Monday, September 27, 2010

Ansbach Tours

Today we had 2 tours planned, a city tour of Ansbach in the morning and a tour of the Margrave Palace in the afternoon. It was a little bit overcast but off we went. We met our guide and started by visiting St, Gumbertus Church, the former Court church of the Margraves Brandeburg-Ansbach. This is built in the Romanesque style and is dominated by its Wiegleb organ. Next to the altar is a chapel called “Chapel of the Knights of the Swan”, built between 1501 and 1523 you see many shields of the Knights and an altar of the 14th century. We also went to a cellar or tomb next to the church which was the burial place of the Margraves and their families from the 17th & 18th century.
The 25 ornate coffins were made of tin and some displayed much detail and some were very simple.

We also visited a Jewish synagogue. This was built in 1744/46 and is one of the most significant original preserved synagogues of Southwest Germany and still is in good condition. It was not destroyed in 1938 on Kristal Nacht, as they were afraid that the location of the building being in a row of other buildings they would not be able to contain a fire. It was also used as a storage space for a leader in the Nazi party who lived next to it. Ansbach no longer has a Jewish community.

Moving along we stopped in time to hear the carillon play a traditional Bavarian tune. This is located in the Herrieder Tor or Clock Tower. This is a baroque tower built in 1750 and originally part of the town gate. The town itself was first mentioned in 700.

Lunch then in the afternoon then we went to the Margraves Palace. Of the 520 rooms we saw 27! You can get lost. Of course huge, ornate rooms but with very high ceilings, large ceramic stoves that were fed with wood or coal from rooms behind where the servants took care of it and did not disturb anyone in the main room. They had fireplaces in most of the rooms but just for decoration. In some of the restoration work they found beautiful inlay wooden floors that contained 27 different kinds of wood. Unfortunately, no pictures were allowed in there so I can’t show you. In the main reception room, which is huge and where they entertained and met with heads of state, there was a balcony overlooking the room and this is where the musicians would sit and play to entertain the dignitaries. It was a beautiful place and interesting history.

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