Apart from brunching with Sherlock Holmes, here is what we did in the captivating town of Saarbrücken last year. We had to compose with the weather being capricious but fortunately, there is plenty to do inside and outside. As the city is relatively small, all sightseeing spots are easily reachable on foot, a big bonus! You can view more impressions of Saarbrücken on Of Lens And Pen.
St. Johanner Markt
As the sun was shining when we arrived, we headed to St. Johann Market Square for lunch. Being an early spring Saturday, the square was bustling and there were not many free tables to be found. There is however no shortage of restaurants and we soon settled on the terrace of an Irish pub. Lovely little shops are aplenty too.
Close to the square, this delightful narrow street was once the home of craftsmen and workers. Now rebuilt in the Baroque style, it offers a good choice of restaurants.
Realising that being the Easter weekend, Saturday would be our only opportunity for shopping, we paid the Europa-Galerie a visit. This shopping centre is located in a beautiful building that was once the headquarters of the Saar Mining Company.
This old bridge, built in 1546 by Charles V, connects the old Saarbrücken with St. Johann. It was destroyed during World War II and only 8 of the original 14 arches now remain.
Dating back to 1761, the Saar Crane reminds us of the trade past of Saarbrücken. It makes a great sight when strolling along the Saar.
Of Neo-Gothic style, St. John’s Church looks impressive as you arrive from the Old Bridge. Used nowadays as a meeting point for demonstrations and peace services, it is surrounded by charming gardens.
Basilica St. Johann
A masterpiece of Baroque style and the work of architect Friedrich Joachim Stengel, the Basilica is well worth a visit. The organ, built in three individual parts that can be played independently or together, is especially striking.
Another work of art from Stengel, Ludwig’s Church has a place of choice in the middle of Ludwigsplatz, surrounded by a palace and civil servants’ quarters. A perfect Baroque composition, visually stunning. Thanks to a painstaking restoration, one would never guess that it was completely demolished during WWII.
Saarbrücken Schloss , Schlossplatz and Invisible Memorial Square
The Saarbrücken castle has been destroyed and rebuilt many times in different styles over the years. The last renovation was done in 1989, when a central part made of steel and glass was added by architect Gottfried Böhm. The Schloss is now an administrative centre and event venue.
The few cafés nearby offer a nice view on the paved Schlossplatz. It is the home of the Invisible Memorial Square, a project of tolerance and fight against racism conducted by students of the Art Academy in 1993. Over 2,000 flagstones were removed and engraved on the back with the names of Jewish cemeteries, before being laid down again.
Museum of Regional History and Saarbrücker Kasematten
Last but not least, under the castle is an interesting museum retracing 500 years of Saarland history and the amazing Kasematten. The remains of the original castle, you can still see a dungeon, fortifications, a shooting range and a ball game hall, all from different eras. Wandering underground in this magnificently lit maze, you certainly get an Indiana Jones feeling!
As you have probably guessed, we were quite taken with the interesting capital of the Saarland region and will definitely return, perhaps this time in summer to enjoy its laid-back atmosphere even more.