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Strolling through Erfurt

Updated on July 23, 2016

Erfurt, the capital of Thuringia, offers visitors to Germany the opportunity to experience the charm of a small German town while also enjoying some amenities found in larger cities. St. Boniface first mentioned this city in 742 and the town continued its rich religious and scholarly connections with Reformation leader Martin Luther. Other noteworthy individuals who left their imprint on Erfurt include Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, Johann Sebastian Bach, Tsar Alexander I and Napoleon Bonaparte.

While Erfurt has a very reliable public transportation system, consider walking when possible to take advantage of the lovely town views.

Erfurt, Germany
Erfurt, Germany | Source

Check out Merchant's Bridge and Town Hall

One of Erfurt's other key landmarks is the 120-metre Merchants' Bridge (Krämerbrücke). Initially, the bridge was constructed in wood though it was rebuilt in 1325. Along this bridge one can enjoy a day of window shopping as stroll along the boutiques, cafés and galleries. Consider stopping by the Church of St. Aegidius located on eastern edge of the bridge for an impressive view from the tower. (Tuesday to Sunday, 11am to 5pm.) Also check out Café “Füchsen, a cozy café located near the Merchant's Bridge for a coffee and a homemade cake.

The neo-Gothic Town Hall on Fischmarkt may be a bit modern as it was built between 1870 and 1874. But those who book a guided tour can step inside and see a series of murals. Depicting images form Erufur's history and scenes from Luther's life.

Erfurt, Germany
Erfurt, Germany | Source

Renting an I-Guide

Consider renting an I-Guide from the Erfurt Tourism and Marketing Board to help find one's way around the city. This small electronic instrument is similar to an iPod and enables one to walk virtually around the historic Center and hitting all the major attractions. Learn about Erfurt's history and engage via sound and images in dialogues with luminaries like Luther, Bach, Bonifatius, Napoleon, and Doctor Faustus. The I-Guide is available in German and English and costs 7.50 € for four hours with each additional hour: 1.00 €, all-day or rent the device overnight for 10.00 €.

For more information about booking a visit to Erfurt log on to their website.

Seeing Erfurt's religious sites

Those looking to soak in the city's church history should be sure to visit St. Mary’s Cathedral, a Gothic Cathedral with a Romanesque tower and "Gloriosa," the world’s largest medieval free-swinging bell, stands on the site where an earlier church was built for Bishop Boniface in 742. After touring the cathedral, those needing a bite can grab an original Thuringian ”Bratwurst” from a small grill stall on Cathedral Square. In addition, check out the Church of St. Severus. During the 12th century, this five-naved early Gothic hall church was a collegiate church for the regular canons of St Augustine.

Also, the Old Synagogue in Erfurt remains one of the few medieval synagogues in Europe that's been preserved. On display one can find a collection of medieval finds unearthed during excavations of this synagogue including approximately 6,000 works of goldsmithery and a mikes all from the 13th and 14th centuries. Those looking to grab a bite can stop by a snack bar located in the Waagegasse near the Old Synagogue for a typical Thuringian barbecue snack called “Faustfood."

The Evangelical Monastery of St Augustine's in Erfurt was built around 1300 with Martin Luther being admitted to the monastery on July 17, 1505 as a monk. Tour the exhibits that pay tribute to Erfurt's most famous residence. For a rule immersive experience, consider booking a stay at the monastery.

A short five minute walk from the Monastery will take one to the Michaelisstraße for a drink or a bite in one of the many establishments located in this area. After dinner, take a quick stroll to the citadel Petersberg and watch the sun set. Also, one can watch the sunset over dinner at the "Glashütte" which is located on the top of the Citadel. If one wishes to catch a show, theatre performances start from between 6pm and 8pm.

Erfurt, Germany
Erfurt, Germany | Source
Erfurt, Germany
Erfurt, Germany | Source


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    • LiliMarlene profile image

      Elisabeth Meier 14 months ago

      Nice article. Thanks for sharing. Would like to add that the city of Erfurt was an important trade point in the Middle Ages. Erfurt then was known for textile trade. This is why these shops are around the Krämerbrücke and by this close to the water. They not only traded with fabrics, they also colored their fabrics in this certain blue with white cutout patterns right there. The color is produced out of a plant (Färberwaid = Isatis tinctorial) that grows or grew (think nowadays they plant and grow it) in the woods around the city. So this is why this certain blue is called Erfurter Blau.

      Here's a link to a website about the history of this craft:

      This little plant helped the city providing wealth and prosperity as it was and still is unique.

      The unique point of the craft is: Although it's called Blaudruck (literally: blue print, but not what blueprint means in English), they really color the fabric completely and don't just print the color on it.

      To give you an idea about the fabrics I dare to add another link. But I don't want to spam, just explain and show the patterns:

      Don't remember whether they first give a certain material onto the blank fabric which leaves the white cut out while coloring blue or press something on the colored fabric to take blue color off. Maybe you can discover this at your next visit.

      Well, hope I could give you an idea why Erfurt is much more than it seems to be. The history of such places always is very interesting.

      If you then imagine that people of all religions came to Erfurt to trade, you understand why they have a Catholic Dome right besides a Evangelic-Lutheric Dome and also close to the Krämerbrücke the old Synagogue which is told to be the oldest preserved Synagogue in Europe. Don't dare to add more links, maybe you like to search "Erfurt Synagoge" on google pictures. There you'll see the old building, a view inside the newer part and you see that it's built right at the waterfront in Erfurt. Thanks again for writing about one of my favorite German cities as my Mum was born and raised there. :))