Monthly Archives: March 2013

UNESCO World Heritage Site #215: Abbey and Altenmünster of Lorsch

Posted by on March 22, 2013

UNESCO World Heritage Site #215: Abbey and Altenmünster of Lorsch

UNESCO World Heritage Site #215: Abbey and Altenmünster of Lorsch

From the World Heritage inscription:

The religious complex represented by the former Lorsch Abbey with its 1,200-year-old gatehouse, which is unique and in excellent condition, comprises a rare architectural document of the Carolingian era with impressively preserved sculpture and painting of that period. It gives architectural evidence of the awakening of the West to the spirit of the early and high Middle Ages under the first king and emperor, Charlemagne.

In the small town of Lorsch, between Worms and Darmstadt, is the renowned Torhalle, one of the rare Carolingian buildings that has retained its original appearance. It is a reminder of the past grandeur of an abbey founded around 760-64. The first Abbot was the Bishop of Metz, Chrodegang (died 766). Sometime before 764 he brought monks from Gorze to live there and in 765 he donated the relics of St Nazarius, which he had acquired in Rome.

In 767, Thurincbert, one of the founder’s brothers, donated new land in sand dunes safe from floods about 500 m from the original site. The monastery was placed under the Emperor’s protection in 772. In 774, with Charlemagne in attendance, the Archbishop of Mainz consecrated the new church, dedicated to Saints Peter, Paul and Nazarius.

The Codex Laureshamensis, a chronicle of the abbey, lists the improvements made by three of the most important abbots, Helmerich, Richbod and Adelog, between 778 and 837. The monastery’s zenith was probably in 876 when, on the death of Louis II the German (876) it became the burial place for the Carolingian kings of Germany. To be a worthy resting place for the remains of his father, Louis III the Young (876-82) had a crypt built, an ecclesia varia, where he was also buried, as were his son Hugo and Cunegonde, wife of Conrad I (the Duke of Franconia elected King of Germany at the death of the last of the German Carolingians, Louis IV the Child).

Sometimes you get lucky when visiting world heritage sites and sometimes you don’t. Lorsch was not one of my better visits.

For starters, Lorsch is one of the smallest world heritage sites I’ve ever visited. The site consists of 2 small structures and the foundation stones of a third. That’s it.

Those two structures were both under serious renovation when I arrived (see photo). I couldn’t enter either building and they were both covered with scaffolding so I couldn’t even take a clean photo. They are also redoing all the landscaping around the buildings.

Finally, I showed up on a Monday, the one day of the week when their museum was closed.

The Abbey of Lorsch is very historic and probably worth a short visit if you are traveling south of Frankfurt. However, it wont be worth visiting until 2014 when they have completed their work.

I’m going to create a new list of world heritage sites I intend to revisit and Lorsch is going to be at the top of my list.

View my complete list of UNESCO World Heritage Sites.

UNESCO World Heritage Site #214: Messel Pit Fossil Site

Posted by on March 21, 2013

UNESCO World Heritage Site #214: Messel Pit Fossil Site

UNESCO World Heritage Site #214: Messel Pit Fossil Site


From the World Heritage inscription:

The Messel Pit has provided a wealth of fossils that have greatly increased understanding of the Eocene Age. It is a small site approximately 1,000 m long (north to south) and 700 m wide (east to west).

The Eocene (‘dawn of new times’) epoch (57-36 million years ago) was a remarkable period in the evolution of life on Earth. This was the time when mammals became firmly established in all the principal land ecosystems. They also reinvaded the seas (e.g. whales) and took to the air (e.g. bats). During this period of geological time, North America, Europe and Asia were in continuous land contact and the partial explanation of current distribution patterns is provided by the Eocene fossil record.

The Messel Pit provides the single best site which contributes to the understanding of the middle part of this period. Messel is also exceptional in the quality of preservation, quantity and diversity of fossils. Messel offers fully articulated skeletons and the outline of the entire body as well as feathers, hairs and stomach contents.

Paleontology and archeology sites can be very hit or miss affairs as far as tourist attractions. They almost always represent some important discovery that furthered our understanding of the Earth’s history or of a civilization. The physical site however is also almost always nothing more than a hole in the ground…. and you usually can’t even see the hole because they have either ended the dig or it is off limits.

The fossil site at Messel is one of the better dig sites that I have visited. (also see Sangiran and Ban Chaing) The museum and interpretative center are top notch and do a great job explaining why the site is important and the major discoveries that have been found. They also go into the history of the site and how it was saved from becoming a dump.

Messel is located 30 minutes from Frankfurt and is one of the easiest World Heritage sites to visit if you are in the area. Unlike most dig sites, you can also view the actual fossil pit (where work is still being done in the summer) as well as go down into the pit on a guided tour.

The pit itself is quite small and is the location of a former lake. The reason why it is such a great site for fossils is that creatures were buried in the lake for hundreds of thousands of years and were preserved in layers of algae at the bottom. Perhaps the most significant find at Messel was that of Darwinius masillae, a very early proto-primate.

Selecting an image to display for a paleontology site is always difficult, but in the end I thought a fossil was more representative and interesting than a photo of a hole in the ground.

View my complete list of UNESCO World Heritage Sites.

UNESCO World Heritage Site #213: Frontiers of the Roman Empire

Posted by on March 20, 2013

UNESCO World Heritage Site #213: Frontiers of the Roman Empire

UNESCO World Heritage Site #213: Frontiers of the Roman Empire

From the World Heritage inscription:

At its height the Roman Empire extended into three continents. Its borders reflected the waxing and waning of power over more than a millennia. In what is now Germany there were several military campaigns into the area north of the Alps and east of the River Rhine from 55/53 BC to 15-16 AD, but the area was not brought under direct control until around 85 AD when the oldest part of the Limes was created between the River Rhine and the high Taunus Mountains. This frontier followed the contours of the landscape. Later the courses defined were much straighter and the first forts established. Similarly in the area of the Raetian Limes the border was secured first under Emperor Claudius (41-54 AD), probably moved north across the river under the Emperor Domitian, and then under Emperor Trajan forts were established.

The early Limes barrier seems to have been a cleared stretch of forest monitored by wooden towers. Under the Emperor Hadrian (117-138 AD) the Limes was additionally secured with a palisade fence. In the 2nd century AD the Limes was in part straightened, and also strengthened with embankments or stone walls and numerous forts, and fortlets.

The nomination acknowledges that the chronology of the creation and expansion of the Limes is under researched and more work needs to be done to establish firm dates and sequences.

The Upper German-Raetian Limes was given up during the second half of the 3rd century AD, probably abut 260AD. After the end of Roman rule, many Romanised Celtic- German peoples moved away from territory within the Limes and other new Germanic settlers moved in. Although the walls survived for many centuries as an impressive landmark, gradually facts about its rationale and use were replaced by myths and legends.

This is a serial site with locations in both Germany and in the United Kingdom. The UK portions of the site, Hadrian’s Wall and Antonine’s Wall, are better know. The walls still exist today in a form which tells you what they were.

The Germany portion of the site is longer, but less well known. I visited the Saalburg Roman Castle and Archeology Park which is just outside the city of Bad Homburg, north of Frankfurt. The fort is a reconstruction from the 19th century based on the foundations of the roman buildings which originally stood there. It houses a museum of roman artifacts found in the area as well as being near one of the limes (not pronounced like the citrus fruit. It somes from the latin root of the word for ‘limit’).

The limes extend up the Rhine river for several hundred kilometers. Unlike the walls in the UK, however, they aren’t as dramatic or obvious. The only thing which exists is most places are some earthen mounds that you might not even notice if you don’t know what you are looking at.

From all the research I’ve done, the Saalburg fort is probably the best place to experience the limes in Germany in terms of a museum and interpretative center, however they can be found in many locations. There is also a trail which follows the route of the limes.

I plan to visit the walls in the UK and when I do I will update this post accordingly.

View my complete list of UNESCO World Heritage Sites.

UNESCO World Heritage Site #212: Völklingen Ironworks

Posted by on March 19, 2013

UNESCO World Heritage Site #212: Völklingen Ironworks

UNESCO World Heritage Site #212: Völklingen Ironworks

From the World Heritage inscription:

Although the Völklingen Ironworks went out of production comparatively recently, they are the only intact example, in the whole of western Europe and North America, of an integrated ironworks that was built and equipped in the 19th and 20th centuries and has remained intact. Historically this plant was a model for many other similar installations throughout the world.

The first works was established on the site by the Cologne engineer Julius Buch in 1873 to produce girder iron and railway sleepers by the puddling process from Luxembourg ore. It ceased operations in 1879 and was acquired by Karl Rüchling two years later. The first blast furnace (now No. 3) was built in 1882-83, and four more furnaces were added between 1885 and 1893. A coking plant was added in 1897, and three years later the first gas-blowing engines were introduced. Völklingen was the first ironworks in the world to use blast-furnace gas on a large scale to drive enormous blowers providing blast to the furnaces. The initial pair of engines was eventually increased to nine. By the end of the century Völklingen had become one of the most productive works in Europe and Germany’s largest producer of steel beams.

A sixth blast furnace was built in 1903, and in 1911 the new charging platform was constructed, supplied by an electrically driven suspended conveyor system for coke and ore; this was the largest system of its kind when it was built. Völklingen was the first ironworks in the world to take dry gas purification technology beyond the experimental stage, installing the plant in 1911. The final major addition to the Völklingen complex was the large ore-sintering plant; after experimenting with ladle-type sintering, the company installed a large belt-type system in 1928-30. This pioneering plant became a model for many other similar installations throughout the world. In 1935 the coking plant was rebuilt and enlarged.

From the end of the Second World War until pig-iron production ceased in 1986, only minor modernization and maintenance took place. The gas-blowing engine hall, with its unique battery of machines, the dry gas purification plant, the suspended conveyor system, and the sinter plant were all pioneering installations in their day. These processes influenced pig-iron production throughout the world.

The Völklingen Ironworks was the first industrial world heritage site. Prior to it, every world heritage site had been a national park or something hundreds of years old.

It ran continuously from the 1870’s to the 1980’s and is a mixture of equipment dating from all periods.

Having a fully equipped iron works is very rare. After more facilities are shut down, the equipment is either sold or scrapped. Because of the short time between the closing of the plant and its listing as a world heritage site, there was little time to remove anything. (Also, I was told that it was cheaper to just have it declared a monument than it was to dismantle the factory and clean it up).

As with previous industral world heritage sites, I thoroughly enjoyed my time at the Völklingen Ironworks. You can still smell the oil and machinery even though it hasn’t been used in decades.

Also, the company did not go out of business. They only closed the blast furnaces. All around the site you can see steel mills which are still in operation. If you look closely, you might see a railroad track which had “torpedo” cars which carry molten pig iron from one plant to another.

View my complete list of UNESCO World Heritage Sites.

Monday Travel Update – Half Way Through Germany Edition

Posted by on March 18, 2013

Panoramic image of the Upper Middle Rhine River Valley

Panoramic image of the Upper Middle Rhine River Valley

I am now half way through my German World Heritage tour where I visit the remaining 27 UNESCO World Heritage Sites which I have yet to visit in the country.

Today I find myself south of Frankfurt where I visited the Frontiers of the Roman Empire in Saalburg late yesterday afternoon in a snowstorm. So far I’ve visited 14 of the 28 sites on my list. Today was my busiest day of the trip as I visit 3 sites in a single day. I was able to do this because they were reasonably close together with less than an hour drive between them.

The operative word for the trip so far has been “cold”. Just before I left Berlin last week a cold front came through and dumped snow over most of the country. Temperatures have been unusually cold for most of the country and I’ve had to wear multiple layers of clothes in order to keep warm, as I don’t have a winter coat with me. Thankfully temperatures are starting to go back up again and hopefully the snows will be gone soon.
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UNESCO World Heritage Site #211: Roman Monuments, Cathedral of St Peter and Church of Our Lady in Trier

Posted by on March 18, 2013

UNESCO World Heritage Site #211: Roman Monuments, Cathedral of St Peter and Church of Our Lady in Trier

UNESCO World Heritage Site #211: Roman Monuments, Cathedral of St Peter and Church of Our Lady in Trier

From the World Heritage inscription:

Trier is an example of a large Roman capital after the division of the empire. The remains of the Imperial Palace, in addition to the Aula Palatina and the Imperial Thermae, are impressive in their dimensions. The city bears exceptional testimony to Roman civilization owing to the density and the quality of the monuments preserved: the bridge, the remains of the fortified wall, thermae, amphitheatre, storehouses, etc. In particular, funerary art and the craftsmanship of potters, glassworkers, and moneyers flourished in the city.

Sometimes referred to as the ‘second Rome’, Trier had no claim to this title until the division of the empire by Diocletian in 286 and the institution of the Tetrarchy seven years later. However, even before this era, the Roman city was flourishing. The original centre of the colonial town, the regular insulae, for the most part built during the reign of Claudius (41-54), had extended so much by the mid-2nd century that a wall was built, enclosing the industrial quarters and the nearest thermae (baths) to the south, the amphitheatre, which extended beyond the decumanus maximus to the east, and, most likely, a hippodrome. At the same time, a sandstone and basalt bridge was built over the Moselle, extending westward from the decumanus, which replaced an earlier construction, the foundations of which have been found.

It was in Trier that in 326 Constantine founded the twin basilicas to commemorate his twenty years of power; they live on in the form of the Cathedral and the Church of Our Lady. After the death of the great emperor in 337, Trier was the place of residence of his son, Constantine II, and afterward of Valentinian and Gratian. As well as being the capital of the Empire, Trier was additionally the location of the Prefecture of Gaul, an immense administrative district which stretched from the limes germanicus to the Atlantic and from Hadrian’s Wall to Tingitana in Mauritania.

Trier is amazing. I had no idea of the rich history of the city, which is the oldest in all of Germany.

Just to give you an idea of what can be found in Trier:

  • It is the oldest city is Germany.
  • St. Peter’s Cathedral (shown left) is the oldest church in Germany and one of the oldest in all of Europe.
  • St. Mary’s is the oldest gothic church in Germany (shown right).
  • It was the seat of several Roman emperors including Constantine.
  • It has the best intact gate of a roman city wall, the Ponta Negra.
  • There are ruins of several roman baths in the city.
  • The pillars of a roman bridge are still in use supporting modern bridges.
  • It was the birthplace of Karl Marx (which draws thousands of Chinese tourists).

Trier used to be one of the most important cities in the western world, a fact which escapes most people. It is similar to what I saw in Tarragona, Spain but probably even more significant because it was also an imperial city.

If you have an even remote interest in roman history, archeology or architecture, Trier should be on your list of places to visit. It is close to the borders of both Luxembourg and France and is easily accessible.

View my complete list of UNESCO World Heritage Sites.

UNESCO World Heritage Site #210: Upper Middle Rhine Valley

Posted by on March 17, 2013

UNESCO World Heritage Site #210: Upper Middle Rhine Valley

UNESCO World Heritage Site #210: Upper Middle Rhine Valley

From the World Heritage inscription:

The strategic location of the dramatic 65km stretch of the Middle Rhine Valley between Bingen, Rüdesheim und Koblenz as a transport artery and the prosperity that this engendered is reflected in its sixty small towns, the extensive terraced vineyards and the ruins of castles that once defended its trade.

The river breaks through the Rhenish Slate Mountains, connecting the broad floodplain of the Oberrheingraben with the lowland basin of the Lower Rhine. The property extends from the Bingen Gate (Binger Pforte), where the River Rhine flows into the deeply gorged, canyon section of the Rhine Valley, through the 15km long Bacharach valley, with smaller V-shaped side valleys, to Oberwesel where the transition from soft clay-slates to hard sandstone, results. In a series of narrows, the most famous of which is the Loreley, no more than 130m wide (and at 20m the deepest section of the Middle Rhine), and then up to the Lahnstein Gate (Lahnsteiner Pforte), where the river widens again into the Neuwied Valley. The property also includes the adjoining middle and upper Rhine terraces (Upper Valley) which bear witness to the course taken by the river in ancient times.

As a transport route, the Rhine has served as a link between the southern and northern halves of the continent since prehistoric times, enabling trade and cultural exchange, which in turn led to the establishment of settlements. Condensed into a very small area, these subsequently joined up to form chains of villages and small towns. For over a 1,000 years the steep valley sides have been terraced for vineyards.

The landscape is punctuated by some 40 hill top castles and fortresses erected over a period of around 1,000 years. Abandonment and later the wars of the 17th century left most as picturesque ruins. The later 18th century saw the growth of sensibility towards the beauties of nature, and the often dramatic physical scenery of the Middle Rhine Valley, coupled with the many ruined castles on prominent hilltops, made it appeal strongly to the Romantic movement, which in turn influenced the form of much 19th century restoration and reconstruction.

The Upper Middle Rhine Valley is by far the largest cultural world heritage site in Germany. It covers a 65km stretch of the Rhine river from Koblenz to Bingen.

Within that stretch of river you will find 40 forts and castles, one of Germany’s greatest wine producing regions as well and one of Europe’s most important transportation routes with barges, trains and cars going up and down both banks of the river.

The Rhine was also the border of the Roman Empire and has also been fought over for the last two thousand years by countless armies, lords and kings.

I was in the Rhine Valley for less than a day, which is really not enough to experience the region properly. I’d plan at least 2-3 days if not more.

View my complete list of UNESCO World Heritage Sites.

UNESCO World Heritage Site #209: Aachen Cathedral

Posted by on March 16, 2013

UNESCO World Heritage Site #209: Aachen Cathedral

UNESCO World Heritage Site #209: Aachen Cathedral

From the World Heritage inscription:

With its columns of Greek and Italian marble, its bronze doors, the largest mosaic of its dome (now destroyed), the Palatine Chapel of Aachen has, from its inception, been perceived as an exceptional artistic creation. It was the first vaulted structure to be constructed north of the Alps since antiquity. It remained, during the Carolingian Renaissance and even at the beginning of the medieval period, one of the prototypes of religious architecture which led to copies or imitations (Mettlach, Nijmegen). It is an excellent and distinctive example of the family of aularian chapels based on a central plan with tribunes.

The construction of the chapel of the Emperor at Aachen symbolized the unification of the west and its spiritual and political revival under the aegis of Charlemagne. In 814, Charlemagne was buried here, and throughout the Middle Ages until 1531 the Germanic emperors continued to be crowned here. The collection of the treasury of the cathedral is of incalculable archaeological, aesthetic, and historic interest.

The most important historical epoch of Aachen started with the takeover of the government by Charlemagne in AD 768. The imperial palace by the hot springs soon became his permanent residence and so developed into a spiritual and cultural centre. Two hundred years later he was canonized, which resulted in a flow of pilgrims wishing to see Charlemagne’s tomb and the relics he gathered during his life. The town’s ties with Charlemagne are reflected in numerous architectural heirlooms and memorials in the townscape.

When he began work on his Palatine Chapel in 786, Charlemagne’s dream was to create a ‘new Rome’. The core of Aachen Cathedral at the time of its construction was the largest dome north of the Alps. Its fascinating architecture, with classical, Byzantine and Germanic-Franconian elements, is the essence of a monumental building of the greatest importance. For 600 years, from 936 to 1531, Aachen Cathedral was the coronation church for thirty German kings, and even today it retains much of the glamour of its historic past.

Aachen is not the grandest or most beautiful cathedral in Europe. In fact, it is quite small compared to most cathedrals, especially its neighboring world heritage site, the cathedral of Cologne. Only half of the building was created in the gothic style, so it lacks the large spaces which can be found in other cathedrals.

However, if I were to create a list of the must see European cathedrals, Aachen would be high on the list. It is one of the oldest cathedrals in Europe, with its octagon dome having been erected in the 8th century. It has the highest gothic windows of any cathedral in Europe, with its windows in the choir rising over 20m. It is also one of the most significant buildings in Europe in terms of history. It was founded by Charlemagne and was the coronation site of the German kings for over 600 years.

Its association with Charlemagne made it one of the most significant christian churches in the western world outside of Rome for several hundred years.

Aachen was also has the distinction of being the first world heritage site in Germany and one of the original 12 world heritage sites created in 1978.

View my complete list of UNESCO World Heritage Sites.

UNESCO World Heritage Site #208: Zollverein Coal Mine Industrial Complex in Essen

Posted by on March 15, 2013

UNESCO World Heritage Site #208: Zollverein Coal Mine Industrial Complex in Essen

UNESCO World Heritage Site #208: Zollverein Coal Mine Industrial Complex in Essen

From the World Heritage inscription:

The technological and other structures of the Zollverein XII Coal Mine Industrial Complex are representative of a crucial period in the development of traditional heavy industries in Europe, when sympathetic and positive use was made of architectural designs of outstanding quality. Zollverein is an exceptional industrial monument by virtue of the fact that its buildings are outstanding examples of the application of the design concepts of the Modern Movement in architecture in a wholly industrial context.

Consolidation of the Zollverein mining claim area was completed in December 1847, when it was the northernmost mine in the region. It belongs to the Gelsenkirchen anticline, in which the coal seams are deeply stratified. Mining began in the mid-19th century at a depth of some 120 m and finished at 1,200 m. By the end of mining the underground roadways extended over 120 km; they were accessed by 12 shafts, opened up progressively between 1847 and 1932. When Zollverein XII was opened, the earlier shafts were used solely for the movement of men and supplies; all the extracted coal was handled by the new shaft until the mine closed in 1986. The methods of mining evolved as technology developed from hand picks to mechanized coal cutting. The coals being extracted at Zollverein were especially suitable for coking. Consequently, the first stack-type coke-ovens were built there in 1857. The coking plant expanded considerably over the decades that followed.

Few people will travel to visit an abandoned industrial facility, yet I must confess that I enjoy visiting such sites almost more than I do visiting Roman ruins. Every industrial world heritage site I’ve visited has exceeded my expectations.

The Zollverein coal mine in Essen is a massive facility. Out of operation for more than 20 years now, the complex was a complete mining and coking facility which employed over 8,000 people at its peak. It was one of the largest coal mining facilities in the industrial Ruhr Valley.

Almost all of the buildings have been left intact even though most of them have found new uses as office spaces and museums. Even the museums have been build around the old machinery which remain in place where they once operated. One museum is dedicated to the history of the Ruhr Valley and another is the Red Dot Museum of contemporary design.

I recommend also visiting the coking plant which is the most industrial looking and larger of the facilities.

The grounds of the complex are open to the public for walking or biking. There are guided tours available in German and English which meet in the largest building up the extremely long escalator. Expect to spend anywhere from 1-3 hours at Zollverein, depending on the tour you take. There are many hidden nooks and rooms that can be seen on part of a tour that are not otherwise available to the public.

View my complete list of UNESCO World Heritage Sites.

UNESCO World Heritage Site #207: Town Hall and Roland on the Marketplace of Bremen

Posted by on March 14, 2013

UNESCO World Heritage Site #207: Town Hall and Roland on the Marketplace of Bremen

UNESCO World Heritage Site #207: Town Hall and Roland on the Marketplace of Bremen

From the World Heritage inscription:

The Bremen Town Hall and Roland are an outstanding ensemble representing civic autonomy and market freedom, as developed in the Holy Roman Empire. The town hall represents the medieval Saalgeschossbau-type of hall construction, as well as being an outstanding example of the so-called Weser Renaissance in northern Germany. The Bremen Roland is the most representative and one of the oldest of the Roland statues erected as a symbol of commercial rights and freedom.

The city of Bremen is situated in north-western Germany, on the river Weser. The site of the medieval town has an oblong form, limited by the river on the south side and by the Stadtgraben, the water moat of the ancient defence system, on the north side. The town hall is situated in the centre of the eastern part of the old city area, separating the market in the south from the Domshof, the cathedral square in the north. The statue of Roland is located in the centre of the market place. The town hall is placed between two churches: the Dom (cathedral church of St Peter) is located on the east side, and the Liebfrauenkirche (Church of Our Lady) on the west. Across the market is the Schütting, the seat of the ancient merchant guilds. On the east side of the market is the Modernist building for the municipal institutions, the Haus der Bürgerschaft, built in the 1960s.

The World Heritage site consists of the town hall and the Roland statue; the buffer zone encloses the market and the cathedral square. The town hall has two parts: the Old Town Hall, on the north side of the market place, which was built in 1405-9, and renovated in 1595-1612, and the New Town Hall that was built in the early 20th century as an addition facing the cathedral square.

The town hall (rathaus in German) of Bremen is a very interesting world heritage site. Through sheer luck, the building was untouched in WWII. It was expanded significantly in 20th Century, so a large part of it is somewhat new. The old part of the building, however, is quite well preserved and is a great example of a medieval town hall.

The facade of the building is fine enough, but in many respects it is outshone by the merchants building across the square and it is dominated in size by the cathedral next door. The real treasure of the building can be found inside in the upstairs of the old part of the town hall.

The main meeting area is a fantastic display of old German art, woodworking and Hanseatic symbols. Many of the large pantings date back hundreds of years and all tell a part of the story of the city. One of the paintings is entirely text and is a mixture of Old German, Flemish and English. A sort of pidegon language used by Hanseatic traders in the region.

The ground floor of the old building is a museum and the cellar is now a restaurant. The new town hall is still used as such by the city of Bremen.

Part of this site, and it is included in its official name, is the statue of Roland in the front of the building. I knew very little of the story of Roland before I arrived, but you can find statues of Roland all over Europe. He became a symbol of independent cities of the Hanseatic League, which is why his statue is featured so prominently in Bremen.

View my complete list of UNESCO World Heritage Sites.