Saturday, April 29, 2017

Burg Münzenberg and Butzbach, 29 April 2017

Burg Münzenberg in Wetteraukreis
We visited the castle ruin at Münzenberg about 30 miles north of Frankfurt in a spectacular area of hilly land that has been in agricultural production since the days of the Roman occupation. The castle is unique because it has two keep towers. It was partially destroyed during the 30-years war (1618-1648) and was never rebuilt. It is on a high hill overlooking beautiful green farmland. Elder Mumm counted more than 20 villages in the surrounding landscape. The fields that are planted now are deep green or bright yellow (rapeseed in full bloom - the seeds that are harvested after the blooms are crushed to collect vegetable oil, Canola oil in the U.S. I imagine "rapeseed oil" wouldn't be the best marketing name).
Walking up the steep path to the castle ruin

Elder Snapp explaining construction techniques or something technical

View from one of the castle openings

Western keep

This was a high status place before the 30-years War. Construction started in the 12th century.

What remains is fairly grand in scale

Looking back toward the entrance

Stone walls were incredibly thick

Walking the narrow path atop the wall of the inner courtyard

Check out those yellow fields

Looking toward the outer curtain wall

Another look at the landscape

The eastern tower from below the castle ruin

Headed toward an old gate in the outer curtain wall

Reading inscriptions from the late 1700s carved in the stone blocks

What a view
Could have soaked in the view all day -- except it was cold and windy on top of the tower

Our second spring, and we are amazed at the quantity of Raps being grown

The village just below the castle

Multiple walls with defensive towers protected the inner palace and courts

Great picture from the top of the eastern tower looking west

I'll meet you at the crossroads

Houses and farms all perfectly neat

Why is there one tree in the middle of the plowed field?

Look closely at the church steeple. The tower that rises above the clocks was built by some inebriated workmen?
A more complete look at the village church
Elder and Sister Kay, Sister and Elder Snapp, Janet, Sister and Elder Mumm

Elder Kay took this one. Janet pulled her hood off for a picture.
Happy accident. After missing the footpath turn back to the cars, we found this magnificent horse in an orchard.
He came right to the gate when Elder Mumm whistled

"That's right, Wilbur."

A new friend
Butzbach is just 6 miles west of Münzenberg, so we drove there to see the old city and have some lunch. Butzbach was home to a U.S. military garrison after WWII until 1991 when the castle they were using as headquarters and the military barracks were turned over the city of Butzbach. The castle is now used as an administrative district office. The market place was surrounded by 16th and 17th century fachwerk (timbered) houses. We had a great lunch together in a nice Italian restaurant called La Piazza. The food was delicious and the company fun. They had a party upstairs with 40 people, so the service was a little slow, but they brought us some fresh bread and olives to tide us over and by way of apology.
The Marktplatz in the middle of the old city of Butzbach
The town hall dates back to 1630. Many buildings in the town originated in the 1400s.
The building leans a little to the left

We decided we would like a buildout if we had a multi-story house
Quaint doesn't begin to describe the town

"Goethe was here" is akin to saying "George Washington slept here"

The town was quiet - this is a holiday weekend, and we imagine Monday, May 1 (their Labor Day) will be busy

This old half-timber house needs a little reno

Row of buildings on the Marktplatz

Carved and painted wooden panels on the building front

No one has wood carving just for decoration on a building at home

The fountain in the Marktplatz was still sporting Easter eggs

A German tour group passed by as we were studying the crooked building across the street

This is a door in a sad state on what used to be the city's salt warehouse. Salt was like gold and even used as a sort of currency during the middle ages.

The clock face on the town hall is ornate

This 14th century chapel is now museum storage

The Protestant church in town has been through multiple building phases

Janet just loves doors

The stained glass depicts the woman wiping the Savior's feet with her hair and preparing to anoint them with oil. Pharisees look on reprovingly knowing this woman to be a sinner (Luke 7)

These ancient buildings are all over town and are still used as shops and apartments

This is an interesting door in an building that was a home to a baker, a copper smith, a button maker, and a small shop keeper.

The best missionary companion in Germany

Yes, the sky really was that blue today. 

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