The 2011 Three Musketeers was filmed here at the Alte Hofhaltung in Bamberg…now I must watch it again! We walked past the old town hall, which was closed for renovations.Interesting tidbit: In 1459 the first book printed in the German language was published in Bamberg.
“To commemorate the Jewish citizens and those who have done during the National – Socialist violent domination resisted, ignored, persecuted and murdered.”
The old town hall is opposite the Queen Kunigunda statue on the Alte Rathaus bridge; they are just down the road from the New Residence.I wandered through the royal Rose Garden of the New Residence Bamberg, which was first created in 1703. In 1733 the garden was laid out the way it is today by designer Balthasar Neumann under the direction of Prince-Bishop Friedrich Carl von Schönborn.The sculptures were completed in the winter of 1760/61, but have been replaced by copies to preserve the originals. Some of the roses are the most beautiful I have ever seen. The garden is lined with lime tress and around 4500 roses bloom every summer! There is also a wonderful view of Michaelsberg Abbey. The Bamberg Cathedral (official name Bamberger Dom St. Peter und St. Georg) was completed in the 13th century. It is a late Romanesque building with four large towers. It was founded in 1002 by Emperor Henry II and finished in 1012. In 1081 it was partially destroyed, but was reconsecrated in 1111 and received its present late-Romanesque form in the 13th century. The Cathedral took so long to be constructed that several styles were used in different parts of the cathedral: Romanesque, Gothic, and in the middle is the Transitional style; this is the style which is characteristic of the nave.^ This is my favorite picture of my entire trip. It is like The Past shining light to show the way for Now and The Future. We can learn from Past (if we want to) and it will guide us to a better future. However, God MUST be a part of Present and Future for Past to guide in any way.
The Second Coming of Christ is a fresco in the apse of the east choir and was painted by Karl Caspar in 1927/28. In the west choir stands The Crucifixion of Christ; it is gold plated limewood plated and was created by Justus Glesker in 1649.One more treasure of the cathedral is an equestrian statue, the Bamberg Horseman (Bamberger Reiter). It was created around 1235 by an unknown craftsman, and it is unknown who the rider is, although there are many theories about that. You can read more about it here. From the Cathedral’s brochure: In Bamberg Cathedral, the central house of worship in the diocese of Bamberg, God is our opposite and our host. We are all invited to accept Him and His presence.
to save Him,
to touch Him,
to know He is with us.
Here He hears our prayers,
here we celebrate Him,
here you are close to Him,
here you are in His presence.
We are creations,
He is the creator,
We are the people,
He is God.
Meissen is famous for the manufacture of porcelain. Meissen porcelain was the first high quality porcelain to be produced outside of the Orient, established by King Augustus the Strong in 1710. The mathematician and physicist Ehrenfried Walther Graf von Tschirnhaus and the alchemist Johann Friedrich Boettger had succeeded in manufacturing the first white European porcelain in 1708. This porcelain was called “White Gold” was of great significance, because of the Chinese monopoly in this market.
Visiting the porcelain manufacturing building and taking the tour was one of the highest of highlights of my trip – so much so that I went through twice! This will easily be the longest post about my trip because there’s so much I learned! Once going through the tour made it apparent WHY Meissen porcelain is SO famous and WHY is COSTS SO MUCH!!The onion pattern is the most famous pattern created, and has been used by many other companies trying to imitate Meissen Porcelain. Its signature logo, the crossed swords, was introduced in 1720 to protect its production and was added to the onion design. The crossed swords is one of the oldest trademarks in existence and is on each piece created here.Not only dish ware is created – large pieces such as this sad lion have been created and a selection can be seen in the upstairs museum. The yellow tea service set was made in 1722. There are also many figurines with intricate details of both molding and painting.The teapot with all the flowers? Each flower was individually hand made and applied to the tea pot and then hand painted.A sculpture of discarded pieces is on display and was amazing to look at each side and see all the little hidden elements!On the first stop of the tour, we watched a short video showing how the elements are mined, broken down, and then mixed together in a water slurry. After the 3 ingredients are well mixed, the water is spun out leave the clay which can be stored up to nine months before being created into a delicate porcelain something. I was mesmerized in the second room by watching the clay being formed by hand into a plain cup and then formed in the centuries old mold, removing excess clay to form the delicately thin clay. The clay dries in it’s mold for 30 minutes and is then removed. The base and handle are added using slip (some of the clay without the excess water taken out). After firing, each piece is only 65% of it’s original size! In another room of the tour, we witnessed another artist hand carving part of a statue. We also saw how each little ivy leaf is created in a mold and then added to the statue with slip, piece by piece. Some details, like roses and more detailed flowers, are created lovingly by hand – without any kind of mold! The third room of the tour taught how each piece is hand painted, how the colors used change dramatically during firing, and there were many examples of how paints change in firing. The steps to just make one plate are extensive, and require many years of training for each artist. When a piece is painted before firing, any paint that is applied cannot be removed, so perfection is a must!The gold paint used is 90% pure gold and looks very dark before firing. After a piece with gold is fired, the gold is hand polished to give it the bright lustre seen at the bottom of the sample plate. It is only after these steps that a piece can be sold! The last stop of the tour before the shops was watching another artist paint an already glazed and fired plate. At this time, paint is not permanent until it is fired. Multiple colors require multiple firings as only one color at a time is applied. The only exception to this is in scenery, which is all painted at once.
For more information on the history of porcelain manufacturing in Meissen, check out their website!
Albrechtsburg is Germany’s oldest castle and was a trendsetter in it’s time! Even now, it is amazing to set eyes on. Albrechtsburg overlooks the city of Meissen and towers above the mighty Elbe river.Albrechtsburg was incredible to tour! Although the audio tour gets a little long in the end, it was interesting learning so much about the castle and Germany’s history. In one room, we had to wear slippers to help preserve the original wood flooring, which was beautiful. Albrechtsburg was redecorated in the 19th century with murals depicting Saxon history, which were really neat to see as I heard about it. The first one pictured was the coronation of a king. The second one depicts the Duke kidnapping the two princes, while their nursemaid was trying to protect them. The Wettin brothers Ernst and Albrecht commissioned master builder Arnold von Westfalen to build the castle to be a sign of power and wealth. He succeeded and also set European standards, a trendsetter in terms of architecture, vaulting, window and staircase design, among other things.The castle was built between 1472 and 1525 and is built in the late-Gothic style and was the first castle built solely as a residence. The Prince’s Chapel was very beautiful and lavishly painted. It was designed with six pillars, each to represent an aspect of God’s faithfulness. The room has five pillars and a spot for the believer to stand, becoming the sixth pillar. The ceilings are most amazing. Each room was painted differently; there was one room which wasn’t painted at all. It was quite stunning in it’s unpainted glory. Meissen porcelain was made inside this castle for 150 years, established in 1710 by King Augustus II the Strong; however, the production as making the castle literally fall apart, so the factory was moved to it’s own location in downtown Meissen in 1863. Even the walls in each room are painted with it’s own unique decoration. The windows were all made in either a diamond or circle cutouts. This was done so if a window broke only the broken pieces had to be replaced, not the whole window! The spiral staircase was one of my favorite features of the castle. This is the top of the stairs; and almost to the bottom, where they curve out instead of in; and looking into the center of the spiral from the bottom of the stairs.“The Artist who does not conceive of a staircase as something fantastic is not an artist.” – Gio PontiHere is a link to watch a quick video about the castle.