Once upon a time in Goslar
Categories: Sightseeing, Cultural and History
[ source: Flickr]
The history of Goslar reaches far back into the Middle Ages. Goslar’s tale is a simple one, involving a knight, a horse and a hill. More than a millennium ago, a knight named Ramm tied his horse to a tree while he was hunting along a hillside. While he was gone, the horse impatiently dug at the dirt and exposed a large vein of silver. The hill was subsequently named after the knight and the town that sprung up next to it after his wife.
Thankfully, many of those sights remain and are in excellent condition, having been spared from the bombs of war and the wrecking balls of progress. That's why the old town is now a UNESCO listed heritage site. Every gilded house and shuttered window, every shadowy nook and dusty cranny are links to 1,000 years of history. Hans Christian Andersen once stood in the main market square and said he felt “as if I were standing on charmed city earth, of which I had heard so much as a child in many fairytales.”
Those pleasant few days take on an easy rhythm: venturing into the park during the day, lunching at a village inn or picnicking on a bench, and then enjoying the quaint, jewel box old town in the evening. While Goslar (Goslar vacation rentals | Goslar travel guide) does get a lot of tourists, namely the 'senior set,' for the most part they are day-trippers, unloaded from buses for a quick tour of the Kaiserpfalz and a piece of cake at a cafe on the market square. That means Goslar at night is reserved for the locals, once described by a chronicler of a 12th century Pope as “quarrelsome, obstinate and restless fellows.”
But this couldn't be farther from the truth, as proven by the recent history of Goslar. The town has hit on hard times in recent years, especially since the closing of the Rammelsberg Mine in 1988 (it is now a museum and a UNESCO World Heritage site), but the residents remain friendly and accommodating. They like to sit shoulder to shoulder, quaffing regional brews at the Brauhaus Goslar and the Worthmühle, and are welcoming of strangers who come in pink-cheeked from spending the day in the park.
One part of the old town that lends itself to a fairytale setting is a path that follows the Gose River, from where it enters the old town at the base of the Rammelsberg to where it leaves near the Breites Tor. Along the river, the houses are crooked and bent, curving with the narrow road. They seem to lean against each other for support, still jostling for position after sharing the space for over 500 years. The century old cobblestones have been made smooth by time, and the museum's old water wheel creaks and groans as the river trickles north.
In one of those gilded houses, Goslar's most famous son, chemist Albert Niemann, discovered cocaine. Another house on Bergstrasse belonged to ancestors of the Siemens family and is one of the most splendid in town. A few steps further is the Brusttuch, a half-timbered wonder with a slanted slate roof like a massive witch's hat. Inside, carved into the supporting woodwork, is the Butterhanne, depicting a girl churning butter with one hand and lifting her skirt with the other to moon the devil.
Read the full article about the history of Goslar at thelocal.de
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