Here are some touristy photos of Bamberg that I took on 10 and 11 August 1999.

Bamberg is one of the major cities of Franconia (Franken, the northern and larger part of Bavaria). Major in cultural and architectural importance that is; it's not very big, and easy to walk around. (But come to think of it, I found even Munich easy to walk around too.) Population: circa seventy thousand. Number of breweries: ten. Beer consumption per head: higher than that of any other city, at 280 litres per year. It calls itself -- or anyway its brewers call it -- a Bierstadt or even Bierkulturstadt. More to the point, the Rauchbier ("smoke beer") has a distinctive and excellent taste.

[Bamberg Altes Rathaus] Tourist site number one, the Altes Rathaus. This photo shows the old bit. The people on the bridge are photographing each other in front of the mural-painted newer bit. There's a museum inside.

[Bamberg Dom (I think)]A fuzzy photo taken inside the Dom (or Kaiserdom). There are some very famous things here, notably the Bamberger Reiter (unusually early equestrian statue).


The Domplatz (cathedral square) is a spacious and splendid piazza by any standard. The Rough Guide explains that "Unique in Germany, [Bamberg] was headquarters of the prince-bishopric which ruled until the Napoleonic suppression"; which I suppose explains the physical proximity of church and state.

[Dom (Bamberg)]The Dom itself (built c. 1215-37) is hard to photograph even tolerably well unless you have skill, slightly fancy hardware, and patience. Unlike me.

The most prominent building in the top row is the Ratstube, which houses a Historisches Museum. Just to its right is a gateway called the Reiche Tor, which we'll return to a bit later. The vast building in the second row is the Neue Residenz (1697-1703), which contains the Staatsgalerie Bamberg -- a large art gallery with some interesting stuff but also a lot that's very forgettable (or so I suppose, as I've forgotten it) and also other worthy institutions.

[Domplatz (Bamberg)] [Domplatz (Bamberg)] [Domplatz (Bamberg)] [Neue Residenz, Domplatz (Bamberg)] [Neue Residenz, Domplatz (Bamberg)] [Neue Residenz, Domplatz (Bamberg)]

[Neue Residenz, Domplatz (Bamberg)]

The very chimneys of the Neue Residenz are palatial.

[Domplatz (Bamberg)] [Domplatz (Bamberg)]

The Alte Hofhaltung (the old episcopal palace) through the Reiche Tor.

For me, the most fascinating few square meters of piazza frontage are a single ornate arch, the Reiche Tor (imperial gate), starring allegorical figures of the Pegnitz and Main rivers, Heinrich II and Kunigunde (respectively the founder of Bamberg and his girlfriend), and a model of the Dom. Here are five views:

[Reiche Tor, Domplatz (Bamberg)] [Reiche Tor, Domplatz (Bamberg)] [Reiche Tor, Domplatz (Bamberg)] [Reiche Tor, Domplatz (Bamberg)] [Reiche Tor, Domplatz (Bamberg)]

The Great Eclipse

Enjoying lunch at the garden restaurant behind the Neue Residenz, we and those at other tables realized that it was getting somewhat dark. . . .

[Bamberg] [Bamberg] [Bamberg]

[Bamberg] [Bamberg]"I say, chaps, let's view the end of the world."

[darker] [darker] [darker] [darker] [darker]


[lighter] [lighter] [lighter] [lighter] [lighter]

[Bamberg]"Goodness gracious, the world hasn't ended after all."

"Just wait till 'Y2K'."


[Karmelitenkloster (Bamberg)]Away from the deepest tourist ruts is the Karmelitenkloster (Carmelite cloisters). Here's the central courtyard. Below: just a little sample of the great number of carvings on the romanesque capitals.

[Karmelitenkloster (Bamberg)] [Karmelitenkloster (Bamberg)] [Karmelitenkloster (Bamberg)] [Karmelitenkloster (Bamberg)]


Michaelsberg, Michael's mount, Mont St-Michel, etc. At the top is a large church and monastery complex. It contains much that is eminently worthy, not least a museum of brewing. (How was it that I didn't enter?)

[Bamberg]As you walk up the Michaelsberg, you pass a chic coffee shop into which you are invited by this petite person.

[CLICK ME!] [Michaelsberg (Bamberg)] The best-known feature of St.-Michaels-Kirche, the church here, is its extraordinary ceiling, which depicts a plethora of medicinal plants (over 600) -- and not in the usual conventionalized and abstract form but instead with commendable botanical accuracy. Or so I've been told, but the pictures were high up and I lacked opera glasses. No, it's simpler than that: botanically, I'm an appalling ignoramus.

Still more fascinating, at least to an empty-headed tourist such as myself, is the ceiling of an adjoining chapel. In stucco and oils, this depicts skeletons not only wielding scythes and sickles but also blowing bubbles and generally living the good life of a late-Renaissance Franconian burgher. Here, just a few samples of what surely deserves a book to itself:

[Michaelsberg (Bamberg)] [Michaelsberg (Bamberg)] [Michaelsberg (Bamberg)] [Michaelsberg (Bamberg)] [Michaelsberg (Bamberg)] [Michaelsberg (Bamberg)] [Michaelsberg (Bamberg)] [Michaelsberg (Bamberg)] [Michaelsberg (Bamberg)]

Apologies for any spelling mistakes, or worse. Incidentally, the index to the Cadogan Guide to Bavaria (1999 reprint) has no entry for "Bamberg" but does have plenty for "Bamburg", which point to the section about Bamberg; meanwhile, the Rough Guide to Germany (4th ed., 1998) implies that what I've said is atop Michaelsberg is instead somewhere called "Michaelsburg".

Bamberg is on the Main, something to which I didn't pay much attention at the time. Now I see that it's where the 171km Main-Donau-Kanal (Europa-Kanal), completed in 1992, joins the Main. (It's not the first such canal: Charlemagne linked tributaries of the Main and the Danube in 793.) So Bamberg is directly on the slow route between the North Sea and the Black Sea.

Any comments? Corrections? Write to me (Peter Evans), or tell the whole world.

intro | Augsburg | a bit more on Bamberg | Dinkelsbühl | Forchheim | Freising
Friedberg | Landshut | Munich | Regensburg | Straubing | opticians

Other snaps


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