The Old Town Hall of Bamberg
One of the most original town halls in Germany
One of the best-known sights and most popular photo motifs in Bamberg is undoubtedly the Old Town Hall. If you are taking part in a city tour or guided tour of Bamberg for the first time, you will probably ask yourself why the town hall was built over a river. The people of Bamberg or the staff of the tourist information centre tell a quite credible-sounding legend as an answer to this legitimate question: When the citizens of Bamberg wanted to build a town hall a long time ago, their request fell on deaf ears with the bishop of Bamberg. Allegedly, there was no suitable place in the whole city to erect such a building. But the proud citizens of Bamberg would not be fobbed off so easily. They rammed strong piles into the Regnitz and thus created an artifical island in the middle of the river course, on which the town hall was subsequently built. This location is also a remarkable symbol of the power relations of the time: The town hall stands exactly on the old dividing line between the mountain town dominated by the bishops and the bourgeois island town.
The oldest parts of the Old Town Hall date from the middle of the 15th century. As its core, the Old Town Hall – like many of the famous sights in Bamberg – is a Gothic building. However, the baroque style elements on the town hall, which the numerous visitors admire on every city tour or sightseeing tour in Bamberg, are younger. In the middle of the 18th century, the building was rebuilt to the taste of the baroque era according to plans by the architect Jakob Michael Küchel. Since then, the appearance of this building, which is so important for Bamberg tourism, has been essentially shaped by the attractive panelling, the gate tower and the graceful balconies. The many frescoes with which the facade is richly decorated are also a source of amazement on every guided tour of the city. None of the sightseeing tours fail to point out a very special detail: We would be happy to show you the leg of the putto, which protrudes as a sculpture from one of the representations, during your personal city tour!
If you have enough time left after your city tour or guided walk in Bamberg, you should definitely visit the magnificent Rococo Hall and the famous Ludwig Collection. Since 1995, Germany’s largest collection of porcelain and faience has found a fitting home in one of Bamberg’s most famous sights.