Germany: Burghausen Old Town
Travel Period : 1st June – 12th July 2013
Location: Bavaria State (German: Bayern)
After visiting Burghausen Castle and looking down onto the southern Inn-Salzach style Burghausen Old Town from there, we knew we had to make some trips there too.
As the Old Town is at a lower altitude than the castle, we had to walk down a long steep slope to get there. Once we stepped in, we were mesmerized by the structures and colours of the buildings there. Of course, structures like these are normal for Europeans but for us, it was the first time we came across them so can’t blame us for getting somewhat excited! ^^
Roads were pretty narrow throughout the town, with one lane for each direction. We had to be careful in watching the traffic since vehicles would brush close while we walked along some of the pavements.
The grand central square Stadtplatz has an unique flair to it. Multicoloured houses with gabled roofs lined up the spacious town square, which is considered one of the most beautiful squares in Central Europe.
The square was full of people relaxing and having their food and drinks at the several restaurants and bars located there. There was even a hotel and we would have wanted to stay there too for the ambience, if not for the long distance from my working place.
One of our visits to the old town was to celebrate our 9-year wedding anniversary as we decided to have our dinner there at Postgarten Restaurant.
We ordered ‘Fried Char served in whole, filled with fresh herbs and pan-fried‘ for Cat. It was fresh from the pond of nearby Raitenhaslach and the reason we came here. We had heard that ‘Trout’ as a local delicacy is great but had not tried it before. ‘Char’ belongs to the same genera as trout and is closely related. For myself, I ordered ‘Fillet of Pikeperch’ pan fried.
Both cost 14.80 Euros which were expensive for our standard but tasted delicious.The portion was not large enough but we still shared our meal with Dar since he has a small appetite and wouldn’t be able to eat a full meal himself.
It was a wonderful meal while we sat back and reminisced on the European style of ‘street-side dining’. Meanwhile, perspiring lots because it was humid and warm. ^^|
From the square, one wouldn’t miss the parish church – St. Jakob’s church. As it was the first church that we saw up-close in Europe, we examined it closely and took several pictures. We were also surprised at how ancient the church was from the signs on the outer walls of the church (it was consecrated in 1140, destroyed by a few fires and rebuilt several times).
Located by the town square was also the ancient Regierungsgebäude (former Government Building), which was built in the 16th century with three decorative Renaissance-turrets. In fact, all the buildings there were so fascinating to us, it didn’t really matter to us which were the buildings that had greater significance to the town.
Running alongside was the Salzach River, the main river of the Austrian state of Salzburg. The river’s name is derived from the German word Salz, meaning “salt”. Until the 19th century, shipping of salt down the river was an important part of the local economy. The shipping ended when railways replaced the old transport system.
When we had just arrived at Burghausen, there was tremendous rainfall which had resulted in flooding over many places in Central Europe and the Salzach River was affected too. Therefore, we only made our first trip to the Old Town after we knew the flooding had gone down and the place was safe again. We could still see traces of the flood as we walked along the river though.
There was only a narrow walkway on the bridge over Salzach River, where vehicles travel in both directions between Burghausen and Austria. It was a funny feeling to be using the bridge as an invisible border and subconsciously crossing over to another country just by walking on it. Therefore, we made our first ‘trip’ to Austria on our first Old Town visit!
While on the other side of the bridge (Austrian side), we turned around to look back at the Old Town and Burghausen Castle, and were impressed with its beauty. The multicoloured buildings lined along the Salzach River with the main castle building standing impressively on a higher point. The view was even more beautiful when the sun set.
While Burghausen Old Town was beautiful and the visit was fulfilling, there was unfortunately a downside to it — we would always have to climb a long steep slope from there to get back to our hotel in the New Town! Nice to walk down but not the other way.
That was especially exhausting during one of our visits, when we had cycled down to the Old Town (we took another route which was longer to get there) and we had to push our bikes up the slope!
[ History ]
Burghausen is the largest city in the Altötting district of Oberbayern in Germany. It is situated on the Salzach river, near the border with Austria. Burghausen Castle rests along a ridgeline, and is the longest castle in Europe (1,043 m).
The oldest mention of Burghausen is documented in the year 1025 as Imperial real property. But, as latest excavations have shown, the area around the main court of Burghausen’s castle has at least been inhabited since the Bronze Age. With Archaeologists finding artifacts of the pre-metal Celtic, Iron Age, and Roman era, it is hard to pinpoint a “founding” date. The town has developed over thousands of years, but it is not yet possible to say how long there has been a permanent settlement.
Burghausen’s main source of income was the trade in salt from Hallein, (modern-day Austria). The salt was brought ashore in Burghausen and transported further overland. The income from the salt trade was lost in 1594 because of the establishment of the ducal salt monopoly.