A city tour for explorers and culture lovers
Our tip: Please make sure to check your train connection and the expected capacity before you start your journey.
From Schweinfurt-Mitte station, find your way to the banks of the Main, following it around to the left. Where today you can stroll along the Gutermann Promenade and admire works of art made of concrete, ships were once towed along the river, a job known as treideln.
You pass the industrial monument for the world's first rolling on your left. On your right, you look at the lock island, which was separated from the Main island of Bleichrasen by the construction of the lock canal. At the end of the lock island, a steel pipe sculpture by the Matschinsky-Denninghoff couple sets the mood for the artistic theme of this tour. Here the promenade leaves the Main embankment.
Turn left at the Natural History Museum and enter Schweinfurt's old town. On both sides of Brückenstraße you are greeted by a remarkable ensemble of buildings that skilfully combines medieval and contemporary architecture. It is formed by the city library, the main customs office, the Bavarian State Social Court and your first destination on this tour: the literally outstanding Museum Georg Schäfer.
At the Museum Georg Schäfer, the art on display is as impressive as the museum building itself.
On display is the most important private collection of German painting of the 19th century and adjacent decades - starting with the late Rococo, through Classicism, Romanticism and Impressionism to the Secessionists. In addition to the largest Carl Spitzweg collection in the world, it also includes works by Caspar David Friedrich, Max Liebermann, Max Beckmann, Wilhelm Leibl, Adolph von Menzel and many others. In terms of scope and quality, the museum and its collection are comparable to the Neue Pinakothek in Munich and the Alte Nationalgalerie in Berlin.
This building, which is one of the most successful new museum buildings of the present day, is linked to the New National Gallery in Berlin in terms of architectural history. Since the 1950s, there have been repeated plans and competitions for a new museum building. Among them was an unrealised design by Ludwig Mies van der Rohe in 1964, which subsequently became one of the foundations for the icon of classical modernism at the Berlin Kulturforum.
Finally, the design by Berlin architect Volker Staab from 1997 was realised, which with its bridge elements and visual axes repeatedly provides surprising views of the interior of the museum and the city of Schweinfurt. The award-winning museum was opened in 2000 and is part of a building ensemble that was selected by the German Architecture Museum as one of the 24 best buildings in Germany.
A short detour allows you to situate the modern building ensemble you have just visited in the surrounding Renaissance-influenced architecture of the old town district of Zürch.
After a few steps down Brückenstraße, turn right. In Rittergasse you will see the façade of Erbacher Hof, which is connected to the ensemble of the city library and main customs office at its rear. Looking down Frauengasse you come across St. Salvator's Church, a plain baroque church. It was from here that the Reformation began in the city, when the Saxon court preacher, humanist and historian Georg Spalatin preached in Schweinfurt for the first time in 1532.
Walk up Burggasse and at its end turn left into Rückertstraße. On the market square, it is worth taking a look at the Old Town Hall from 1572, the city's main landmark and one of the most beautiful secular Renaissance buildings in southern Germany.
You cross the market square diagonally and reach Martin Luther Square with St. John's Church, one of the most important ecclesiastical buildings between Bamberg and Würzburg. From here, return to Zehntstraße and head west past the Zeughaus, turn right into Wolfsgasse and, in front of the city's theatre, turn left into Châteaudunpark. You follow the city wall to your second destination, the Kunsthalle Schweinfurt. Here, too, an extraordinary building holds art from different eras.
Since the Kunsthalle Schweinfurt opened in 2009, it has established itself as a central venue for contemporary art in Germany. Masterpieces of art from the 1950s to the present can be experienced on almost 2,000 square metres.
On the ground floor of the building, art-historical highlights are presented in the field of tension between abstraction and representational-expressive art. A special highlight is the collection of German Art Informel and Neo-Figuration, which is outstanding in its quality and quantity in Germany. Works by the artist groups Quadriga, ZEN 49 as well as SPUR, WIR and GEFLECHT are on display. Artists such as Willi Baumeister, Fritz Winter or K. O. Goetz are represented as well as HP Zimmer, Heino Naujoks and Franz Hitzler. In the basement, under the title "Individual and Society", works on the East-West dialogue and the turning point year 1989/90, as well as contemporary landscape and architectural depictions, are exhibited, among others.
The Kunsthalle Schweinfurt is located in the former Ernst-Sachs-Bad. The builder was the industrialist Ernst Sachs, whose invention can still be found on modern bicycles: the torpedo freewheel hub. He donated the public and indoor swimming pool to his hometown of Schweinfurt.
A few steps down Rüfferstraße you will come across the Landgericht. Walk past the building and turn right into Schillerplatz.
Leave the Stadtgalerie, which you will soon pass, quietly on your left. There is no art treat waiting for you there, the Stadtgalerie is a mall.
You walk under roads and railways back to the Main embankment. On your way along the Gutermann Promenade you pass the landmark of the industrial city of Schweinfurt. The 14-storey administration tower of Svenska Kullagerfabriken is illuminated in the evening with the SKF lettering visible from afar. The weir also takes you to your departure station, Schweinfurt Mitte.