Nuremberg

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Nuremberg

(COURIER: This walk is designed to be done very briefly: about an hour or less. Afterwards, the students can use their free time to shop or to walk on the old walls, beginning at the Kaiserburg. We'll begin at the Hauptmarkt, the large central square, where you should park, and our visit concentrates on spots on or near the square.)

Schoner Brunnen  This "Beautiful Fountain" is one of Nuremberg's chief sights: a 14th-century Gothics fountain surmounted by a 60-foot spire. It has 40 statues. Those at the base are the seven Electors (princes who elected the Holy Roman Emperor), and nine heroes from the Old Testament and the Middle Ages. At the top are prophets shown surrounding Moses.

This fountain was built when the city was at its commercial and artistic zenith. It was a symbol of the town's prosperity and civic pride: money to build it was donated by various guilds of the city.

Liebfrauenkirche (the church on the east side of the square)  The church was built at the same time as the fountain: the 14th century. It is made of redstone blocks, and stands as a perfect example of German Gothic architecture.

Inside: The Tucher-altar is a good example of 15th century Nuremberg painting. The statuary is by Adam Kraft, one of the greatest German sculptors.

Outside: At the base of the church tower is the Mannleinlaufen, or Mannekins Run. Every day at noon is the Mannekins parade. This mechanical clock was built in 1509 — Nuremberg was where mechanical toys and inventions were perfected, and this is a striking example of such local skills. At the Mannekins' Run, the seven Electors are shown paying homage to the Emperor Charles IV. In December, the "Christkindlmarkt" or Christ-child market is held here, with exhibits of Christmas toys and decorations. Nuremberg is a perfect place for children, with all these ingenious toys and contraptions.

Museumbrucke (Head south of the square to the bridge, and stop in the middle.)  Here we have a fine view of the Heilig-Geist-Spital (Holy Ghost Hospital), built on two arches right over the river. The hospital was founded in 1331, and is famous for its inner courtyards, with wooden galleries. (If you have time, walk to the island on which the hospital sits, and enter the central courtyard for a typical experience of Nuremberg's medieval palatial homes.)

Walk west to the Karlsbrucke (two bridges down), cross over to the island, then walk to the west tip of the island. Take the bridge from there back to the north bank. This bridge is the Henkersteg, Hangman's Bridge, a covered footbridge. It leads to the Henkerturm.

Henkerturm  This "Hangman's Tower" is actually a 14th-century water tower. It's connected to the half-timbered, Gothic-style Weinstadel (wine storehouse) — now a student hostel. Looking down the banks of the River Pegnitz, you'll see Old Nuremberg at its finest.

(COURIER: Proceed north, then take the big street right; before you arrive back at the Main Market, turn left, and go north to St. Sebaldus Church.)

St. Sebaldus  One of the most famous old churches in Nuremberg, now Protestant. It is 13th-century early Gothic.

Inside: The chief feature is the Sebaldusgrab, Tomb of St. Sebaldus, a masterpiece of brasswork by Peter Vischer and his sons (1519). In the silver coffin are relics of St. Sebaldus. The coffin rests on figures of snails and dolphins, and all around are figurines of sacred and ordinary people: the 12 Apostles, St. Sebaldus himself, and the artist Peter Vischer (shown in working attire). Down at the other end of the nave is a bronze baptismal font, the oldest bronzework in Nuremberg.

Outside: Walk to your right when leaving the church, along the exterior wall. Continue until you're at the east end. This is the funeral monument of the Schreyer family: a large piece of sculpture by Adam Kraft. The theme of the work is the Passion and Resurrection of Christ (1492).

(On the other side of the street from the Sebaldus church is the Old Town Hall.)

Altes Rathaus  The original Town Hall of Nuremberg. Below are the dungeons where local prisoners were kept. Various gruesome instruments of torture are preserved, and a guide tells of the life lived there by inmates centuries ago. (Commentary given in German.)

(COURIER: You might suggest this as a free-time activity.) The dungeons were hewn out of rock around 1340; this makes them even gloomier.

(This concludes the main walk. Suggest that the students walk up Burgstrasse to the Kaiserburg, where walks along the walls are best begun. The Burg stands on a sandstone cliff, and was built in various stages from the 11th to the 16th centuries. Inside are the Imperial Hall, Knights Hall, the Watch Tower, Chapel, and Burggrave's Castle. You have an excellent view of Nuremberg from the tower of the castle.)

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