Tour report: Getting to know Bamberg and “Little Berlin”

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On the 17th and 18th May a group of international PhDs and PostDocs went to Bamberg to discover this North Bavarian city with it’s beautiful old town that was awarded the title of UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1993. And indeed: More than 2400 listed buildings, winding lanes and an abundance of mediaeval churches make Bamberg a work of art of immense historical value.

On our way to Bamberg we stopped by in Mödlareuth. This little village was called “Little Berlin” as the wall ran through this village during the division of Germany, separating the 50 inhabitants into East and West Germany. The guide explained very lively how life for the people of Mödlareuth has been in the former days and how life changed since the unification of Germany in 1990. We also got to know how difficult it was for all inhabitants of the former GDR to try to escape from their country as there were massive safety devices. There used to be a 5 kilometer wide protected zone along the wall on the side of East Germany to prevent escape.

After this interesting tour we reached Bamberg very hungry and explored that sometimes it can be tricky to find food in a small town after the regular lunch time. Luckily we found a nice Tapas-bar and could start our next guided tour with new energy. We got to know some historical and mystical parts of Bamberg’s history by our guide, which was dressed like a medieval woman. Afterwards most of the group went to a traditional beer garden up on the hill, where some of us tried smoke beer, a specialty of Bamberg. Smoke beer is a bottom-fermented beer and is brewed today by two of Bamberg’s nine breweries. Some of us also tried another specialty called “Schäufele”, which is a dish out of roasted pork shoulder meat, sauerkraut and dumplings.

The next day we had another guided tour on our schedule about the Jewish life in Bamberg. We walked round the city covering important parts of the Jewish history of this town. Afterwards we joined the “International Museum Day” of Bamberg, which meant, that we could visit all town museums for free. This nicely rounded off our stay in North Franconia. Full of new impressions we drove back to Dresden in the afternoon.

 

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