A centre of imperial and episcopal power for almost a thousand years, and often referred to as the Rome of Franconia, Bamberg stands on seven hills surrounded by beautiful countryside. Dominated by its imperial cathedral, the town is a unique and superbly maintained masterpiece of urban design, uniting medieval and baroque architecture.
Bamberg's well-preserved old town comprises three historical districts – the episcopal town, the island town and the market gardener's town. All three are part of the UNESCO World Heritage site and provide a fascinating example of how central European towns were built up around the basic layouts established in the early Middle Ages. Bamberg was given special status as far back as 1007, when Heinrich II was building the town into a centre of episcopal and sovereign power, making it the centre of the newly founded diocese and turning it into a second Rome. Five churches in the form of a Latin cross mark the layout of the town. The historical townscape features numerous monuments from the 11th to the 18th century and some 1,200 architectural monuments. With its four towers, the imperial cathedral of St. Peter and St. George is the most prominent building. Inside are the Bamberg Rider, a priceless masterpiece of consummate simplicity; the tomb of Pope Clemence II, the only papal grave in Germany; and the tomb of the Emperor Heinrich II and his wife Cunigunde. Domplatz (Cathedral Square) is bordered by the impressive baroque New Palace and the Alte Hofhaltung Palace. Other highlights include the Brückenrathaus, the rose garden with a view of the old town, the tanners' cottages by the old canal, the mill district and the fisherman's village known as Little Venice. And then, what with this being Bavaria, there is Bamberg's beer. This is where you'll find the famous smoked beer, which, along with other distinctive brews, is best sampled on one of the special Beer Tasting Tours, which will take you to various bars and breweries in the town.
Tips for your visit
Guided tour: 'Fascinating World Cultural Heritage': daily at 2pm; also at 10.30am from April to December
Free organ recital in the cathedral: May to October, Saturdays at 12 noon
Market Gardeners' Museum in Bamberg with self-guided tour and viewing platform
23 April 2014: Beer Day: public tasting of beer from all Bamberg's breweries on Maxplatz square in the old town
29 November 2014 to 6 January 2015: Bamberg Nativity: around 400 Nativity scenes spread across 40 locations in museums, churches and public buildings and on town squares
Further information www.bamberg.info
Bamberg Old Town is part of the 'Roman remains and Bavarian cheer' UNESCO route. Other stops on the route are:
UNESCO World Heritage sites:
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All Things Bamberg
Navigating S-Bahns and U-Bahns, passing Crobags and Currywurst stands on every corner, and hopping from one national museum to another…Germany’s big cities have a lot to offer, but they leave my head spinning after a while. Following three days in Munich, I knew I needed to see a slower pace of German life. So I started heading north, and BAM! There it was: Bamberg. Just 45 minutes north of Nuremberg sits this Baroque gem of a city. Although technically in Bavaria, Bamberg has its own distinct Franconian culture. Starting from the heart of the city, I fell in love with its old town hall, covered in colorful frescos. It's wedged on the tip of a small, artificial island on the Regnitz River, which with the series of bridges leading to and from it, makes it look a bit like Venice. Around this, Bamberg has plenty to see and do from hikes to museums to breweries. Armed with a transport and museum BAMBERGcard and passes to the city’s BeerTaster tour, I set out to find the best brews and views it had to offer: *Hop on Bus 910 up to St. Michael’s Abbey and The Franconian Brewery Museum* Check out the beautiful Baroque church, and you’ll also be rewarded with a tour of the Franconian Brewery Museum, where you can see the history of how the city’s tastiest beverages are created. *Hike up to Altenburg Castle* Whether you start from St. Michael’s or the old town, you’ll have a green hike to what was formerly the city’s main line of defense. Stop for lunch in the castle’s café and check out the great panoramic view of the city. *Try the Rauchbier* This is the signature beer of Bamberg: a smoky, almost bacon-flavored beer. (That’s right, bacon.) After that, feel free to sample one of the other 300 types of beer brewed in the city. *Take Bus 912 to catch a beautiful view from Greifenklau* Or if your staying at Bamberg’s main hostel, Jugendherbergen Am Kaulberg, it’s just a 10-minute walk. Greifenklau’s biergarten looks out over the treetops and offers a peak at Altenburg castles.read more »