Walking in Freiburg
Welcome to the sunniest and warmest city in all of Germany, Freiburg, the gateway to the Black Forest. I love visiting this beautiful city, bordered to the east by forested mountains of the Black Forest. Freiburg’s coat of arms is the St. George Cross (seen in the close up photo of a golden cross in the Munster Platz). The seal of Freiburg features the Wasserschlössle, a castle-like waterworks with its three-towers, trumpeters and fleur-de-lis (as seen in one of the photos in a stone mosaic on the street). Freiburg dates back to medieval times, founded as a free market town in 1120 (Freiburg–“free town”), during the time of Bernard and Hildegard. It her earliest days, Freiburg was under 10,000 population. Today, Freiburg is a modest sized university city of a quarter million, with a world-class university begun by Albrecht VI, a Regent of the Hapsburg Dynasty in 1457, the 5th oldest university in Germany. 19 Nobel Laureates are associated with the University of Freiburg.
The Freiburg Munster, a Gothic design cathedral dating to the 1200s and completed in 1530, survived bombing raids by Allied forces (British Royal Air Force) in November 1944, though many buildings all around the Munster were destroyed. In 1520, the city leaders decided not to participate in the German reformation, and became a center of Roman Catholicism in the upper Rhine region. Today, the Freiburg Munster rises above the rest of Freiburg as one of the central symbols of the city. We worshiped in Freiburg on two consecutive Sundays, including at the Anglican Church of Freiburg on September 20th, an English-speaking church of Christians from around the world, including Hong Kong, Nigeria, South Africa, Colombia, Togo, and elsewhere.
We enjoyed browsing through the Farmer’s Market in the Munster Platz, a market that sets up in this biggest square of Freiburg every day of the week except Sunday. Also at the Munster Platz we listened to a concert of Alpen-Horn players who set up their open air concert in front of the historic Merchant’s Hall built in 1520 (see photo of these players with their long wooden horns). We enjoyed a street-performer making huge bubbles for children to chase on a sunny day in front of the Munster.
Throughout Freiburg, you see little Bächle, waterways or gutters, with running water diverted from the local river, the Dreisam. In hot summer days, children love floating toy boats along these waterways. Photos in this gallery from above Freiburg were taken from a 5th story garden terrace cafe very near the Freiburg Munster, with great views of the Black Forest across the rooftops of this beautiful city. A trip to Freiburg is never complete without a stop at Cafe Schmidt, a chocolate-making shop selling some of the finest chocolate truffles a person can find anywhere in Europe.
Finally, I adore Freiburg’s stone mosaic art, with hundreds of circular stone-art mosaics embedded into the sidewalks. Many of these act as shop signs, with a symbol of that shop. See my recent Facebook Photo Gallery of these stone mosaics. The first stone mosaics of Freiburg were created by Master Stoneworker, Alois Krem, in 1858. Many other of these mosaics are simply works of beauty, using colorful pebbles gathered from the Rhine River, just 30 miles away. Every time I’ve come to Freiburg, Germany, I’ve marveled at the stone mosaics found on sidewalks throughout this beautiful city, a beautiful expression of this city’s commitment to the natural environment. Today, Freiburg stands as one of the most earth-friendly cities in Europe, with thousands of bicycling commuters, beautiful parks, sustainable construction, solar energy industries, and a very high commitment to sustainable practices such as recycling and alternative and renewable energy sources.
Sometimes, the most beautiful sight you’ll see all day, while walking in a foreign city is just under your feet, mostly overlooked by passersby. When in Freiburg, while looking up to the heights of the Munster or Schlossberg, the forested hill rising to the east, don’t forget to look down and be entranced by some of the finest mosaic stone street-art in all of Europe.