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【Travel】Bamberg, GERMANY

戦火を免れた世界遺産の旧市街

By Joseph Lieberman, Photojournalist

写真 ゲイヤーズワース城からバンベルク市街を眺める

 第二次世界大戦時、ドイツ各地は連合軍の空襲で甚大な被害を受けました。多くの都市が壊滅するなか、奇跡的にほぼ無傷で残ったのが、バイエルン州北部の小さな街バンベルクです。知名度はそれほど高くありませんが、戦火を逃れた旧市街がユネスコの世界遺産に指定され、中世の面影を今に伝えています。

 古くから、フランケン地方のビール都市としても知られるバンベルクでは、1015年に設立されたミヒャエルスベルク修道院内の醸造所が、現在ビール醸造博物館となっています。ワインと同様、ビールも古くから修道院で醸造されてきたのです。

 ドイツでは、各地のご当地ビールがおいしさを競っていますが、この街を代表するのが「薫製ビール」ともいえるラオホビア。煙で燻(いぶ)した麦芽を材料にしたビールで、薫製のようなスモーキーな味わいが特長です。市の広報担当者から、好き嫌いが分かれるビールと説明を受けた旅の筆者ですが、その味わいを大いに気に入ったようです。

 このほか、この街に拠点を置くバンベルク交響楽団も名門楽団として知られており、来日公演も10回を超えています。

 古くからの文化的な香りが息づく街である一方で、暗い歴史も忘れてはなりません。バンベルクは17世紀、魔女狩りの中心地でもありました。大規模な魔女狩りで、多くの人々が処刑されると同時に、「魔女」を収容する刑務所まで建てられていました。

 筆者は、街巡りで興味が尽きない様子。小さいながらも見どころが多く、歴史的にも興味深いバンベルクが、どうしてヨーロッパ以外で知られていないのか?首をひねりながら、そして後ろ髪を引かれながら、街を後にしたようです。(の)

 Not many people I know are familiar with Bamberg, Germany, but that lack of fame is the very reason it's such a wonderful place to visit.

 Eberhard Haar, a world traveler living there, explained, "Only 5 percent of the town was destroyed during World War II, while other cities were annihilated. Sometimes being small has big advantages."

 What Bamberg lacks in size, it makes up for in extraordinary sights. Its Gothic and Baroque-style old town hall appears to be floating on an artificial island in the middle of the Regnitz river.

 "In the 14th century," Eberhard explained, "the river was a border between church and shopping districts. Since neither side could agree where to locate the town hall, they put it in the middle."

 The most prominent building is the massive Bamberger Kaiserdom cathedral. Inside, Eberhard pointed out the Bamberg Rider, which dates from 1235, making it Germany's oldest equestrian statue. Another treasure is the tomb of Emperor Henry II (973-1024) and his wife Kunigunde (975-1040).

 "Look at the carved stone panels on the side of the tomb," Eberhard said. "There's an unusual depiction of Empress Kunigunde walking barefoot on hot iron plowshares. By agreement, she and Henry had a sexless marriage, but she was accused of having secret lovers. Stepping upon the fiery metal without getting burned was proof she was innocent."

 Kunigunde's golden crown is in a Munich museum, but when Bam-berg asked for it to be returned, Munich refused. Local goldsmith Friedemann Haertl stepped in to solve the problem.

 "I'm making an exact replica of Kunigunde's crown," Friedemann told me. "It's enormously expensive, considering the gold and jewels, but she's a symbol for our town. There's a life-size statue of the empress on Untere Brucke bridge."

名物の薫製ビールを味わう

 Another of Bamberg's symbols is easier to swallow. Germany's Franconia province has more beer makers than any other region on earth. Bamberg sits in the center of Franconia, and has no less than 10 breweries.

 "That's just half the story," Anna-Maria Schuhlein, the city's press secretary, informed me. "Only in Bamberg can you find our distinctive ‘smoke' beer. You may love it or hate it, but it's our cherished specialty."

 Anna-Maria brought me to a medieval-looking brewpub called Schlenkerla. "It's the oldest pub in Bamberg, named after a former owner. Here you'll find the best smoke beer, along with traditional dishes like beef and mushrooms with potato dumplings, thick white asparagus, roasted leg of lamb, and red, white and green cabbage."

 I found I loved smoke beer's malty aroma and mildly smoked-ham taste. I also found another old brewery that's no longer in service, but was converted into the Franconia Brewery Museum. It's located in St. Michaelsberg Benedictine Abbey, founded in 1015. It's no secret that monks were among the first to enthusiastically brew beer.

 When I stepped into St. Michaelsberg, the music I heard sounded like it came from that ancient era. It turns out I was close.

 The Capella Antiqua Bambergensis musicians were performing songs from the middle ages on medieval instruments they had built themselves. Everyone in the ensemble is a member of the Spindler family. They all live in a small castle in the nearby village of Wernsdorf, where they've recorded many albums.

 Bamberg has another claim to musical fame in the city's renowned symphony orchestra. These sorts of pleasures make Bamberg sound like it's always been a delightfully harmonious place to live. When I met Eberhard again that afternoon, however, he told me of a darker period in local history when politics and religion merged to reign as one, in the person of an all-powerful prince-bishop.

 "Witchcraft was blamed for many troubles," he said. "The Bamberg witch trials lasting from 1626 to 1631 resulted in the executions of hundreds of people. There was even a special witch prison built by Prince-Bishop Johann Georg II Fuchs von Dornheim. There's his palace, opposite the Kaiserdom."

 With that, we entered the magnificent state rooms of the New Residence, home of the ruling prince-bishops from 1613 until 1802. There's an Imperial Hall covered with monumental oil paintings and sculptures, stucco-work ceilings adorned with sumptuous frescoes and chandeliers, splendid royal chambers, and, among many tapestries and furnishings, the writing desk where Napoleon declared war on Prussia in 1806. In the courtyard, a symmetrical Rose Garden is filled with thousands of blooms.

 As I reluctantly left amazing little Bamberg that evening, I wondered why hadn't more people outside of Europe heard of this awesome city.


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