Life in the Middle Ages and subsequent years wasn’t as romantic as we make it today. There were no antibiotics, no filtered water, no health insurance.
But, despite the hardships of life back then and even up until a century ago — they sure did know how to create things that lasted. Which is why you’ll find them still standing, right here in the Westphalian town of Billerbeck.
Kolvenburg is a good example of this. Built in the 13th century, this old water castle is well known for its Krüppelwalmdach — its trapezoid shaped roof. No aristocratic blood needed to visit, it’s now a local culture center.
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Right over by Billerbeck’s St. Johannis Church along the Church Square are many simple framework houses. Some date back to the early 16th century and one of the oldest was built around 1492.
Another beauty is the Archidiakonat, an early 16th century “L” shaped building — also on the church square.
Centuries later the Abbey Gerleve made Billerbeck home. The poor monks were thrown out of their homes during the 2nd World War when the complex was used as a training center. In 1946 the monks were allowed to move back in.
The towers of the monastic church are simply beautiful.
But, it’s the spires of the Ludgerus Cathedral that will steal the limelight. So much, in fact, that the church is the town landmark. The pilgrimage church you see before you isn’t too old, built only around the 1890’s, but builders just put the new one on top of an even older one.
Now, before you go running off thinking that Billerbeck is nothing but old musty buildings, think again. You’ll find more than 800 km of cycling trails that lead off throughout the Westphalian region.
Of course, you’ll find just ordinary walking paths — but, Billerbeck is far from ordinary. Dive into the town’s municipal pool for a splashing good time. There’s also an outdoor theater for plays and other performances; and art galleries for some cultural action.
All in all, you’ll find that Billerbeck is a town that was built to last. Those guys from past centuries might have had it rough, but they sure knew how to build a German town!