Konstanz is my new home for two years. You’ll probably be seeing a lot about it for quite a while. I thought I’d give you a little idea about what this city is all about.
Usually when I take the bus to Altstadt, or Old Town, one of the first landmarks I see is the minster, formally known as Münster Unserer Lieben Frau.
Then I usually wander through a host of winding pedestrian streets, lined with shops of everything from eyeglasses to fair trade products. There’s also a variety of restaurants, bars, and cafes to visit.
I have a habit of making my way towards the harbour. There, the most interesting building is the Council Building completed in 1391. Why is it important?
There was this thing called the Council of Konstanz, which is a pretty big deal as far as Catholic history goes I guess. Basically what happened was that in the late 1300’s, there were two guys who claimed to be the pope. They held a council at Pisa; didn’t work. After that, from 1409 there were three guys all claiming they were the rightful pope.
So, someone had the brilliant idea to haul these church arguments all the way up to Germany to the little town of Konstanz. There were a lot of deliberations about the pope, an execution of reformer Jan Hus (burned at the stake, poor man), and a lot of… well… prostitutes.
Speaking of prostitutes, you know what else is really cool to check out at the harbour? This statue called Imperia! Imperia is, so the story goes, a prostitute from that time. She was “popular” with the king and the pope, as well as other men of power at the Council of Konstanz.
If you look at the two little men she holds in her hands, you’ll see one with a crown and one with a papal tiara. She was so good at seducing all these men in powerful places that she had some power over them herself. But alas, this is just a story!
A side note is that on clear days from certain parts of Konstanz, including the harbour, you can see the Swiss Alps!
So that’s Altstadt in Konstanz. Soon, I’ll tell you all about the other place where I spend a lot of time in Konstanz: my university.