Der Stadtturm von Straubing
Straubing at its finest

Straubing in Bavaria – more than just a picture postcard. The city has been regarded as the heart of “Historic Bavaria” since the Middle Ages. All thanks to its Gothic, Baroque, Renaissance and Rococo gems on display throughout the city

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Straubing: the Heart of “Historic Bavaria”

There is indeed a “Staubing”, an “Aubing” and even a “Schaufling” in Bavaria. And Straubing also comes in duplicate. One of them, however, is barely more than a hundred square metres in size. It is located underground, and is surrounded by a glass wall, against which two curious boys press their noses in an effort to see more.

This is because the city’s landmark – the famous Straubing city tower – is suddenly facing them at eye level. And also because, just a few metres further on, and situated right in front of other Straubing replicas, they can even see the hustle and bustle of the “Gäuboden” folk festival: the neon-blue Autodrom stand and the beer tents shrunk to the size of shoeboxes.

The fun-filled “Ringelspiel” game in miniture size. “Blue Brix – Straubinger Wunderwelten” is the name of these lovingly assembled models, which are not only worth a visit on those days when the weather isn’t playing ball.

Zwei Jungs bestaunen ein Stadtmodell in der größten Modellbahnschau Süddeutschlands

It’s better to take longer and enjoy the real Straubing. Starting with the 600-metre-long town square, which pulsates to the relaxed rhythm of a historic Lower Bavarian market town.

Cyclists move back and forth between “Theresienplatz” and “Ludwigsplatz”. Mothers park their pushchairs in front of fresh herbs on sale at the “Viktualienmarkt” and take in the haze of marjoram, mint and the fine breeze of the free afternoon.

A weathercock can’t quite make up its mind: he spins his pointed beak towards the pink baroque façades, before passing the stepped gables towards the water tower.

A nice, pleasant feeling begins to pervade the areas: Straubing, the “heart of historic Bavaria”, is never in much of a hurry, not after many centuries of successful economic activity. With that, there’s time enough to take in the numerous façade details and art treasures gathered together in a small space, which have long since become part of everyday life.

Design by Albrecht Dürer

At the “Tiburtiusbrunnen” – the famous baroque fountain, built in 1685 – lovingly arranged flower troughs caress the figure of Straubing’s eponymous city saint, while the stone steps and benches right next to the ensemble invite visitors to enjoy short breaks.

7,184 “Gulden”, 41 “Kreuzer” and 2 “Heller” –  for a symbol of their independence

A few steps further on, the “Dreifaltigkeitssäule” Trinity column glistens in the midday sun, reminding us of the resistance against the Austrian Hussars who had established themselves here.

7,184 “Gulden”, 41 “Kreuzer” and 2 “Heller” are what it cost the citizens of Straubing back in the day for their independence. And what did they receive in return, over a period of numerous generations? Another immovable landmark for their city. With an alabaster-white Virgin Mary and a glamorously gold-leafed Trinity at the top of a Corinthian marble column.

A monumental Moses window can be admired in the nearby Papal Basilica of St Jacob. You don’t need a degree in art to discover it in the half-light that envelopes the grandiose Gothic hall church.

Vibrant colours, lively plant elements, dramatic swirling clouds in the sky all hint at the creative force behind this stunning work: Design by Dürer, Albrecht. You can almost feel the soft drapery of Moses’ cloak on your own skin. The lighting is both uplifting and thoroughly illuminating.

This exceptional German Renaissance artist had just returned from Italy at the end of the 15th century when he created this stained glass window, the only one outside his home town of Nuremberg.

Innenansicht der Ursulinenkirche in Straubing

Unusually Sensual

This is especially true of the curvature that characterises the gentle pink plaster columns of this church. They stretch upwards in gentle curve-like motions, striving towards the sky-blue choir firmament, past the surrounding angels and next to a pulpit like a theatre box.

A glance into paradise can be so inviting: the famous Asam brothers took the opportunity to deliver their final Baroque composition in Straubing, a unique harmony of architecture, sculpture and painting that shows the transition to the Rococo epoch.

Blick auf den Stadtturm und die Dreifaltigkeissäule in Straubing

Off to the Tower Parlour!

You too can dream of beautiful fair weather clouds as they float over eastern Bavaria’s Straubing while situated in the tower parlour. Until 1930, the city’s “Top Official” took up residence here, where he slept and kept watch. The sparse wooden table and a rough-hewn bed bear witness to the modest existence – but with privileged views over the entire Old Town and far beyond its borders. To the east, straw-coloured farmland merges with the diffuse green of the Bavarian Forest. Straight avenues of trees hold fields and meadows together like natural stitching.

The Danube wetlands are close enough to touch. The medieval tower is located right in the centre of the historic town, itself slightly elevated and thus protected from the vagaries of the Danube. A 68-metre-high, pale white index finger with copper-green tips.

A true eye-catcher for as long as we can remember. Straubing, the number one city in the Gäuboden region, has been famous for its first-class farming land for thousands of years. Ice age loess deposits make the region the undisputed “bread basket of Bavaria”. Over the course of time, even the Straubing landmark has grown along with the surrounding town.

At the time of the Duchy of Straubing-Holland, the people of Straubing were probably quite happy for ever taller churches and town houses to be built all around them. It was clear that their medieval tower – the foundation stone of which was laid in 1316 – would have to move with them. Yes, that was important. After all, in addition to its role as a fire tower, the neighbouring Danube had to be kept under careful watch.

Blick auf das Herzogschloss in Straubing an der Donau
Die straubinger Agnes-Bernauer-Torte wird in der Traditions-Konditorei Krönner serviert

Straubing, one of the capitals of the Bavarian duchies in the late Middle Ages alongside Munich, Landshut and Ingolstadt, enjoyed a particular privilege: it was allowed to withhold customs duties from passing ships.

To ensure they stayed particularly efficient, they twisted the Danube’s arm. Well, at least a little. If you walk down from the water tower towards the Danube and over the elegantly riveted steel shaft of the castle bridge, you will find the green “Gstüttinsel” island between the former, naturally occurring arm of the Danube, and the river bed that was diverted at a later stage. A fine meadow landscape with sturdy poplars and beautiful views of the ducal castle built in 1356.

One kilometre downstream will bring you to Urstraubing, built on a Roman fort. An enchanted-looking cemetery covers the “Kirchhügel St. Peter” hilly landscape and the Romanesque pillar basilica with round arches dating back to the 12th century. Along with chapels that tell great old stories.

Agnes Bernauer: a True-Love Story

Straubing’s true-love story from the 15th century. It is about Agnes Bernauer, the mistress of Duke Albrecht III of Bavaria, whose father – Duke Ernst of Bavaria-Munich – had poor Agnes drowned in the Danube in 1435 because her romantic attachment was deemed far beyond her standing in society.

This local folklore can really set your imagination on fire. The traditional “Krönner” confectionery serves the renowned Agnes Bernauer cake, something every cake fan would want to tickle their taste buds with. Heavy almond cream and crumbly lightness. This recipe fits the contradictory romance of a tragic love.

Tierpflegerin im Tiergarten Straubing hat eine Python um den Nacken gelegt
Ein Tierpfleger füttert die Pelikane im Tiergarten Straubing mit Fisch

Python Petting in the Zoo

Straubing also offers its guests the opportunity to pet pythons by prior arrangement only. More precisely, it’s the animal keeper at Straubinger Zoo – who is also the manager – and who seems quite relaxed despite having a dangerous snake around her neck. Perhaps this has something to do with the idyllic setting, the imposing old trees and the seamless transition to the Danube wetlands.

The transformation of the old city garden into Eastern Bavaria’s largest zoo has been underway for 70 years. Two hundred species of exotic and native wild animals can be found there. Most recently, a new lion enclosure was added.

NAWAREUM: Neues Mitmach-Museum in der Straubinger Schulgasse

Germany’s First Museum Dedicated to Sustainability

Another Straubing attraction with a keen focus on nature: the NAWAREUM draws in visitors with vegetable beds in front and a small architectural copse. 79 natural larch tree trunks from the Bavarian Forest flank this modern glass façade.

How many litres of water do you need for a half pint of beer?

Germany’s first museum dedicated exclusively to sustainability opened in March 2023. As a hands-on museum, it explores in playful fashion the complex interrelationships between sustainability and future technologies.

How many litres of water does it take to make a cup of coffee, if you include production? And how little for half a pint of beer? Anyone who pedals or cranks will experience first-hand how much muscle is needed for just a few watt hours.

The whole of Straubing lies at a crossroads created by nature. Günther Moosbauer, Director of the Gäuboden Museum, knows this fact well.

Schild am Eingangsbereich des Gäubodenmuseums in Straubing
Goldene Parademasken, ausgestellt im Gäubodenmuseum in Straubing

“The great Central European waterway from east to west, and the passages of the Bavarian Forest as the defining north-south artery meet here.” This is the basis for the 7,000-year history of settlement, which is presented in the Gäuboden Museum.

Pottery from Neolithic farmers, finds from Linear Pottery graves and exhibits from the end of the Celtic period. The exhibition “Baiern gefunden! Die Entstehung Straubings” (“Bavaria discovered! The emergence of Straubing”) sheds some fascinating light on early Bavarian history in an interactive way.

The greatest treasure being a global archaeological sensation, discovered in 1950: the Roman treasure with the Roman parade armour, the largest hoard find in the world. Masks, greaves, chamfron that had disappeared into the wet ground in the 3rd century. Now, these archaeological treasures also contribute to the rich splendour of the Gäuboden.

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