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Posts Tagged ‘Hann. Muenden’

Benedictine Monastery in Bursfelde

Bursfelde_Kirche_von_SOHalfway on our route to Beverungen we will visit the Benedictine Monastery in Bursfelde and have a look inside. The monastery was founded in 1093 by Heinrich dem Fetten as burial place and place of commemoration through prayer for his family. Even though the monastery was connected to the Imperial Abbey of Corvey nearby, through changes in the political climate and ownership, its relevance declined in the following four centuries to the point that no monks are recorded residing there by 1402. During the reformation process in the 15th and 16th century the catholic-based monastery become even more secluded until the Duchess Elisabeth von Brandenburg – who had converted to Protestantism – ruled for her under-age son and effected major changes regarding the reformation and finances. As the rulers – and their beliefs – changed, the monastery changed confession as well. After the Peace of Westphalia was proclaimed in 1648 the monastery became protestant again and stayed that way until today. No matter under which flag they sailed, the monastery had always been a centre of learning and until today that influence can be seen in the remaining library and modern day activity of the Theological Centre of Bursfelde Abbey.

Bad Karlshafen

Carlsbahn003Shortly before our final destination we will drive through the picturesque town of Bad Karlshafen and get to see the distinctly different style of the reconstructed Huguenot Baroque buildings.

The city was founded in 1699 as an ‘exile city’ to provide a spiritual home for religious refugees during the reformation process in the 17th century in Europe. Here they were mainly Huguenots from France who were welcomed and sheltered by Karl from Hessen-Kassel. In 1730 the Huguenot apothecary Jacques Galland discovered the brine springs which shaped the economic future of the town. Initially used to produce salt, it ultimately led to the town becoming a spa destination for the application of therapeutic brine baths.

As the Baroque architecture was a practical manifestation of the Counter-Reformation and intended to persuade everyone of God’s splendour and the Catholic churches’ magnificence, it will be interesting to observe how that was put into practice in this particular town.

Author: Petra Alsbach-Stevens

 

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Important trading post to the North

1024px-Hann_muenden_weserursprung_ds_wv_06_2011Officially the city was mentioned the first time in a document from 1183, but it’s location at the confluence of the two rivers Werra and Fulda into the Weser – a main transportation route to the North Sea – would have meant that it had been settled a bit earlier.

Another hint to its earlier foundation is the name of the village Gimundi (802), in the location of today’s Altmünden. A linguist would be able to explain how it could have transformed to become today’s Münden, let it suffice to say, that they think it is a reasonable deduction and carry on discovering this little jewel of Medieval and Weser Renaissance architecture.

Trading wealth

1024px-Hann_Münden_Rathaus_2007Than as now cities, communities and their owners had to be quite creative to come up with ways of financing their building projects and quite often opulent lifetstyles. An obvious one for places on major trading routes was imposing trading tariffs, road tolls and staple rights. The right to impose these ‘council rates’ had to be ‘earned’ and were highly sought after. A city’s wealth would radically improve, which in turn could radically change the townscape. Hann. Münden is a classic example of this: in 1247 Münden was given the staple rights to the rivers and a building and trading boom ensued in the following centuries until 1823 when the system was changed and the staple rights became redundant.

Weser Renaissance

20130810_192834_Wanfried_SchlagdTo facilitate trading numerous jetties, packhouses and markets were built along the rivers, in the now famous and unique Weser Renaissance style. On our cycle tour along the river Weser, we will see plenty examples of this particular architectural style, which seems to be very appealing to many people. In a book from 1964 its author Jürgen Soenke claims that its appeal is due to its roots: the waterway landscape and its inhabitants created the buildings and because they were folk people, it has ‘folksy” features.

During your guided tour through Hann. Münden you will be able to see the beautifully preserved town hall and other buildings showcasing that style. We are very lucky that as the result of the Thirty Years’ War everyone in the region was too poor to build new buildings and just repaired the old ones, thus retaining the original designs and look of this period of time.

Last but not least

800px-Münden_Rinnstein_im_StraßenbelagFor a very long time the name Münden caused lots of mix ups, as it was often mispronounced and mistaken for Minden ( which happens to be on the Weser as well) or Munich! So the local railway added Hannoversch to it, but that did not solve it as it was too long to be printed on the tickets, and depending on how you pronounced it could be mistaken for other towns in Hannovers’ vicinity. Ultimately they abbreviated it to “Hann.”, denoting its locality ( near Hannover) but making it distinctly different. This writing has been officially adopted by all city councils since then, but the locals still call it just Münden!

Author: Petra Alsbach-Stevens

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