Every year at about this time in the state capital of Thuringia, Erfurt, a festival takes place on a sunny weekend, commemorating one of the city’s prized landmarks, the Kraemerbrücke. Located over the Gera River and the Breitstrom Creek, the current bridge was built in 1325, featuring stone arches that support the houses that are perching them. Since 1975, the City of Erfurt has hosted the annual Kraemerbruecke Festival which takes place on and around the bridge. This year’s festival was a special one. Over 150,000 visitors attended the festival this past weekend (15-17 June, 2012), which is one of the largest numbers in attendance in the festival’s history. Among those who attended were many who took the coaches from as far south as Bavaria and Baden Wuerttemberg to visit the event. The event was filled with music for many music festivals and concerts took place in at least four different places, be it a jazz music festival at Fischmarkt market square, located west of the bridge, a dance festival at the Wenige Markt square located at the east entrance of the bridge, Renaissance music behind the bridge on the north side (together with the booths that deal with this popular theme), or concerts provided by many German music groups at Domplatz Square, in front of the cathedral. The 37th annual bridge festival was touted as one of the successful, not only because of the weather, but because of all the things people could do there, whether it was fording across the Gera and Breitstrom, shopping for some souvenirs or even trying out some of the cuisines made locally.
I was there with my family on Sunday and would like to share with you some highlights of the event. Please keep in mind that the history and characteristics of the Kraemerbruecke is a separate article that will be featured in Part III of the series on Erfurt’s bridges.
Fast Fact: This is the second weekend in a row that a bridge in Thuringia is being commemorated with a celebration. Last weekend, over 1000 people attended the day-long grand-opening festival of the Lichtenhain Bridge in Jena, located 60 kilometers east of Erfurt. The bridge is the newest of the seven bridges that cross the Saale River, slicing the city of 120,000 into two parts. The bridge was completed earlier this year but the grand opening was delayed due to vandalism.