While staying in the Rhineland, I have planned to drive a detour to Marburg on my way to Würzburg.. I still found a hotel in the Altstadt of Marburg at the beginning of a long Covid lock down in October 2020.
Marburg, about an hour north of Frankfurt, has about 77,000 inhabitants and is the eighth largest city in Hesse (Hessen). It stretches on both sides between the Lahn river and the mountains in a a unique location.
I found out from the front desk of my hotel that the best way to explore the Altstadt is on foot. I crossed the street and there was an elevator to the Upper Town, which is normally to be reached hiking a steep hill. I heard that the Marktplatz is in the “Oberstadt” affectionately called by Marburger’s.
While taking the city trolley through the narrow, romantic alleys, one encounters the lovingly renovated facades of half-timbered houses and Wilhelminian style villas. The picturesque old town stretches over 100 meters up to the castle.
After the trolley ride I took a stroll through the picturesque alleys near the Market square. There I saw the striking Rathaus or town hall in late Gothic style.
Marburg Rathaus (City Hall) from 1527 a. D.
The “Altstadt” historical center
A large part of the many half-timbered homes have been lovingly renovated and is today again showing its historical charm. My stroll through the picturesque alleys started at the Market square, whose striking Rathaus or town hall in late Gothic style was completed in 1527. I took a pause and shot some pictures of this magnificent building while waiting for the City Trolley Train.
The castle, which towers mightily over town, can be reached by a Trolley Train which meets at the Marktplatz. I waited at 2 pm for it to depart. I was riding on a winding narrow road passing by a maze of historic half timbered homes until we arrived at the Marburg castle.
The Marburg castle towers high above the old town of Marburg (287 meters above sea level). The mighty complex has served as a fortress, la castle for the Landgraf and Prinz Regent residence since the foundation stone was laid around the year 1000 a. D.
The oldest parts of the Landgrafenschloss Castle, that still can be seen from the outside, dates back to the 13th century. The youngest building is the Wilhelmsbau of 1493 a. D. houses now the University Museum for Cultural History.
The castle has been rebuilt and expanded many times. I did not get to go inside, but found out later that the highlight is the Fürstensaal, with a floor space of around 420 square meters, the largest Gothic Profansaal in Germany and has been used for festive occasions to this day.
The ride to and back from the castle with a 15 minutes stay at the castle took about 1.30 hours. Once back to the Marktplatz, I walked down the alley to some inviting cozy shops, saw some restaurants, bars and cafes.
I took a break in a small Café and Confectionery in the Wettergasse 38. The Klingenhofer (1887) offered a great view to the historic streetscape from where I was sitting. There I enjoyed an afternoon Cappuccino and a Torte topped with berries
Philipps University, anno 1527 a. D
Many students contribute to the colorful scene and pub life, as Marburg has the Philipps University founded in 1527 by Philip I., Landgraf of Hesse. It is one of Germany’s oldest universities and the oldest Protestant university in the world.The buildings of the University are among the architectural highlights of the Marburg cityscape.
Now a public university of the state of Hesse without a religious affiliation, the University has about 25,000 students of which about 12% are international, the highest percentage in Hesse.
After two days exploring this darling historic town of Marburg it was time to get back to my travels. I left my Marburg Altstadt hotel parking garage after a wholesome German breakfast buffet at 9.30 am to drive to the next destination, my hometown Wuerzburg.