Fritzlar's Old Town and Half-Timbered Houses

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Fritzlar, Germany

Fritzlar's Old Town and Half-Timbered Houses Reviews

Kathrin_E Kathrin_E
371 reviews
Fritzlar’s Old Town and Half-Timbered Houses Mar 06, 2017
What's on your wish list when you are dreaming of romantic old Germany: half-timbered houses and cobblestone, a town wall with towers, medieval churches? Fritzlar has it all...

Fritzlar is full of half-timbered houses. Most of them are beautifully restored. Despite common opinion, the vast majority of these is NOT medieval. Half-timbered houses that actually originate from the middle ages are very rare beasts. Most date from the 16th to 18th century, i.e. the early modern era or even from 19th and early 20th century historism.

However, Fritzlar does have a few of those rare beasts. One, probably the finest, is located in the short street that leads from market square to the Dom. This one is a gothic house from the 15th century. Note the front door in the shape of a pointed arch, and note the long vertical timbers that extend from the foundations to the ceiling of the upper floor. Later constructions are divided into storeys, usually with each storey protruding a bit.

Hochzeitshaus is the largest and most impressive half-timbered house in town. It was built in the late 16th century as „Wedding House“. The wealthy citizens of the town used it for weddings and other celebrations, for example baptisms. The institution of a municipal wedding house was popular from the late middle ages to the 30 Year War, many cities and towns had one. Families rented the house for their parties. Weddings were big events and the private houses and inns in town were too small to accommodate the increasing number of guests. A typical wedding celebration lasted full 3 days in a row. Nowadays the building hosts the town museum which presents exhibition about Fritzlar's history and regional folk culture.

Spitzenhäuschen qualifies as Fritzlar’s weirdest architecture. I am not really sure if I’d employ the architect! Originally these were two houses, later united to one. Foundations were not too solid, it seems. However, timberframe constructions are elastic and adapt their statics to quite a lot of distortions. The small house can be found Zwischen den Krämen, the street that leads from the end of market square to Domplatz. The ground floor is the seat of the local tourist information office. The interior of the house can be visited with guided tours - enquire at the tourist information.

The old houses in Fritzlar have many interesting details. I like walking round a place with the camera and picking a certain topic which is characteristic. A feature that is worth starting a Fritzlar photo collection are the doors, portals and gates. They can be found everywhere in the streets and lanes of the old town, so directions are not necessary. All you have to do is keep your eyes open and your camera ready. But I am telling you where the most beautiful one ist o be found: this is the Patrician House next to Hochzeitshaus (Wedding House. Historical wooden doors are preserved on many of the half-timbered houses. Often inscriptions tell the date and/or the first owners when the house was built.

On some half-timbered houses you will spot the Sun Wheel as ornament. It resembles the Nazi Swastika in some respoect but it is different because it is curved, not straight lines at right angle. This is the Sun Wheel, a very old ornament that symbolizes the eternal circling of the sun, and life in general. In fact the owners of these houses got into some trouble at the occupation in 1945 because the allied soldiers did not know the difference and suspected them to have Nazi symbols on their doors!

In Fischergasse, there is authentic medieval architecture. The two adjacent stone houses with their stepped gables date from the 14th century. One of them has elaborate gothic windowframes while the other is rather plain except for the large arched portal; the rectangular windows are likely to be a later refurbishment, though. Stone houses were expensive and only wealthy people could afford building in solid stone instead of timberframe.
Streetview in the old town
Medieval half-timbered house with …
Half-timbered houses from the earl…
Half-timbered house, dated 1914
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