Shortly after the only brief period of snow we had in Germany this unseasonably warm winter, we took the short train ride to a small town named Goslar. Over 1,000 years old, Goslar was untouched during the war and the city center and surrounding area is a UNESCO world heritage site. The UNESCO designation was not something we had heard much about in the US, but here it is truly seen as a mark of quality and an honor to have. The city lies on the north edge of the Harz mountain range, which is the large green area directly south of the red marker on the map above. We'll be back in the summer for hiking.
Due to the extremely long period of time that Goslar has been around, there are naturally many layers of history that it has been through. Houses are still standing from the early 1500s, and the Kaiserpfalz, or Imperial Palace, displays works of art depicting hundreds of years of history. The palace was built between 1040-1050 and renovated in the late 19th century.
Our hotel, Alte Münze, is exactly what it sounds like if you know German-- and old mint where coins were produced back in the 1500s. It was quite typical from what we have come to expect out of German hotels. Rather than newly constructed buildings with hundreds of rooms with the same layout, there are 15-20 rooms with different layouts and furnishings based on the structure of the room, giving each its own character. Then of course breakfast is served in the morning-- not just one indifferent worker mindlessly restocking a continental breakfast, but instead several dedicated workers bringing drinks and making sure all is to your satisfaction. It feels like a bed and breakfast where the owner is there to take care of you rather than just a place to sleep.
One of nice parts about visiting Goslar was the chance to relax and get away from the routine of everyday life and take some time to just wander and explore. Each street was just as beautiful as the one before it as we strolled through this picturesque place that some lucky people get to call home. We walked through a park where dogs and kids would play when it is summer, but now is a frozen wonderland.
Just around the corner from our hotel was the Marktkirche, or Market Church. Beautiful old churches such as these are wonderful to visit for a few reasons. They are conveniently placed in the middle of town, and usually have been rebuilt after damage from fires and wars in the past. They are almost always free to enter and are usually ornately decorated with artwork, sculptures, and stained glass. It really gives you a feel for how much power these churches had over the cities, especially financially. Finally, there is usually a bell tower that you can go up in and get a nice overview of the city.
In the making of the recent movie Monuments Men, several scenes were shot in Goslar, although later cut. We leave you with more reasons of why George Clooney made the wrong choice!