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May 9, 2021

Germany:  Golsar


Church towers in Goslar

Goslar Germany’s appeal came as a surprise.  We had chosen to stop in this former Hanseatic League commune in part because it is a UNESCO World Heritage site status and in part because it fit our trip itinerary.  Not atypically for long road trips we had not given much thought to what we would see before we arrived.  The pictures we saw of Goslar looked nice at the time we booked the room.  But Tourist office pictures often present idealized views of towns and we don’t put too much stock in them.  But in this case the pictures didn’t lie.  Goslar is beautiful.

After our prior stops in Worms and Kassel Goslar’s mostly intact medieval core was a revelation.  The commune was fortunate to have escaped the strategic bombing of World War II, something that forever changed the urban fabric of so many German population centers.  After the war Goslar ended up in a British-controlled zone of Western Germany, not far from the Inner German Border.  On the scale of things, history dealt Goslar a relatively soft hand during the war.

Goslar from above: The market square is at the right center.

Goslar’s center is established around its main market square, the marktplatz.  Surrounding the platz is an attractive mix of slate clad and half-timbered buildings accented by gold highlights.  The square’s grandeur undoubtedly reflects the affluence of a town that historically benefitted from its imperial palace, productive mine, and Hanseatic connections.

As a tourist destination, Goslar is in August quite popular.  It’s not overwhelmed but there’s little doubt that tourism drives the commune’s economy these days.  The tourists visiting were by our estimation mostly German speakers with a few from Holland sprinkled in.  It seemed to us that the English-speaking tourist world has not discovered Goslar as a destination, which was just as well for us. 

A big plus was that many of the visitors were there just during the day.  In the evening and in the morning until 10 or so the bulk of the crowds were gone.  With the windows of our hotel room opening to the marktplatz we could enjoy the sound of the splashing water fountain and the chiming of the bells without the din of the tourists in the bars and restaurants below.  Sometimes the experience of a place has everything to do with where one’s hotel room was located.  This was one of those times.

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We stayed in Goslar for two nights in August of 2019 in Hotel Kaiserworth. 

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