I have been living in Bremen since October. For me it took a while to feel like home, but day by day it captured my heart and it became a place that now I can say: I am home.
Right beside Hamburg, Bremen is a city in the north of Germany, with a population of 650,000 including Bremerhaven. What I can say about people is that I love their independent spirit here. It is also 10th biggest city in Germany and one of the 16 states in Germany. Bremen is not only a city, but its own state. It has a lovely old town (probably one of the best old towns in Germany), a beautiful city center, million parks and greenery, interesting museums and some hipster areas.
The heart of Bremen is for sure Markplatz (Market square), home to a number of lovely buildings from period when Bremen owed its prosperity to being a Hanseatic League member. There you can find the Rathaus (Town Hall) a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It was built in the early 15th century and it is one of the most important examples of Bricola Gothic architecture in Germany. According to rumors it has a beautiful interior that you can book a tour to see, which unfortunately I have not done it yet. The Roland statue in front of Rathaus is standing there more than 600 years now. It is a symbol of market rights and freedom, and protected by UNESCO World Heritage Site as well.
Probably the most famous landmark in Bremen, worldwide famous Bremer Stadmusikanten (The Bremen Town Musicians) is also another statue that you can find next to Rathaus. Someone might remember the fairy-tale of four musicians, a donkey, a cat and a rooster on its back. It says that, if you rub the hooves or the nose of donkey, it will bring some luck in the future. Also there is St. Peter’s Cathedral, dates back to year 805, completes the ensemble of historical building on Bremen’s market square. Its two towers, one of which is open to visitors that you can climb to get great views of the market square below. In the cathedral’s lead caller there are eight mummies stored in glass-topped coffins. Furthermore, in cathedral museum you can view statues, stone reliefs, the remnants of Renaissance altar and frescoes.
At the other side of Markplatz, opposite of Rathus, lies a narrow street called Böttcherstrasße. Facing you as you enter, embedded above a red-bricked archway, hangs a gold relief, named Der Lichtbringer. It depicts an angel slaying a dragon.
A stroll down Böttcherstraße shows some interesting architectural contrasts. It is a small, yet beautiful district with many little shops, cafes, museums and a Glockenspiel. When you continue to stroll down you enter the Schnoor which is the oldest surviving district of Bremen: only a couple of blocks, but lined with houses from the 15th to 18thcenturies. While these were originally poor fishermen’s homes, nowadays it’s a pedestrian shopping district with lots of interesting little shops, galleries, cafés and handicraft shops for souvenirs.
Exiting the Schnoor you meet the river Weser, which runs horizontally through the city and divides the Altstadt and das Viertel from more residential areas in the south. The Schlachte, a beautiful promenade in the city center is a great place to relax and enjoy a cafe/food in one of the many restaurants or just sit next to the Weser River. In winter it offers an incredible Christmas Market, which is also my favorite: Schlachte-Zauber, a Medieval version along the waterfront! Yes, that’s right: a Medieval themed Christmas Market, complete with pirate ships, shop employees dressed in period costumes, and kitschy booths with theme-appropriate wares like spells and potions ingredients. Oh, and some truly incredible food and drinks, of course.
Lastly, I want to finish my writing with the Bremen’s youngest and most colorful district, Das Viertel is cool enough to have a name that translates simply to “The Quarter”. Popular for kitsch entertainment and the arts, theaters and museums, and it offer a diverse, offbeat nightlife. In Viertel there is a mixture of people, from ladies with dogs to students, and guy who lives on the streets and sweeps up the area. All sitting in a café, together.