In the past, reaching dizzying heights was one of the primary goals in church construction. Height was a metaphor for spiritual elevation and embodied man´s heavenly ascension to God. This architectural-religious duality still allows us to touch the sky. In Goslar, we can do it by climbing the tower of the market church, called Marktkirche Goslar St. Cosmas und Damian.
The Church of St. Cosmas and Damian of Goslar have identical towers but are very different. One of them was redesigned after suffering a fire. The rebuilt building was given a new role since, in addition to measuring time for the population, it became a night watchtower against fire. Nowadays, the function of the redesigned tower is different. Its observation deck no longer watches for possible fires but instead provides us with spectacular views. Let´s go up to this watchtower!
To reach the viewpoint installed at the top of the left tower, we must ascend 56 vertical meters. After climbing the 218 steps that separate the perspective from the base, we will contemplate the exceptional panoramic view of one of the most beautiful towns in Germany. A little effort that is worth it! Moreover, climbing to the top of this tower will also give us the possibility of closely observing its historic bell of two meters high and six tons of weight. We will also appreciate the mechanism of his clock and visit the room of the bell ringer.
From the predominant and central position offered by the top of this tower, we can almost fly over the magnificent and genuine rooftops of Goslar. From there we will enjoy the views of its compact and homogeneous historical centre and the city´s surroundings, totally covered with vegetation. The mountainous relief that we will see houses its famous mines currently turned into a tourist attraction.
The cult of the Church of St. Cosmas and Damian is Protestant Lutheran, a branch of Christianity founded by Martin Luther, the most famous person in the German region and one of the most important historical figures in the country. Against his father´s wish, who longed for his son to become a lawyer, Luther decided to dedicate his life entirely to religion. But what this pious man did not expect is that the monastic life would be so challenging and demanding.
The constant deprivations found within the monastic orders and the unjust impunity that many members of the Church enjoyed made Luther rise against Catholicism, creating a new doctrine.
The contribution to the History of the new doctrine of Martin Luther was so decisive that it affected the political, economic and cultural context of the moment, defining the path towards Modern Europe.
Marktkirche Goslar St. Cosmas und Damian (Church of St. Cosmas and Damian)
38640 Goslar, Germany
SMALL, BUT STRONG!
The traveller considered a good gourmet never stops trying the local gastronomy of the places he visits since satisfying his curiosity by tasting regional dishes is one of the greatest culinary pleasures that exist.
Everyone knows that butchers and delicatessens stand out powerfully in German cuisine. But it may surprise you that in this gastronomy, there is also room for dairy. In fact, among its star products, there is a very simple bite of cheese that is elaborated in a particular way and with a lot of tradition.
Harzer Käse is a small, rindless, cylindrical cheese about two inches in diameter. Made with cow´s milk, its fat content is shallow. Its flavour, however, is powerful and intense, especially when it is seasoned with cumin or caraway, which is an aromatic plant similar to anise that has many properties. This tasty cheese has been made in this German region for more than two centuries. Its ageing period is relatively short, ranging from a day to a week. The quicker its curing time, the whiter and more tender it´s a central part, unlike the rest of the cheese, which always has a yellowish colour.
If you decide to give the Harzer Käse a try, don´t worry about its small size. We assure you that you will not be left hungry! This little cheese is never eaten alone unless specified. It is usually served cut into slices and accompanied by sausages and a salad consisting mainly of grated carrot, lettuce, cucumber and onion. You cannot miss the pickled cucumbers or mustard to give the final touch to this dish or the mythical rye bread. But, of course, it would be a shame to come to Germany and taste only its cheeses, with the hunger that travel arouses!
So, how can we order this dish in a restaurant? Well, as simple as pointing out the Harzer Käse spezialitäten heller on the menu, which is the special dish of Harzer Käse cheese. You can try this tasty delicacy in any restaurant in Goslar, although we recommend visiting the typical and beautiful establishments located on Marktplatz, the Market Square.
By the way, another good surprise is its price, which is very affordable. And the last tip: don´t forget to pair this dish with a delicious local beer!
THE PHOENIX BIRD OF BEERS
Goslar has always been well known for its famous mines and also for its excellent brewing tradition. Since ancient times, it has had a tremendous impact and has even managed to create its brewing style: Gose beer.
This style comes from the nearby river Gose, whose calm waters were crucial ingredients in brewing in Goslar. The waters of the Gose River had a high concentration of minerals that gave the beer a salty taste. In addition, during its preparation, coriander was added to provide a fruity flavour, which enhanced its flavour. As soon as the beer began to ferment, it was packaged in bottles with a long and narrow neck and a broad base to trap the foam generated in the second fermentation in the bottle.
It should be noted that this production did not comply with the Purity Law established for beer since Goslar was very far from Bavaria, the region where this law was enacted. In addition, after the German unification, some exceptions were made within this law, taking into account the importance of certain brewing traditions. Among these exceptions was Gose beer, and its style quickly became very popular. So much so that in the surroundings of Goslar, numerous breweries soon increased and began to produce it.
Over time, the production of this beer gradually disappeared, in parallel with the decline of the mining industry in the area. In fact, during the First World War, almost all the Gose breweries were razed, and, after the Second World War, only one remained open, which also ended up closing its doors. But despite this lack of production, the traditional recipe for Gose beer was not lost and could be recovered by a brewmaster who began to produce it privately. This initiative continued to take shape when another beer owner opted to recover the Gose style. With the help of professionals and experts in the field, he managed to revive the production of this exceptional beer.
Gose-style beer has always been exceptional, both for its ingredients´ rarity and History of survival, as its production has always been on the brink of extinction. Backed by a thousand-year-old elaboration, the first German emperors already savoured it during their stays in Goslar. Today, Gose is an unfiltered wheat beer that is not too bitter and has a fruity and salty taste. Just as the Phoenix rose from its ashes, this beer was able to come back with such success that it has come to be produced in places very far from Goslar, for example, in the United States.
You can find Gose beer in the Goslar breweries, where it is sold in glass bottles.
If we leave the central Market Square taking Breite Strasse and continue this street to the end, we will arrive directly at Breite Tor, a beautiful vestige of what was the imposing fortification of Goslar. In addition, this tour offers a beautiful perspective, since as we walk along Breite Street and we get closer to the monument, we will be able to see how the imposing towers of the vestige stand out above the rows of historic houses.
Breite Tor is a fortified vestige next to an old barracks and is made up of a spectacular monumental gate and an immense circular tower called the Rieslingturm. Both monuments are the surviving remains of the defensive walls of Goslar and represent the perfect prototype of feudal defence. In times of peace, the defence walls of Goslar became obsolete and lost their function, becoming unnecessary. Moreover, they stood in the way of the growth and modernization of the city, so they ended up being demolished. Only Breiter Tor was preserved, so it is not to be missed.
The city of Goslar had a very prosperous heyday, which made it very attractive to the invading peoples. It was then that the construction of a fortification became necessary since the city completely lacked a defence line. As part of the walls, the Rieslingturm served as an interior reinforcement to the Breite Tor, known in English as the Broad Gate. Both constructions together made up a defensive bastion.
But after the heyday came to decline. The hostile territory around Goslar belonged to an evil duke who claimed his property rights over the municipality. Goslar´s refusal to submit to his claims led to a fierce battle between the city and the ducal troops. The final victory went to the Duke, who managed to impose his law and control over Goslar. He forced the city to pay a tax and take control of local politics and take over the mining operation. The loss of economic and municipal management plunged Goslar into a situation of impoverishment that worsened over time. In addition, the relocation of many beer producers to other regions aggravated the crisis and confirmed the decline of the municipality.
As a result of this conflict, Goslar went from being one of the most prosperous cities in Germany to becoming a forgotten population in the mountains. However, the city of Goslar knew how to reinvent itself, and today it is one of the most beautiful and most visited in Germany.
Das Breite Tor (The Broad Gate)
Am Breiten Tor Breite Strasse
38640 Goslar, Germany
A LONG LAST NAME
The Siemenshaus is one of the largest half-timbered houses of 1500 that make up the historic centre of Goslar. It belonged to the Siemens family, one of the oldest and most respected surnames in the city. Let´s discover its History.
The origins of the Siemens family go back many centuries in time. Its first members were peasants, and, with time, its descendants changed their activity. They tried different guilds, such as shoemakers, merchants or oil producers, until they reached critical public positions in the city. Some of its members held positions as necessary as the presidency of the Merchants Guild or the command of the city´s Vigilance Committee.
Even four mayors of Goslar had the surname Siemens!
Siemens House, in addition to being a residence, served as a warehouse and as a workshop. Here the family developed different types of economic activities, including the production of their beer. This was a widespread activity in the city, as up to 400 houses came to produce craft beer in Goslar.
Although the Siemenshaus is not one of the oldest houses in Goslar, since it is only about 400 years old, it is one of the most striking and photographed. Above the entrance door, there is a wooden frieze with the family motto carved: ora et labora, "pray and work". This maxim of monastic origin led this family to the top of the local society thanks to the tenacity and hard work. Today, the beautiful Siemens House guards the family´s historical archive and houses an exhibition about their History.
The Siemens surname is undoubtedly well known to you… It turns out that the Goslar Siemens were ancestors of the founders of today´s Siemens, one of the leading technology companies most representative of German industry. This surname in technology began thanks to the invention of the telegraph that used letters instead of the Morse system. This led to the founding of the first Siemens Company. This was followed by the production of cabling and the installation of the longest telegraph line in Europe and the world. Its importance and popularity grew a lot, so much so that a Siemens alternator was even used for the world´s first public lighting.
At present, the Siemens Company continues to innovate in technology. So many past and present achievements are why Siemens is currently the fifth-richest family in Germany.
38640 Goslar, Germany
Open from 10am to 12am / Free admission
THIS CHALLENGE IS A MINE.
At this point, we propose a sporting as well as a historical challenge. We´re going to the Rammelsberg Mines by bike! The city of Goslar owes much to this natural silver and copper vein, which we will know much better.
The grand splendour of Goslar came with the exploitation of its metal mines, the activity that made Goslar one of the most prosperous cities in German territory. The rich deposits in the Hatz Mountains are also proud to have been the only mines globally that managed to work for more than 1000 years. This mining operation is located just 3 kilometres from Goslar, a distance that we will cover in about 15 minutes, riding an electric bike!
Bicycle rental is located in Market Square. From there, we will soon reach Bergstrasse Street, which we will ride to the end. Having reached the end of Bergstrasse, we will continue the route along Rammelsbergerstrasse, which will take us directly to the mines. The road runs through mountain landscapes in slight ascent, but this will not require this type of bicycle since their small electric motor will help us overcome the most difficult sections. Long live progress!
You will love this little excursion, which is quite an adventure and may get you interested in this type of sustainable transport. But the fun doesn´t end here… now it´s time to visit the mines!
Once at the sites, we will discover an underground world through museums, train rides inside the mines and visits to shafts, tunnels and the old factory. All this is surrounded by a landscape chiselled by mining works that have shaped a very particular environment. A fantastic and unique adventure!
According to the legend, it was the horse of the knight Ramm who discovered the metal seams. And it goes like this: While the knight Ramm was hunting in the mountain near the city, he tied his horse to a log. The equine, to try to free itself, began to scratch the ground with its hoof. He did it so hard that he uncovered a vein of minerals, the beginning of what turned out to be the longest-lived mine in the world. Thus was born Rammelsberg, "the mountain of Ramm". This legend explains the many allusions to an equine scattered around the city of Goslar. Also, here, in the mine, we can see several sculptures and artworks representing a horse.
With the Rammelsberg Mines, Goslar earned its third title as a Heritage City. But the Unesco awards did not end here, since Goslar achieved the fourth recognition as a World Heritage Site thanks to the hydraulic system for the electrical production of the Upper Harz, which became the largest in the world in the pre-industrial era. Quite an achievement!
38644 Goslar, Germany
Open every day from 9am to 6pm
Bike rental Harzer E-Bike Verleih
38640 Goslar, Germany
Open every day from 8:30 a.m. to 8:30 p.m.
There was a time when Goslar dominated the politics of the Holy Empire since this city was once the imperial seat. Here lived the emperor, and in his palace, the court met and held councils. A thousand years contemplate the former Imperial Palace of Goslar, a solemn and imposing construction that hosted the heirs of the Empire of Charlemagne.
The residential complex of the Emperor of Goslar became the most important, the largest and wealthiest in the empire. Its construction in Goslar was probably motivated by its proximity to the metal mines since this location greatly facilitated the manufacture of weapons and utensils. The city reached its maximum territorial expansion with almost 50 churches and achieved papal favour. At that time, Goslar was sometimes referred to as "the Rome of the North".
If we want to fully immerse ourselves in the imperial Goslar, visiting the Kaiserpfalz or Imperial Palace is an excellent idea. Once there, to get to know the Holy Roman Empire better, we can start by visiting the Reichssaal or Imperial Hall. There we can see the History of the first German empire recreated from its origins. This vast hall is entirely decorated with frescoes that make up a fantastic majestic ensemble in which no space remains unpainted.
Among the jewels of this palatine building, the imperial bronze throne and the impressive chapel commissioned by Emperor Frederick I Barbarossa stand out. There lies the heart of the palace´s founder, Henry II the Holy, the emperor who "never left Goslar." Among its treasures, there is also a recreation of the former palatine Church, known as the old cathedral of Goslar. The beautiful original temple, now almost disappeared, was located a few meters from the imperial palace, in Kaiserbleek 2. Today, only its Romanesque entrance portico is preserved.
After reaching the peak of his power, Goslar entered a slow financial agony. The emperors moved the palatine seat to the south of the country, and the Goslar palace became the seat of the bailiff´s functions. Finally, the decline also reached the administration, while the palace fell into neglect and gave in to unstoppable deterioration. It then began to be used for other functions such as a barn, warehouse, and even prison.
It took centuries for the palace to be rebuilt and to regain its full splendour. Aware of its importance for the country´s History, Unesco recognized the Imperial Palace of Goslar as part of the Historical Heritage of Humanity. The second title that Unesco grants to the heritage of Goslar!
Kaiserpfalz Goslar (Goslar Imperial Palace)
38640 Goslar, Germany
Open from 10 am to 5 pm from Tuesday to Sunday / Entry 7.5 euros
A ROUTE THROUGH DREAM HOUSES
Touring the historic centre of Goslar means moving into a fairy tale world full of surprising houses that exude imagination and originality. Strolling through its streets, we will discover the reasons that led Goslar to be recognized as a World Heritage City. This deserved title is due to its incredible architectural ensemble, making Goslar one of the most charming cities in Germany. At this point, we have prepared a fairy tale walk so that you can fully enjoy this magical world.
Our tour begins at the central Market Square, the Marktplatz. Facing the Town Hall, we will take the right side street, named Feischscharren, and immediately we will arrive at the oldest square in the city, called Schuhhof. Surrounded by spectacular half-timbered houses, this beautiful square guard, under its porticoes, is the old house of the Shoemakers´ Guild.
We return to Feischscharren Street, which changes its name to Marktstrasse and, on the corner with Hoher Weg, we will discover the Brusttuch House. Built by a mine owner, it is recognizable by its trapezoidal roof and the comic reliefs carved into the wood of its façade. Among the best known are the naked girl riding a goat backwards or the one who beats butter with one hand and scratches her bare buttock. Today, the Brusttuch House is a charming hotel with a very cosy appearance.
Continuing with our route, at 45 Marktstrasse, we will find the old Baker´s Guild House, an example of the power of the commercial bourgeoisie. After that, we will return to Hoher Weg Street until we reach number 7, where the Great Holy Cross is located, Grosses Heiliges Kreuz in German. It is one of the oldest buildings in the city, which was built to house a nursing home and ended up hosting all kinds of needy people, from the poor, the sick, orphans and even pilgrims. Today its function is very different since it is a free entry craft centre.
Once we have visited the interior of this beautiful centre, we will return to the small channel that we had crossed just before reaching the Great Holy Cross, and we will follow it to the right. Along this channel, we will find a mill and several houses full of vegetation, breathing stillness and a silence broken only by the calming sound of the stream. Upon reaching the junction with Worthstrasse, we will join this street on the left and, escorted by more half-timbered houses. We will return to our starting point.
A VERY ARCHITECTURAL REST
Marktplatz, or the Market Square, has always been the nerve centre of Goslar, hosting all its municipal activities. This relevance has survived to this day and makes this square a must-see. It is the ideal place to make a stop on our way and enjoy the unique beauty of its architecture since its ample space is surrounded by some of the most outstanding buildings in Goslar.
The Town Hall, Rathaus in German, was once the most important building in the city. Its spectacular construction, an excellent example of civil Gothic architecture, symbolized the economic splendour of Goslar. Its white façade stands out, topped by a collection of arches, which contrasts with the grey roof. This very successful colour effect was repeated in other buildings and became a trendsetter. It is curious to observe two pointed towers that seem to come out of their roof, although they correspond to the nearby Church of St. Cosmas and Damian.
The orange building to the left of City Hall is the Kaiserworth, the former guild house of the cloth merchants, which was the wealthiest guild in Goslar. That is why its headquarters occupied such a privileged place in the main square. In the niches of its façade, there are up to eight statuettes of German emperors of the Holy Empire, which means that the city of Goslar became an imperial seat. On the side façade of the Kaiserworth, under one of the niches, you can see a small sculpture of a little man who seems to be defecating when expelling a coin. It is indeed a curious way of demonstrating Goslar´s right to mint his coins.
And take note: every day at 9 am, 12 am, 3 pm and 6 pm, all eyes and cameras point to the Kaiserringhaus, the greyish slate-covered building on the other side of the square, opposite the City Hall. Just at that time, its chime represents beautiful mining scenes!
Right in the centre of the square, the Marktbrunnen awaits us. It is a fountain that looks like a puzzle due to its multiple pieces built in different materials and other times. Notice how the cobblestone floor seems to radiate from the fountain until it blends in with the façade of the beautiful house located to the right of the Town Hall, a very well achieved optical effect!
Marktplatz (Market Square)
38640 Goslar, Germany
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