Erfurt (map) is a historic city in the central German state of Thuringia. Located about 300km southwest of Berlin, Erfurt is famed for having one of the best preserved medieval city centres in Germany. If you’ve been following me for some time, you’ll know how much I love medieval towns (such as these in Costa Brava or Bergamo in Italy), and Erfurt is a stunning example! I visited the city as part of a tour exploring Bauhaus sites in Germany, and was really bummed that we were only spending a night there. The sun was setting when we arrived so I quickly dropped my bag in the hotel room and joined a walking tour around Erfurt. Scroll down to see my photos  taken during my evening stroll of medieval Erfurt.

Our first stop was the statue of Martin Luther in front of the Gospel Church. Erfurt was where Martin Luther studied in the 16th century, became a monk and was later ordained. As such, Erfurt is one of the most important Luther sites in Germany.
The Gospel Church is also the start (or end) of Anger, the main thoroughfare and shopping street in Erfurt. There are lots of architectural gems in this street, such as this gorgeous building which used to be the post office.
If you’re a fan of Art Nouveau architecture, Erfurt should be high on your list! There are various Art Nouveau buildings along Anger such as this stunning example at no. 23.
Another gorgeous building on Anger (street)!

Medieval Erfurt

From Anger, we made our way to the medieval centre of Erfurt. Our first stop, the Krämerbrücke (Merchants Bridge), was both fascinating and charming. The Merchants Bridge, a medieval arch bridge, spans the Breitstrom, a branch of the Gera River. Built in the 14th century, the bridge features a cobblestone street lined with gorgeous half-timbered dwellings. If you didn’t see the bridge from the banks of the river and simply strolled down the cobblestone street, you would have no idea that you were crossing a bridge!


The buildings on the bridge are home to various shops and houses, some of which have been inhabited for more than 500 years! That makes the Krämerbrücke one of the very few bridges in the world that is still inhabited!

From there, we made our way down to the Fischmarkt (Fish Market), a long square lined by beautiful buildings including the Rathaus (City Hall).

From Fischmarkt, we made our way to the Kunstmuseum, another striking building.

We soon arrived at the centre of medieval Erfurt, and arguably the most impressive square in the city: the Domplatz or Cathedral Square.

St. Mary’s Cathedral (left) and St. Severus Church (right).

The square is home to St. Mary’s Cathedral, the oldest and largest church building in Erfurt. A church existed on this site in the 8th century but the present Gothic-style Cathedral with its Romanesque towers stems from the 14th century. Martin Luther was ordained here in 1507. The Maria Gloriosa bell (from 1497) that hangs in the central spire is the biggest medieval bell in the world and still rings till this day!

Next to the Cathedral, separated by an imposing staircase, is the St. Severus Church, with its equally-impressive spires.

Domplatz or Cathedral Square. Apparently, the square is simply magical around Christmas when a large Christmas market is held here.

After that evening stroll around the centre of medieval Erfurt, I promised myself that I would return soon! First of all, I want to see the city in daylight! And secondly, my research has revealed a city full of historic and cultural attractions. If you’re a fan of charming medieval towns and Art Nouveau architecture, add Erfurt to your list!

Visit Erfurt Tourism for more information. Read more about reasons to travel to Germany.

Read more Velvet Escape posts on Germany. A selection:

Note: my trip to Germany was made possible by the German National Tourist Board. As always, all opinions expressed above are mine, and mine only.

8 Responses

  • I attend the Leipzig Buchmesse every year and always spend a few days in Erfurt. It’s one of my favorite cities in Europe – untouched by mass tourism and a perfectly preserved medieval center with another ring of grand Grunderzeit/Wilhelmine and Jugendstil buildings surrounding that. This is also an area so rich in undiscovered small towns that you could visit over and over and daytrip to different villages or towns and probably never tire of it. Arnstadt, Ilmenau, Rudolstadt, Saalfeld, Weißenfels, Bad Kösen, Apolda, etc. are just a few small towns that very few Westerners visit (Arnstadt has the famous Bach church, so perhaps it is slightly more well known).

    Erfurt is also the home of the Augustinian Monastery that Martin Luther lived in as a monk for almost a decade. It is very well-preserved with 14th century stained glass, an early Renaissance courtyard, and a historic library. You can also stay in the monastery, but they do have some more modern dwelling spaces. I personally haven’t stayed there, but it looks quite nice.

  • The Domplatz or Cathedral Square looks so beautiful. Your photos look like I’ve traveled back in time but in a modern setting. Haha does that makes sense?

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