Hamelin, the legend of Pied Piper and Weser Renaissance architecture

Categories: Family and Kids, Sightseeing, Cultural and History

Stiftsherrenhaus at the city of Hamelin
Stiftsherrenhaus at the city of Hamelin

[ source: Wikipedia]

Embedded in the gentle hills of the Weser Mountains Region, left and right of the river Weser, lies the beautiful and enchanting little town of Hamelin. Discover the Crown of the Weser Renaissance with its colorful historical buildings and learn about the legend of the Pied Piper, a fairy tale inspired by the Brothers Grimm.

Hamelin, in Lower Saxony, is located in the heart of the Weser Mountains Nature Park. The mountains have the same name as the river Weser, which divides the town of Hamelin (Hamelin vacation rentals | Hamelin travel guide) in 2 parts. The river Weser has always been an important waterway to the North Sea and Hamelin profited as early as in the Middle Ages by becoming a very rich town. As a result successful businessmen in Hamelin constructed outstanding buildings with complex and beautiful decorations. To get to know Hamelin a bit better take a 2 hours walk through the picturesque sandstone and half-timbered houses of the 16-18th century and the charming small side-streets.

The Weser-Renaissance is the lighter approach to the more serious Italian architecture style

You can find buildings representing the Weser-Renaissance-style of the 16th and early 17th century along the river Weser and especially in Hamelin they shaped the townscape. Significant features of this architecture are the spectacular and abounding, subdivided facades of the patrician houses with scrolls, pyramids, obelisk, decorations of globes, fine chiseled stones, ornamented wooden friezes with coats of arms, masks and envy heads. This type of architecture also includes protruding bay-windows, the Utluchten. Famous houses in Hamelin built in the Weser-Renaissance-style are the Hochzeitshaus, house of marriage, built in 1610-17, the Dempterhaus, 1607-08, the Leisthaus, 1585-89, the Stiftsherrenhaus from 1558 and the Rieckesche Haus from 1568. This was the first house built in the Weser-Renaissance-style in Hamelin. Maybe the most famous houses is the Rattenfängerhaus, Pied Piper's House, dating back to 1602-1603.

The legend of the Pied Piper has made Hamelin famouus worldwide.

Most of the fairy tales we know today were inspired by the Brothers Grimm, including in Hamelin, which is primarily famous for the legend of the Pied Piper. Hamelin's history even starts with this dark chapter, with the first entry from 1384 in the town chronicles, stating: It is 10 years since our children left. The earliest mention of the story seems to have been on a stained glass window placed in the Church of Hamelin around 1300. It has been destroyed in later centuries and based on the surviving descriptions; a modern reconstruction of the window has been created. The easy to follow Rat Trail, thousands of rats mark your way through the towns walkways and alleys, will lead you to all highlights of this remarkable town. Don't miss the Clockwork Figures and Glockenspiel, which may be seen and heard three times a day at 1:05 p.m., 3:35 p.m., and 5:35 p.m., the glass window in the Market Church, the Historical Inscription on the Pied Piper's House, the Fountain in the Osterstrasse, the Easter-street, and the Pied Piper Relief in the Bürgergarten, the Public Park of Hamelin. More mysteries can be discovered at the Pied Piper and Hamelin town museum, which explore the legend in depth. The museum is home right in the middle of the historical center of Hamelin, in the wooden-framed Stiftsherrenhaus and the Leisthaus. Currently under extensive renovation this museum will reopen in 2010.

About this Article

Monika Petra

This travel guide has been written by Monika Petra.

In her own words: When children are born they receive certain gifts to put them to good use or not. In my cradle there must have been at least music and the curiosity for the world we live in. Luckily I could combine those gifts eventually. My live as a jazz vocalist guided me to see and experience many places in Germany and far beyond. As in my music I like to dive in the historical background of given facts, simply to understand the present. During my travel, my circles got wider and wider and since many years I am now living in Thailand, very interesting to say the least. I grew up in Paderborn, lived and studied Jazz in Cologne's Musikhochschule and worked a while in Bayreuth and Kulmbach. My travels throughout Germany took me to all major cities and small towns. It was the people and local differences, be it language, food, traditions and customs, which made it a lot of fun. When finally the wall came down, I was one of those in Berlin posing on the rests of it for the camera. Off course I took the first opportunity to rediscover the new but old states of Germany and finally understood the impact the wall had on all Germans and in regards to the worst part in German history. Being a German living abroad, I discovered in years what I value most about Germany. Rest assured it is a country of rich cultural background still alive today. I visit my home country regularly and stay in touch with my friends, even those back from school. Another thing I always felt passionate about is writing and sharing my experience and thoughts. The internet provides us all with a great opportunity to connect, tell stories, read and learn from others and grow as a global community.

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Location: Deisterallee 1, 31785 Hameln, Germany

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