Germany: Landshut

Forty-five miles Northeast of Munich lies the city of Landshut. Located on the banks of the River Isar, the city was once the capital of Lower Bavaria. Often referred to as Dreihelmenstadt “Three Helmets City,” a name stemming from its distinctive coat of arms, the city has grown to become a major industrial and transportation center manufacturing everything from textiles, furniture and chemicals to beer, chocolate and tobacco.

The city coat of arms

The city coat of arms

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Situated atop a hill above Landshut is the 13th Century Burg Trausnitz or Trausnitz Castle. Prior to the 16th Century, the castle bore the same name as the town it overlooks, Landshut, which translates to “protector of the land.” Many of the castle’s paintings and furnishings were destroyed due to fires over the years and in 1961, a fire destroyed the king’s rooms as well.

Trausnitz Castle in the distance

Trausnitz Castle in the distance

Another important landmark in Landshut is the Medieval brick Gothic church, the Church of St. Martin. Dedicated in 1500, it is the tallest church in Bavaria and the second tallest brick structure in the world, standing at 428 ft. The Church of St. Martin was built on the site of a smaller church built by Duke Louis I who founded the town in 1204. Construction of the present day church began in 1389 and took 110 years and five architects to complete. The church’s tower required 55 years to complete!

Church of St. Martin

Church of St. Martin

Throughout Landshut there are many Medieval, Renaissance, and Baroque buildings, as well as numerous gabled houses. Only a 40 minute bus ride from the Munich Airport, the city is a great destination for day trippers and cyclists who travel along the River Isar cycle path. Landshut hosts the Landshuter Hochzeit or the Landshut Wedding every four years drawing visitors from all over the world. Originating in 1903, the festival is held in memory of the wedding between George of Bavaria, the son of the Bavarian duke, and Hedwig Jagiellon, daughter of King Casimir IV Jagiellon of Poland, in 1475. More than 2,000 participants in medieval costumes bring the festival to life and recreate the Late Middle Ages. (http://www.landshuter-hochzeit.de/en/home.html)

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In addition to the Landshut Wedding, the town’s annual Spring and Autumn Festivals are very popular and its Christmas Market is considered to be one of Bavaria’s most beautiful.

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Landshut does not have much of a nightlife but there are plenty of cafes and restaurants along Altstadt, the town’s main shopping street.  It is an ideal destination for those seeking to get away from the fast paced metropolitan areas and enjoy some historic European scenery.

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Photo credits: A. Hijikata

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