Like the seven dwarves, the people of mediaeval Goslar went to the nearby mountain to work in its mine. They found silver ore and the city became so rich that an imperial palace was built there. The people lived in an array of half-timbered or tiled houses that draw photographers to this day. It would have been an ideal setting for the famous faiy tale.
The Altstadt, or old city, is surrounded by modern development now. On one side runs a small river, protected by the city wall. Any modern housing is beyond a ring road. Traffic is permitted in much of the Altstadt but is no danger to pedestrians because of a speed limit and the sound made on the cobbled streets. This is just as well because the footpaths are often narrow or non-existent.
We stayed not far from the Siemens house, where the influential industrial family had its origin. This might be called the giant in contrast to the dwarves. In at least two places a slab of rock is mounted, to show the silver ore. One is close to the tourist information centre in the market square. The other is beside what may been the miners’ church on the way to the mountain.
The market square has an amazing array of buildings, some now hotels or restaurants. A market hall resembles the more rustic one in Thaxted. It has an ornate external staircase leading to a balcony. Opposite is a building with sculptures of mediaeval worthies on its exterior.
Arriving on the Saturday after the aurumn equinox we found festivities in full swing. These were mainly for children but adults had music to enjoy and, of course, refreshments of all kinds. A great feature seems to be ice cream: several venues in the square or nearby were ice cafes. No one suffered from the competition, however. Waffles or pancakes seemed to be the chief accompaniment.
If all this seems quaint it should be noted that Goslar has an array of smart shops and is still a busy town, almost in spite of the tourists. It is peaceful and well worth a week’s holiday. We travelled by train on an Interrail ticket and the journey from Berlin took just under two hours.
Selecting photos was the most difficult part: beginning with what might serve as the wicked stepmother’s palace my offerings are a street corner beside the Siemens house, the balcony at the market hall, a couple of statues on a restaurant wall and Bergstrasse, the road to (in this case from) the mountain.