Discover Germany, Issue 75, June 2019

Page 72


Bringing history to life In Westphalian Soest, history awaits you at the turn of every corner. From Germany’s longest still-standing city wall to the late Gothic hall-church St. Maria zur Wiese, dating back to the year 1313, Soest’s green sandstone buildings are undeniably impressive. TEXT: MARILENA STRACKE  I  PHOTOS: GERO SLIWA

The first thing that comes to mind when thinking about Soest is that characteristic green sandstone: with good reason too, as the green sandstone ensemble that is the ‘Old Town of Soest’ is indeed truly unique in the world. It attracts many fans of history to the Westphalian town and an entire museum has been dedicated to the historical building material. A true highlight for visitors and residents alike is without a doubt the medieval city wall. Three thirds of it are fully preserved and you can go for a walk round Soest on the wall itself.“Across Europe, the only places that have a walkable historical rampart with trees are Lucca in Tuscany and Westphalian Soest,” explains Birgitt Moessing, spokesperson for Wirtschaft & Marketing Soest GmbH. 72  |  Issue 75  |  June 2019

Soest is approximately 400 years older than most Central-European towns. Hence, it has various historical buildings to impress visitors with. One of them, is the beautiful church Wiesenkirche, which looks like a smaller version of Cologne Cathedral. Moessing says: “In addition to the significant panel paintings of the 14th and 15th century, there’s another truly fascinating curiosity: the legendary Westphalian Supper above the north portal (1500, artist unknown). It depicts Jesus having supper with his disciples, but ham, beer and pumpernickel are on the table.” Tourists should also pay a visit to St. Patrokli Cathedral. Its westwork is a European monument of the history of tower construction. The oldest established church in Westphalia, St. Petri, also comes highly recommended.

Soest has an unusually high density of pubs, many of them being historical inns which invite guests on unique culinary journeys. Westphalia’s oldest guest house, meanwhile, is the Pilgrimhaus, dating back to 1304. It still remains on the Way of St. James. Every two years, history quite literally comes to life in Soest. In Europe, the ‘Soest Feud’ (Soester Fehde) is firmly established as a premium Medieval Festival. The rampart of Soest will become a grand set from 27 July to 4 August 2019. During this time, around 900 dressed-up medieval enthusiasts will come from 12 different nations and turn history into an experience. ‘Taking the city by storm’ is one particular highlight of the festival that is linedup for visitors. When it comes to sheer space and the number of participants, this is one of the largest productions nationwide.