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Krämerbrücke

Bridge of the Trades people (Krämerbrücke) - unique in northern Europe

The most important secular building of the town is undoubtedly the "Krämerbrücke" (bridge of the trades people). It is documented that there was a fire in 1117 and that the bridge burnt down six times (wooden construction); in 1325 finally it was built as a stone construction (end of the building activities). The stone construction was necessary because the council of the town was afraid of another fire. The trades people who lived on the bridge had to pay tribute to the Peterskloster (St. Peter's Monastery), to the Marienstift (St. Mary's Collegiate Church), to the Severistift (St. Severi's Collegiate Church), to the Cyriakskloster (Cyriak's Monastery), to the Reglerkloster and to the monasteries in Reinhardsbrunn and Bürgel, all of them had financed the building operations of the bridge. The aldermen wanted to take possession of the bridge. That's why they had to pay compensation to seven churches and monasteries. Negotiations were delayed; nevertheless horse-drawn vehicles were still using the unfinished bridge. Consequently the reconstruction was delayed for decades. Two bridgehead churches were useful as fire barriers, consequently a fire in 1472 destroyed all the houses on the bridge, but the flames did not damage the town.

Before the fire there were only single storied houses on either side of the bridge, called "Kräme". After the fire 62 three-storied houses were built with a breadth of 2.80 m. In 1475 moved into them. The trades people accepted them with reserve. Only when special privileges were granted, particular ("gehobener Kram") were not put on the market in urban districts, the bridge was full of life again.

In 1648, after the Thirty Years War, when business stagnated completely, all privileges were cancelled and all kinds of goods were on the market in the whole town. More and more craftsman moved into the houses on the bridge and offered their wares. In the 17th and 18th century the wares houses were enlarged. Consequently we find only 26 houses nowadays (according to our style of living) with 32 street numbers.

text and picture: Small Erfurt-Guide, folder by Hannelore Reichenbach
 

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04.10.2005

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