13 October 2006

Nuremberg, and Its Nazi Relics

As promised in the previous post, here are photos and details from the excursion this past Sunday to Nuremberg.

First some basic backgroud information. Nuremberg lies in the northern part of Bavaria, again the federal German state home to Eichstaett and Munich. As most other cities in Germany, it dates back to the Middle Ages, and many historic buildings from this time period remain in the city center. Before traveling to the city I only knew of it through two reasons: it is the home for the most famous Christmas Market in Germany, and the Nazi war crimes tribunal took place here after World War II. I soon learned that its Nazi related history goes much deeper.

Nuremberg was the site of the Nazi Days Festivals durning the 1930s. The three day festival would take place once a year on fairgrounds larger in area than the city center of Nuremberg. The Nazis produced plans that called for a grand complex of monumental civic buildings and intricate gardens on the fairgrounds. They began work on many of the buildings and and roads, but construction halted when the war started in 1939. The largest of the buildings planned, but which never left the drawing board, was stadium that could have seated 550,000 people. By comparison, the largest stadium today stands in Mexico City and seats around 200,000 people. Time and shame brought the fairgrounds to a present state of delapidation. For instance, what was to be a grand boulevard leading into the heart of the fairgrounds, and paid for with 12,000,000 Deustsch Marks, is now a public parking lot.

In these pictures is the Nazi Congress Hall. It was designed after the Coliseum in Rome.

Hitler had a thing for the Rome, and he wanted to mimic its grand design with monuments of the Third Reich that would last millenia. If only he could see the state in which his proud buildings lie in now.

These pictures show the main festivale grounds, now soccer fields. The concrete bleachers overlook the current soccer fields.

From these bleachers Hitler would look out over his minions and deliver his typical rhetoric.

During the Festival one could find soldiers and military vehicles on parade around this section of the grounds. This area was also home to the Festival games, which included competitions such as hand granade tossing and 100 meter dashes while wearing gas masks. I lauged at first too, but then our tour guide showed us pictures and I realized she was serious.

The good news is that Nuremberg is looking for new uses for the fairgrounds, most of which is now a sub-par public park. The National Nazi Document Center is also located on the property, and has public muesum attached with it.

So now let's move on to a cherrier topic, like bratwurst.

After the Document Center and fairgrounds tour we went to the city center and had free time for lunch. Some of the other students and I found a good street vendor selling, what else, but a variety of wursts.

I got an order of the nurembergerwursts, a local speciality as the name suggests. A nurembergerwurst is basically a small bratwurst, or sausage. Of course they came with kraut and a roll on the side.

Oh, were those little links of meat ever so good. As you can see in the very unflattering photo below, Nawell couldn't even take the time to get it all in her mouth.

Displeased with that shot, she demanded a less impromptu one. Behind her Amilie looks on with confusion, and Marine stares down the street.

In these pictures are some views of the old city center . . .

. . . and the cathedral.

Here is the Marktplatz, or Market Place, where the famous Nuremberg Christmas Market takes place every year. Christmas Markets are very popular in German cities and towns during the holiday season. There are vendors that sell traditional sweets, crafts, food, and, as you may have guessed, beer.

As one last interesting thing to note, Nuremberg was also the home for the famous painter Albret Duerchter. He painted mostly animals and plants, and one of his most famous paintings is of a rabbit, maybe you know of it.

At the end of the day we all met back up at the train station and headed back to Eichstaett.


Anonymous said...

Nicholas, I think I told you that I am a huge fan of Albrecht Dürer (as we Americans spell it). He was also responsible for the "Knight, Death, and the Devil" engraving. One of my favorite pieces of art. If you ever go back to Nuremburg, I'd really like it if you could pass on anything about him . . . his upbringing, how long was he in Nuremburg, just anything that seems interesting.

Of course you can email me anything of interest, rather than boring the rest of your dedicated fans.


DaddyO said...

Nicholas, how long is the train ride to Nuremburg? Mom and I would like to go there during Christmas.

Anonymous said...

sound facinating!
thanks for the amazing updates.
plus i'm just alittle bit jelous of the german food you get. kiwis eat pies, mince pies. i want german food. lol.

Nick O. said...

Austin: My memory could have failed and perhaps I spelt his name wrong. He seemed to be a very strong point of pride for the Nuremberg, one can find his artwork all over the place in the city. His rabbit painting appers to be the most popular in the city.

Daddyo: The train ride is about 2-3 hours.

Ing: Please you at least get seafood. Processed meat does get a little old after a while. Hope NZ is treating you well.