Meschede, you will notice immediately, is not a fast-paced community. Strolling on foot and leisurely cycling are how the residents like to get around. But if you want to see everything interesting in the three districts of this Ruhr River town, you may have to hustle a bit.
The Old District Court House (1845-48), the Benedictine Abbey of Königsmünster (1928), and the Agatha Chapel (1748) are architecturally interesting and well worth quick stops.
Also intriguing are the modern sculptures in front of the local savings bank and the intricate metal-sculpted Small World Theater in the downtown square.
Renewal of old buildings is a cottage industry here. The town’s old synagogue, built in 1878, has been refurbished as a civic center, and you can see near the Town Hall how the Meschede House, established in 1740 and one of the area’s few structures to survive World War Two, has been rechristened as a lovely community center.
Locals will tell you to pay homage at the little white Hubertus Chapel and the tiny, well-kept Chapel of the Pained Madonna beneath a giant tree en route to see the castle at Berghausen. They will also insist that you see the Gränserich Chapel with its metal rooster perched on top, the stately Michael’s Chapel tied to 1150, and the St. George Chapel with its colorful altar and handcrafted lace bunting.
If this tour of chapels begins to tire you, head up to Lake Henne, artificially created by dams along the Ruhr and home to waterfowl and fresh water fish. Here you will find camping, guesthouses, boating, cycling, hiking, tennis, and bathing.
But hurry back to Meschede quickly. You still need to see St. John’s Church and Catherine’s Chapel, the Francis Xavier Chapel and the Parish Church of St. Walburga with its valuable collection of religious artifacts. Then see the Kreishaus Parish Church and its wonderful sculptures behind.
Did I miss anything? The remnants of the Dominican monastery built in 1484, perhaps? Or the War Memorial Cemetery? You may just have to come back, again and again, to this memorable town on the Ruhr. :-)