Situated on a bend in the Danube, Regensburg has been attracting settlers since the Stone Age. The Romans arrived in 90 CE, and made it official – this was a strategic location.
It was also Rome’s northernmost location in Germania, as they never were able to move across the Danube. However, they made good use of their time here and stayed for about 300 years. Part of the original gate to the city still stands.
The city was important to Charlemagne and every major ruler – Holy, Roman, or Emperor – onward.
It was the site of the Permanent Diet that thrashed out the terms of the Thirty Years’ War’s treaty – for about the next 143 years, from 1663 to 1806. (Lots to iron out.) We had a tour of the original town hall, starting with a 13th century foyer and reception room, leading to the Reichssaal, where the Diet met for all those years, and ending in another meeting room used by various factions.
The building was well-preserved, and included completely intact dungeons and torture chambers. It was so cold in there that we were ready to confess long before we saw the cells. Those were serious prisons.
On a somewhat happier note, we saw a wedding party emerging from the same building, which also houses the immigration offices. The life of this city goes on and on.
On a small street nearby is the house Oskar Schindler and his wife occupied immediately after the war. Yes, comparisons to the present day are being drawn.
Of religious note is the cathedral (the Dom) begun in 1273 and finally finished in 1872. Very graceful.
A bit more ornate is the Basilica of the Nativity of Our Lady, the oldest Catholic church in Bavaria, in place for centuries before it was given the high Baroque treatment of the 18th century.
Of special note in this city filled with special things is the Stone Bridge, built in the 12th century, making Regensburg an important post in the trading route between Venice and Northern Europe. And then there’s the rest of the town, filled with charming squares and lanes and houses that preserve its past.
And what did the birthday boy eat for lunch? How about roast suckling pig in a dark beer gravy with potato dumpling and cole slaw. For me? Surely, that would be easy to guess.