Burgkunstadt — Former Shoe Metropolis On The Main River

On first sight Burgkunstadt has an alpine appearance. But no, this is a truly Upper Franconian town.

Sitting along the Main River, any place with a castle is quite all-right in my book. And I don’t care what anyone says that its castle is “in need of repair” or “all overgrown with trees.” Tosh! Call me old-fashioned, but a medieval castle is supposed to look like it came out of Architectural Digest Magazine — it was supposed to instill fear and dread to anyone coming up on it. ;-)

Where was I? Yes, I was about to tell you about Burgkunstadt’s half-timbered former brewery, its 18th century church that’s really much older, its War Memorial, and its Outdoor Theater at the Vogtei or Bailiwick.

Now that’s a story… the old Bailiwick (which is like a 15th century farmstead) has all these underground passage ways from the Middle Ages. Sorry, most became inaccessible — but it’s worth checking out what you still can.

What else would anyone need to know about Burgkunstadt? Yes, I know, there are some 60km of hiking trails through the town and environs. Most are marked, and range from a 40-minute 2km hike to more than 14km (3–4 hours).

That makes perfectly sense, because Burgkunstadt used to be a center of shoemaking and shoe trade. Then it makes also sense to find the Deutsche Schustermuseum or German Shoemaker Museum in town.

Whatever you’ve chosen to see, make sure you’ve added in a visit to the Fünf-Wunder Kapelle, a Renaissance chapel from 1666 and the gravestones of long-gone Frankish Knights. Wait, the old synagogue has an exhibit on Jewish life in the area; and the Rathaus is an interesting piece of late 17th century architecture.

Enough of this. It’s time for some fun. What have we got? For starters, there’s a Christmas Market in December, a horse jumping competition every May, a Floh- und Trödelmarkt (Flea Market) in early March and April, a Brunnenfest in July, and a Corpus Christi/Parish Festival in both May and June. Hey, with 8 districts, that’s bound to happen.

The big event that everyone looks forward to is the Altstadtfest (Old Town Festival), which only happens every three years (2008, 2011,…), which is always a party of food, fun, dancing, and beer.

Start planning to get to Burgkunstadt now — you’ll make it in time for the next one. I might be there too.

 

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