Following the almost total destruction of historic Nuremberg during the Second World War, the City council wisely rejected all suggestions to preserve a “tabula rasa” or, as happened in many other places, to erect a purely modern city on the ruins. It decided instead to proceed cautiously with the re-building of the old city, and it did so exceedingly well, as anyone who visits Nuremberg in “Meyer’s Universum” in 1837 sounds equally applicable today:

Modern travellers encounter on all sides evidence of Nuremberg’s 900 years of history, reflecting epochs of proud dignity as well as periods of decline and denigration and combining intellectual clarity with romantic whimsy. Here they find a city illustrative of Germany’s past and present, where the impressive monuments of many centuries of prodigious inventiveness and cultural self-confidence survive amidst the hurly-burly of a modern, dynamic metropolis.

“Such diversity protects the traveller from boredom which so often afflicts him when he goes to visit the stereotyped cities of our modern age, where every house and every square resemble each other, just like soldiers’ uniforms”. It is open to speculation why, in the words of E.T.A. Hoffmann, Nuremberg was, for princes and sovereigns, “the apple of their eye”. Be that as it may, the emperor Friedrich II decreed in his Great Charter of 1219″ … irrevocably and for all time that no citizen of this place shall have any protector other than Ourselves and Our successors, the Roman kings and emperors”. And Karl IV laid down that every future emperor had to hold his first Imperial Diet in Nuremberg.


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