Sunday, 5 January 2014

sunday drive: idstein


On the way to Köln for New Year's celebrations, we noticed a Turistic-Tafel, one of those brown and white illustrated signs that offer what historic or cultural attractions one can find at the next exit, and since it was just at the start of our journey and it was another fair and sunny afternoon, I decided to investigate.
The town hosted a palatial Renaissance residence for the counts of Nassau, which is now used as a boarding school—including for one in the line, Adolf, King of Germany, who was once on the short-list to become the Holy and Roman Emperor of the Germans but was unceremoniously displaced by the Hapsburg family. Looking at this finely preserved city-centre, one wonders how history would be changed by the detail of that time-line.
This view is from the steps of Hexenturm, whose turret appears behind the ensemble of the old Rathaus below, which means witches' tower, though no witches ever endured an unfortunate incarceration there, the town did have quite a few victims of a series of witch-hunts in the seventeenth century and a plaque at the base of the tower is dedicated to their memories.
Behind the collection of signature Fachwerk (half-timbered) buildings, one can make out the steeple of the now consecrated Unionskirche, originally a Gothic edifice built on the ruins of an earlier Romanesque—the town lying directly on the Limes with quite a bit of revival and other remnants of the far-reaches of the Roman Empire in Germany. The building does seem a bit plain from the outside, but the interior is very ornate, replete with a ceiling of panels from the Gospels. It was a very nice place for a windshield-tour but certainly worthy of more and I am excited to go back someday soon.