Nuremberg is one of Germany’s most traditional cities and remains one of the country’s most important cities. It gets its name from the word nor, which means “stony rock” and refers to the Keuper rock together with the Burg or “castle.” It is remarkable that the settlement enjoyed market rights from the outset and very quickly became important for the Holy Roman Empire of the German Nation. Numerous Roman-German Emperors lived in Nuremberg for at least some of the time, including Charles IV, who promulgated the famous Golden Bull in 1356, establishing the constitutional structure of the Holy Roman Empire.
Following the end of the Holy Roman Empire in 1806, Nuremberg came under Bavarian rule and developed into one of the industrial centers of the kingdom. In 1835, the Adler became the first train to carry passengers between Nuremberg and Fürth. Nuremberg became a center for numerous industries in the 19th century, manufacturing toys, model railroads, machinery, electric apparatus, two-wheelers, and pencils, among other things. Germany’s first ever bicycle factory was also in Nuremberg.
Rather inglorious, on the other hand, was the role played by the city at the time of the National Socialists: Although it was a center of social democracy on account of its industrial character, the NSDAP had been holding its rallies in Nuremberg since the 1920s. Following the Nazis’ seizure of power in the Reich in 1933, the city became one of the most important locations for NS propaganda – and once the war had ended, it was the setting for the Nuremberg trials. After the Second World War, Nuremberg experienced another upswing – numerous traditional German brands such as Siemens-Schuckert, Schöller, MAN, Zündapp, and Triumph-Adler inspired a boom and helped the city to develop into an important location for trade fairs. Nuremberg is also home to the Gesellschaft für Konsumforschung (GfK), Germany’s largest market research institute and responsible for compiling data on TV viewing figures.
When it comes to sport, however, Nuremberg has witnessed a decline: 1.FC Nürnberg, the city’s football team, has gone from being Germany’s record title winner (nine titles, only surpassed in 1987 by Bayern Munich – of all clubs, laments the proud Franconian!) to the club with the record number of relegations at the time of writing, having been relegated from Germany’s top flight on no fewer than nine occasions. In addition, 1.FC Nürnberg has also achieved the “impressive” feat of being the only reigning German champion to have been relegated from the Bundesliga. Furthermore, in 2008, the club was relegated as reigning cup holder – another stunning “achievement” and further confirmation of the resigned saying that is widespread in Nuremberg: “The club is so dumb!”
Fortunately, the city offers plenty of other distractions – and not just for football fans. Culture vultures and lovers of architecture will certainly get their money’s worth at Nuremberg Castle, one of Europe’s most important fortifications, the medieval Holy Spirit Hospital, and the numerous churches dating back to the Gothic, Renaissance, baroque, rococo, and classical periods. Talking of churches and religion, Nuremberg’s Christmas market in December is one of the biggest of its kind in Germany and one of the world’s most famous, attracting over two million visitors.
And in a city where the Christmas market is so important, Christmas treats also play a big role: Nuremberg lebkuchen and fruitcake are famous in the city and far beyond, as is another less seasonal specialty, which is nonetheless still served at the Christmas market: bratwurst. And in contrast to the rest of the country, it is by no means suggestive when the “naked” option is ordered from the menu: You don’t then get the local naturist club brought to your table, but rather the inner part of the bratwurst, served on buttered bread.
One fine legend that has been passed down from the age of the robber baron involves one such robber baron named Eppelein, who relieved the Nuremberg merchants of a great deal of their money. As a young man, he was in love with Agnes, who was the same age. He had already been sentenced to death by hanging for his raids, but when he heard that his beloved Agnes was to marry, he hatched a cunning plan. At the wedding reception, a guard stumbled into the celebrations covered in blood and groaned: “It was Eppelein. He was trying to escape.” When the guests gave chase, only Agnes remained behind. The guard then suddenly stood up and wiped the blood away. In actual fact, it was strawberry purée. The daring outlaw then stole a kiss from the bride. Eppelein had his kiss, the knights attempted to apprehend him, but he jumped with his horse at the foot of the pentagon-shaped tower over the wall into the castle moat and got away. If you look carefully, you can still see the hoof print to this day.
Legends aside, we have once again carefully compiled a list of what else there is to see and do in Nuremberg:
Restaurant: Australian Bar & Kitchen (www.australianbar.de/Australian-Bar-Kitchen-Nürnberg.html)
The Australian Bar & Kitchen is not just highly recommended for fans of the German version of I’m a Celebrity … shown on RTL. However, in contrast to the “jungle” the specialties here are freshly prepared. They include “Catch the Hopper,” a variation on delicious grasshoppers, and the Ayers Rock Burger, with 200 grams of thinly sliced kangaroo fillet, fried speck, and cream cheese topping.
Restaurant: La Cultura (www.la-cultura.de)
With its cozy atmosphere and excellent selection of wines, La Cultura is the right place for those who prefer more traditional Italian cuisine. The Saltimbocca alla Romana – veal with Parma ham and fresh sage, served with vegetables and potatoes – simply has to be tried.
Restaurant Röslein (www.bratwurst-roeslein.de)
Since we have been rhapsodizing about the Franconian bratwurst, it goes without saying that a restaurant with traditional German cuisine should be included on the list: At the Röslein there is Nuremberg bratwurst goulash in spicy tomato and pepper sauce and fresh egg noodles. What’s more, you immediately feel at home in this rustic and cozy atmosphere.
Bar: Skybar (www.admiral-filmpalast.de/skybar.html)
You really have reached the top in the Skybar. The 120 different cocktail creations immediately taste even better thanks to the breathtaking view over the rooftops of Nuremberg. And if you feel a little hungry, there is a selection of salads, burgers, pasta, and other dishes. Those who would rather meet for a cup of coffee and a slice of cake instead of enjoying the nightlife will also find what they are looking for here.
Bar: dieroteBar (www.dierotebar.net)
Those who prefer things a little unconventional will feel at home in the dieroteBar. The website reads: “Die rote Bar is a temple of calm and a place to seek refuge from everything normal. The eccentric decor is as much a part of the concept as the fantastic drinks and free peanuts. The most friendly and quick-witted bar staff are an indispensable part of our philosophy.” Over 120 highballs and spirits alongside 54 other drinks also speak for themselves.
Hotel: dasPaul (www.daspaul.com)
dasPaul is situated in the heart of Nuremberg with an excellent link to the nearby U-Bahn station. This three-star hotel is ideal for exploring the city on account of its location, and on summer days the beer garden is the perfect way of rounding off the day.
Hot spot: Germanisches Nationalmuseum
How did our ancestors live in past centuries? A trip to the Germanische Nationalmuseum will provide numerous answers to such questions. Here you can forget about the hustle and bustle of the city for a couple of hours and learn something at the same time. A little tip: Every Wednesday from 6 p.m. you can explore the past free of charge until 9 p.m.
Hot spot: Alter Kanal
This recreational area is ideal for exploring by bike; after a roughly 25-kilometer ride, you can stop off at a beer garden and order some delicious food to replenish your energy. The canal has its charm at any time of the year, but is especially nice in summer when nature is in full bloom and all kinds of creatures can be seen. Also not to be overlooked is the fantastic sunrise and sunset, which can be witnessed on the banks of the canal.