A Rich History
Along with this old-world city’s quaint, narrow stone streets, brightly painted patrician homes, courtyards and outdoor cafes, there are Roman fortress walls dating back almost 2,000 years, an enthralling centuries old cathedral and remarkable stone bridge. Regensburg boasts a rich history that has been well preserved through the centuries. It’s affluence as an influential trade center during medieval times is evident throughout the town.
A Feast For the Eyes!
During our city tour, we watched as locals fill the streets, strolling and biking, they leisurely enjoy the sunny weather and fresh air at the outdoor cafes, Gelato shops and bakeries. Bright displays of flowers and greenery cascade out of window boxes overlooking the crowds below.
St. Peter’s Cathedral
The foundation under St. Peter’s Cathedral was first built in 700AD, but because of several fires, the church was rebuilt to this current Gothic structure, which was completed in 1320. Many consider this cathedral to display the best Gothic architecture in Bavaria. Most of the exterior statues depict themes from the Bible. Vibrant stained-glass windows in the church that were installed in the 14th century are still in use today. The interior of St. Peter’s Cathedral is adorned with sculpted imagery of St. Peter, St. Paul, Usula and the Virgin Mary.
A Touching Site on the Steps of the Cathedral
Just outside the steps of the grand St. Peter’s Cathedral sat an elderly woman with her hands out stretched, begging. A man sat down beside her, and in English, he gently asked if she was hungry. She nodded. He then reached into his knapsack and pulled out a banana, a block of cheese, and some bread and handed them to her. In the shadow of this magnificent cathedral, adorned with priceless relics and exquisite architecture, this touching gesture seemed to momentary eclipse the grandeur.
The stone bridge was built between 1135 to 1146 and is considered a medieval engineering marvel. It has been part of many major events through the centuries, including the fact that the knights of the 2nd (1145-1149) and 3rd (1189-1192) crusades used it to cross the Danube on their way to the Holy Land!!
Freya and Annalee are passengers with us on the Viking Gefjon. We had the privilege of learning about their story as we journeyed together through Europe. Freya is taking a trip of a lifetime with her lovely grandmother, who, at 93, is sweet and energetic. Annalee is a Holocaust survivor, and while the ship docks at different cities in Germany, her relatives have been coming to visit them. She has published a book about her time in the concentration camp, and after this cruise, she leaves for London to begin her book tour.
As anti-Semitism grew in Nazi Germany during the 1930s and early 1940s, Jews were forcibly removed from their homes. In an effort to memorialize these tragic events, these “Stumbling Stones” are being placed in the cobblestone walkways. Shown here is the date in which these residents were removed from their home, and when they died, likely at a concentration camp. There is an organization in Germany striving to place these memorial plaques at all locations where Jews were forced out of their homes, not only in Germany, but in other countries as well that were affected by the Nazi Regime.
Oskar Schindler (28 April 1908 – 9 October 1974) was a wealthy German businessman and a member of the Nazi Party. After witnessing the cruel treatment of Jews during the Holocaust, he dedicated his life to save them. He saved 1,200 Jews by employing them in his factories. To accomplish this, he spent all of his fortune bribing officials. A list was compiled of the names of the Jews that were saved through his actions. In 1993, a movie directed by Steven Spielberg premiered, telling of this story, called “Schindler’s List”. This plaque was placed on a house in Regensburg where he and his wife Emilie resided only months after World War II ended. At this time, they were broke and relied on others for financial assistance, including some of the Jews whose lives he saved.
Porta Praetoria!! Talk About Old!
Just a short walk from the Danube River is a fragment of 2nd century Roman history, Porta Praetoria. These rough-hewn stone blocks are part of the gateway for the northern wall of Castra Regina, the Roman camp during the time of Emperor Marcus Aurelius. This Roman settlement would later become Regensburg. The gates face a major strategic location, where the Regen River flows into the Danube. The structure was incorporated into newer buildings through the years until 1885, when its age was identified as dating back to 179 AD and it was preserved as a historical site.
Coming up next: Making Weisswurst Sausages!!
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Start at the Beginning of this Viking Grand European River Cruise
Where are go all going next after Europe? We’re going to New Orleans! Stay tuned!