Top Historic Sights in Augsburg, Germany

Explore the historic highlights of Augsburg

Augsburg Town Hall

The Town Hall of Augsburg is one of the most significant secular buildings of the Renaissance style north of the Alps. On 25 August 1615, the foundation stone of the building was laid. The exterior of the building was completed in March 1620, and the interior in 1624. Technologically, the Augsburger Rathaus was a pioneering performance; upon its completion it was the first building in the world with more than six storeys. ...
Founded: 1615 | Location: Augsburg, Germany

St. Peter am Perlach Church

St. Peter am Perlach is a romanesque Catholic church in the center of Augsburg. The tower of the church, the Perlachturm is together with the Augsburg Town Hall the landmark of Augsburg. The 70-metre-tall Perlachturm is a tower in the central district of Augsburg, Germany. Originally built as a watchtower in the 10th century, it is nowadays part of an ensemble with the City Hall of Augsburg.
Founded: 12th century | Location: Augsburg, Germany

Fuggerhäuser

The Fuggerhäuser (Fugger houses) is a complex of houses built for the Fugger family of businessmen. From 1512 to 1515 Jakob Fugger the Younger built two linked houses on the Via Claudia (now Maximilianstraße) near the wine market, one as a town-house and the other as a warehouse. He designed them himself, based on notes he had taken on his travels in Italy. The secular building was the first Renaissance style building c ...
Founded: 1512 | Location: Augsburg, Germany

Augsburg Cathedral

The Cathedral of Augsburg is perhaps located on the site of a pre-existing 4th-century building, not necessarily a church, whose foundations have been excavated beneath the current level; the site is included within the ancient Roman walls of Augusta Vindelicorum. The first known church in the place is documented from 822, but dating to the late 8th century reigns of bishops Wikterp and Simpert. The edifice was damaged b ...
Founded: 10th century | Location: Augsburg, Germany

Fuggerei

The Fuggerei is the world's oldest social housing complex still in use. It is a walled enclave within the city of Augsburg. It takes it name from the Fugger family and was founded in 1516 by Jakob Fugger the Younger as a place where the needy citizens of Augsburg could be housed. By 1523, 52 houses had been built, and in the coming years the area expanded with various streets, small squares and a church. The gates were lo ...
Founded: 1516 | Location: Augsburg, Germany

St. Ulrich's and St. Afra's Abbey

From the late 16th century onward, the Abbey of St. Ulrich and St Afra was one of the 40-odd self-ruling imperial abbeys of the Holy Roman Empire and, as such, was a virtually independent state. The territory of that state was very fragmented: the abbey of St. Ulrich and St Afra proper enclaved within the Free Imperial City of Augsburg, and several small territories disseminated throughout the region. At the time of its d ...
Founded: 10th century | Location: Augsburg, Germany

St. Stephen's Abbey

St. Stephen"s Abbey, dedicated to Saint Stephen, was founded in 969 by Saint Ulrich, Bishop of Augsburg, and used by Augustinian canonesses. It was dissolved in the secularisation of Bavaria in 1803, and the premises passed into the possession of the town. The army used the site for a few years as a quartermaster"s store. In 1828 King Ludwig I of Bavaria founded a grammar school here, as a successor to the form ...
Founded: 969 AD | Location: Augsburg, Germany

Featured Historic Landmarks, Sites & Buildings

Historic Site of the week

Porta Nigra

The Porta Nigra (Latin for black gate) is the largest Roman city gate north of the Alps. It is designated as part of the Roman Monuments, Cathedral of St. Peter and Church of Our Lady in Trier UNESCO World Heritage Site. The name Porta Nigra originated in the Middle Ages due to the darkened colour of its stone; the original Roman name has not been preserved. Locals commonly refer to the Porta Nigra simply as Porta.

The Porta Nigra was built in grey sandstone between 186 and 200 AD. The original gate consisted of two four-storied towers, projecting as near semicircles on the outer side. A narrow courtyard separated the two gate openings on either side. For unknown reasons, however, the construction of the gate remained unfinished. For example, the stones at the northern (outer) side of the gate were never abraded, and the protruding stones would have made it impossible to install movable gates. Nonetheless, the gate was used for several centuries until the end of the Roman era in Trier.

In Roman times, the Porta Nigra was part of a system of four city gates, one of which stood at each side of the roughly rectangular Roman city. The Porta Nigra guarded the northern entry to the Roman city, while the Porta Alba (White Gate) was built in the east, the Porta Media (Middle Gate) in the south, and the Porta Inclyta (Famous Gate) in the west, next to the Roman bridge across the Moselle. The gates stood at the ends of the two main streets of the Roman Trier, one of which led north-south and the other east-west. Of these gates, only the Porta Nigra still exists today.

In the early Middle Ages the Roman city gates were no longer used for their original function and their stones were taken and reused for other buildings. Also iron and lead braces were broken out of the walls of the Porta Nigra for reuse. Traces of this destruction are still clearly visible on the north side of the gate.

After 1028, the Greek monk Simeon lived as a hermit in the ruins of the Porta Nigra. After his death (1035) and sanctification, the Simeonstift monastery was built next to the Porta Nigra to honor him. Saving it from further destruction, the Porta Nigra was transformed into a church: The inner court of the gate was roofed and intermediate ceilings were inserted. The two middle storeys of the former gate were converted into church naves: the upper storey being for the monks and the lower storey for the general public. The ground floor with the large gates was sealed, and a large outside staircase was constructed alongside the south side (the town side) of the gate, up to the lower storey of the church. A small staircase led further up to the upper storey. The church rooms were accessible through former windows of the western tower of the Porta Nigra that were enlarged to become entrance doors (still visible today). The top floor of the western tower was used as church tower, the eastern tower was leveled, and an apse added at its east side. An additional gate - the much smaller Simeon Gate - was built adjacent to the East side of the Porta Nigra and served as a city gate in medieval times.

In 1802 Napoleon Bonaparte dissolved the church in the Porta Nigra and the monastery beside it, along with the vast majority of Trier"s numerous churches and monasteries. On his visit to Trier in 1804, Napoleon ordered that the Porta Nigra be converted back to its Roman form. Only the apse was kept; but the eastern tower was not rebuilt to its original height. Local legend has it that Napoleon originally wanted to completely tear down the church, but locals convinced him that the church had actually been a Gaulish festival hall before being turned into a church. Another version of the story is that they told him about its Roman origins, persuading him to convert the gate back to its original form.

In 1986 the Porta Nigra was designated a World Heritage Site, along with other Roman monuments in Trier and its surroundings. The modern appearance of the Porta Nigra goes back almost unchanged to the reconstruction ordered by Napoleon. At the south side of the Porta Nigra, remains of Roman columns line the last 100 m of the street leading to the gate. Positioned where they had stood in Roman times, they give a slight impression of the aspect of the original Roman street that was lined with colonnades. The Porta Nigra, including the upper floors, is open to visitors.