Old Bowers: What does preservation mean?

What does preservation mean?

Only very few of the numerous old bowers in Braunschweig still exist today. The stone building behind the Jakob Chapel that is today called Jakob-Kemenate was excellently restored and furnished with a modern extension and is today a prime example of how these historical buildings are handled. It also aroused renewed interest in this type of building.

The bowers become invisible

Over the course of the centuries bowers faced multiple conversions. Floors were added or they were covered by additional buildings. Depending on the contemporary taste and fashion newer and mostly bigger window frames were added to the facades. The original half-timbered front buildings with the gables facing the road were completely substituted by buildings where the roofs faced the road. With the creation of closed street frontages the bowers were no longer visible from the road. The stone front buildings and the wings of the doorways were often extended with half-timbered frames. In early modern history they were redesigned into seemingly standardised Renaissance and Baroque buildings.

The war leaves ruins behind

During World War II the inner city of Braunschweig was destroyed to a large extent, mainly during the firestorm of the 15th October 1944. During this destruction numerous old bowers and further medieval building ruins reappeared that had been long forgotten. Unfortunately from today’s point of view these precious ruins were nearly completely cleared away. Today only nine bowers have survived in a more or less good condition and further remains might have survived in cellars or in the soil of still undeveloped building plots.

Explanations and hints

Picture credits

  • Rekonstruktionsversuch E. Arnhold
  • Foto: E. Arnhold
  • Stadtarchiv Braunschweig, H XVI H II 17 Hagenbrücke
  • Foto E. Arnhold
  • Stadtarchiv Braunschweig, H XVI H II 17 Jakobstraße