Erfurt - Merchants' Bridge (Krämerbrücke)
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In 1325, some merchants built a bridge across the Gera River with shops on both sides. They built there iving quarters above their shops. It is reportedly the oldest such bridge in Germany and the second-oldest such bridge in Europe and one of Erfurt's most famous landmarks. It is the ideal starting point for a trip through Erfurt's Old Town with its street cafés and beer gardens (of which there are more than 50 in the area around the bridge).
From 12th century on there was a significant commercial route named "Via Regia" which led from Frankfurt to Leipzig via Erfurt. In 1325, "Merchants' Bridge" (or Kämerbrücke), which was made of stone, replaced a wooden bridge which was used to cross the Gera prior to that. In the Middle Ages Krämerbrücke was the central connecting point in Erfurt's because it was there that one could cross the Gera and keep hi feet dry. Because everybody had to cross the Gera, it was the ideal place to sell goods. Originally, small shopkeeper's booths were set up on the bridge. These quickly developed into shops with living quarters above. At the end of 15th century, the city fathers counted 62 buildings on the bridge, which were just 2.55 metres wide on average. In the course of the time, these buildings were substituted with bigger ones, so that there are now 32 house numbers on the shopkeepers' bridge. Today mainly classical art traders, art traders and souvenir traders offer their goods.
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