with splendid fountains and magnificent places and streets with great southern European and Mediterranean flair. Visitors can sample sidewalk cafés and Bavarian beer gardens right in the middle of the Fugger City between the rivers Wertach and Lech. During the winter season, you can stroll through the 500 year old Augsburger Christmas Market. There are many attractions within the city where you can explore centuries of German history.
The City Hall forms one of the most beautiful ensembles of the German Renaissance together with the Perlach Tower and the Augustus fountain. It is the emblem and the famous landmark of the City of Augsburg. It was built by Elias Holl between 1615 to 1620. It is said to be the most significant secular Renaissance building north of the Alps. Its splendour is expression of the new self-confidence of the formerly free imperial city of Augsburg. The restored Golden Hall is famous for its magnificent coffered ceiling and mural paintings.
The iconic Perlach Tower is located right next to the City Hall and was also built by the town master builder Elias Holl at the beginning of the 17th century. It offers excellent views of the city with all the landmarks clearly marked in all directions. It is the best place to visit to experience the city in panorama! On clear days, when the Föhn blows a warm wind from the south, you may even see the Alps. Structurally connected to the Perlach Tower is the Romanesque church of St. Peter am Perlach. It’s worth visiting particularly for the image of the “Mary Untier of Knots”.
Founded in 1521 by Jacob Fugger, the Fuggerei is the world’s oldest social housing complex that is still in use. Built with the impoverished in mind, the complex has 67 houses with 140 council flats. The annual rent is 1 Rhenish gulden (equivalent to 0.88 euros). In exchange the residents pray the Lord’s Prayer, Hail Mary, and the Nicene Creed for the founding family. The on site museum showcases original furnishing from the 1500s.
St. Mary’s Cathedral is more than thousand years old and was probably built in 995 on a Carolingian church’s predecessors. The west choir and the east choir were built during the Gothic period. The windows from the 12th century displaying five prophets as well as four panel paintings by Hans Holbein the Elder are worth visiting.
The Maximilianstrasse follows the old Roman trading route Via Claudia Augusta which connected Augsburg with the Alps, Tyrol and Northern Italy. The prestigious palaces built up by rich citizens and merchants of Augsburg during the Golden Age of Augsburg turn Maximilianstrasse today into a grand boulevard, named after the Habsburg Emperor Maximilian I. The boulevard is embellished by three splendid fountain monuments of European dimension. The Augustus Fountain (1594) was made by Hubert Gerhart. The Mercury Fountain (1599) and Hercules Fountain (1602) are works by Adriaen de Vries. Stroll through the city to view these intricate bronze structures from the 1600s.
The Renaissance was brought to Germany by Jacob Fugger who built the Fugger houses -his residential and business house and a warehouse- in this style at the beginning of the 16th century. They have four charming inner courtyards and the ‘Damenhof’ or Ladies’ Court is the most attractive one. The Emperors Maximilian I, Charles V and Ferdinand I were guests in these houses, Martin Luther was interrogated here and Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart gave a concert.
The Schaezler Palace was built for the banker Liebert von Liebenhofen from 1765-70 as residential and business house according to plans of the Munich architect Lespilliez. Today this magniﬁcent Rococo palace harbours the German baroque gallery of the municipal ‘Kunstsammlungen und Museen Augsburg’ and exhibits paintings from Rubens, van Dyck and Tiepolo. Through this Palace you enter the State Gallery of Bavaria, the former St. Catherine church, with paintings from the Old Masters such as Hans Holbein the Elder and Lucas Cranach the Elder as well as with the famous portrait of the merchant Jakob Fugger by Albrecht Dürer.
The two “Ulrichskirchen”, the Catholic parish church of SS. Ulrich and Afra and the smaller Protestant church of St. Ulrich, are stone witnesses of the “Peace of Augsburg”. The late-Gothic basilica of SS. Ulrich and Afra was built between 1474 and 1603/04 and its tower is a widely visible landmark of Augsburg. In its interior it conserves the sarcophagus with the bones of the diocesan saints Ulrich, Afra and Simpertus and the Fugger donated five funeral chapels and the Fugger organ. From a sermon hall attached to SS. Ulrich and Afra, the Protestant church of St. Ulrich was built until 1710.
St. Anne’s Church was formerly a Carmelite monastery, founded in the 14th century. It features the Goldsmith’s Chapel with Gothic mural paintings and the tomb chapel of the Fugger family, work of Albrecht Dürer and considered as the first Renaissance church building in Germany. Furthermore, you can see the famous ‘Angel of Peace’ on top of the pulpit and precious paintings by Lucas Cranach the Elder, amongst others the ‘Christ blessing children’ and the portait of Martin Luther. He resided in the monastery in 1518 for the interrogation by Cardinal Cajetan.
The Augsburg Synagogue is an impressive testimony of German-Jewish culture and was built, in eclectic style, between 1914 and 1917 according to the designs of the architects Fritz Landauer and Dr. Heinrich Lömpel. Due to the Kristallnacht and the later Allied air raids, the synagogue was strongly affected and completely restored in the years between 1974 and 1985. It is a central building dominated by a dome 29 meters high. The appearance of the synagogue is characterized by elements of Art Nouveau in conjunction with Neo-Byzantine and orientalizing details. Since 1985, the building has also housed the Jewish Culture Museum Augsburg-Schwaben, which documents the history of the Jewish communities in the Bavarian Swabia.
The string puppets of the ‘Augsburger Puppenkiste’ are well-known around the world. Since 1948 you can see fairy tales, spectacles and political cabaret in the former Hospital of the Holy Spirit (Heilig-Geist-Spital). The most popular string puppets are shown in the museum of the Augsburg Puppet Theatre ‘Die Kiste’. In addition to the display of the well-loved marionettes, the museum also presents the history of the theatre.
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