The city of Nürnberg is considered to be the cultural capital of Franconia, a distinct region in the German state of Bavaria. While many tourists visit the city to frequent the Christmas market or have their photograph taken in front of the Schöner Brunnen fountain while turning the golden ring for luck, some of the best places to tour are any of the many museums. From historic houses to exhibitions of various antiques and artifacts, the museums of Nürnberg offer glimpses into the history and culture of the city and much of surrounding Franconia.
The Germaniches Nationalmuseum is one of the largest museums in the country. The museum contains various exhibitions on the art and culture of the country, with some artifacts dating from the Bronze Age and earlier. Other features include paintings by Albrecht Dürer, antique toy collections, suits of armor and all sorts of other material objects from throughout Germany’s history. The museum is open Tuesday through Sunday and visitors who show a valid train ticket can save €2 on the price of admission. Kartäusergasse 1
Those visitors wishing to learn more about Dürer, perhaps the city’s most famous citizen, can tour his former residence, the Albrecht Dürer House. Tours are given daily and visitors can explore the four floors of the home, including Dürer’s former workshop where artistic demonstrations are often held. Tours in English are given every Saturday at 2:00 PM. Albrecht-Dürer-Straße 39
Nürnberg was once a center of the German toy industry and the Toy Museum offers a fun- filled experience for all ages. The museum’s collection spans antiquity to the present. Some of the most impressive exhibits are of the intricately crafted dollhouses and the numerous tin toys on display. The museum is open Tuesday through Sunday. Guided and audio tours are available in English.
For those interested in the darker aspects of the city’s past, stop by the Medieval Dungeons. Located beneath City Hall, this museum housed in a former prison is dedicated to the history of torture. Small prison cells and a torture chamber comprise the exhibit space, along with several instruments of torture. The museum is only accessible by guided tour in German, but the gruesome sights are worth seeing for those fascinated by all things macabre.
The city’s controversial past as a center for the National Socialist Party (Nazi Party) is addressed in several institutions and preserved historic sites. The Doku Zentrum details the rise and fall of the National Socialist Party on the site of the former rallying grounds of the party.
Courtroom 600, the site of the Nürnberg Trials, is preserved as one of the most famous sites in modern Europe. On November 21, 1945, the trial of twenty-one officers and officials of the National Socialist Party began in this room, which was modified especially for the globally broadcast trial. In 2010 “Memorial Nürnberg Trials” will open after several months of renovations. The courtroom is open Saturdays and Sundays from 1:00 to 4:00 PM. The courtroom can only be visited through a guided tour, held every hour on the hour. Tours are given in English.
Fürther Straße 110
Other popular museums in the city center include: the New Museum, on Klarissenplatz, a space dedicated to contemporary art and design; the Transportation Museum, Lessingstraße 6, containing the history of the national railway as well as exhibits on the history of the country’s communication systems; and the City Museum Fembohaus, Burgstraße 15, an institution honoring Nürnberg’s history in an impressive early 17th Century merchant’s house. Be sure to explore the many museums and historic sites of Nürnberg. You will be glad you did.
Written by Morgen Young for EuropeUpClose.com