Constance & Kreuzlingen
- Approx. 80,000 inhabitants.
- It is on the Seerhein between the upper and lower lake.
- It is the biggest town on Lake Constance.
- The town theatre, built in 1609 as a Jesuit college, is the oldest stage in Germany still in use.
- At the harbour you'll see Constance' landmark: the 9m hohe "Imperia”", scultped by Peter Lenk in 1993.
Small history overview:
Constance enjoys a picturesque location between the Lower and Upper Lake and forms a unit with the Swiss town of Kreuzlingen. With about 80,000 inhabitants, Constance is the biggest town on Lake Constance.
The Romans established a fortified complex on top of the remains of a Celtic settlements - which was to become the town "Constantia". In the 6th century, it became a diocese and developed into the biggest German bishopric. Thanks to its position at the meeting point of important trading routes between Italy and France, the town established itself as a powerful trading and imperial free city.
Between 1414 and 1418, King Sigismund convened the Council of Constance. The objective was to put an end to schism in the Church. The result was the three rival popes all withdrew and the vote elected Martin V. as their successor. The Council also examined the teachings of the Czech professor, Jan Hus, rejected them and was arrested, despite being promised safe escort, declared a heretic and burned at the stake in Constance.
Following the failure of the reformation, the town became Austrian, loss its powerful position and became an insignificant country town. In 1805 Constance became part of the newly created Grand Duchy of Baden. As a result of new industries settling here and the development of steam navigation, the town flourished economically.
Because of its location, close to the border, Constance, as the former capital of the canton of Thurgau, is significant to many Swiss people too. Constance survived the WWII unscathed and its medieval townscape has remained intact. In 1906 the University of Applied Sciences was founded, followed by the University of Constance in the 60s. Today, it is attended by over 12,000 students.
Right on the harbour is the Council of Constance building, built in the 14th century. It used to be an emporium of the town and, at its time, was one of the biggest buildings. Today, Constance' landmark is the 9-metre high Imperia statue at the harbour entrance. It was sculpted by the artist, Peter Lenk, in 1993. This female figure symbolises a prostitute and her position during the time of the Council of Constance. In her hands, she carries two figures rather derisively - of the Emperor and the Pope. The Münster church can be seen easily from afar. It was built in the 11th century as a Roman columned basilica. The Niederburg is a separate part of Constance. This, the oldest part of Constance, features a criss cross of narrow winding streets and many town houses dating back to the 13th and 16th centuries.
People interested in museums will like to pay a visit to the Rosgarten Museum or the archaeological Landesmuseum.
Kreuzlingen has about 17,000 inhabitants.
Kreuzlingen gets its name from a relic from the crucifix, which is kept in the monastery church. The immaculate lake park extends to the north east of the town, alongside the lake, also here is the ivy-covered Seeburg Castle, which was built in 1598 for Constance' bishops. In the Thirty Years War is largely destroyed and then renovated in 1879 and 1894 to a residential villa. Further sights worthy of a visit are the former Augustine monastery on the main high street, and the Basilica St. Ulrich, which were restored together with other monastery buildings after a large fire.
Sights in Constance
This is the area that was once the real heart of Constance in the olden days! Wander through Constance' oldest quarter, through narrow alleyways, which, today, accommodate wine cellars, artisans and their crafts, a Dominican Convent Zoffingen and the town theatre.
Sea Life Constance
In over 30 freshwater and saltwater tanks, filled with a total of 660,000 litres of water, Sea Life Constance presents a fascinating underwater world. On a circular tour you follow the Rhine from its source in the Alps to where it flows out into the North Sea.
State Archaeological Museum
In addition to the oldest boat from Lake Constance, you can also see stilt houses from the Stone Age, Celtic barrows, exhibits showing Roman town life and Alemanni graves of the nobility.
This museum's collection provides insight into the rich pre-history and early history of the Lake Constance area. One focal point is the Middle Ages. The building that houses the museum is a former guildhouse for butchers.
This building has undergone further development for hundreds of years! In the belfry of the Münster tower there are 19 bells in total. At roughly 35,000 kg, it has the second largest peal of bells after Cologne Cathedral. From the platform of the 76 m high tower, you have a wonderful view of the town and the surrounding countryside - but you have to climb 193 steps to get up it!