Quedlinburg, Germany – A Step Back In Time
A visit to the town of Quedlinburg, situated just north of the Harz mountains in the Saxony-Anhalt region of Germany, is like stepping back in time into the pages of a child’s pop-up storybook. Its narrow cobblestone streets are lined with over 1300 half-timbered houses and in 1994 the town was designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It has had a colourful history going back as far as the 10th century when it was ruled by King Heinrich I who is credited with being the founder of medieval Germany. The town was then ruled by women for more than 800 years until Napoleon invaded it in the early 19th century. Despite somehow becoming an epicentre for Nazi Germany propaganda, Quedlinburg thankfully suffered little damage during World War II and, as a result, is one of Europe’s best preserved medieval renaissance towns. The town is dominated by its castle, Schlossberg, located on a 25 metre plateau rising above the old town. Radiating out from the castle is a network of narrow cobblestone streets and alleyways, which eventually lead to the market square with its Rathaus (city hall) and seemingly endless ornate, beautifully painted half-timbered houses.
How To Get To Quedlinburg
The main reason why towns like Quedlinburg have remained relatively undiscovered is undoubtedly due to the fact that it isn’t easy to get to, unless you live in Germany. Having said that, it’s only about one and a half hours by car from Hanover and just under two and a half hours from Berlin, so while a hire car would make life much easier, a visit is certainly achievable. Quedlinburg was about an hour’s drive from the quaint village of Stolberg where we were staying for our week in the Harz mountains. Martha was actually born and grew up on the edge of the Harz mountains in the town of Nordhausen and whilst she had visited Quedlinburg before, it was many years ago. Martha’s family still live close by, so Nigel has been getting to know the area the last couple of years while checking out lots of the famous German bakeries/cafés, which are very reasonably priced in comparison to the UK. The drive from Stolberg to Quedlinburg was mainly through beautiful countryside and winding mountain roads before descending from the Harz mountains and arriving in Quedlinburg. We parked close to the castle and within minutes we were getting wonderfully lost in the maze of streets and alleyways.
Sweet Treats In Quedlinburg
The early afternoon heat gave us a great excuse to sample one of the many tempting cafés and so we popped into Pfannkuchen Café, which had a quaint courtyard seating area. Martha had a delicious pancake with ice cream and fruit and Nigel had a large Swedish Style ice cream with Apple sauce. Suitably rested, we headed to the market place, which contained many of the town’s most beautiful buildings including the Rathaus. Pavement cafés line the square but whilst there were people about, there were none of the crowds, which are found in many other, better known European cities. Quedlinburg has a network of small rivers running through it as well as having parks to relax in on a hot day. After wandering the streets for another couple of hours we returned to our car… once we had found where we had parked it! So if you like historic towns with all of the facilities but none of the crowds then why not consider Quedlinburg!
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