Konstanz – Now and then

One of the main landmarks of Konstanz is a full bosomed whore – the Imperia statue at the harbour. You would never have thought that possible in a German state that was governed by the Conservatives from its foundation until 2011. However, the harlot statue is reminiscent of a time in which Konstanz was still surrounded by city walls and dissenters were burned alive.

From 1414 to 1418 the largest congress in the Middle Ages was held in the Council (Konzil). Popes were unseated, a new one was elected. Nowadays, people dance the night away at the »Konzilparty« – right where cardinals and archbishops used to convene. Soon this historic event will take centre stage again: From 2014 to 2018 the city will celebrate the 600th anniversary of the Council of Konstanz on a large scale with exhibitions, theatre plays, city festivals, knights festivals and scientific conferences.

But not everything has changed: a minstrel once sang “when I think of Lake Constance, my wallet immediately feels the pain”. Anyone who has been to a café on the market square knows how visionary his lines were –.even though the square used to be part of the lake in the Middle Ages.

History is omnipresent in Konstanz: the Malhaus pharmacy at Obermarkt has been selling medicine for over 600 years. You can also visit the first Roman fortresses on Münsterhügel. Konstanz was not bombed during the Second World War, because the allies were worried about hitting directly neighbouring neutral Switzerland. Therefore, the picturesque old town was preserved and has been under landmark protection since 1982.

Those who party in the Chérisy or Jäger barracks are doing so in a place where French soldiers were stationed from 1945 to 1979. Nowadays, students and families set the tone. Around 16,000 of the approx. 80,000 inhabitants of Konstanz are students. You’ll see, Konstanz is a young city after all!