Cities & Culture
Augsburg: a prosperous present and an illustrious past
Augsburg, with its Mozart heritage, is one of Germany's most historically significant cities. As you stroll through its ancient streets, it doesn't take much imagination to gain a sense of this beautiful city's importance in the days when the Fugger mercantile and banking dynasty was at its peak.
Augsburg has always been a little more glamorous than other cities. Its magnificent fountains, grand old guild houses, exquisite churches and the Town Hall combine to form a cityscape of rare intensity. More recent periods have also left their mark here, most notably the Baroque and Rococo eras and the Art Nouveau movement, all of which transform a stroll through the city into a very special experience. As far back as the High Middle Ages, travellers were astounded by the cathedral with its stunning bronze doors (now nearly 1,000 years old) and the Basilica of St. Ulrich and St. Afra. Another marvel was the wealth of the Fugger family, who rose to become a global powerhouse of capitalism in the space of just three generations.
The Mozarts join the Fuggers as another family with close ties to the city. Leopold Mozart, father to Wolfgang Amadeus and an influential composer in his own right, was born here. The Mozart Festival, which is held every May, is just one way the father-and-son composers are commemorated in the city. Did you know that Augsburg was once surrounded by a continuous city wall? Numerous gold and silversmiths settled within it. Their works can be viewed in museums and purchased from independent businesses. But technology enthusiasts also get their money's worth in the university city. Numerous water towers, hydroelectric power plants, magnificent fountains and watercourses are witnesses to a globally unique water management system that has evolved over centuries and was finally designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2019. After exploring and shopping, what better way to draw the day to a close than with a drink in one of the many lovely bars in the Old Town.