Wednesday, July 13, 2011
Germany - Day 16 - Marburg
Sonja and Klaus had always wanted to visit Marburg so now that we are here, they have the perfect reason to go there. Marburg is on the Lahn River and got its start as a settlement on one of the important trade routes of the day. It was established as a town by 1140 AD and now has a population of 80,000 people.
Aside from the "old town" and the schloss (castle) on the hill, the town is best known for its Philipp University of Marburg school. The University has 20,000 students and was the first school designated a university in history. It was founded in 1527. Famous students included T. S. Eliot and the Brothers Grimm of fairytale fame, Jacob and Wilhelm. The castle sits on a hill that I would guess is about 800 feet above the lower town.
The castle serves as a museum and has lecture facilities for the university. The old and new blend well.
The doors and windows of the old castles look familiar. We have seen them copied on our older churches and other buildings here in the U. S. However, most of the ones we see in Europe are 600 to 1,000 years older.
The castle's history if you can read German.
How about a 230 year old planter?
From the castle, we started walking down the steps on the hillside to see the St Marien (St. Mary) Lutheran Church. This water fountain looks pretty menacing.
Sigrid at the bottom of one of the many sets of steps that we went down. The whole time we were going down, I was thinking that the car was back up at the castle in a parking lot and we were going to have to climb these same steps to get back up.... and it wasn't going to be nearly as easy as going down......and then I had a Machu Picchu flashback.....but we kept on going.
St Marien Lutheran Church. St Elisabeth Church is also in Marburg and is much more famous, but his one is in walking distance.
An original untouched wall inside the church.
It is still a nice view down at the town from the church which is 200 feet below the castle and our car.
The castle on the hill from outside the church.
We walked all the way down to the Wettergasse which is the market square in the old town.
We had a nice lunch here. We are about 600 feet below the castle and our car now and we have full bellies. If a step is 12 inches, that means that we now have to climb up 600 steps to get back to the castle and our car.
Sigrid, Sonja, and Klaus wanted to take a "short cut" back up the hill and stay on the roads so they could avoid all the steps. Being an engineer, I realized that it takes the same amount of work to go up steps as it does a road except the road will actually be a little longer since the grade is less steep than the steps. I chose to take the steps and try to beat them back to the top....a tough chore for a big guy like me up against people who are 16 years younger and who walk all the time. I had to rest a couple of times to avoid a coronary disaster, but we ended up at the top at exactly the same time. I figured that this was really a win for me. At the top, we enjoyed the collection of former royal cars.