I knew that I would love Quedlinburg after I spoke the name out loud, even with my American accent. This charming capital of Saxony-Anhal was one of my favorites in Germany, not only because its quaintness but mainly for its architectural history. I have a deep admiration for faukwerkhaus/ half-timbered houses and Quedlinburg had a plethora of them, at over 2,000. In fact, the city was designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1994 noting it as having a high quality and number of timber-framed buildings. Making Quedlinburg an excellent example of a medieval European town.
I arrived by train to a quiet station with only a couple of platforms. Although it was chilly and drizzly, I decided to skip the taxi waiting in front of the station and walk into town. It was a short walk but when I saw the town square, I just sighed. It was ever so charming. By this point in my travels, I had been wandering around Germany for about a month and had seen many towns and cities but there was something special about Quedlinburg for me. Like I said, I knew it was special when I said “Quedlinburg” aloud as if it were a magical word.
The town square or market square is lined with well preserved medieval and Renaissance buildings. The colored half-timbered hotels and restaurants with slanted roofs caught my eye instantly. It was if I walked into a medieval time capsule, minus the café umbrellas and people strolling in modern attire!
Now getting to my place was a feat in itself, as I was terribly confused with the map app. It kept telling me that I was to take a small street called “Shuhhof” and it was on the right. I kept walking up and down the market square, but I could not find a lane or street with that name. I noticed on the reservation that I was to go to one of the shops for check in, so I did. The friendly lady gave me the key and told me that “Shuhhof” was the hallway between the buildings- what? When I stepped into the corridor doorway that was when I saw the sign. I thought it was funny after a bout of being slightly annoyed!
Shuhhof alley way and my historic stay
What came to a pleasant surprise was the haus I had my flat in was part of the city’s historic registry. I was staying inside the blue haus on the first floor, with the alley buidlings dating back to the 1500s-1600s. I did not realize this until there was a small tour of people outside my window trying to look in. That was just another moment to make me laugh with this small Shuhhof alley.
Everything about Quedlinburg was magnificent. I decided to walk through the medieval streets without a map and I found everything that I wanted to see. Castle Hill was easy to find as the stately castle dominated, overlooking the town. The area of Quedlinburg is set in a typical development of its time, which originates from Castle Hill and sprawls out into different settlements. There is also a preserved town wall that dates back to 1330, it was common for towns to have a wall surrounding it for safety. The preservation of Quedlinburg is extraordinary.
I never got lost while walking the small cobblestone streets. It was if I knew my way, as if I had lived here in a past life or two. I was also traveling off season, so it was if I had the town to myself especially once I got out of the slightly populated market square.
One of my reasons for visiting Quedlinburg was to visit the Fachwerkmuseum Standerbau, which is the oldest in East Germany dating back to 1310. This type of home is called a Ständerbau, which were built in the first half of the 14th century. The construction of this type of home during the time had upright beams (Ständer) that surrounded the house from the bottom to the roof. Ceiling beams were ‘shot’ through the Ständer, which created two floors. Then to protect agains tensile and shear forces, pins with wooden splints were placed.
If you follow my blog, then you know that I have a passion for the oldest or the first of anything historical or with restaurants/ food. Visiting the Faukwerkhaus Museum was an absolute must for this travel-nerd-girl!
While in Quedlinburg, I did have several delicious meals. This was my most memorable as it was fresh whole trout, topped with slivered almonds and filled with melted butter. It was similar to Chicken Kiev that when you cut into the fish, melted butter poured out and on to the plate. It was marvelous and I have never had this dish since!
Visiting Quedlinburg was an extraordinary trip for me and I would do it again in a heart beat. I have suggested the city to others as well as German friends, who have never visited but fell in love with it. This is a lovable town full of medieval history and architecture, all which has been beautifully preserved. It is no wonder that the city of Quedlinburg has been described as being one whole museum.
To travel is take a journey into yourself…– Danny Kaye
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