Discover Braunschweig - allow yourself about 2 hours for this relaxing stroll through the city. The route takes you a numerous places of interest, through narrow alleyways and enticing streets, across beautiful squares, past historic buildings and modern architecture.
The Burgplatz (Castle Square) is an ensemble of immense historical and cultural importance. Since the 9th century, the Brunone prince’s residence has been located here. In the 12th century, under Duke Henry the Lion, the Burgplatz became the central point of the Guelph power. It is bordered by the Castle Dankwarderode (museum), the St. Blasii cathedral, the classical Vieweghaus (State Museum) and beautiful timber-framed houses. At the central point of the square stands the statue of the lion. The bronze sculpture from the year 1166, once plated with gold, was erected by Henry the Lion as a symbol of his power and jurisdiction and was the first free-standing statue north of the Alps. The original and a selection of the Guelph treasures can be viewed in the Castle Dankwarderode, once Henry the Lion’s residence. The castle was reconstructed in 1887 in accordance with the original layout from 1175.
Today, the former collegiate church on the south side of the Burgplatz is an evangelic Lutheran cathedral. It was erected by Henry the Lion between the years of 1173–1195 as a triple-nave vaulted basilica. The cathedral was designated by Henry the Lion as his burial place, where he was then laid to rest in 1195 next to his wife, Mathilde. The burial place for Otto IV., German emperor and king, son of Henry the Lion, is also in the cathedral. The most important works of art include the Altar of Our Lady (1188), the seven-armed candelabrum (around 1170/80), the carved wooden crucifix from Master Imervard as well as the crypt of Henry the Lion and Mathilde.
... and Platz der Deutschen Einheit.
The neo-gothic Rathaus (town hall) was originally erected by the City Building Councillor Ludwig Winter between the years of 1894–1900. The tower of the Rathaus is 61 metres high, has 161 steps and offers a wonderful view across the city rooftops. During the week, the tower can be climbed from 9am to 3pm. The entrance to the Rathaus is adorned with numerous tracery windows; these are framed by four figures which depict the fields of science, art, manual trades and commerce. On the adjoining Platz der Deutschen Einheit, a fragment of the Berlin wall can be seen. This commemorates the 20th anniversary of the reunification on the 3rd October, 2010.
The Residenzschloss (Ducal Palace) was badly damaged in World War II and was then completely demolished in 1960. The building was reconstructed using many original facade sections and was re-opened in 2007. The Ducal Palace accommodates the city library and archives, the city’s cultural institute and the Palace Museum. As with the historic palace, the portico of the Residenzschloss is crowned with a chariot and horses. It is the largest quadriga in Europe and depicts the goddess of the city, Brunonia, at the reins. The group, cast in silicon bronze, is more than 9m high, 7.5m wide and 9.5m long and weighs 25.8t. The quadriga can be viewed via a visitors’ platform. The entrance to the stairs and lift can be found to the right of the portico. Viewing is possible in summer from 10am to 8pm and in winter from 10am to 4.30pm. The two equestrian statues on the Schlossplatz (Palace Square) depict Duke Carl Wilhelm Ferdinand of Braunschweig (1735–1806) and his son Friedrich Wilhelm (1771–1815).
The Magniviertel area is among the oldest quarters in the city. With its many timberframed houses, it exhibits its own rustic charm. In stark contrast to this is the colourful “Happy RIZZI House”, on the corner of street Georg-Eckert-Straße, which was designed by the New York artist James Rizzi and is used as an office building. Around the Magni church, which was reconstructed in 1956, are numerous well-maintained houses and charming little streets, such as the Herrendorftwete at the Magnitor (Magni gateway) to the east of St. Magni, all of which add to the delight of a stroll through the historic quarter. The Municipal Museum on Löwenwall invites you to enjoy its comprehensive collection of exhibits from Braunschweig’s artistic and cultural history, as well as temporary exhibitions and events.
In the centre of the Ägidien marketplace is the Ägidien church. The original Romanic Benedictine church from 1115 and the monastery buildings were damaged in the great city fire of 1278 and a new building in Gothic cathedral style was erected. The church is the only example of early Gothic cathedral architecture in Braunschweig. To the north of the church, the Ägidien market was established as a marketplace for the mediaeval district of Altewiek. The marketplace is surrounded by a number of interesting, widely-differing buildings. To the south of the church, at street Spohrplatz 7, Braunschweig‘s oldest remaining timber-framed building can be found. It was built in 1357 and was the birthplace of the composer Louis Spohr.
The Kohlmarkt (Coal Market) played a key role in Braunschweig’s early days as a junction of major mediaeval trading routes. Today, it is a popular meeting place and location for numerous events. Its character is formed by the diversity of architecture and historic facades which document its rich history. Particularly worth seeing are the façades of the buildings “Haus zum goldenen Stern” and “Haus zur Rose” on the corner of street Schuhstraße as well as the “Haus zur Sonne” on the opposite side.
This square was built in the 12th century and was the venue for the main and annual markets, for fairs and executions and for mediaeval tournaments, parades and processions. Today, the Martini church (12th–14th centuries), the Gewandhaus (textile trade house) and the Altstadtrathaus (old town hall) still offer a unique backdrop for the traditional weekly market. The Altstadtrathaus, today a museum, is one of the most beautiful Gothic architectural monuments in the city. The historic trade reference measurement – the “Braunschweiger Elle” – is embedded in the wall of its portico. The Marienbrunnen fountain (1408) and the old Customs’ and Defence House (1643) are also extremely worth seeing. The adjoining Gewandhaus from 1590 served as warehouse and sales platform for the cloth merchants, the most distinguished guild in the old town. The east facade is one of the most significant examples of Renaissance architecture in Braunschweig.
The Jakob Bower was built from rubblestone in 1250 and is one of the oldest secular buildings in Braunschweig. It was maintained as a ruin after the Second World War and in 2006 it was carefully restored with an extension which was added in a consciously modern design. This takes the place of the original front building and displays a façade made of rusting CORTEN weathering steel.
The centre of this historical district is the Michaelis Church that was dedicated in 1157 and was one of the parish churches of the purlieus Altstadt. Here you can detect a characteristic urban landscape that was typical for Braunschweig right up to the destruction in the war. It was a high-density area and you can encounter numerous building periods. Along Güldenstraße, Prinzenweg and Echternstraße numerous historically valuable buildings, most of them half-timbered, were preserved.
St. Bartholomäus was built as a parish church for the old town which had been extended toward the north at the end of the 12th century. It took the form of a Romanesque village church. In the 14th and 15th centuries, it was converted to gothic style and the west section was given two peaked tower roofs, which were removed again in the 19th century. After the Second World War, the church was rebuilt through to 1953 with a plain interior.
A building predating the former Franciscan Abbey originates from the 13th century. The new gothic building of a typically towerless mendicant order church was constructed from 1345 to 1452. Of the medieval abbey complex, the three-wing gothic cloister, the register and a small chapel still remain. The inside of the church is richly equipped with a choir loft (end of the 14th century), a high altar (from 1380 to 1400) and a baptismal font from 1440.