A Day in Saarbrücken

Ludwigskirche
Ludwigskirche

A Day in Saarbrücken

by Anna Leigh Bagiackas
Stripes Europe

Perhaps you’re in town for the Saarbrücken Christmas market and you’re interested in seeing a little more of what Saarland’s capital city has to offer. Take home more than the city’s unique glühwein mug by spending a little extra time exploring its historical sites, shopping opportunities and cultural institutions.

Because Saarbrücken is less than an hour drive from Kaiserslautern and less than 2 hours from Wiesbaden, you can hop on the train to take advantage of all the Christmas market has to offer and let go of worrying about parking. As the capital of Saarland, which sits along the French border, the city is most definitely German but you can see influences of France, such as at the German and French gardens (maybe more fitting for a spring visit). Parts of Saarbrücken were heavily destroyed during both World Wars, leading to a city made of old and new in terms of architecture and design. Saarbrücken became the city we know now in 1909 although it was separated from Germany twice during the 20th century.

One iconic site in Saarbrücken is the “Alte Brücke” or Old Bridge, which was erected by Charles V in 1546. Having been damaged during war, it was repaired and continues to serve the city for cyclists and pedestrians traveling between the old town of Saarbrücken and the neighborhood of St. Johann. Take some time to visit Schloss Saarbrücken. Having been in existence since 999, it was torn down and rebuilt in Renaissance and Baroque styles, then fell into disrepair and then destruction with WWII. It has since been restored with the addition of contemporary design elements.

Next door you will find the deceivingly small Historical Museum Saar, which hides its sheer size underground. Galleries above ground take you through Saarland’s art, design and historical items from the last 300 years, but 14 meters below you’ll make your way through underground chambers and tunnels to learn about early and medieval history, even walking through sections of the medieval castle.

Another important site in the city is Ludwigskirche, an important Protestant church build in the Baroque style located in old Saarbrücken. Art lovers should also head to the Saarland Museum Modern Gallery where they will find works from the Impressionist period to the present day with a focus on French and German movements. If you’re looking for something engaging for the kiddos, head to Völklingen Ironworks, a UNESCO World Heritage Site that opened in 1873 as an important hub of iron and steel production in the area and now is a monument and science museum.

If you didn’t fill up on warm treats and snacks at the Christmas market, there is a plethora of great restaurant options in Saarbrücken specializing in regional cuisine to Italian favorites, French delicacies and Spanish tapas.

Needing to do some last-minute shopping? Head to shopping metropolis EUROPA-Galerie, which will offer lots of familiar brands and a varied food court. Or maybe it’s time to warm up after the chill of autumn and winter, then head to the Calypso Bade & Sauna, a relaxing and fun indoor spa for the whole family.

 

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