By Peter May
Located in the North of Germany, with half a million inhabitants as well as being the 10th biggest city in Germany, Bremen may not be as popular in comparison with its sibling cities Berlin and Hamburg but it more than ticks the right boxes for a long weekend break. This fairy tale city boasts a historic old town, an impressive stadium, a picturesque quarter called Schnoor and much more.
Bremen’s medieval market square sits in the Altstadt, key highlights are an imposing 900 year old Gothic cathedral, an ancient Rathaus: a 16th century guildhall, and a modern parliament building. There are many tours on offer however the one I took was arranged with http://www.bremen-tourismus.de/ where I was greeted by very knowledgeable guide and Bremen local Eric who showed me key areas around the town centre.
On the square is the stone statue of Roland the knight, who has kept watch over the town square since 1404. He serves as Bremen’s good luck charm and a symbol of freedom and independence. On the town hall’s western side is a sculpture of the Town Musicians of Bremen made famous by a Grimm Brothers fairytale (1951). Local artist Gerhard Marcks cast them in their most famous pose, scaring the robbers who invaded their house, with the rooster atop the cat, perched on the dog, on the shoulders of the donkey. It is said that if you rub the donkey’s front legs you will be rewarded with good luck.
If you would like to learn about Bremen’s history be sure to stop by the Geschichtenhaus. Actors show you the history of Bremen involving you in the process. It’s in German but sometimes they also offer it in English if you reserve it in advance and have a minimum of three people.
A highlight of my time in Bremen was visiting the Schnoor (meaning String in German). These are a string of doll house-sized cottages, criss crossing each other each way creating a maze of narrow, winding alleys. This was once the fishermans quarter and later a red light district however now they are perfectly geared to attract tourists to simply amble around and visit the galleries, bistros and boutiques which are scattered throughout.
Bremen has a strong aerospace industry, and space fans will enjoy the eye-catching, oyster or whale shaped, depending how to perceive it Universum Science Center, where you can make virtual trips to the stars, experience earthquakes as well as to explore the ocean floor or the centre of the earth. If you’re a plant lover, don’t miss a trip to Botanika and its replicated Asian landscapes from the Himalayas to New Guinea.
If you plan to visit Bremen in the next few weeks be sure to visit GOP Variete-Theater Bremen, here you can take a seat in the swanky surroundings to catch Karussell. A thoroughly entertaining Cirque de Soleil type show.
With so much to see, eat, do and experience – let Bremen lead you down its’ cobbled streets to an adventure that awaits.