24 hours in the Baroque city of Fulda
We want to meet somewhere in Germany with friends from Hamburg and spend a weekend together. The choice is Fulda, because from the north it is 3 hours by train and from Freiburg also. Very fitting, then. Zum deutschen Blogpost.
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Many probably only know the city from changing from one ICE to another. The baroque city of Fulda has a lot more to offer. Fulda is located on the river Fulda, which was known to me only as the beginning of a German rhyme: where Fulda and Werra (another river) kiss each other, they have to give away their names… The whole rhyme I had to learn in primary school…
Fulda has more than 220,000 inhabitants and is located in Hessen, one of the German states. At least I knew that before. For one night we stay at the Hotel Fulda Mitte. We walk about 10 minutes from the train station to the hotel. Right at the station, the pedestrian zone begins and so I use the walk for window shopping. Of course, there are also many chain shops here, but especially in the historical part, the baroque quarter in Fulda, there are many cute small and individual shops and restaurants, as we notice only a little later.
It’s a glorious winter’s day, not too cold, but plenty of blue sky. To get a good overview of the city, we four take part at a two-hours guided city tour. Our guide is Mrs. Heller, who knows “her” city well.
We get a good overview of the old part of the town at the bronze casting, which stands at the tourist information. We start at the monument of Bonifatius right next to it. A special feature of the monument is that Saint Bonifatius is not depicted as usual with a Bible pierced by a dagger. In 744 he built the first monastery in Fulda.
It is only a few steps further to the Cathedral Square, a large open space in front of the Cathedral of St. Salvator in Fulda. To the left of it the Cathedral Museum can be visited and to the right of it we see the St. Michael’s Chapel.
The cathedral started much smaller as it is now, it used to be the monastery church of Bonifatius. It was converted between 791 and 819 into a double-chancel, three-nave Ratgar Basilica. Again and again it was rebuilt over the next centuries, before being partially demolished in 1704. The Fulda prince-abbot Schleiffras then had the present Fulda Cathedral built in Baroque style above the Bonifatius tomb located there.
Inside, under the main altar, there is the Bonifatius tomb and, of course, a lot of baroque gold. Nevertheless, only one of the many side altars, the Epiphany altar, is made of real red and black marble, with alabaster and agate.
The round dome is 55 m high; the length of the cathedral is 98 m and the towers are 65 m high. Currently (2020) „reigns” Germany’s youngest bishop,Dr. Michael Gerber in the cathedral of. He is the 97th shepherd since Bonifatius founded the monastery here and at the same time the 18th bishop since the diocese of Fulda was founded in 1752.
The bones in the Bonifatius tomb were examined years ago and it was found to be a man about 80 years old who had osteoarthritis and kidney stones. Its tomb also consists of alabaster.
The castle, which was built diagonally opposite, is a special feature, because it did not serve as a residence for secular princes, but for the princes of the church. In 1220, the abbots became imperial princes. Under Abbot Heinrich von Waldau in 1312, a fortified castle was built on the slight hill between the convent and the town. From here, the secular affairs of the monastery and the city were regulated from now on.
The castle became a Renaissance castle and then in 1714 Adalbert von Schleiffras turned it into a Baroque building, the present castle. From 1752 the prince-bishops lived here.
Some of the interiors are open to the public, but most are home to the Fulda administration. Particularly noteworthy, I think, is the Mirror Room, which contains 420 mirrors of any size and 46 paintings. This relatively small room is very lavishly equipped with it.
In another room, porcelain parts of the Faience Porcelain Manufactory, which was based in Fulda from 1764 to 1789, are on display.
The Castle Garden
Since there was a national garden show in Fulda in 1994, the castle got a baroque garden again, but with the peculiarity that the trees standing there were not felled. If a tree dies, it will not be replaced. A baroque garden should be symmetrical in any case, trees rather disturb that image. (That’s not my opinion!)
Food and drink in Fulda
So much information makes you thirsty! It is still too early for dinner, so we are looking for a small, cozy restaurant. We find it in Mücher’s Weinkost. Here you get some appetizers to eat, but above all a lot of wine! We stay to taste crémant and red wine until it is time to change the restaurant for dinner.
Even before the start of the city tour we reserved the last table in the „Wirtshaus Schwarzer Hahn”. The restaurant with predominantly regional cuisine seems to be extremely popular throughout the day, because it is always full. The décor is an eye-catcher, if the taking stops, you can still have a good conversation here about the old pictures at the wall! The food is in any case very tasty, the service fast and funny.
It’s too early to go to bed, so we’re changing to the bar & lounge of the Hotel Platzhirsch. It’s stylish here, the music good and not too loud to be able to talk. The bartender knows more cocktails than on the menu. After us, the bar fills up quickly, obviously others know that the drinks are well mixed here.
At some point our eyes get tired and we walk the short distance back to the hotel. The windows are well insulated, so that our sleep is not disturbed because of the busy road. We sit for a long time at breakfast the next morning, because the rain started again. After a short walk through the baroque garden our short trip to Fulda ends and we go home by train.
Fulda impressed me. We have found a beautiful and old downtown area, with many beautiful buildings and cute shops. Definitely a city to “come back” and not just to change trains.
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