Bremen – Germany, Europe
The City Municipality of Bremen (German: Stadtgemeinde Bremen) is a Hanseatic city in northwestern Germany. A commercial and industrial city with a major port on the river Weser, Bremen is part of the Bremen-Oldenburg metropolitan area (2.4 million people). Bremen is the second most populous city in North Germany and tenth in Germany.
Bremen is some 60 km (37 mi) south from the Weser mouth on the North Sea. With Bremerhaven right on the mouth the two comprise the state of Bremen (official name: Freie Hansestadt Bremen – Free Hanseatic City of Bremen).
- Many of the sights in Bremen are found in the Altstadt (Old Town), an oval area surrounded by the Weser River, on the southwest, and the Wallgraben, the former moats of the medieval city walls, on the northeast. The oldest part of the Altstadt is the southeast half, starting with the Marktplatz and ending at the Schnoor quarter.
- The Marktplatz (Market square) is dominated by the opulent façade of the Town Hall of Bremen. The building was erected between 1405 and 1410 in Gothic style, but the façade was built two centuries later (1609–12) in Renaissance style. The Town Hall is the seat of the President of the Senate of Bremen. Today, it hosts a restaurant in original decor with gigantic wine barrels, the Ratskeller in Bremen, and the wine lists boasts more than 600 — exclusively German — wines. It is also home of the twelve oldest wines in the world, stored in their original barrels in the Apostel chamber. In July 2004, along with the Bremen Roland, the building was added to the list of UNESCO World Heritage Sites.
- Two statues stand to the west side of the Town Hall: one is the statue Bremen Roland (1404) of the city’s protector, Roland, with his view against the Cathedral and bearing Durendart, the “sword of justice” and a shield decorated with an imperial eagle. The other near the entrance to the Ratskeller is Gerhard Marcks’ bronze sculpture (1953) Die Stadtmusikanten (Town Musicians) which portrays the donkey, dog, cat and rooster of the Grimm Brothers’ fairy tale.
- Other interesting buildings in the vicinity of the Marktplatz are the Schütting, a 16th-century Flemish-inspired guild hall, and the Stadtwaage, the former weigh house (built in 1588), with an ornate Renaissance façade. The façades and houses surrounding the market square were the first buildings in Bremen to be restored after World War II, by the citizens of Bremen themselves.
- The impressive Cathedral St. Petri (13th century), to the east of the Marktplatz, with sculptures of Moses and David, Peter and Paul and Charlemagne.
- The Liebfrauenkirche (Our Lady’s Church) is the oldest church of the town (11th century). Its crypt features several impressive murals from the 14th century .
- Off the south side of the Markplatz, the 110 m (120 yd) Böttcherstraße was transformed in 1923–1931 by the coffee magnate Ludwig Roselius, who commissioned local artists to convert the narrow street (in medieval time, the street of the barrel makers) into an inspired mixture of Gothic and Art Nouveau. It was considered “entartete Kunst” (degenerate art) by the Nazis. Today, the street is one of Bremen’s most popular attractions.
- At the end of Böttcherstraße, by the Weser bank, stands the Martinikirche (St Martin’s Church), a Gothic brick church built in 1229, and rebuilt in 1960 after its destruction in World War II.
- Tucked away between the Cathedral and the river is the Schnoor, a small, well-preserved area of crooked lanes, fishermen’s and shipper’s houses from the 17th and 18th centuries, now occupied by cafés, artisan shops and art galleries.
- Schlachte, the medieval harbour of Bremen (the modern port is some kilometres downstream) and today a riverside boulevard with pubs and bars aligned on one side and the banks of Weser on the other.