Landsberg am Lech,
it isn’t just the place where Hitler wrote his “Mein Kampf”, it is much more.
I had to go to Landsberg am Lech, a small city in Bavaria, Germany for work. I had no idea about the beauty of the city. The only think what I knew about the city, it was that Hitler was in jail there and he wrote his “Mein Kapft” the nazi Bible.
When I arrived there, I had a nice surprise. The city is a fairytale place with nice squares, wonderful houses and medieval walls and gate towers.
Landsberg is situated on the Romantic Road and is the center of the Lechrain region, the boundary region between Swabia and Bavaria. It is noted for its picturesque historic center.
My accommodation was in an old hotel very close to the main square. The hotel was very cozy and had a lot of famous guests, I have seen Steve McQueen was a guest too. “Goggl” the name of the hotel is coming from the family name of the first owner and means ruster in old German language. It was build in 1667 and since than it is still a hotel.
During the period of Nazism Landsberg was known mainly because, in his prison, Hitler has written his book “Mein Kampf” in which he threw the theoretical basis of his party. Today, the fame of this picturesque fortified city is no longer blurred by the dark past, its architectural and landscape beauty makes it an obligatory stop on the Romantic Road.
Much of the charm of Landsberg is due to its striking position on the river Lech, at a point where the river descends level in three steps, in a small artificial waterfall.
The historic center is located entirely on the right bank, while the most modern part of the city is located on the left bank.
Short history of the city.
Around 1135 a settlement called Phetine was mentioned in a document on the later city of Landsberg, which had no city rights. Duke Henry the Lion moved in 1158 the significant salt road on a more southern route, where he had built a bridge over the Lech at Phetine. Previously, the salt road at Kaufering led by a ford over the river. To protect this bridge, he built a new larger facility, called “Castrum Landespurch” including the castle Phetine.
In the protection of this castle, a rapidly growing settlement was established, which received the city right in the 13th century and was soon called “Landesperch”. From this developed today’s town Landsberg am Lech.
In 1315, the city burned down during the war between Ludwig the Bavarian and Frederick the Beautiful. Since the city had an important strategic location, it was rebuilt. The reconstruction was supported by the Duke of Bavaria.
In 1320, the city was given the right to levy salt tariffs. In this way, the city achieved by the so-called salt penny to a considerable wealth.
In 1353 the first Salzstadel was built (Salzstadel is a common name in southern Germany, Austria, Switzerland and, earlier, also in Bohemia for a municipal or stately building for the storage and sale of table salt), until the 17th century there were a total of three. Salt was stored and sold in these Salzstadel. In the 20th century, the Salzstadel was used by the Landsberg volunteer fire department as a location, in the 1990s moved the city library Landsberg in the Lechstadel.
The other trade developed well, mainly with grain and wood, which was transported across the Lech. The city was constantly expanded and expanded, so that between 1415 and 1435 another city wall ring was necessary. This significantly expanded the area in the north and east of Landsberg. Duke Ernst approved the river toll in 1419, the city was now allowed to collect 3 pennies from each passing raft, the revenue was used for the Landsberg military fortifications. In 1425, the Bayertor was built as an entrance to the city from the east. Through this gate also the salt road (coming from Munich) into the city into it.
In 1429, Duke Ernst of the city awarded the town coat of arms valid until today.
The historical center has a very homogeneous architectural aspect, in fact, it was largely realized by the architect Dominikus Zimmermann (1685–1766) who was also the town’s major. The city, according to the German meteorological service is one of the sunniest cities in Germany, is much loved by tourists who find here a pleasant and relaxing environment.
The town is noted for its prison where Adolf Hitler was incarcerated in 1924. During this incarceration Hitler wrote/dictated his book Mein Kampf together with Rudolf Hess. His cell, number 7, became part of the Nazi Cult and many followers came to visit it during the German Nazi-period. Landsberg am Lech was also known as the town of the Hitler Youth.
In the old City
Especially the old town of Landsberg can boast a number of significant and worth seeing buildings.
Center of the city is the Main Square in its unusual triangular shape. At its center is the Marien fountain, built around 1700. West of it is the Old Town Hall with a magnificent rococo façade by Dominikus Zimmermann. In the southwest of the square is the former Ursuline convent with the monastery church to plans by Dominikus Zimmermann. In the northeast, the main square of the narrow tower (also Beautiful Tower), a city tower from the 13th century, limited.
Further north, the parish church of the Assumption dominates the old town of Landsberg. The original Gothic church was rebuilt baroque in 1708.
Somewhat hidden in the northern old town is the St. John’s Church, a sacred building by Dominikus Zimmermann, which is considered one of the most charming creations of Bavarian Rococo.
In the west of the old town are the former Salzstädel, which are now used as residential and commercial buildings, but also for the city library and the city archives.
From the narrow tower on the main square, the Alte Bergstraße leads up the “mountain” to the eastern high bank. On the very narrow and steep road left traffic was required until the 1950s. South of the old mountain road is the romantic and picturesque row of houses of the “witches quarter” and the Landsberger Schlossberg. The castle itself was demolished in 1800–1810.
On the “mountain”, the eastern high shore, are the former Jesuit buildings: the Holy Cross Church (also called Maltese Church, consecrated in 1754), the former Jesuit College (today Holy Spirit Hospital) and the former Jesuit Gymnasium (today News City Museum).
One of the notable residents of the city was Johnny Cash (1932–2003), American singer/songwriter, who stationed here in the early 1950s while serving in the U.S. Air Force.
The picturesque town located at the Romantic Road belongs to one of the regions with the highest quality of life within Germany. According to a survey conducted bt “Süddeutsche Zeitung”, Landsberg excels with the highest happiness factor. The reason are various: This cozy town at the river Lech fuses tradition and modernity in a unique way. Its rich history is reflected in alleys and squares with countless cultural tresures that take visitors on a journey from the Middle Ages to Rococo all the way to present time. Art-historically important churches hold many a trasure waiting to be discoveres.
High-level cultural events at the Town Theater, the Historical Town Hall or one of the museums create the base for lively and colorful cultural profile crowned by manifold concerts, music and film festivals and even open-air events.
Landsberg’s Old Town has an almost Mediterranean flair. The countless little stores offer attractive and charming products and enticing cafes and restaurants are there for relaxing breaks. Enjoy the sunshine at the busy Main Square or the shadows of the ancient chestnuts at the riverside. Landsberg am Lech — a wonderful place to live in — or to enjoy during a visit.
I used some of my infos from wikipedia and local brochures.