Sunday, February 28, 2016

Goslar with Sophia and Ursula!

Last weekend, I adventured to Goslar with my friends Sophia and Ursula.  Goslar is only about 20 or 30 minutes from Wolfenbüttel, so I expect we will have many more adventures there in the future!  It's a totally cute town, with a surprising amount of sights to see!!  Goslar is located at the foot of the Harz mountains, and the town was founded way back in the tenth century.

Because I can't walk past an old church without going inside, my first stop was the Marktkirche of St. Cosmas and St. Damian.  The Marktkirche was built, renovated, and re-built between 1150-1350, and still contains some totally cool thirteenth-century stained glass windows, fifteenth-century wall paintings, a sixteenth-century baptismal font and pulpit, and a seventeeth-century high altar.

Romanesque Stained Glass
Romanesque Stained Glass showing the lives of Saints Cosmas and Damian
Remains of Wall Paintings, ca. 1480
Baroque Altar, 1659
One of the main priorities for our adventure to Goslar was the Kaiserpfalz (Imperial Palace) where emperors stayed during visits to this region.  The Kaiserpfalz was originally built in the eleventh century, and has been variously renovated, partially destroyed, and then re-built a number of times since then.  However, much of what we see in the facade of the building is the eleventh-century structure.  The main attraction at the Kaiserpfalz is the elaborately painted throne room.  The enormous throne room was painted in the nineteenth-century with scenes and allegories of German political power and history.

This costumed tour guide who humored me for a photo op....
Kaiserpfalz, Throne Room
Kaiserpfalz Throne Room
Kaiserpfalz Throne Room
On the ground floor, directly beneath the throne room, is a small museum exhibition with many of the stone sculptures and remnants from various buildings around Goslar.  I really liked this exhibit, because we were able to see the architectural sculptures up close and personal, and really get a good look at the details!  They also have the rooster/eagle/griffin that used to sit atop the Kaiserpfalz in the museum now to keep him safe from the elements outside.  We couldn't decide whether he was a rooster or an eagle, and then the museum wall text claimed he was a griffin.... So then we were really undecided.

Goslar Rooster/Eagle/Griffin
"Giselbertus Me Fecit"
Just across from the Kaiserpfalz stand the remains of the eleventh-century cathedral, which was destroyed around 1820.  All that remains is the northern entry portal-- a parking lot now sits where the rest of the church once stood.  What is left, though, is still very impressive!

North Portal of the Dom
Tympanum Sculptures of the Dom Portal
The rest of the town is also very charming, with a small stream through town, tons of crooked half-timbered construction, and nice market squares!  Goslar is also famous for its silver, copper, and lead mines which were possible began as early as the third and fourth centuries!  We didn't have time to make it to the mines last weekend, but look for a post about the mines-- which were used as a filming location for the movie Monuments Men-- in the future!

Sophia with the fountain by the Rathaus
Fun Half-Timbering!
Goslar Rooster/Eagle/Griffin Replica on the Fountain
On our way home, we stopped by a monastery-turned-hotel called Wöltingerode.   During the Middle Ages, the nuns in Wöltingerode operated their own book-binding workshop.  Several of their manuscripts are currently housed in the Herzog August Bibliothek in Wolfenbüttel!  Very little remains of the medieval monastery, but there is a cute little church and a super fifteenth-century Entombed Christ sculpture!!  What a fun way to end another adventure!!

15th Century Entombed Christ

15th Century Entombed Christ

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