Today I invaded the Fort through the Baroque entrance to the citadel. The walls that have protected this city in past centuries are standing well-fortified. This is one of the largest fort complexes in Europe. Within the citadel site is the former Peterskirche (Church of Saint Peter) which originates from the period between 1103 and 1147. It is one of the earliest and most significant Romanesque church buildings in Thuringia. Following his capture of the city, Napoleon converted the old wooden structure into a stable and a storehouse and it was severely damaged by the Prussian bombardment.
VIEWS OVER THE CITY FROM THE FORT
WAIDSPEICHER (woad store)
This is where, in the past, blue textile dye was made from the woad plant. Since the 13th century, woad has been cultivated in the Thuringian basin and most of it was sold to Erfurt after harvesting. The dried leaves were doused with water and urine and fermented. After the woad colour had been matured for several months, the woad traders were able to supply half of Europe with the finished powdered pigment. Until about 1600, approximately 3 tonnes of gold a year came to Thuringia thanks to the woad trade and made the region one of the richest in Central Europe. These preserved woad stores are now used for cultural events.
This is the centre of the city. Important Burghers’ houses that belonged to rich woad traders give the square a particular charm. House No. 7 dates to 1562.
The Erfurt Rathaus (town Hall) is found at FISCHMARKT. The origins of the building go back to the 11th century. The neo-gothic town hall (1870-1875) was built in the place of its gothic predecessor.
Centuries ago the Anger (meadow) used to be grazing land for the community around the city walls. Then it became the main trading place for wool, wheat, woad and wine and today it is the main shopping street in Erfurt.
The DÄMMCHEN is a small island between the two channels of the Gera.
From the small green area by the water one can see the shallow river crossing which gave the city it’s name: THE FORD THROUGH THE ERPHE, which was the name given to the GERA in early medieval times.
INTERESTING RENAISSANCE ENTRANCES
Above the entrance to the houses of the rich traders, there are often two holes in which straw bundles were placed when “a good new beer” had been launched for sale. This is a reminder of the tradition of the “ale Connor” who in former times checked the quality of the home-brewed beer before he advertised the brew in town. Beer holes can be seen in the following photos.
Early in our stay here in Erfurt, I made enquiries at Tourist Information re Cafés with free Wi-Fi and after trying Cognito, we didn’t think of going elsewhere. The whole business is geared toward healthy fresh food (and, by the way, freshfood is their password) and the staff are young and friendly. One girl has spent time in Canada so no hassles with our almost non-existent German even when MM enquired about their use of Garlic they made sure and found it was not used in anything. The staff were friendly, the coffee was good, the food was great, it was warm and the WiFi was quick – in all, it was a pleasurable experience!!
(Or, should I say, experiences)
Please forgive me for the length of today’s Blog, but we leave Erfurt in the morning.