Cathedral and Medieval, Half-Timbered Town Center in the Lahn Valley
The top sights in Limburg an der Lahn in Germany are its Romanesque-Gothic cathedral and magnificent medieval town center with half-timbered buildings. Limburg is an ideal day trip when on a Frankfurt Airport stopover.
The old town of Limburg an der Lahn with narrow alleys and half-timbered houses is one of the best preserved medieval town centers in Germany. However, visitors will first see the colorful Romanesque cathedral that towers over Limburg and the Lahn Valley. Excellent transportation links (ICE trains and autobahns) make Limburg perfect for a half-day excursion trip from Frankfurt am Main or even from Frankfurt International Airport (FRA) when on a long stopover.
Limburg’s St George’s Cathedral – Dom St George
The colorful seven-towered Dom St Georg (St George’s Cathedral) is often the first signs of Limburg. The cathedral can be seen from the autobahn and railway lines from Frankfurt to Cologne that passes to the east of Limburg. The cathedral draws visitors to this town and once there, draws them along steep alleys past half-timbered houses to the top of the hill for a closer look. Originally built in the early 13th century, the Limburger Dom is a fine example of late Rhine Romanesque with some elements of the impending Gothic already visible in the interior.
Like many others, the Limburg Cathedral was stripped bare during the 19th century in an erroneous notion of what medieval churches should look like. However, in contrast to most others, the exterior of the church was repainted during the 1960s in its original colors.
The inside of the Limburger Dom is even more interesting than the coloful exterior. During restoration work, medieval frescoes were uncovered making three quarters of the interior decorations the originals. The nave is 50 m (165 ft) long and 21 m (68 ft) high while the cupola soars to 33 m (197 ft).
The Domschatz und Diözesanmuseum (Cathedral Treasury) near the church houses religious art and the treasures – some pieces date from the 10th century.
- The best views of the cathedral can be enjoyed from the Alte Lahnbrücke (Old Lahn Bridge) at the edge of the old town. (See picture above.)
Limburg an der Lahn’s Medieval Old Town Center
Limburg’s historical old town is easy to enjoy. It is not really necessary to look out for any specific sights – just marvel at the lovely half-timbered buildings dating from the 13th to 18th centuries. Many of these historic half-timbered buildings now house modern shops as well as pleasant cafés and restaurants. Limburg’s old town is very much a living town and not an artificial or sterile half-timbered fantasy land.
An interesting sights worth noting is the 13th-century Haus Kleine Rütsche 4. At this house was the narrowest point on the important trade route between the free imperial cities Cologne (Köln) and Frankfurt. Wagons were loaded in these two cities to the specification that they could pass through here. Checkpoints operated on either side – no doubt charging for this service – to prevent too wide wagons getting stuck and causing traffic delays. The nearby Werner-Senger-Haus is also from the 13th century and one of the oldest restaurants in Germany. (Currently closed unfortunately.)
The ensembles of half-timbered buildings at Fischmarkt – a square en route to the Cathedral – and near the bishop’s palace are particularly impressive.
Fast transportation links makes Limburg an der Lahn an easy daytrip from Frankfurt am Main or for transit passengers with long stopovers at Frankfurt International Airport (FRA). It is also a pleasant town to stay in on a first or last vacation night when flying via Frankfurt Airport.