In the Heart of Germany – Erfurt

In Life & Travel by Jackie Cruz

Located in eastern Germany, the beautiful city of Erfurt is 200 miles southwest of Berlin and is home to approximately 200,000 people, including myself. Exemplifying the design and charm of a German Altstadt (the old town) are breathtaking buildings detailed and carved with gold and marble from as early as the 1100s. Martin Luther studied here and miraculously the buildings of the Altstadt were spared from World War II.

The Anger is the Altstadt’s main street and the most beautiful representation of old Germany. Whenever I walk down the half mile road and main shopping district, I am taken back in time as I see spectacular buildings colored in brick red, sunshine yellow, pale green and neutral stone. I am overwhelmed with smells of fresh cookies, bread and pastries as there is a bakery on almost every corner. You can imagine another time when horses pulled carriages and galloped across the cobblestone streets as folks in their native garments bargained for goods.

For the past few months, I have been discovering Erfurt’s treasures – historically significant places, down-to-earth cafes and spectacular views of the city. Among these is the Old Jewish Synagogue (pictured below), which is almost hidden by tall, ancient, stone-filled walls. It once held priceless jewels and coins during the time of the Black Death. It currently holds Hebrew Manuscripts and contains a Medieval Mikveh, a bath that was used for rituals. Sadly, the Jewish population today in Erfurt is only 500, but Jews come from all around the world to pay tribute this significant museum, as well as visit the New and Small Synagogues.

Described by Trip Advisor as the “Point Vecchio of Germany,” the Krämerbrücke is in the northern part of the Altstadt and in an area known as “Little Venice.” It was given this name because of the narrow canals and buildings winding through this part of the city. Lined with unique shops, the Krämerbrucke is home to the Goldhelm Chocolate Shop and the Thuringer Specialty Store. I’m absolutely addicted to the out-of-this-world flavor combinations of the bite sized chocolates, such as lavender, chili pepper and wasabi. The Thuringer Specialty shop is more like a deli offering local delights. My favorite is the homemade mustard that I use for dip with my sausages! Next to the bridge is also an adorable statue called the “Little Sandman,” which I had to take a picture of (below in the red costume)!

On one end of the Krämerbrucke is the Wenigemarkt, surrounded by cafes and restaurant. In Autumn, there’s nothing like sitting outside under a warm fleece blanket and drinking a hot chocolate with whipped cream (with maybe a little Bailey’s inside)!

One of my favorite places is the Domplatz. It is the location for almost all of the city’s festivals, including the Oktoberfest (check out my adventures here) and the Weihnachtsmarkt (Christmas market). The Domplatz holds the famous 1200-year-old St. Mary’s Catholic Cathedral. Of the Cathedral’s 3 towers, the central tower houses the Maria Gloriosa – the world’s largest bell weighing more than 13 tons! The church and its surrounding buildings were built in the 14th and 15th centuries featuring Gothic and Romanesque architecture. The buildings majestically sit on top of a hill and provide visitors with one-of-a-kind views of the Erfurt.

The best thing about living abroad is that you can discover new worlds! Over the past 5 years of living in Germany, I have traveled to over 70 European cities. These amazing experiences have been inspiring and have influenced my personal growth. I have been fortunate enough to form life-long friendships, to gain priceless knowledge and to create memories to cherish forever. The quote that will forever define my journey so far in my life is “Travel far enough until you find yourself.” This simple saying is my motivation to keep learning, traveling and taking on new challenges everyday in order to find out my true self and character.

I absolutely love traveling and will be covering more adventures in Europe and beyond soon. If you have any questions, please shoot me an email or comment. Reading your thoughts mean so much to me!

Featured Places in Pictures:
Martin Luther Statue by Anger & Krämpfertor
View of the Kaufmannskirche on the Anger
Me on the Anger
View of the Anger from Schlösserstraße
Walls next to the Old Synagogue on Waagegasse
The Old Synagogue on Waagegasse
View going across the Krämerbrücke
Goldhelm Chocolate Shop on the Krämerbrücke
Homemade Mustard Jars in the Thuringer Specialty Shop on the Krämerbrücke
The Statue of the Sandman and Me
View of Little Venice Area from the Rathausbrücke
View of the Krämerbrücke from the Rathausbrücke
View of the Canals from Schlösserstraße & Junkersand
View of the Canals from Schlösserstraße & Barfüßerstraße
Wenigemarkt Cafe
View of Wenigemarkt & Futterstraße
Domplatz, Cathedral and Statue of Minerva
View of Entire Domplatz