Our city walk through Nuremberg kicks off in Gostenhof. Then, it takes us via the locations “Rosenaupark”, “Gardens of the Hesperides” and “Burggarten” and through to lake Wöhrder See. On the way, we visit the Bavarian ambassadors Valentin Rottner and Stefan Stretz, along with their favourite places

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Enjoying a City Walk through Nuremberg

Sunday lunchtime in the beer garden of the “Schanzenbräu”. Sitting in the shade of an old lime tree, guests enjoy “Schäufele” – pork shoulder – and perfectly browned grilled sausages, while a cat carefully sneaks through the overgrown backyard. Half a dozen churchgoers dressed in their finest threads have arranged to meet for a beer. One thing is clear: the rustic pub is a popular neighbourhood meeting place in the “Gostenhof” district.

“The ‘Rotbier’ – or ‘red beer’ – connects us in the neighbourhood,” says Bavarian insider Stefan Stretz, before pouring another round of this famous Nuremberg local drink. “Brewed according to our secret recipe with four types of malt!”

The master brewer created his first brew in a disused wash kettle in 2004, just to prove to his friends that he had mastered the craft. Today, the “Schanzenbräu” is number two in Nuremberg.

Stefan Stretz

Photogenic “Scherbenviertel” District

Stefan’s inn is the first stop on our city walk from park to park, and from garden to garden. The green expanse began just behind the starting point at the city’s main railway station. In the morning, we descended the stairs at the “Artisan’s yard” into the “Frauentorgraben”, a green stretch that runs right through the heart of the city centre.

At the “Spittlertor” gate with its thick tower, we then dived into the colourful “GoHo” – that’s what they call the Gostenhof here in reference to the New York neighbourhood of SoHo. The route is home to Turkish greengrocers and Greek cafés, facades adorned with street art, graffiti with socialist slogans and charitable neighbourhood shops. The past of the Scherbenviertel is still palpable – immortalised in the famous German song “Dou schdäihd a Haus in Gost’nhuf” by singer-songwriter Günter Stössel.

Taking in a Tour of Gostenhof with Stefan

“This is my hood, this is where I grew up,” says Stefan Stretz. “When I went to school, nobody wanted to move to GoHo; the housing was cheap. We then helped develop the neighbourhood and made it acceptable for wider society.” Today, many artists live in Gostenhof, and the place is awash with trendy shops and studios. “Come on, I’ll show you a few favourite places,” says Stefan, signalling the start of a tour.

We browse through the “Bambi-Boom”, a boutique with equitable designer fashion, and admire the original souvenirs from local designers at “Fachmarie”, many of which are the product of sustainable upcycling: wash bags made from discarded air mattresses or jewellery made from old cans. “Even our priest is a cool guy,” says Stefan. Heavy metal musicians perform in the “Dreieinigkeitskirche” church, and there is even a rock church fair.

“You have to get to know Heike Stahl,” says the Bavarian ambassador. “It was in her ‘Salon Regina’ that my first beer tapping experience took place. There were so many guests there that the police arrived.” The café located on Fürther Straße transpires to be nothing short of a total work of art in vintage style complete with floral wallpaper, furniture from the 1950s and many ironic details.

“I was once the first one here on the boulevard,” says the lively boss, who fulfilled her lifelong dream with the salon. “The banks were horrified that I wanted to open a café here.” Today, it is pure cult.

Nürnberg Cafe

Scene of the Nuremberg Trials

Gostenhof also has a dark side to its history: “My former school is right next to the prison,” says Stefan, who regularly attended trials back then and who then met up with classmates afterwards in the pub nearby. “I found the court proceedings exciting, sometimes even funny, when someone was talking their head off,” he recalls as we climb the stairs to Courtroom 600.

This hall was the scene of the Nuremberg Trials before the International Military Tribunal in 1945 and 1946. Today, there are no more trials here; instead, a multimedia museum provides information about the trials and their background.

Stefan bids us goodbye in the shade of the wonderfully gnarled old trees in the historic “Rosenaupark”. He would often meet up with friends after school where, back in the Middle Ages, a fishing pond of a knightly order used to be. But we want to go further, on a short detour to a new art location in the city’s “Jakobsviertel” quarter.


Art with Gingerbread

“Do you just want to see the house, or are you also interested in my art?” asks Bogi Nagy. The artist with Hungarian roots – long plait, magenta-coloured jacket, silver shoes – has been awarded the contract for one of the few remaining half-timbered houses here in the Jakobsviertel district by the association, “Verein der Altstadtfreunde”. “I never thought they’d give it to me,” says Bogi. The only requirement was to be creative.

History on the outside, an unbridled passion for art on the inside! In her studio spaces the extroverted all-rounder shows what she can do: flashy sculptures from the 3-D printer, works in clay, book designs, augmented reality and trendy paintings. Many of her works poke fun at certain Nuremberg icons, be it ironically or erotically, such as Albrecht Dürer, Gingerbread or the “Drei im Weggla” – the famous sausages from the city itself.

“Nuremberg is perfect for me and my work,” explains Bogi. “You can enjoy life here like in a big city, but you can also completely withdraw from the hustle and bustle, as you might in the countryside.” Ever more people from the neighbourhood are now joining her when she invites them to music evenings, tastings or “vernissages”.


Gnarled Beeches and Citrus Trees

We continue along the city’s “green heart”: in the garden by the name of “Kontumazgarten”, students chill out in the meadows or on the viewing platform above the Pegnitz. It is even more idyllic on the north bank, where a stairway leads up to the St. Johannis district between small half-timbered houses with rose gardens.

Through an inconspicuous gateway, we enter the baroque gardens known as “Gardens of the Hesperides”, a relic of bygone centuries, when a network of over 300 civic and pleasure gardens stretched around the city wall.

The scent of boxwood hedges grouped around a sundial fills the air. Stone fairytale figures stand next to sacred statues. Lemon trees stand decoratively around the rippling fountains. They lend the garden its name, after a Greek legend. The fruits look so perfect that we carefully pick them up to check their authenticity.


“Burggarten” – Castle Garden with a Hidden Oasis

We walk across the meadow “Hallerwiese” to the town fortifications and then up to the castle garden and stomping ground of gardener, Friedrich Knoll. “This is Nuremberg’s favourite garden,” he says. “King Maximilian II once had it laid out not only for himself, but also for the citizens. At times, there was even a beer garden and a bowling alley.”

Knoll enthuses about his workplace, where there is always something blooming or fragrant: the lilacs and Guelder-rose in spring, the roses in the large bastion at the beginning of June, followed by the string trees. “Then, a carpet of white flowers forms here,” says Knoll. But there aren’t just ornamental plants here; wildflower meadows, fruit trees and our very own beehives can also be seen.

Then the gardener leads us through a narrow door into the Maria Sibylla Merian Garden which pays homage to the artist and naturalist who studied plants and insects here 300 years ago. With themed flowerbeds characterised by fragrant offerings, ornamental plants and medicinal herbs, the newly designed garden is a small idyll in the hustle and bustle of the fortress.

Valentin Rottner

Wedding at the “Kaiserburg” Imperial Castle

“The castle is one of the most important places in my life,” says Valentin Rottner. The hunter and chef has rustled up a Michelin star for himself with the game dishes in his restaurant “Waidwerk”.

“My parents regularly took me to the castle as a child. And I was allowed to get married here, in traditional Franconian costume of course.” We meet the Bavaria insider Valentin Rottner on the battlements above “Tiergärtnertorplatz” with a wide-angle view of the castle towers and the Albrecht Dürer Museum.

The square at our feet remains almost deserted, but soon the first guests will meet for a Franconian craft beer in the bar known as “Wanderer”. Valentin is often there too: “There’s nobody up here who complains,” he enthuses.

“As soon as the first rays of sun come out after winter, the whole city is there,” says Valentin. “And in summer, people squat on the cobblestones where you can hear the wildest stories. Some come back from a night of partying, while others have savoured a delicious Franconian meal. You always meet a mate.” Or a football friend – even if the absolute favourite place of this self-confessed FC Nuremberg fan is and remains the stadium.

Der belebte Nürnberger Burg Platz

Between “Kettensteg” and Lake “Wöhrder See”

Valentin accompanies us to the chain bridge from 1824, which spans the river Pegnitz. It is one of the oldest iron suspension bridges in Europe. “I often take a detour over the footbridge. And I’ve been here with every one of my girlfriends,” laughs Valentin. After all, it’s not far from here to the “Liebesinsel” or “Love Island”, where couples sit on the shore in the evening. In recent years, the city has opened up towards the water with green spaces, riverside paths and terraces. The panoramic view from the “Maxbrücke” bridge – one of the most varied sections of the tour – is pure Medieval in nature: key features of this defensive structure include the defiant “Fronveste” with the “Schlayer” tower, “Weinstadel” and “Henkersteg”, in whose bridge house the executioner once lived.

Up and down the stairs, sometimes left, sometimes right, along the river Pegnitz. Here, half-timbered buildings alternate with 70s architectural marvels and modern ensembles – such as the Deutsches Museum. Locals and visitors sit on the bridges enjoying an ice cream or beer, the smell of barbecues wafts up from the gardens on the banks.

We end the day at the inclusive “Café Strandgut” on the northern shore of the three-kilometre-long lake Wöhrder See. The people of Nuremberg have turned the former flood protection reservoir into a local recreation area complete with bathing beach (Norikusbucht), calisthenics equipment, a rope net system and a bird sanctuary. But instead of great crested grebes, rails and little grebes, colourful unicorns and flamingos bob in the water in front of us. The brightly coloured pedal boats can be hired on the shore opposite.


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