„Some of the most beautiful pedestrian zones of Germany” are hidden in the quarter of Niederburg in Constance – according to the magazine GEO SAISON. This quartier between the Minster and the Rhine belong to the oldest areas of Constance. Originally, Niederburg was inhabited by fishermen and craftsmen. A stroll through the picturesque maze of alleys is a journey to the past. In this article, we will guide you through the beautiful Niederburg, tell local anecdotes and give tips for you to contemplate.
The name of Niederburg is connected with the past – the area lied beneath the old residence of bishop near the Minster. The alleys decline on the way towards the Rhine. So for the street cleaners – most of whom were grave diggers in their „spare time” -, it was easier to carry the refuse and dirt left by human and animal residents to the river. Today, wineries, wine taverns, small restaurants, and charming, owner-managed shops border the ground floors of Niederburg. Luckily, the large-chain supermarkets have no interest in invading the peaceful Niederburg, as the retail space is too small for them.
Those, who scatter through Niederburg, might easily get lost in the few streets. This is mainly due to the fact that the alleys are curved – a medieval defence method. In case of an attack the enemies could not shoot down along the entire street. The wall paintings, framework, vegetation, and the architecture of the wealthy patrician houses establish the charm of Niederburg. Therefore, it is worth looking up and taking the time to observe Niederburg in its complete height.
Halley’s Comet in Constance’s Niederburg
Every 75,3 years, Halley’s Comet appears near the Earth’s surface and it’s one of the most known comets. Even the Babyloners documented the luminous comet in their cuneiform script. In 1910, the comet glowed over Europe and left such a deep impression, which also eternised in Niederburg. Those starting the tour in the Inselgasse, can find on the left – at the very top, beneath the eaves of the house – a wall painting, which illustrates the comet. It was attached there in 1911.
Hunchbacked and swine’s back – Wendelgard of Meersburg in Constance
If you walk from the painting of Halley’s Comet to the corner of Inselgasse / Brückengasse – to the centre of Niederburg, you will find the restaurant „Wendelgard”, which offers a civic cuisine. According to the legend, the eponym was hunchbacked – like a back of a swine. She lived in Meersburg, on the opposite side of the lake when looking from Constance, and she was shunned by others. Even when she offered the municipal council the Haltnau – a very big and lucrative wine-growing estate -, the councilmen declined. Wendelgard came to the councilmen of Constance: She would make the estate to the infirmary trust of Spitalkellerei of Constance, if the councilmen took her for a drive with the coach every Sunday and ate with every day for her the rest of her life. The men of Constance didn’t hesitate long and agreed. Also the „Wendelgardweg” was named after this story. It criss-crosses around the famous lido of Constance „Hörnle” and offers a wonderful view of the lake, also during the cold season.
Treats of Constance – from Spätzle to Spätburgunder
The cuisine of Constance is marked through the rich history of the city – and the frequent change of the occupants. There are influences of the Swabian, Alsatian, Swiss and French cuisines in the pots. Typical for Constance is the Feldsalatt von der Reichenau (field salad of Reichenau) with croutons, the roast saddle of venison of Baden and the perch-fish dish. Käsespätzle, Maultaschen and Spätzle are combined with pork medallions and domestic mushrooms. Der schwäbische Kartoffelsalat (the Swabian potatoe salad) is a typical side dish. Die Dünnele (yeast dough) and Flammkuchen (flour dough) are often described as „pizza of Constance” and are traditionally coated with onion, bacon or potatoes. The wines of Constance or from the surrounding area are offered with the dishes. Der Spätburgunder (Pinot Noir) is domiciled by the Lake Constance since 884. If you would rather drink white wine, you will be happy with the Müller-Thurgau. There is no other place where the delicately fruity wine prosper more than by Lake Constance with its special climatic and geological requirements. Recommendable are also the Weiß- and Grauburgunder (Pinot Blanc and Pinot Gris), which are produced around the lake. The Spitalkellerei of Constance offers winetastings, the wine store „Franz Fritz” invites you to its cosy wine tavern.
Gassenfreitag – festival between the houses from May till October
The Gassenfreitag in Constance is a popular venue of the locals. Every first Friday of each month from May till October, stores, private persons and restaurateurs open their doors and invite to enjoy the music, drinks and snacks until 22 o’clock. The people celebrate together and you can always meet acquaintances and friends on Gassenfreitag – as well as new acquaintances on top of that.
Tip: city walk through Niederburg
It is highly recommendable exploring Niederburg on a guided tour. Especially for groups , we recommend the guides Jens Weber and Marc Schloßarek. For individuals, we recommend the tour called „Altstadtrundgang mal anders” (A Different Kind of Old Town Tour). We hope that you have a great time in Niederburg of Constance und are looking forward to welcome you to us. Photo source: Gerhard Giebener – Konstanz – Altstadt (12), CC BY 2.0, Link