As I mentioned in my previous post, I visited the city of Osnabrück last week. Of course, I also took some photos.
Lots of churches, medieval architecture and history in this one. For historical reasons (more on that later), Osnabrück is pretty evenly split between Catholics and Lutheran Protestants, which mean twice as many churches as normal.
We’ll start with a modern monument dedicated to a bit of very ancient history, namely the so-called Battle of the Teutoburg Forest, which turned out to have taken place not in the Teutoburg Forest but at Kalkriese near Osnabrück. The Battle of the Teutoburg Forest is still a pretty big deal in early German history, so of course Osnabrück put up a monument, considering it happened in their backyard.
Rusty Romans commemorating the Varus Battle, which took place in 9 AD at Kalkriese near Osnabrück.
Of course, it’s not nearly as impressive as my old pal Hermann at the presumed site of the battle in the Teutoburg Forest (politically incorrect or not, I always loved climbing Hermann back in school), but it does have the distinction of being located near the actual site of the battle.
Forwards into the Middle Ages, which left their architectural mark in Osnabrück:
The Ledenhof, a 13th century manor house once owned by an aristocratic family. Nowadays, it houses a political research center.
The Romanesque “Dom”, i.e. the main church and Catholic bishop’s seat of Osnabrück. The statue in front is affectionately called the “lion poodle” and used to be part of the medieval bishop’s palace.
Central tower of the Osnabrück Dom. If you look closely, you can see gargoyles along the roof.
A narrow alley next to the Dom.
This little church next to the Dom church is actually called “Kleine Kirche”, i.e. “Little Church”. It does have three very big crucifixes though.
The Gothic St. Mary’s Church seen from a distance.
A closer look at St. Mary’s Church. In spite of the name, this is a Lutheran church. Of course it has gargoyles, too.
Medieval houses along the market square of Osnabrück
The 13th century “Stadtwaage”, i.e. the city scales, at the market square. Most German cities with market rights used to have a set of central city scales somewhere near the market square to avoid fraud.
Now we get to the other bit of history that Osnabrück is famous for, namely that this was where the Thirty Years’ War ended in 1648 with the proclamation of the Peace of Westfalia. And yes, I know that it’s spelled “Westphalia” in English, but that looks just plain wrong to me, cause it’s always been “Westfalen” in German. Ironically, Osnabrück no longer even belongs to Westfalia these days, but has been part of Lower Saxony since 1949.
The townhall of Osnabrück, completed in 1612 and most famous for being the place, where the Peace of Westfalia was negotiated and proclaimed in 1648.
I proclaim the Peace of Westfalia from the Townhall stairs. You can’t see much of me (my Mom who took the picture must be the world’s worst photographer), but you can see the statues at the facade of the Townhall.
The so-called peace chamber, the room inside the townhall where the Peace of Westfalia was negotiated. There’s a baroque candelabra and paintings of all delegates along the walls. In the top right corner, half hidden by the candelabra, is Queen Cristina of Sweden, the only female delegate.
A fountain celebrating the Peace of Westfalia
Close-up of the fountain depicting the horrors of the Thirty Year’s War, which was one of the nastiest mass slaughters ever to hit Europe. Only the two world wars were even worse. On the left, you can see Death striding across the land leaving a mountain of skulls behind. In the middle, there is a woman, perhaps a witch or maybe just a heretic, being burned at the stake. On the right you can see a beheading, because there obviously aren’t enough skulls already.
A neat fountain with figures depicting the nobility, the clergy and the burghers. I suspect that the figures on this side are the nobility.
Yet another fountain. This one is topped by little cows or bulls.
The gothic St. John’s church. For some reason, all of Osnabrück’s churches are massive with thick spires.
The gothic St. Catherine’s church, which has the distinction of having one of the tallest church spires in Germany.
The baroque palace of Osnabrück, which nowadays houses part of the university.
A beautiful 18th century building that once used to be the home to the mayor of Osnabrück and now houses a clothing store.
Another 18th century building turned shop, though this one houses a pharmacy.
Osnabrück’s Art Noveau Theatre. I saw a performance of Carmen by George Bizet there long ago.
Osnabrück Central Station, built in 1902.
A neat piece of public art consisting of several tiles created by the people of Osnabrück.
Another piece of public art assembled from individually designed ceramic tiles. In the background, you can see the palace.