April 23, 2013

0612 GERMANY (Bavaria) - Old Town of Regensburg with Stadtamhof (UNESCO WHS)


Located in Bavaria, at the confluence of the Danube and Regen rivers, Regensburg owes its foundation to Celts (Radasbona), but the Romans were the ones who built there a strong fort (Castra Regina). As seat of the Agilolfing ruling family, it became in 530 the capital of Bavaria, and it will maintain this status since the first half of the 13th century. Actually the 12th and 13th centuries were the Regensburg's golden age as trade center, but also as the cultural centre of southern Germany, in 1245 becoming a Free Imperial City. It adopted the Protestant Reformation in 1542, and between 1663 and 1806 it was the seat of the Imperial Diet of the Holy Roman Empire. In WWII it was home to both a Messerschmitt Bf 109 aircraft factory and an oil refinery, so it was severe bombed by the Allies, and between 1945 and 1949 it was the site of the largest Displaced persons (DP) camp in Germany.

Because it "contains many buildings of exceptional quality that testify to its history as a trading centre and to its influence on the region from the 9th century" and "is also remarkable for the vestiges testifing to its rich history as one of the centres of the Holy Roman Empire that turned to Protestantism", Old Town of Regensburg with Stadtamhof was included in 2006 in the UNESCO World Heritage Sites. One of the main sights of the city is the stone bridge across the Danube, linking the Old Town with Stadtamhof, a highlight of medieval bridge building, constructed between 1135 and 1146. Actually for more than 800 years, until the 1930s, this arch bridge with 16 arches was the city's only bridge across the river. 

It served as a model for other stone bridges built in the 12th and 13th centuries: the Elbe bridge in Dresden, London Bridge across the Thames, the Pont d'Avignon across the Rhône and the Judith Bridge across the Vltava in Prague. It originally had three towers, of which only the south tower (the Debt Tower), a gate tower to the Old City, survives (in the postcard). In the early 20th century, when the tramway was built, all buildings between the remaining tower and the Amberg Salt Store were removed, widening the street approaching the bridge, and a wide arch was built over it beside the tower. Originally it had thick stone balustrades (with narrow pedestrian gangways beside them), replaced in 1732 with thinner slabs of sandstone, in 1877 with granite, and in 1950 with concrete.

About the stamp, illustrating even St. Peter's Cathedral of Regensburg, I wrote here.

Regensburg - Official website
Regensburg - Wikipedia
Stone Bridge (Regensburg) - Wikipedia
Old town of Regensburg with Stadtamhof - UNESCO official website

sender: Ingrid Passarello (direct swap)
sent from Burglengenfeld (Bavaria / Germany), on 22.10.2012

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