Bamberg is the most beautiful city that I have ever laid my eyes on. It is a town in Upper Franconia in Germany and lies on the Regnitz river. I did not realise when I was in the town, however it makes sense that part of the town was UNESCO registered in 1993.
Whilst in Bamberg I stayed in a lovely hotel called “Villa Geysworth” which was in a fairly central location.
After I settled into my room, I walked to Hofbrau, a restaurant only a 10 minute walk away (that include stopping to marvel at the snow and take photos!)
Firstly, the walk to the restaurant was enthralling. There was snow everywhere and it made the whole town look that much more beautiful. The cobblestone streets really added to the effect. I had to cross a small wooden bridge to get to the side of the river where the restaurant was located. In the middle of the river was the Old Town Hall – such an incredibly designed building!
Dinner was exceptional. I was expecting a challenge in ordering, but there was a Vegetarian section of the menu. So bizarre, but also very convenient! I enjoyed goats cheese baked in won ton wrappers and salad, with a German Riesling. I also had apple strudel and ‘vanilla sauce’ for dessert (my first strudel since Budapest!)
The hotel seemed all well and good until I realised there was no kettle! The reception staff offered to bring me one so this was easily rectified. Very strange though – I have stayed in so many hotels and they have always had a kettle available! The bed was also like a block of concrete, so I didn’t have the greatest night sleep. That did not stop me from exploring the day after I arrived, though!
The seven hills of Bamberg
Bamberg extends over seven hills, each crowned by a beautiful church. This has led to Bamberg being called the “Franconian Rome” — although a running joke among Bamberg’s tour guides is to refer to Rome instead as the “Italian Bamberg”. The hills are Cathedral Hill, Michaelsberg, Kaulberg/Obere Pfarre, Stefansberg, Jakobsberg, Altenburger Hill and Abtsberg.
History of Bamberg (source: https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bamberg)
During the post-Roman centuries of Germanic migration and settlement, the region afterwards included in the Diocese of Bamberg was inhabited for the most part by Slavs. The town, first mentioned in 902, grew up by the castle Babenberch which gave its name to the Babenberg family. On their extinction it passed to the Saxon house. The area was Christianized chiefly by the monks of the BenedictineFulda Abbey, and the land was under the spiritual authority of the Diocese of Würzburg.
In 1007, Holy Roman Emperor Henry II or Heinrich II made Bamberg a family inheritance, the seat of a separate diocese. The emperor’s purpose in this was to make the Diocese of Würzburg less unwieldy in size and to give Christianity a firmer footing in the districts of Franconia, east of Bamberg. In 1008, after long negotiations with the Bishops of Würzburg and Eichstätt, who were to cede portions of their dioceses, the boundaries of the new diocese were defined, and Pope John XVIII granted the papal confirmation in the same year. Henry II ordered the building of a new cathedral, which was consecrated 6 May 1012. The church was enriched with gifts from the pope, and Henry had it dedicated in honor of him.
In 1017 Henry also founded Michaelsberg Abbey on the Michaelsberg (“Mount St. Michael”), near Bamberg, a Benedictine abbey for the training of the clergy. The emperor and his wife Kunigunde gave large temporal possessions to the new diocese, and it received many privileges out of which grew the secular power of the bishop. Pope Benedict VIII visited Bamberg in 1020 to meet Henry II for discussions concerning the Holy Roman Empire. While he was here he placed the diocese in direct dependence on the Holy See. He also personally consecrated some of Bamberg’s churches. For a short time Bamberg was the centre of the Holy Roman Empire. Henry and Kunigunde were both buried in the cathedral.
From the middle of the 13th century onward the bishops were princes of the Empire and ruled Bamberg, overseeing the construction of monumental buildings. In 1248 and 1260 the see obtained large portions of the estates of the Counts of Meran, partly through purchase and partly through the appropriation of extinguished fiefs. The old Bishopric of Bamberg was composed of an unbroken territory extending from Schlüsselfeld in a northeasterly direction to the Franconian Forest, and possessed in addition estates in the Duchies of Carinthia and Salzburg, in the Nordgau (the present Upper Palatinate), in Thuringia, and on the Danube. By the changes resulting from the Reformation, the territory of this see was reduced nearly one half in extent. Since 1279 the coat of arms of the city of Bamberg is known in form of a seal.
The witch trials of the 17th century claimed about one thousand victims in Bamberg, reaching a climax between 1626 and 1631, under the rule of Prince-Bishop Johann Georg II Fuchs von Dornheim. The famous Drudenhaus (witch prison), built in 1627, is no longer standing today; however, detailed accounts of some cases, such as that of Johannes Junius, remain.
In 1647, the University of Bamberg was founded as Academia Bambergensis.
Bambrzy (Posen Bambergers) are German Poles who are descended from settlers from the Bamberg area who settled in villages around Posen in the years 1719–1753.
In 1759, the possessions and jurisdictions of the diocese situated in Austria were sold to that state. When the secularization of church lands took place (1802) the diocese covered 3,305 km2 (1,276 sq mi) and had a population of 207,000. Bamberg thus lost its independence in 1802, becoming part of Bavaria in 1803.
Bamberg was first connected to the German rail system in 1844, which has been an important part of its infrastructure ever since. After a communist uprising took control over Bavaria in the years following World War I, the state government fled to Bamberg and stayed there for almost two years before the Bavarian capital of Munich was retaken by Freikorps units (see Bavarian Soviet Republic). The first republican constitution of Bavaria was passed in Bamberg, becoming known as the Bamberger
Verfassung (Bamberg Constitution).
In February 1926 Bamberg served as the venue for the Bamberg Conference, convened by Adolf Hitler in his attempt to foster unity and to stifle dissent within the then-young Nazi party. Bamberg was chosen for its location in Upper Franconia, reasonably close to the residences of the members of the dissident northern Nazi faction but still within Bavaria.
In 1973, the town celebrated the 1000th anniversary of its founding.
All images © 2017 Dianne Hassard.