The town of Bardowick doesn’t sound very German, does it? No, to me it sounds kinda British. Even how it’s been spelled over the centuries (Bardewyk, Bardewyck, etc.) seems more British Empire than German Empire. Maybe it’s just me.
Bardowick was once a thriving commercial town. That is, until Henry the Lion came along in the 12th century and totally destroyed it. Nothing of this Bardowick remained after Henry has his way — except the medieval church.
You can see the spared Dom St. Petri et Pauli, a cathedral that was built in 1146 with Lüneburg limestone. It is thought that it was built over an 8th century one — and the detail put into this church is found right down to the smallest objects. Check out the door handles, if you don’t believe me.
Speaking of the 8th century for a moment, Bardowick was the hometown of St. Marian of Bardowick (b. 732), a martyr whose relics remained here until the Reformation in the 16th century.
I know that’s far back in history, but you know the best of German history is found in little Local History Museums, like the Gildehaus here in Bardowick.
If you’d rather be outdoors than in, head to the Barumer See lake (there’s a youth hostel nearby if you want to spend the night), or walk around the Gallery Dutch Windmill that was built in 1813.
A walk around the St. Nikolaihof is nice, too. It has buildings going back to the 14th century, and even has a Gothic Chapel.
Forget neighboring Lüneburg… this town along the Ilmenau River is wonderful to see. If Henry came to town today, I think he’d like it. Even if it doesn’t have a totally German sounding name. ;-)