At the heart of Bremen lies its charismatic Marktplatz, a lively square that is home to many of the city’s attractions. It’s here that the beautiful Gothic Town Hall is located, as well as a prominent statue of Germany’s most famous knight, Roland. Both were established during the Holy Roman Empire and stand as powerful representations of the city’s autonomy and sovereignty.
Bremen’s Old Town Hall has recently been designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, having been constructed in 1410 and featuring an ornate Renaissance facade that was added in 1612. It’s renowned for its elegant banqueting hall that stretches to 40 meters in length and features a large, 16th-century painting of the Judgment of Solomon. Free concerts are held here on Thursday evenings.
Also of note is the Town Hall’s beautifully carved spiral staircase and a bronze cast of the Bremen Town Musicians - a donkey, dog, cat and a cock - that appear in an old folktale. Adjacent to the Old Town Hall stands the New Town Hall, which was built in the early 20th century and is worth exploring for its sumptuous rooms decorated with local artifacts.
The five-meter-tall statue of Roland stands proudly in the Bremen Marktplatz and was erected in 1404, having been carved in limestone from Elm and commissioned by the city fathers as a replacement for a wooden one burnt down in 1366. It depicts Roland, paladin of the first Holy Roman Emperor Charlemagne, with his legendary sword and holding a shield emblazoned with the two-headed Imperial eagle.