A university town, Marburg hosts the titular University of Marburg and has a large student population. The town remains relatively unspoiled, with spire-dominated, castle-crowned Gothic and Renaissance influences, making it a popular destination for tourists. With a plethora of activities ranging from history to academia, Marburg is sure to exercise your intellectual faculties and excite you for its beautiful sights! Hop on a plane to Marburg now and check out these interesting sights.
1. Explore The Earliest Purely Gothic Church In German-speaking Areas
With Gothic-style architecture only started infiltrating German-speaking areas in the 1200s, the St Elizabeth Church in Marburg is one of the earliest purely Gothic buildings of its kind. The church has witnessed multiple historical burials such as former German president Paul von Hindenburg and his wife, and of course St Elizabeth herself. Her tomb made the church an important pilgrimage destination during the late Middle Ages. Now isn’t that a wonder to visit, explore the architecture of historical and architectural significance?
Admire the statues and sculptures housed in the church, ranging from “Mary at the Pillar”: a wooden figure of the Virgin from the fifteenth century in which Mary carries the Child on her arm to the “Altar of the Cross with the Crucifix by Barlach.” The Crucifix was made by the artist Ernst Barlach who designed it during the First World War for a war cemetery. “The French Elizabeth,” carved in wood in the fifteenth century. “Pietà” and “Altar of St. Mary.” Here’s an interesting fact about the church: it saved the city of Marburg from being bombed during WW2. Such a gem is thus a must-see for anyone visiting in Marburg.
2. Visit An Old Town In Marburg-Altstadt
Altstadt, although relatively small, is a vibrant old town to stroll around in. Its focal point is the Marktplatz (or marketplace); on the south side is the historic Rathaus (1512). The historic town hall and the market square remains the center of urban life despite centuries gone by. Those who visit the upper town – the old town on the Schlossberg above the river Lahn – almost always see the market. Be it for shopping on the market days Wednesday and Saturday or to watch the Gockel at the top of the town hall clock at any hour of the week, the Altstadt is always bustling and charismatic.
Take a short hike up to the Kugelkirche while in Altstadt. The small late Gothic Ball church is the result of a reformation of the 15th century and is a great spot for pictures. Alternatively, view the medieval gate! Marburg’s only medieval gate, which is accessible today, was not intended to be used to deliver slaughtered cattle, even though the name Kalbstor might suggest this. Rather, it is named after the family of knights “von Kalb”, whose court was located in the street fork behind the gate.
3. Check Out This Castle-museum Hybrid, The Marburger Schloss
Built in the 11th century as a fort, the Landgrafenschloss Marburg is located on top of Schlossberg and offers an amazing view over the whole town for everyone who visits. The panoramic sights stretch over both the city and the countryside, allowing you to appreciate the best of both worlds in Marburg. The building is also used today partly as a museum, the Marburger Universitätsmuseum für Kulturgeschichte (Marburg University Museum of Cultural History), Wilhelmsbau.
Owned by the Philippe University of Marburg, the cultural history collection in the Landgrafenschloss contains the permanent exhibition of church art, objects of the national history and a collection of furniture and applied art from several centuries. In addition, you may also be lucky enough to catch exchange exhibitions are held. On the way up to the castle, do also catch the Brother Grimms’ Fairy Tale Route! It showcases paraphernalia from the famous stories of the Grimm Brothers, such as Snow White.
4. Soak Up The Sun And Enjoy The Greenery Around You In The Botanic Gardens
The Botanischer Garten Marburg, maintained by the University of Marburg, showcases a varied selection of flora and fauna around the world. For instance, visit the Alpinum, a rock garden representing plants from the high mountains of Europe, western Asia, the Himalayas, Australia, and New Zealand. Other exhibitions also include the Arboretum, focusing on conifers, alders, ash, birches, ginkgos, hazels, maples, and willows.
Otherwise, the fern collection, containing 80 fern species is also wonderful for those with a botany interest. Check out the Forest collection, showing spring-blooming plants, or the Medicinal and Useful Plants collection, including cereals and other carbohydrates, succulents, vegetables, fiber plants, tobacco plants, rubber plants, and dye plants. Finally, do enjoy the fresh air and the presence of nature all around in you in the Botanischer Garten Marburg.
5. Visit the iconic Philipps University of Marburg
The University of Marburg makes Marburg what it is, a Universitat Stadt or university town. Any visit to Marburg is thus lacking without a trip down to the university. Founded in 1527, the architecture and namesake of the University itself is also a sight to behold.
The UOM, while being a place of education, also has multiple collections sure to interest its tourists. Some collections include the Forschungsinstitut Lichtbildarchiv älterer Originalurkunden bis 1250 (Collection of photographs taken from medieval charters in 1250) or the Religions Kindliche Sammlung (Collection of religious objects). Alternatively, check out the Mineralogisches Museum (Museum of Mineralogy) and the Museum für Kunst und Kulturgeschichte (Museum of Arts). The Botanischer Garten listed above also belongs to the University, making your trip down extremely fruitful in visiting multiple places of interest at once.
6. Explore The Nearby Castle Ruins Of Frauenburg
Although not strictly in Marburg, Frauenberg is a municipality nearby in the Birkenfeld district, that is famous for its castle ruins. Along the left bank of the Lahn River, sandstone hills rise and extend to the edge of the community of Ebsdorfergrund, culminating in a natural peak upon which stand the ruins of the Castle Frauenberg. The ruins date possibly from the early 14th century and include a girding wall, four round corner towers, round tower in northeast wall, twin-halled cellar, partial moat and nested walls.
The ruins of the castle also have a deep historical connection. In 1248 Sophie von Brabant, daughter of St. Elizabeth of Hungary and widow of Duke Heinrich von Brabant, came to Marburg to claim her late husband’s Thuringian inheritance. Sophie had the castle built in 1252 on the basalt peak that became commonly known as the Frauenberg, or, the woman’s peak. By the year 1489, the castle lay in ruins and the site was used as a quarry.
Today the site remains are a popular destination, enjoyed for the grand panoramic sights. On clear days one has an incomparable view in all directions and can spot nearly forty villages and cities before the horizon. The Vista can reach as far as the mountains Hohe Meißner or Feldberg in Taunus. Frauenberg is one of a total of seven Huguenot villages in Hesse that were founded between 1686 and 1706.