Great history and a living present: In addition to visiting the metropolis of Regensburg, it is also worth taking excursions to other towns in the region. Read on to find out which cities are especially worthwhile.
In East Bavaria, visitors immerse themselves in the past in a special way: spending a holiday in the heart of East Bavaria brings the book of history to life. The historic old towns, restored with great attention to detail, yet alive and lively, make time travel an unparalleled holiday fun and “experiential history lesson” that fascinates more and more visitors.
Weiden: Fascinating trading city with a “golden history”
For centuries it was the most important economic link between Bavaria and the Czech Republic, between Western and Eastern Europe: the Golden Route between Nuremberg and Prague. Over the course of more than six centuries, the Golden Route has become a symbol of Europe without borders, a symbol of a European idea that has survived all the storms of time. The name of the approximately 300 km long “Gulden Strasse” first appeared in 1513. It was Emperor Charles IV – the father of Germany, the mother of Bohemia – who connected his favorite Prague with imperial Nuremberg into an imperial and trade route. Merchants from the German Hanseatic League, the most important economic association of the time, traveled along the Golden Route to transport skins, wax, metals and meat to Bavaria and textiles, grain and wine to the Czech Republic.
One of the most important landmarks: Weiden in the Upper Palatinate, which benefited from trade, incl. from customs revenues and managed the imperial treasury. The heart of the historic center is still a witness to this “golden past”: the old town hall with a carillon, built in the mid-16th century. It is located in the middle of a market square with over 500 years of history, surrounded by two gates that date back to the 14th century.
The “Upper Market Square” fascinates with colorful gabled houses from the time after 1540. The history of “Dolny Rynek” as a place of great fairs has been documented for over 600 years. The almost Mediterranean atmosphere of the streets with their restaurants, cafes and small boutiques, but also markets offering local delicacies, today combines history, joy and adventure in the medieval heart of Weiden. Visit the city’s website for more information.
Neumarkt: Traditional medieval “market”
Neumarkt in der Oberpfalz also benefited from the splendor of the nearby Goldene Strasse. The city already has trade (“new market”) in its name. At the beginning of the 12th century, at the intersection of two trade routes, a town was established, which later became the residence of the Wittelsbach palatines. The old town with the market square, which was built then and carefully rebuilt after the Second World War, testifies to the importance of Neumarkt in the Middle Ages to this day. Today’s Obere and Untere Marktstraße were the main trading sites of Neumarkt at the time. Exotic items from the East such as silk, cinnamon and spices were put up for sale. Even today, the area around the town hall is the pulsating center of city life in the old trading town: including the oldest agricultural market in Bavaria, which has been in existence for more than three decades.
The bustling streets of the old town, the wonderfully restored townhouses and the important past of Neumarkt as a residential town can still be experienced today: With the arrival of the court in the 15th century, Neumarkt began to flourish in economic and cultural life: Count Palatine Castle, parish Church of St. Jana – built in 2015 to the rank of Minster – Hofkirche, Untere Tor, the town hall and the Reitstadel are living “witnesses to history” who appeared in those years and today inspire visitors every year. Find out more on the web.
Straubing: Seven Millennia of History
The past of the Lower Bavarian town of Straubing, which can still be lived today, is also fascinating: its history goes back over 7,000 years. First, the Celts settled there, then the Romans, due to the strategic location of Straubing, from there protected their empire against the Germans. The Straubinger Gäubodenmuseum traces a thousand-year history today. The metropolis of Gäuboden, this particularly fertile area along the Danube, also attracted Bavarians: Straubing was one of the cradles of the early Bavarian tribes. Straubing was a princely city, an electoral city, and above all, always closely associated with the respective Bavarian rulers of its time.
Straubing was once an administrative and regional metropolis for much of the Bavarian Forest and was at the crossroads of important long-distance routes from the Alps to the Czech Republic and from Vienna to Frankfurt. Impressive church buildings and houses of patricians and merchants on the market square, which have been shaped over the centuries, testify to the glorious history of the city of commerce to this day. Today, the “Neustadt” is the bustling center of Straubing with many shops, outdoor seating and cafés. Straubing City Tower is visible from afar. The 68-meter-high medieval town tower, built in the Gothic style from the beginning of the 14th century, is now a symbol of the city and, as you might guess, the source of the saying. When the people of Straubing “let go of the five,” they pay tribute to the five towers. Find out more about Straubing here.
Deggendorf: A charming “center” between the worlds
Ever since it was founded more than 1,000 years ago, Deggendorf in Lower Bavaria has also used its role as a “junction” between the Danube region and the Bavarian Forest. It is no coincidence that the entire north-south street within the city has developed into a huge, long square – as a meeting place for merchants from nearby and far away. There, a fishmonger from a fishing village and a forestry farmer, a grain farmer from Gäuboden met with a glass producer from the rear Bavarian Forest.
There, mushrooms, honey, vegetables, fruits, firewood, fence posts, poultry, pigs, cattle and horses changed from hand to hand. Nuremberg wholesalers of trinkets and goods from Augsburg and Regensburg, Dutch fabrics, wool, lace and silk fabrics, as well as mead, wool, copper, iron, lead and Czech wax, rare exotic spices and rare sugar found their buyers here. The wealth of contemporary luxuries and inaccessible goods made the fair so attractive. People traveled far into the city to stock up. To this day, Deggendorf is a bustling center: anyone who strolls the Luitpoldplatz during the popular weekly market or agricultural market can still feel a little of the loving hustle and bustle of trade – surrounded by picturesque tenement tops. More information about Deggendorf can be found on the city’s website.
Dingolfing: Great market and trading tradition on the Isar
The history of Dingolfing goes back centuries as well. The abundance of fish and the flourishing salt trade along the waterway made Dingolfing an influential market town in the Middle Ages. Already in 1274, the city received not only municipal rights, but also market rights. Later, it was the finely ground and coarse woolen fabrics, the so-called cloths, that helped Dingolfing to flourish and gain international fame. Until 1768, Marienplatz, the central square in the heart of the historic old town of Dingolfing, was called Wollerzeile. The name refers to the textile craft. Dingolfinger cloth was traded and highly prized in half of Europe. Crafts and trade brought prosperity and wealth to the city. One of the impressive examples that can be experienced today is the Parish Church of St. John in Dingolfing. The representative, unplastered brick building with an over 80-meter high tower is a late Gothic construction work and is one of the most important religious buildings of that time in southern Germany.
Some traditions from the old days live in Dingolfing – such as the “mid Lenten markets” which are historically defined as “single and married markets in the middle of Lent”. This means that the peasants and the farmers themselves could only free themselves from work alternately. The tradition of Dingolfing’s two intermediate fasting markets in the lower town, which still exist and are still popular with locals and tourists alike, dates back around 400 years. More information can be found at www.dingolfing.de.
obx News / RNRed