The market square of Bremen or Marktplatz is the heart of the city, its center. It’s one of those cobblestone places that have stood perfectly the passage of time and where you can take a 360º photo without leaving the fairytale city to which a donkey, a dog, a cat and a rooster wanted to arrive to escape from the fatal destiny prepared by their owners. There awaited them the friendly city of foreigners and symbol of freedom. And these animal musicians came to Bremen, at least in the form of a statue in 1953, when the city paid tribute to the story of the Grimm brothers.
Marktplatz in Bremen
Today, the Bremer Stadtmusikanten are the emblem of the city along with another statue, that of Rolando. And if you walk in front of the Bremen musicians, touch the donkey’s front legs and make a wish… they say it comes true.
Bremen musicians at the Marktplatz
The Rolando is the second story that surrounds the Marktplatz and whose enormous and gothic statue has been recognized by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site. This character was a knight of the palace, nephew of Charlemagne, emperor who granted freedom to the city as recalled by the inscription on the coat of arms held by Roland. And here begins the legend, for they say that as long as that statue stands, the city will be free.
It should be remembered that this was not the first statue of the person who guarded the market square in Bremen. The first one, made of wood, was set on fire in 1966, so the current stone sculpture was soon commissioned, prepared to better withstand the historical ups and downs of the city.
Rolando has a privileged position on the Marktplatz. Opposite the town hall stands the Rathaus, a spectacular renaissance-weser building built around 1405 and which is also dotted with history with Gothic figures such as Charlemagne. If its façade bears witness to the history of Bremen, do not miss the visit inside the Great Hall and its spiral staircase or the golden Güldenkammer room.
St. Peter’s Cathedral
And opposite Rolando, St. Peter’s Cathedral, Dom St. Petri, which although it began in the 11th century, its slow construction as well as its various restorations, make it add different styles, such as its Romanesque façade or the Gothic style of some of its chapels.
In addition to its reliefs and statues, such as a 1050 Pontocrator, the oldest in the city, you can visit its museum, full of curiosities for lovers of art and ecclesiastical culture. If you go for Christmas don’t miss one of the Christmas concerts held in this cathedral.
St. Peter’s Cathedral
The emblematic buildings of the Marktplatz do not end here: In the 16th century the Schütting, a mansion that merchants used for their meetings, was built. Today this Renaissance building houses the city’s chamber of commerce.
House of commerce
Haus der Bürgerschaft
The Haus der Bürgerschaft, the seat of the state parliament erected in the 1960s after a controversial public competition for the choice of the ideal architectural project, is another highlight of the architectural offer of the Marktplatz in Bremen. Some considered the proposal of the German architect Wassili Luckhardt to be too modern to be in line with the other buildings in the square.
Of course the contrast with its neighboring cathedral of San Pedro is evident, as is the spectacular design of this “village house”.
Beyond these well-known buildings, if you sit on Bremen’s Marktplatz, almost any of them tells a story, such as the Stadwaage, where the public weight was placed and which was rebuilt after the Second World War, or the Rastkeller, a 15th century winery, very close to the town hall, where you can taste some of the 600 wines it holds. A whole plan to toast to the health of the musicians of Bremen.
Buildings west of Bremen’s Marktplatz
When to visit the Marktplatz in Bremen?
Quick response: any time. Peeero, if you are one of those who does not miss an event, we recommend two dates: the first, at the end of October, the Freimark, annual folkloric festival in which the whole city becomes a great fair, including the marktplatz.
And the second, of course, Christmas, a time when Christmas markets take over the squares and turn Bremen into a fairytale city more than ever.