Oldenburg - the city where people live in dog houses and eat turf.
Want to know more?
I'm dedicating this blog post to my charming home town, which hosted me for almost 20 years.
This has two reasons:
1. I figured you already know Narva quite well and it would be even more fun to get a little insight into another town from abroad and
2. When I visited Oldenburg this month, we had bombastic spring weather and I got to take lots of beautiful pictures!
To start off, I would like to provide you with some benchmark data about Oldenburg:
the city is located in the northwestern region of Germany, between the Hanseatic city of Bremen in the East and Groningen (Netherlands) in the West.
There are approximately 160.000 people living in Oldenburg, a bit more than one third of the population of Tallinn.
The city is situated on the rivers Hunte and Haaren.
In 2008 Oldenburg celebrated it's 900 years anniversary. 800 years, until the 20th century, it was ruled by graphs, dukes and grand dukes.
One of them, Graph Anton Günther, played a notable role in the history of Oldenburg. Thanks to his clever and sophisticated policy of neutrality towards
the belligerent European military leaders, he preserved Oldenburg from misery and devastation during the Thirty Year's War (1618-1648).
Graph Anton Günther influenced Oldenburg's cityscape and -life strongly. He was not interested in war or military power. In fact, he wanted to focus on
the cultural and economic development of Oldenburg.
Count Anton Günther's passion for horses is legendary. Because he gave away the horses of his own horse breed as presents across Europe,
Oldenburg was spared from the turmoil of war. Even today, Oldenburg is, not least, known for it's great horses.
On the picture, you can see the graph with it's favorite horse, which he named "Kranich" ("Crane", like the bird).
Oldenburg Palace. The palace as it now stands was built by Count Anton Günther. From 1607 to 1615 he had the medieval-style castle converted
into a splendid Renaissance-style palace. From then on it served as the residence of all counts and grand dukes of the city.
Palace Guardhouse and -Square. The palace guardhouse is the white building with the four columns opposite the palace.
It marked the borders of the bourgeois areas. The palace square is commonly used for handicraft- and the annual christmas-market. A special treat for summer-lovers is the "Kultursommer" (summer of culture); a series of free musical and other cultural events in the city center during summer holiday season in July. During this wonderful time, the palace square can be enjoyed within the refreshing atmosphere of life music, cold drinks and joyful people.
Lamberti Curch. The Lamberti church is a particularly fascinating building. This Protestant church was built in its original form in around 1200.
Since this time it changed a lot. Most of it's outside was built later on. The outside facade shows a typical neo-Gothic style. In the past years, I have
visited this church mostly during christmas services. Every year they have a huge Christmas tree inside the curch, which they light up during service.
Then we sing Christmas songs together, while the beautiful organ is playing.
In front of the church is a smaller square as well.
Weekly markets are held here. To receive some extra pocket money, I worked on these markets quite often.
The markets are full of fresh and regional fruits, baked goods, dairy products and more. During a break, we always stopped at the cafe wagon to drink
a cappucino and eat a fresh and soggy piece of poppy-seed pie.
Townhall. The Old Town Hall (Altes Rathaus) was built in 1888. It is still home to the offices of the Lord Mayor and to the political parties of the city
council today. On the picture you can see the famous bells (Glockenspiel), which can be heard throughout the city center four times a day:
11:00, 14:00, 17:00 and 19:00. The songs played include a collection of seasonal tunes as well as the “Oldenburg Hymn” from 1844. Above the bells
hangs the emblem of Oldenburg.
Degode Haus. Dated 1617, the Degode Haus, named after the Degode merchant family, is one of the oldest buildings in the city.
It survived the biggest fire in the city's history. Today, the house is used as sales area and for living.
The Palace Garden. Right in the city centre lies a beautiful Park (Schlossgarten). It is home to wild animals, as can be seen in the picture above. In March, the colorful crocuses start to bloom and the Palace Garden comes back to life, after the long and dark winter months.
State Theatre. Oldenburg's State Theatre first opened in February 1833. It was a wooden building in the beginning and moved into the more imposing
Renaissance-style stone building after it burned down in a fire accident in 1891. In the stunning facilities of the theatre is room for grand opera, concerts,
ballet and theater productions with sophisticated stage sets.
Bergstraße. In this narrow lane inside the city centre you can find charming shops as well as a unique surprise for tired explorer: The Pensioner's Bench. This cozy place is for every retiree and everyone, who wants to become one some day...
Oldenburger Hundehütten (Oldenburg's Dog houses). Many people love dogs and many live together with one or more! But only some people live in a dog house! This architectural style is typical for Oldenburg and very popular among it's citizens. Thus, you should visit Oldenburg, if you want to see the most luxurious and expensive dog houses in the world!
Torfsoden (Turf sods). The Oldenburger Torfsoden is a culinary delicacy, which can only be found in the city of Oldenburg, Germany. In 1980 the pastry chef Kurt Leutbecher created the so-called "Oldenburger Torfsoden" and, thus, won the bidding for a baking competition. The flavorful pastry is a tribute to the city and county of Oldenburg and a historic symbol for the turf sods, which were exploited extensively from th emoors in northwestern Germany for many years. Due to the beneficial properties of turf, it was commonly used as fuel, medicine and building material and, therefore, played a defining role for it's region. The Torfsoden consists of a basic dough made from honey, cocoa, flour and spices. It is flavored with raisins, almonds and candies before it goes into the oven. After baking and cooling, the Torfsoden is cut into shape and covered with finest chocolate.
The Cafe Leutbecher opened in 1986. Up to this day it enjoys great popularity, thanks to it's tradition-rich atmosphere.
Haven. We even have a little port! Along the promenade you can find nice cafes and restaurants with porches facing towards the water.
These are the last photos I got to take before the sun set down and it was to dark...
I hope you enjoyed this little virtual city tour and could feel the spring as well. See you! :)