Cities & Culture

Erfurt: where beauty meets confidence

Erfurt: Merchants' Bridge with Ägidien church in the evening light ©DZT (Andreas Strauß)

Erfurt wows visitors with its Medieval charm and rich history combined with a lust for life and a warm welcome. Situated at the crossroads of ancient trade routes, the capital of Thuringia has always been a meeting place and home of important intellectuals and a magnet for visitors from around the world.

Erfurt was once lauded as the City of Towers in reference to the lofty spires of the city's 25 parish churches, 15 abbeys and monasteries and ten chapels that stretch their way up to the heavens. Particularly striking are St. Mary's Cathedral and the Church of St. Severus, as together these two masterful examples of German Gothic design form an architectural ensemble like no other in Europe. Nowadays, the church towers cast their shadows over the lovingly restored timbered-framed houses and beautiful Renaissance buildings of the historical city centre, where one of Germany's finest open-air theatre events, the Cathedral Steps Festival, takes place every year.

St. Augustine's Monastery, where Martin Luther spent five years of his life, the Predigerkirche church and the fortifications of Petersberg Citadel are superb examples of Medieval and modern-era architecture. But far from being just a city of sacred buildings, Erfurt is also a city of bridges, the most famous of which is the Merchants' Bridge, which has the longest row of inhabited buildings on any bridge in Europe. Buildings that are now home to art galleries, wine bars and antique dealers. And boy does Erfurt know how to party! The Middle Ages are revived every summer during the Merchants' Bridge Festival in the Old Town, a celebration involving ancient crafts, courtly love songs, jesters and a colourful array of stalls. If that's not enough for you, the superb markets held all-year round transform the Domplatz square into a feast for the senses.

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