Traveller’s Log: Worms – City of the Niebelungen

The Romans have left their footprints in most of Europe, including Germany. So among the cities still having some ruins of the Roman times, I’ve passed through Baden Baden, seen most of Ladenburg, and visited Koblenz. Now was the turn of the city of Worms. I think I’d crossed it while going to Koblenz earlier during the year.
I researched a little bit on a Saturday night in September last year, over the blessed internet, and on the Sunday morning I was there. I was most interested in it because it is an important part of the story of the Niebelungens, with Siegfried, Kriemhilde, Brunhilde, Guenther being its main characters. (As I was walking through the Niebelungen museum, I realized that I’d read the story in Hindi, as a child in a children’s magazine but of course, the story was adapted for children! But more on that later.)
The city was close by so I could reach there by train. It was drizzling that day and the wind was cold. I wasn’t ready for the wind but my faithful umbrella was with me. It was interesting to see the statues of colorful dragons everywhere, the reason for which I got to guess when I toured the museum.

Here you see a dragon at the “Wheel of Fortune”. The wheel was not rotating when I reached it like it’s supposed to be.  This is in the Obermarkt square.
The wheel on top has the motifs depicting the events in the history of Worms.

Passing this, I reached the St. Peters’s Cathedral, which has been a witness of quite some significant events in Christian history, like the election of a pope and a discourse by Martin Luther, on the invitation by the emperor. The cathedral is huge! (The picture on the top is that of the same cathedral taken from a window in the Nibelungen museum.) When I went inside it, a service was in progress (it was a Sunday). It was amazing to listen to the choir. Even though I didn’t understand a word (I don’t know if it was Latin or German), the music left me mesmerized!

Coming out of there, I found myself in front of a protestant church, called the Magnuskirche. After stepping inside that, I realized the contrast between a catholic and a protestant church. It was simple on the outside as well as the inside as you can see. No spires or carvings or paintings or the huge ornamental decorations that I saw in the cathedral.
It is one of the oldest evangelical churches in Germany.

I wanted to see the museums of the city and there was a board at this location to a museum but I just couldn’t find the entrance. The funny thing was that nobody there was able to tell me either where that museum was “hiding”!
Then I gave up the search and decided to proceed towards the Nibelungen museum.
And being a bad map reader, I had to ask several people before I could reach the museum. (In between I also found a bakery and had two wonderful croissants – the “hunger” growling inside the tummy is a dragon that we all have to slay!)

Now I reached this place and got a bit confused because it looked like a wall of a fort. I just couldn’t understand where could the museum be! But then like magic, I saw an entrance and going inside it, found the  ticket counter (and a bin to place my wet umbrella). The guy there gave me an audio guide and then I was on my journey. Climbing up the stairs and seeing the images on this cone, I had to stop at some points, where there were some videos playing, and listen to the commentary – by someone who is supposed to be narrating the story. He was also giving some lessons in history as to which all other authors have given their versions of the story.
It was an interesting journey and at the end of it, I was greeted with a lovely 360 degree view of the city.

With the story running in my mind, I came down from the world of fiction back into the real world.

I reached a synagogue next. I’d seen one in Cochin in 2008. So this was just the second synagogue for me. There was a Jewish museum there in what’s called the Raschi Haus, which was the home of a Jewish scholar by the name of Raschi in around 1060 AD. The museum showed the artifacts from the daily lives and festivals of the Jews. It also showed the chronology of the Jewish history in Germany, starting somewhere in 1000 AD. Those who have studied European history, might know that the Jews suffered badly not only during the Third Reich but also in the fourteenth and seventeenth century. It’s really remarkable how people get carried away by the propaganda – be it old times or now. Somehow, the rational thinking just gets lost when people find a scapegoat to put all the blame on for anything bad that’s happening with them.
Nonetheless, there always are some good people around and I feel it’s because of them that humanity has been surviving so far.
Sorry for being carried away, no more lessons in philosophy.
After the synagogue, I proceeded towards the other churches that the city has and came across the Dominican monastery and St. Martin’s church. In between I also saw the Martinspforte which is a structure to remember the place where Martin Luther entered the city in the sixteenth century.
After soaking in that much history, I was exhausted and decided to call it a day. So I hopped on the next train back, hoping to go there once more, to be able to walk on the Nibelungen bridge and taste the local wine called Liebfrauen, which I couldn’t get that day! Let’s see when the Niebelungen call me again and give me that wine :-).


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