5 tips for Ulm

Ulm Skyline
© Igor Marx | Dreamstime.com

Ulm, on the banks of the Danube, offers much more than the highest church tower in the world and the birthplace of Albert Einstein. The Ulm sights are something special!

The city is steeped in history and is also admired for being one of the most fulfilling destinations in Germany.

The city is organized with a well-coordinated transportation system, there are a large number of hotels and exciting Ulm sights to visit and not to mention all the fun things you can do to make your vacation and vacations in the city enjoyable.

Tourists interested in architectural attractions will appreciate Ulm’s striking mix of old and ultra-modern architecture, often side by side.

The city is also known for its many theater, opera and dance performances, a first-class professional orchestra, the large Christmas market and lively traditional festivals, such as Schwörmontag (Swear Monday) and the Fischerstecher (Fisherman) tournament.

Tip 1: Ulm Minster

Ulm Minster
© Peter Lovás | Dreamstime.com

The 14th century building is not only the city’s landmark, but also the largest Protestant church in Germany.

As the highest church tower in the world, the west tower rises 161.53 meters into the air. The 768 steps allow visitors to climb up to 142 meters, from where you have a great view over the city.

Due to the siege of Charles IV (1376), going to the church, located in front of the city gates, became dangerous. Thus, the population expressed the wish to build a church inside the city gates.

The construction of the Gothic church was then started in June 1377 by the master builder Heinrich Parter. After changing builders, construction problems and many years of standstill of the building site, it was finally completed in 1890. After 513 years of construction!

There are five organs in Ulm Cathedral. The main organ, also called the great organ, is located in the main gallery and can be reached via a separate stairway. It consists of 100 stops and 8,900 pipes. Other organs include the choir organ, the organ positive, the altar organ, and the organ in the Konrad Sam Chapel.

Of the thirteen bells in the cathedral’s main tower, ten can be rung. While bell no. 10 rings only on special occasions, the nine others form the festive ringing. A special feature is the large prayer bell, the funeral bell, the country fire bell and the sweeping bell, because these date from the 14th and 16th centuries.

Other highlights are the 15 meter high choir windows and the choir stalls. With its hundreds of figures, the choir stalls of Ulm Cathedral are among the most famous in the world.

Tip 2: Metzger Tower

Metzger Tower in Ulm
© Prapton | Dreamstime.com

On the city wall of Ulm, a bit away from the cathedral, lies the leaning Metzger Tower overlooking the Danube. Its slanted position is due to the boggy ground along the Danube.

The tower is about 36 meters high, has 83 steps and reaches a slope of 3.3 degrees towards the city center – which is a deviation of a little over two meters. Nevertheless, the tower stands firm enough not to fall over, as it is checked every few years for statics. Every five years, the inclination changes by an additional 0.2 millimeters.

In the Middle Ages, the tower was a gateway, i.e. a passageway through the city wall of Ulm. A city wall, of course, had the purpose of protecting the population from attacks. This tower of the city’s fortification was built in 1340, when the Staufers had strengthened the city, as it was often threatened. And Ulm was a palace, as the seat of the king and therefore of special prestige.

The square building was built with bricks and the passage is a pointed gate. The recesses are partly the embrasures and towards the top, a round arch underpins the last floor. The tower is closed by a hipped roof.

With the construction, the municipal butchery, the Stadtmetzig, was better integrated. That is why the gate tower got its name. The butchery waste was poured into the water; into the blue flowing here nearby in Danube.

Inside there are rooms with a size of about four by four meters. During its existence, the tower itself served both as a storage chamber and, in the 18th and 19th centuries, as a prison. Originally, the premises were the parlors of the medieval fire department guard.

Tip 3: Leaning House

Located in the fishermen’s quarter of Ulm, the Leaning House in Ulm was built in the 14th century in late Gothic style. After several extensions and alterations, the five-story building received its current appearance in 1443. A legendary feature of the Leaning House is the inclination of 9 to 10 degrees that corresponds to its name.

Leaning House in Ulm, Germany
© Stefano Zaccaria | Dreamstime.com

While the southern foundation borders directly on the Blau River, the structure extends partially over the river from the second floor onward because of its sloping braces. In this way, boats arriving here could dock in a protected manner. Archaeologists also assume that the cellar was used by fishermen to store live catch, in addition to repairing nets. Over the centuries, the side of the building facing the river sank to such an extent that shoring measures had to be carried out as early as the beginning of the 17th century. During its existence, the Leaning House changed owners several times. After extensive renovations, in the course of which the statics of the building were secured, a hotel has been located in the premises since 1995.

Tip 4: Fishing Quarter

Fishing Quarter Ulm
© Scaliger | Dreamstime.com

The historic fishermen’s quarter is located in the immediate vicinity of the Danube. It is considered one of the most important old town ensembles of Ulm. The quarter stands out in a special way due to its small alleys, romantic bridges and half-timbered buildings steeped in history. Among the most famous are the Zunfthaus (Guild House) and the Schmale (Slim House) and Schiefe Haus (Leaning House). Numerous hotels, cafés and restaurants have also settled here. The small local stores also captivate with their sometimes unusual offerings. The quarter is crossed by the canals of the small and large blue. This well-known river rises in nearby Blaubeuren on the Swabian Alb.

In earlier centuries, the quarter was the settlement of craftsmen. In addition to the fishermen, the boatmen, millers, dyers and tanners had also settled here. The latter needed a lot of water for the processing of animal skins. Since the crafts were needed less and less in the times of industrialization, the neighborhood lost its importance and became impoverished. During the Second World War, this part of the city was largely spared from bombing raids. In the post-war period, the neighborhood was gradually redeveloped and much was rebuilt.

Tip 5: City Hall

Ulm City Hall, Germany
© Markovskiy | Dreamstime.com

Not far from the cathedral is Ulm’s town hall, easily recognizable by its opulent exterior painting from the early Renaissance. The oldest part of the present building, the southeastern main building, was built in 1370 as a ‘new merchant’s house’. In 1419 it was first referred to as the town hall.

In the course of the 15th century, the council hall received framed windows in Gothic architecture (with six elector figures) on the south side, as well as the double windows located on the east side. The richly decorated astronomical clock was installed around 1520. The rich painting of the facade was also extended to the old building and shows doctrinal representations of virtues, commandments and vices. The painting that can be seen today dates back to 1900, when the painting, largely destroyed by the weather, was restored or recreated in the spirit of the vouchsafed parts.