Historic and Authentic Bamberg, Germany

Forty miles north of Nürnberg in the German state of Bavaria is the historic city of Bamberg. Divided in half by the Regnitz River, Bamberg is a rare German city in that it escaped Allied bombing during World War II. While other cities have been rebuilt or redesigned, Bamberg retains much of its original infrastructure and charm. As a result, the city is a perfect example of the Franconian region of northern Bavaria.


Beautiful Bamberg

The city survived the war because it did not house major weapons production and was not an industrial base for the Nazis. Escaping the catastrophic treatment of cities like Nürnberg and Dresden, Bamberg features some of the oldest standing buildings in all of Germany. The Bamberg Cathedral was constructed in 1237, the Michaelskirche Monastery erected in the twelfth century and what is now known as the Old Town Hall was built in 1386. In fact, the Old Town Hall was placed on a small island in the middle of the Regnitz River as a means of protection, with a bridge spanning the river allowing today for up close viewing of the beautifully painted exterior walls that have survived the centuries.

Michaelskirche Monastery

Michaelskirche Monastery

Bamberg can claim many historic anecdotes but perhaps most unique is its status as the final resting place of a Pope. This fact is unique because apart from Pope Clement II, no other Pope is buried north of the Alps. Clement II previously served the church as Bishop of Bamberg from 1040-1046. Elected Pope in 1046 after a series of controversial councils and deposed European leaders, he went to Rome to lead the church. Yet less than a year into his reign, Clement II died of lead sugar poisoning while traveling across Italy. His body was returned to Bamberg, the city he adored, and was interred in the western choir of Bamberg Cathedral where he remains today.

Bamberg's old Town hall

Bamberg’s old Town hall

While Pope Clement II came to rest in Bamberg when his life was over, there is a world-famous product that began its life in the Franconian city. In German it is called Rauchbier, or smoke beer. This type of beer is known around the world as both an interesting variety of brew as well as having originated in Bamberg. The flavors and aromas are created by drying malted barley over an open flame, providing the drinks with an aura of smoke. The Schlenkerla brewpub is a tavern in the middle of the city that produces and serves the famous brews to tourists and locals alike. The tavern was first mentioned in 1405 and is currently owned and operated by the sixth generation of a local family.

Schlenkerla Tavern

Schlenkerla Tavern

Bamberg is a small but dramatic city. The Little Venice area bordering the river displays classic examples of half-timber construction and German architecture. Massive churches rest on each of the seven hills of the city providing panoramic views from every crest.


Bamberg’s “Little Venice”

Yet despite the age of the city, Bamberg is young and alive with over nine thousand university students interspersed within a population of just seventy thousand. Though larger, more famous cities claim more publicity than Bamberg, none can match its intimacy, variety or authenticity.

Written by and photos by Michael Orr for EuropeUpClose.com

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  1. says

    Bamberg is not a small city, it has a mall. small villages are connected to bamberg. in bamberg is a army bass and the armybass is not small there are 3 parts of one bass in bamberg.

  2. Michael Brown says

    I served in the US Army and spent 2 years living there in Bamberg. The base has since closed but I was there while the Berlin wall was torn down. That was something to witness. I loved Bamberg, and still think of it often. I spent many nights walking through the city streets.

  3. Fiona Tellesson says

    Please note, Bamberg was bombed during the later part of the the war (1945). My dad, who is from Bamberg, took me to some of the buildings that had been damaged from the bombing and told me about the dead bodies. There is also footage on YouTube that features the US Troops bombing Bamberg.

  4. Fiona Tellesson says

    The beautiful paintings on the Rathaus Bamberg (Old Town Hall), were hidden by grime and dirt for many years. They were ‘re-discovered’ after the WW2, when the building was ‘cleaned up’. They have been a beautiful edition to this gorgeous town ever since.

  5. Terry Snow says

    I have walked through the streets of Bamberg many, many times… and yes I have walked up all seven Hills while rambling through this enchanting City… I lived in a small village near Bamberg, Memmelsdorf for 10 years… was the most important and influential time of my life… The people of Bamberg are very friendly and open their hearts to those who open theirs to Bamberg and all of its ancient charm… I am sad to say that the US Army Post, Warner Barracks is now closed… However, like all things in life time moves on, and the US Army mission in Bamberg has long since been complete and it was time to relinquish the position of guardian leave Bamberg in all of its beauty to the people of Bamberg… I have spoken with many people, some family, and some friends, but all say that the US Army presence will always be felt and welcome in Bamberg… With that being said, I will return to Bamberg as often as time allows, for as long as time allows… I have learned a thing or two during my time in Bamberg and for that I will always be thankful… The love of my life is from that most wonderful City on the hills… and I will always roam the winding streets if only in my mind…

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