Saturday, October 23, 2010

Bavarian Dream Vacation - Day 3, Augsburg

This is part 3 of a series. Check out Part 1 and Part 2

For reference, here's the map:

View Bavaria Things To See in a larger map

Day 3 - Augsburg
Most people I know who travel to Germany hit the larger cities and the popular tourist spots. One place which is often overlooked is the beautiful, ancient city of Augsburg. Founded by Caesar Augustus over 2000 years ago, Augsburg has been an important central stop on major trade routes since that time. There are many interesting and historic sites to see there. Augsburg is a convenient day trip from Munich, being only about an hour one-way by train from the Munich Main Tran Station. Ask about special one-day round trip fares (Sonderrueckfahrkarte) when you purchase your tickets.

I have to add a little disclaimer here - one of the reasons I love Augsburg so much is because I lived there for three years. I know it rather well and it holds a special place in me. With that, here are my must-see suggestions for Augsburg:
  • Transportation Around Augsburg - From the Augsburg Hauptbahnhof, take the 3 or 4 streetcar to Konigsplatz, then change to the 2 line which will take you to the first suggested stop ...
  • Mozarthaus Augsburg - This was not the home of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, but rather was the home of his father, Leopold Mozart. The elder Mozart was born in Augsburg. It's an interesting historical site. Stop at the Mozarthaus stop on the 2 streetcar line.
  • The Cathedral - The Dom Unserer Lieben Frau  in Augsburg is a site to behold. From the outside you can see the different architectural styles which were common as each part was built over the centuries. Inside, under the main altar, you can climb down the stairs and see the original catacombs where early Christians met. Another interesting feature is just to the south of the site. An ancient Roman bath was discovered while workers were digging trenches to lay steam pipes under that part of the city. There are many examples of Augustine-era statues and artwork displayed in a shelter near the bath.
  • The Perlach Tower - The Perlachturm sits across from the Rathausplatz and next to the City Hall (Rathaus). It's a bit of a climb, but the tower offers one of the best vistas of Augsburg and the surrounding area. 
  • Augsburg City Hall - The Augsburger Rathaus is right next to the Perlachturm. While most of the building houses the official city offices, the highlight of the building is the Goldenen Hall on the top floor. The Hall was painstakingly restored after World War II, even down to repainting the trim in 14k gold leaf paint. The hall is open to tourists during normal business hours unless there is an official function taking place. 
  • St. Ann Church - The St. Anna Kirche has an interesting place in history. It was one of the places Martin Luther hid while he translated the Bible from Latin to German. You can visit the attic room which served as his home and work room. The church itself is set up to be half Lutheran and half Catholic. On one end of the building is the Lutheran alter where those services are held. On the other end is the Catholic altar where mass is done. The Sunday services alternate and the backs of the benches flip over to allow one to comfortably sit and face the desired altar. It's really quite interesting.
  • Fuggerei - The Fuggers were an important merchant family based in Augsburg. As one of their charitable efforts, Jakob Fugger built a home where the poor could live for a nominal fee so long as they agreed to pray for the souls of the Fugger family each day. The community still exists, and people still live there for an annual fee of 0.88 Euros. The Fuggers are an interesting historical family and the Fuggerei is an interesting place to visit.
  • The Roman Museum - As I mentioned above, Augsburg was founded by Caesar Augustus. Because of that, building projects in and around the city quite often also end up being archeological sites. The Römisches Museum Augsburg is where many of the uncovered historical articles are on display. It is filled with everything from statues of Roman gods to sewing needles. This is a "can't miss" visit for the history buff.
  • Basilica of St. Ulrich and Afra - Although, perhaps, not as historical as the Cathedral, the Basilika St. Ulrich und Afra is, nonetheless, a great place to visit. An ornate and beautiful building, St. Ulrich is entombed in the basement. 
Unfortunately, it appears that my favorite places to eat, however I suggest the Sieben Schwaben Stuben as a place to catch lunch. It's between St. Anne's and the Rathausplatz.

That wraps up my 3-Day Bavarian dream trip. I hope you found it helpful.

Please feel free to drop your Augsburg tour tips in the comments.

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