Got going nice and early this morning so that I could get a good day’s site seeing in here in Nuremberg. I had a pretty loose plan today based on my guidebooks recommendation; see the Kaisersburg, The Germanisches Museum and the Nazi rally grounds.
To be able to fit in all three in one day I did have to do a couple of them a bit half heartedly.. to really do the three items justice you should probably allow two days.. I didn’t have two days so……..
Started at the Kaisersburg. The Kaisersburg was the Imperial home of the Bavarian Kings til about 1600 AD. To get to the Kaisersburg (which sits up on the hill of Nuremberg) I had to walk through the whole Old Town. I have to say that Nuremburg has more than surprised me for it’s looks! For some reason I had it in my head that Nuremberg would be another concrete block town and I’ll tell you that it doesn’t even come close. Nuremberg is one of the oldest towns in Germany so nearly every building is an old style Bavarian looking building. Therefore the wander through the town was really pleasant (apart from the incessant rain.. Christ I wish it would stop raining!) The Kaisersburg is today used as a museum (it seems that most of the castles have been converted into some sort of museum!) and is what I would dub as an a-typical looking medieaval castle.. its got a moat (without water!), you can see where the draw bridge was (even though it is now stones), plenty of turrets and towers and lots of chrenellation around the ramparts.. Just awesome! It really ticks the mediavel box because on top of a really cool castle there was some sort of mediavel festival occuing in the grounds, so plenty of people swaggering around in chain mail and riding horses.. I just loved it!
From the Kaisersburg I wandered down to the Germanisches Museum. This museum is housed in an old cloister so it was quite interesting to see quite a bit of religious iconography inside a cloister! I was expecting this museum to cover off on a lot of middle ages history of Germany and was a bit disappointed.. There were some really good exhibitions of weapons, armour and costumes from the middle ages but it also had stuff like musical instrument collections, heaps of religious paintings and sculptures, and weird stuff like random household items from the 1920s???? I struggled a bit with the purpose of the museum.. they’ve tried to fit 3000+ years of history into a small space.. and failed (in my opinion).
Therefore I only spent a couple of hours in the museum before I decided to go find something a bit more interesting and headed out to the Nazi Rally Grounds. On the outskirts of Nuremberg over 20 hectares was put aside by the Nazi party to be used to hold their yearly NSDP rallies. To help hold the rallies, some huge colleseum style buildings were built (and they are the ones that you might recognise from rally party photos). Inside one of the half finished coloseums is a museum to the rise and fall of the Nazi party. I would say it is probably the best Nazi museum I’ve been in since arriving in Germany.. It really outlines the rise of the party as well as some of the aspects of its demise and covers off on the Nuremberg trials.
The Nazi party chose to hold its rallies in Nuremberg because of the symbolisim of the city in relation to Germany. Because Nuremberg was the ancestral home of the imperial family and had hundreds of year’s of tradition it was deemed that the tradition of this city would give some validity to the NSDP.
The museum showed many of the rallies that occurred in Nuremberg and I have to say that I had forgotten what sort of pagentary occurred at these rallies. There was a whole department within the NSDP whose whole job was to organise the yearly rallies! They occurred for one week every year and thousands of party supporters would flock to the city to participate in the week of rallies. Most of the rallies were in some way military based and of course involved lots of parades and plenty of banners! What I didn’t realise is what the plans were for the rally gournds. The NSDP had full plans to build a sports stadium, a zeppelin landing ground (the only part of the complex to be fully completed), a 5km long parade ground as well as the coloseum for the summation of the rally. This whole complex was planned to be built only for the yearly rallies!
Today most of the old rally grounds have been converted into parklands and a business district. They are also home to one of the sports stadiums where some sort of Bundesliga Game was being held (just as I was trying to leave the museum so were the sports fans!) The museum itself is held in the half completed coloseum (there is no plan to ever complete the building but to leave it in its half finished state as a reminder of the rallies) and the parade grounds are now a huge parking lot that is used for the sports’ stadium and the parklands.
Definitely was well worth spending my afternoon walking around the old rally grounds! Had some dinner before heading to bed as tomorrow is my drive down to Munich via Rothenburg ob der Tauber.