Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Travel Tuesday: Around and About Büren, Germany

In April 1982, I was lucky enough to get to go to Germany, and spent the Easter weekend (April 8-12) in Büren with my relatives.  Here are some pictures I took that Saturday while Unkle Karl-Heinz and Tanta Lucia worked, and I wandered around on my own.

Büren was founded in 1095 A.D.  In 1982 the population was around 17,500; by mid-2012, it was 21,320.  It is located on a mountain spur between the Alme and Afte rivers.  Here is the Almetal, or Alme River valley:

Along one branch of the river are a couple of mills. This one is the central mill or Mittelmühle.  It was built about 1532 and is considered the oldest secular building in the downtown area:

Near the river was this shrine to St. John Nepomucene, perhaps put there because this saint is considered a protector against floods.  A rough translation of the inscription below the statue (which appears to be a combination of German and Latin) is: "in honor of the martyr St. John Nepomucene - John Tholen, pastor in Büren, 1735."

The shrine still existed 25 years later, albeit with a different statue and a protective door in front of the statue.

Another thing I passed on my walk was the cemetery pictured below.  I really wish I had gone exploring in it a little more, looking for Papes buried there.  However, I might not have found any.  I have recently learned that in Germany, it's very typical for a grave to be recycled - used for another person after 20 years or so.  Families don't own cemetery plots - they only rent them.  At the end of the lease, if descendants don't pay up, the grave is re-used.

Finally - back in the Marktplatz area, near the Pape family home and bookstore, was this old building, pictured at right. The half-timbered (German Fachwerk) house with a half-hipped roof (German Krüppelwalmdach) says 1608 on the door frames, and is the oldest surviving house in the city. When I was there in 1982, the main floor was being used as an Italian restaurant.

The town also has two beautiful Catholic churches - I'll write about those more in future posts. 

© Amanda Pape - 2013 - click here to e-mail me.

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