City Hall, Bremen, Germany

bremen city hall germany
The central hall of the Bremen, Germany City Hall.

I've always got a kick out of the German word Rathaus, which means City Hall. Rat House, a good place for most city government. Ok, enough sophomoric humor. The Rathaus of Bremen is about 600 years old, which is saying something indeed, because a lot of German landmarks didn't make it through World War II. This one did, because it was right next to the Bremen Cathedral, and, for the most part, Allied bombers tried to miss obvious cultural landmarks when they were pulverizing German cities. And, since Bremen manufactured airplanes and submarines during the war, they came in for a lot of pulverization.

But the Germans managed to save the Rathaus by stationing soldiers there during bombing raids whose sole job was to put out fires that threatened the mostly wooden building. So, the building survived.

It was named a Unesco World Heritage site in 2004. It's a historical site, certainly, and the wood carving that lines the walls is spectacular. But what intrigued me were the ship models that hang from the ornately carved and painted ceiling. These were models of ships that were to be built for the merchant fleet of 16th Century Bremen, and ended up somehow hanging in the main hall of the building.

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carving bremen city hall
One of the carvings which are spread throughout the main hall of the Rathaus.

The Bremen Town Hall is a UNESCO World Heritage site. To see a list of the UNESCO World Heritage sites in Germany, click the link.

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