Augsburg Town Hall - an important renaissance style building

Categories: Sightseeing, Cultural and History

Augsburg Rathaus
Augsburg Rathaus

[ source: Wikipedia]

Towering above the town square at the center of the city, the Augsbug Town Hall is one of the most important, secular buildings in the Renaissance style located north of the Alps. It was designed by Elias Holl, the master builder of the city of Augsburg (Augsburg vacation rentals | Augsburg travel guide), to replace the original town hall, which had been built in 1385. In the early 17th century, the town leaders decided to build a new town hall to accommodate the Imperial Reichstag, which was located in Augsburg at this time. The cornerstone for the new building was laid in 1615, and the final interior spaces were completed in 1624. The building was considered a technological pioneer at its time, since it was the first structure in the world to have more than six floors. The stonework on the exterior of the town hall was inspired by the architecture of Florence, with which Augsburg liked to draw parallels.

Of particular note among the interior spaces of the Augsburg Town Hall are the 2-storied Golden Hall and the adjacent Princes' Rooms. The Golden Hall has opulent murals, a coffered and richly decorated ceiling, and ornate door frames. The Princes' Rooms, four in number, were also elegantly decorated and contained richly carved furniture.

The Thirty Years' War (1618-1648) marked a major turning point for the Augsburg Town Hall. After this conflict, the Reichstag began to convene in a variety of cities, thus ending Augsburg's significance as an imperial city. World War II also heralded changed circumstances for the town hall. During the British bombing of Augsburg in 1944, the town hall was struck by incendiary bombs. The exterior was totally destroyed, and some of the interior rooms, including the Golden Hall and the Princes' Rooms, were heavily damaged. The Augsburg Town Hall was rebuilt after the war and was restored to most of its original glory in the early 1980s.

Today the town hall holds exhibits about the history of Augsburg, as well as exhibits on a variety of historic and current political topics. The Golden Hall is used for concerts, ceremonies, and receptions. Because of its cultural and historical significance, the Augsburg Town Hall is protected by the Hague Convention for the Protection of Cultural Property in the Event of Armed Conflict.

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About this Article

Rachel Hildebrandt

This travel guide has been written by Rachel Hildebrandt.

Starting with her first trip to Germany at the age of 16, Rachel has traveled, worked, and studied in Germany extensively. Although her first encounter with German culture was in Lower Saxony, since that time the focus of her subsequent work as a freelance historian and translator has shifted eastward. Building on her graduate studies in Dresden, Rachel has worked for a variety of German foundations as a historian and translator, and is currently pursuing research pertaining to the Sorbs in Lusatia (eastern Saxony).

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Location, Map, and Driving Directions

Location: Rathausplatz 2, 86150 Augsburg, Germany

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