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City development and architecture during the Middle Ages

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Early times of the city
Landschaftliche Situation im Bereich der Braunschweiger Innenstadt vor der Besiedlung. Rekonstruktionsversuch nach H. Rötting. (Zeichnung E. Arnhold)

Castle and settlement above the bog
The beginnings of the city Braunschweig go back to at least the second half of the 9th century. In those days important trade routes ran along the Northern part of the Harz Mountains. They connected the old settlements in the West with Halberstadt and Magdeburg on the Eastern boarder of the former empire. The subsequent city Braunschweig developed along one of the few river crossings over the river Oker. All trade routes merged here.

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The 13th century
Ein prachtvoll gestaltetes Siegeltypar der Stadt Braunschweig aus der Zeit um 1230 zeigt im Zentrum als Wahrzeichen den Burglöwen. (Städtisches Museum Braunschweig)

The completion of the city walls
When Henry the Lion died in 1195 the largest part of today’s city centre was already populated. The two most important purlieus, Altstadt and Hagen, had their own fortifications whereas the purlieus ‘Altwiek’ situated in the Southeast was not protected by walls. Together they roughly formed the shape of a three quarter circle with the castle at its centre.

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Residential buildings made out of stone

The castle as a model
During the 13th century we can recognise a well-planned settlement of building plots by looking at the most prominent residential streets. The area expansion of the city and its encircling wall were nearly completed during the time of Otto IV.

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Old Bowers: The castle’s great hall in miniature form

The castle’s great hall in miniature form
The type of stone building that was traditionally called ‘bower’ in Braunschweig could be found in numerous important cities in Northern Germany during the Middle Ages. A bower is a stone residential building that was heated by an open fireplace.

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Old Bowers: Style of building and its role
Kemenate Heydenstraße, Keller mit Balkendecke von 1274. Die Deckenkonstruktionen der Kemenaten bestanden fast durchweg aus Eichenbalken. (Foto E. Arnhold)

Style of building and its role
The type of stone building that was traditionally called ‘bower’ in Braunschweig could be found in numerous important cities in Northern Germany during the Middle Ages. A bower is a stone residential building that was heated by an open fireplace.

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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.

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Medieval timber frame construction

From houses with gables facing the front to houses with roofs facing the front
In medieval building construction half-timbered buildings definitely outnumbered the stone buildings of more affluent citizens.

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Fachwerk im Spätmittelalter

Fratzen, Ornamente und Heilige
Für die Zeit um 1500 kann man sich ein relativ klares Bild über die Wohnbebauung in der Stadt machen. Das Straßennetz der fünf Teilstädte war inzwischen weitgehend geschlossen bebaut.

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