A Home to Artists and Antiquity
Only about 35 minutes north of Munich by ICE express train, Augsburg's economic heyday during the Renaissance period is reflected in its mansions, churches and town hall. Either a 10-minute walk or a quick bus ride will take you from the modern train station to the historical Maximilianstrasse in central Augsburg, with the onion domed towers of the Rathaus – or Town Hall – taking center stage.
Inside, the Golden Hall or Goldener Saal, is one of the most important cultural monuments of the late German Renaissance. Covering an area of nearly 6,000 square feet with a ceiling height of over four storeys, the hall is richly adorned with large doorways, magnificent murals and a coffered ceiling. Although badly damaged during the war, the hall was restored for Augsburg's 2000th anniversary in 1985 according to historical drawings and photos.
Adjacent to the Rathaus, The Perlach Tower is a dominant feature of the Augsburg skyline. Standing 250-feet high, the structure was built as a guard tower in the 13th century. Today, you can climb to the top for spectacular views of the city and surrounding Alps (May-October.)
Back on the ground, see the homes of two of Augsburg's most famous citizens.
Leopold Mozart was born on November 14, 1719 as the first child of bookbinder Johann Georg Mozart and his wife Anna Maria in their house on Frauentorstrasse 30. Leopold, whose sole ambition was the development of his son Wolfgang Amadeus' career, always remained in close contact with his family in Augsburg. Wolfgang Amadeus visited “my papa's home town” five times and often gave concerts here. Thus, Augsburg considers itself, after Salzburg and Vienna, the third most important city in Mozart's life – and the only German “ Mozart City.” Each year, the city holds a Mozart Festival, and the Mozart House is a modern memorial to the family and a venue for lectures and concerts.
In an old Feilenhauerei in the Augsburg district of Lech, Bertolt Brecht was born on February 10, 1898. The property with the address "On the Rain 7" is a simple construction, as is often found in the duct-filled old artisan district. Brecht is most famous for his play, The Threepenny Opera, which offered a Marxist critique of the capitalist world. By 1933, when when Brecht was forced to leave Germany by the rise of Hitler, the play had been translated into 18 languages and performed more than 10,000 times on European stages. Today, the house is a museum and memorial, combining pictures, texts and art to paint a picture of Brecht's life, thought and work.
For a taste of architectural socialism, head to The Fuggerei. The world's oldest social housing project still in existence, the Fuggerei was founded in 1516 as a place where the needy citizens of the city could be housed. As years went on, the project expanded by various streets, with small squares and even a church.
There's more to Augsburg than serious classical music and intellectual artists. What may be the world's most famous marionette theater, the Augsburger Puppenkiste became famous throughout Germany in 1953, when its productions were filmed and broadcast on television and still are today. The stars on strings are so endearing and the sets so elaborate that even non-German speakers and adults will enjoy a show – but bear in mind performances are regularly sold out weeks ahead of time. You can also visit the Augsburg Puppet Theater Museum right above the theater for a behind-the-scenes glimpse.
Augsburg is the oldest city in Bavaria, founded by the Roman Emperor Augustus around 15 B.C, and one of the many gems along Germany's Romanic Road. With your German Rail Pass, you'll travel in the footsteps of writers and composers. Come be serenaded.
Contributed by: Sarah, Telephone Travel Consultant. Lived and traveled all over the world.