On the northeast edge of the Harz mountains lies Goslar, once a prosperous mining town, and now one of the best-preserved examples of a german town of the late middle ages.
The silver and copper mines of Rammelsberg made Goslar very rich, so much so that this little town had been one of the most important places in Germany for centuries, when the German Emperors moved their court here.
More recently, the presence of a POW hospital helped this town escape World War II uncannily without damage, and for this reason it is now included in the UNESCO World Heritage list.
Strolling around the narrow curvy streets of Goslar, you’ll be enchanted by the finely decorated houses you’ll see along your path. The tradition of adorning their homes with wood carvings of angels, mythological creatures, animals, human figures and sometimes also some crude subjects make the houses that face the Markt (the main market square) particularly noteworthy.
The Rathaus, the Brusttuch House (one of the most beautiful patrician houses in Goslar) and the Kaiserworth Hotel (the former guildhall of the cloth merchants) are probably the most significant examples of this tradition. If you look carefully, you’ll even find the figures of a young woman scratching her butt, and of a man… “dumping” a gold coin from his behind!
The Emperor’s Palace, or Kaiserpfalz, is also close to the Markt, and was built during the reign of Heinrich III in the 11th century to be the seat of the Emperor’s court. Inside the Palace, in the St. Ulrich Chapel, visitors can admire a stone sarcophagus that holds the gold capsule containing the heart of the emperor, who died in 1056.
Like many other german towns, Goslar has its own Glockenspiel, too.
Four times a day (at 9 a.m., 12 noon, 3 p.m. and 6 p.m.), the mechanical figures of this carillon re-enact Goslar’s mining history from the discovery of ore by the Knight Ramm up to the modern era.