THE TOWER OF SAN NICOLAS
This fairytale city is not exactly known for its "heights". It is a very coquettish and well-preserved, tiny city of about 60,000 inhabitants. Therefore, it does not have particularly tall buildings from which to take a look at the city.
However, there is one that stands out above the others, we are talking about the tower of the church of San Nicolas located in the center of the Market Square. A church that we are all sure to reach. Its bell tower seems to us the most exceptional place with the best views of the fantastic historic center of Hamelin.
Let´s go to the Tower! This characteristic bell tower is part of the church of San Nicolas. Located next to the famous carillon, we can access it to visit its spiky tower. Access to the church is free, while a small donation of 1€ is required to climb the tower.
Before deciding whether to go up, we must take into account that the climb is on foot. The high tower does not have an elevator because the last section is very narrow, so there is no space for it. So the climb is, step after step. The steps are made of wood, very characteristic of churches built decades ago.
Along the ascent there are floors, attics and spaces that remind us of the old pigeon lofts. The steps become steeper as we ascend. It is quite an experience to reach the viewpoint of the tower.
The viewpoint installed in the middle of the green spire that forms the roof of the tower, is a small glazed space that allows a 360 degree view. The best views of the historic center! It is a pleasure to observe from above the central market square, as well as the roofs and facades of this beautiful historic complex. The height also allows you to see the nearby Weserbergland hills - a most picturesque view!
Marktkirche St. Nicholas, Emmernstraße 6, Hamelin.
WE TASTE THE RAT TAILS
In Hamelin, fabled dishes were a must. As we will see, popular culture in the city revolves around the famous tale of the Brothers Grimm, "The Pied Piper of Hamelin! And gastronomy could not be less.
We are going to offer you the chance to taste rat tails, are you seduced by the idea?
There are several restaurants in the picturesque historic center that prepare this delicious and characteristic dish. And no... it is not made with the tails of the little ratitas that flood the place (in another tip we will explain what we are referring to). This succulent dish is made with pork meat served in steak tips with abundant side dishes. In short, it is a very hearty stew, so we recommend that if you try it, it should be at lunchtime.
Some restaurants have the custom of preparing the dishes in front of the diners, then serving the rat tails with a delicious sauce that is one of the best kept secrets of the Hamelin kitchen. It is quite a spectacle to watch the preparation of the tails, seasoned with a variety of spices and vegetables. Of the whole preparation ritual, the highlight is the final flambéing.
The most famous ones are cooked in the "House of the Rat Catcher", a restaurant that you are sure to find on your stroll through the city. It is said that here, more than forty years ago, the innkeeper Karl-Heinz-Fricke created this dish in honor of one of the most famous fairy tales in Germany.
To aid digestion, we can not fail to ask for the most famous digestive; the Rattenkiller or Mataratas. Who dares!
If your time in Hamelin does not include lunchtime, don´t be in a hurry, because if you want to try a typical delicacy, you can opt for a bread roll in the shape of a rodent, or why not, take a bottle of "Mataratas" with you.
Restaurant "La casa del cazador de ratas".
28 Oster St. 31785 Hameln, Germany.
THE OSTERSTRABE AND RATITA´S SOUVENIRS
The historic center of Hamelin is circular and was surrounded by an imposing wall of which part of the defensive wall has been preserved and rehabilitated. All that remains within it is a beautiful collection of historic houses and charming stores. And that´s where we are going, shopping!
Like any self-respecting nerve center, the center of Hamelin has the most varied set of stores in the whole city. In them, we can find everything to relieve our desire to buy something. To dive into this shop window paradise, we suggest the main artery, Osterstraße.
The Osterstraße is a pedestrian avenue composed of typical half-timbered houses with very profuse and colorful decoration in whose first floor there are many different stores. Stores selling clothes, shoes, typical products, souvenirs and a long etcetera. If you are looking for a souvenir to take home, this is the street that offers the most possibilities.
As you stroll in front of the shop windows, you will find ideal places for photos. These photo stops correspond to various attractions of the city, such as the popular Pied Piper fountain, where the photo is mandatory, as well as the charming museum of the city. Places that deserve a good selfie for the memory.
Among so much stimulus, we will only have to choose the right souvenir to take home. And since we are in the city of rats, these cannot be missing in the suitcase back home. You will find them easily and made of various sizes and materials, such as the little mouse rolls that stand out in the souvenir cabinets.
Happy rodent shopping!
The Mouse Bridge over the WESSER
Another of the most characteristic elements of the historical ensemble of Hamelin is the Wesser River. We have already noted that Hamelin is surrounded by an imposing wall of which some remains remain. Well, another side of the city is flanked by the Wesser River. And... It is not just any river!
The famous Wesser River is where all the little rabbits from the Grimm Brothers´ fairy tale ended up, so a visit to the Wesser is a must. In addition, there we will find a great place to take a picture. We are referring to the Rattenbrücke or Rat Bridge.
To do this, we will have to go through one of the streets located in front of the Wedding House, Yes, where the fantastic carillon is located. We recommend you to get to the river through the charming Fischpforten street. Walking along this little street lined with beautiful half-timbered facades and some curious little shops, we will arrive in front of the Wesser. When leaving the street, we will have in front of us an impressive building that was the old power station and current charming restaurant. Inside you can stop for a coffee and see the old machinery that is preserved in the middle of the room. In good weather, they have a terrace on the river from where you have a nice view of the Wesser and Weder Island.
Just behind this building is the fantastic pedestrian bridge that connects the city with some small islands in the middle of the river. The metal bridge in shades of blue stands out because of the little figure on top; a big golden rat!
This is an ideal place to take a nice picture. A nice snapshot of a golden rat above our heads.
We encourage you to come here, since it will take you no more than 10 minutes from the center and you will remember the famous Rats Bridge over the river of the story.
Rattenbrüke Inselstraße, 31787 Hameln, Germany
THE FLAUTIST´S SHOWCASE
Hamelin is a city very rich in art. This importance is due to its economic flourishing, which came thanks to its geographical location on the banks of the Wesser. The increase in income thanks to trade led to the construction of buildings with magnificent decorations. The wealthy merchants spared no expense. The more ornate and ostentatious the house, the better. In a way, they competed to see who could build the most impressive house.
Hamelin thus became the jewel of the Weser Renaissance! And that is what this style is called; "the Weser Renaissance". It is a variant of the Italian Renaissance, characteristic of northern Germany.
This peculiar style can be admired in its fullness in the heart of Hamelin, full of beautiful bourgeois houses, with profuse decorations and colorful ornaments.
Some gables are spectacular and date back centuries. In fact, some houses have on the entrance door, the year of construction. And these dates leave no one indifferent. We are talking about houses with centuries of history.
Hamelin is a city in constant evolution that has been creating new artistic elements, especially after the Second World War, as some parts of the center were affected by bombing, such as the church of St. Nicholas. It is to this church where we want you to approach to admire its particular stained glass window. How could it be otherwise, the stained glass, in question, is based on the figure of the piper. A colorful stained glass window in which the flutist appears playing his musical instrument.
To find it inside the church we will have to go to the south side. The image is well worth it.
Look at the instrument: Did you know that the "flute player" could have been called the "dulzaina player"? Well, in the oldest representations of the character he does not appear with a flute but with a dulzaina. You can see the difference because the end of the instrument is more bulky.
So... flute player or dulcimer player?
Marktkirche St. Nicholas, Emmernstraße 6. Hamelin. Germany
.... TO REPRESENT THE STORY?
The icing on the cake of our visit to Hamelin, could be to see the performance that takes place every Sunday at noon between the months of May and September. About 80 actors perform the world famous play. The typical costumes and the enthusiasm of all the spectators stand out.
But if you don´t have this opportunity, we challenge you to act out a passage from the children´s story. Why not? It could be one of the most fun experiences that will make you relive your time here forever.
We don´t need a lot of production. It occurs to us that the desire is enough.
Together with your family or travel companions, you can divide the roles. Who will play the flute player or the dulcimer player? If you don´t want to play the role of the little ratites, you can act out the children´s departure in Hamelin. Start the walk at the Market Square and continue along the main street. Between stops for a photo or a visit to a store, the flute player will have to pretend to lead them, humming a melody. As you probably don´t have a flute at hand, you can simulate it with a selfie stick. The flute player in front and the rest of the children behind, with smiling and happy faces, remember that they will be spellbound!
To top it all off and break the spell, try some of the rodent-shaped products you will find along the way. The sweets and bread in the shape of a mouse stand out.
Don´t forget to take videos and photos of the feat.
THE STREET WITHOUT DRUMS
Did you know that there is a street in Hamelin where on a certain day of the year it is forbidden to play music? Did you know that you cannot laugh or sing on that day reserved for remembrance?
But... What is remembered or who?
Let´s satisfy that curiosity: The appointed day is June 26th. Well, every year a very special part of the Brothers Grimm´s fable is remembered, the moment when the flute player took the children away from the village.
The chronicles say that this was the last street through which the children passed before disappearing. We have to go back to the 13th century. It was on the twenty-sixth of June, 1284, when along the Bungelosenstrasse (the street without drums) the children left the village. They were happily following the flute player, who was playing a sweet melody that kept almost all the children spellbound and we say almost all, because the fable tells us that there were three children, who did not follow the rest. These would be; a blind child, so he was unable to follow the group, a deaf child, who was not able to hear the sweet melody and finally, another one with walking problems, so he could not keep up with the rest. It was these children who alerted the adults, who were at mass.
What happened next, if you have read the story, you will already know.
As in other fairy tales by the Brothers Grimm, there are several endings to this one. We opted for the happy ending, the one with; and everyone was happy and ate partridge!
If you happen to visit Hamelin on that special day, don´t forget to take a walk along the aforementioned street, but you know... no laughter, no fuss, no music... in silence.
Bungelosenstrasse, 31785, Hameln, Germany.
FOLLOWING IN THE FOOTSTEPS OF THE FLUTIST
The best walk we can do in Hamelin, is a fairy tale walk. And that is the one we are going to propose.
As we have been seeing, the city lives by and for the fable of the Brothers Grimm. And of course, the historic center offers us a walk through the most outstanding places that followed the little rabbits.
The ideal place to start is at the Rat Catcher´s House. The building located at one end of the center is the best starting point to follow the course of the little rats. Be careful, because they won´t leave Hamelin without having stepped on a good number of rodents. It´s no joke, although it´s important to be clear. The rodents that they will step on are cute little plaques on the floor. They are plates with a little rat´s relief, which mark the path they followed in the story of the piper.
Following the rats will get them on the right track!
Right from the rat catcher´s house, there is a very curious street that we can take a look at; the street "Without drums" or Bungelosenstraße, which we will talk about in another tip. Without entering this street, we follow the rat trail along the main street Osterstrabe, until we reach the Market Square.
To our right is the main square, whose first building is known as the "Casa de bodas" (Wedding House). And yes, civil weddings take place here. It is not uncommon to see the bride and groom at the doors of this building. This building is best known for housing the great carillon of the city of which we will not reveal its secret. You have to see it! Have your phones ready. They give three passes a day; 13.05, 15:35 and 17:35.
After that we can follow the rodent trail along the pedestrianized Bäckerstrasse. Another of the streets of commercial Hamelin. If we continue almost to the end, on the left we find the religious epicenter of Hamelin; the cathedral of St. Boniface.
From here we are just a stone´s throw from the Wesser River - we´ve reached the end of the road!
A breath of fresh air awakens us from the enchantment and places us in front of the waters that put an end to the rats´ mischief in the city.
Happy enchanted walk!
SMALL SQUARE NEXT TO SAN BONIFACIO
We have talked about the fabulous church of St. Nicholas, however, it is not the main religious temple of the city. Hamelin has a cathedral and that is where we are going to go, as it is an ideal place to take a break.
We are going to San Bonifacio!
The cathedral is located at the southern end of the historic center, next to the shopping street Backers. This pedestrian street leads off from the market square itself, so it is easy to reach the Münsterkirchhof. There is a small square next to the cathedral where you can take a break from the hustle and bustle. The square has a few benches under the trees, as well as terraces of pleasant cafés. It is ideal for a snack such as a typical bretzel accompanied by an appetizing coffee or herbal tea.
While here, you can admire the imposing cathedral of St. Boniface, you can even access it and complete your time in this part of the historical complex.
The temple has more than 1200 years of history, since it was in 812 when the first construction was erected thanks to Count Bernhard von Engern and Ohsen. He wanted to use it as a mausoleum for himself and his wife. This first building has undergone numerous extensions and renovations. It became a Lutheran place of worship in the 16th century and was used as a stable by Napoleon´s troops centuries later. As in much of Germany, it also suffered the disasters of World War II, so the church had to be rehabilitated.
The cathedral has free access so we recommend you to take a look at its interior, a mixture of different styles. Presiding over the central nave is a large Romanesque Christ.
And if you have not climbed the tower of St. Nicholas, you will have another opportunity to see Hamelin from above, ascending the bell tower of St. Boniface.
Münster St Bonifatius, Münsterkirchhof 9, 31785 Hameln, Germany.
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