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Fulda, Germany

July 23

Written September 3


Dear Friends and Families,


Fulda is not on everyone's tourist map of Germany. There is a good amount of competition from the North Sea, The Alps, Munich, Cologne, Nuremberg, Pommersfelden, etc. During Marianne's stay in Giessen, we had passed the Fulda exit a half-dozen times and, on our last Giessen-to-Pommersfelden commute, we decided to stop.

Now this is where you expect to hear something about what a wonderful town we were surprised with. Well, not exactly. Fulda is historically interesting*. It had the required church, square, and castle (City Hall actually). But I understand why it may have been left out of the major guide books. Nothing wrong, just little to bring it above the competition. Nevertheless, after four years here in Germany, it is time we visit the lesser nobility.

Since this was a quick visit, just a detour on our normal weekend commute, we saw little more than the church and its museum.

Enjoy our pictures, and, if you have been to Fulda and can say what we missed, do write.


John and Marianne (although Marianne says I was too hard on Fulda!)


*Fulda was founded as an independent abby town in the 8th Century and stayed largely independent until Napoleon convinced the locals to be part of his greater empire in the very early 19th Century. More recently, it was the expected invasion route for the Soviet Army, the so-called Fulda Gap, and the area was home to thousands of American and German soldiers, whose job it was to delay the invading Commie hordes long enough for the French reinforcements to respond. ... No comment. Further historical chit chat is available on Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fulda




All good city tours start with a monument and a look at City Hall or Rathaus. Good monument, good rathaus, but there may be better.



Next, we visited the "Dom" or Cathedral. Good Dom, but not Europe's first tier.


I have to admit that the interior of the Fulda Dom was more dramatic than its facade. Again, we've seen a number (= 1 zillion) of European churches. This ornate interior had as ornate a pulpit as we've seen and the bright and polished organ spanned the choir loft from wall to wall. I imagine the place would have been impressive with pews filled with singing religious.



But, the centerpiece of the Fulda Dom is St. Boniface's grave. Boniface was born in 675 on the south coast of England and was a priest and monk in cloisters in Exeter and Nursling before becoming a missionary to far-off Germany. Here in Fulda, he established a successful Benedictine center, one which survived for a thousand years. Boniface himself, was martyred at age 79, when he tried to expand his work to Friesland in the north.



Next to the Dom, in the old Abbey, is a church museum. Here too, we were greeted with displays not unlike what we had seen several times before in Europe: religious carvings, ornately embroidered vestments, gold and silver.

However, despite the deja vu aspect of what we were seeing, the Fulda display was really quite well done: plenty to see but not too much, historically interesting, local, no shards. (We have had our limit of small museums that proudly display bits and chunks of old houseware, so the Dom museum got points for having only complete artifacts.)


The highlight of the museum may have been St. Boniface's skull, or at least the ornate but peaceful niche with the reliquary's altar. By modern sensibilities, such displays seem macabre but, when started a thousand years ago, it was simply a way to keep connected to a past hero. Not a bad idea, after all.


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