After the visit in the Munster zu Allerheiligen we spent the next few hours of the second day morning in the streets of Schaffhausen. The city of 35000 inhabitants was mentioned first as a city state in 1045, and joined the Swiss confederation in 1501.

Metzgerbrunnen fountain

The old city streets must be quite crowded during the pick season, but during that cloudy last Saturday morning of August the crowds were not excessive. We started by admiring two medieval fountains ornate with statues – the first of a Swiss mercenary dated 1524 …

Mohrenbrunnen fountain

… and the second of a Moorish king from 1535.

zum Steinbock house

Most significant are however the houses in the old city that preserve the original shape, ornaments and exterior frescoes from the medieval times until today. There are around 170 such houses in the Schaffhausen old city, in a mix of Gothic, Renaissance and Baroque styles, 35 of them are listed as national heritage monuments of exceptional value. For example the zum Steinstock house is covered with Roccoco ornaments …

zum Ochsen house

… while the zum Ochsen house which was originally an inn during the Middle Ages was renovated in 1608 and Gothic ornaments and frescoes were added on the facade.

zum Grossen Kafig house

Most impressive are the frescoes on the zum Grossen Kafig house representing the triumphal parade of Tamerlane after having taken as prisoner the Turkish sultan Baiazid.

the Schwabentor

Nearby the Schwabentor built in 1380 represented in the past the Northern gate of the city and is nowadays one of the remains of the wall that surrounded the old city.

zum Ritter house

The zum Ritter (Knight) house has probably the most beautiful exterior fresco in the city. Actually the current painting is a copy, the original being preserved in the city museum, which we visited later. Painted in 1570 with a theme inspired by The Iliad heroes it is considered one of the most beautiful Renaissance frescoes North of the Alps.

a meeting with Giora Feidman

Wondering on the streets of the city we saw a poster announcing that Giora Feidman was scheduled to play here soon with the Gershwin Quartet. Giora is born in Bassarabia, emigrated as a child to Argentine and then to Israel, where each year is one of the major musicians animating the Safed festival of klezmer music. I hope to have time to write about him sometimes on the Catcher.

time for tea?

Lunch time had come, but we had a rich breakfast, so we decided to skip. We examined a tea stand in front of the zu Ritter house, and I bought some herbs tea – I always like to explore new tastes in tea from various parts of the world.

... or time for a cake?

Than we started to look for a coffee and cakes place …

smiling cakes

… and we settled for a pretzel and a cake and of course, a good espresso at a place in front of the St Johann church. I do not remember its name, but it had some beautiful smiling cakes in the window, hard to miss it.

St Johann Church

We decided that we have enough time to visit the Museum zu Allerheiligen (which will be the subject of the next episode also including the meeting with an old and dear friend), but before it we entered the St Johann church, the second in fame (but largest in size) church in Schaffhausen.

detail in St Johann (1)

detail in St Johann (2)

We encountered here a similar history as in the Munster and other churches in this area of conflict between Reformation and Catholicism. The original parish church may have been built as early as around the year 1000. Then, when the Reformation took control of the whole area, the church was transformed, many of the cult objects removed and maybe destroyed, and the beautiful frescoes painted over in white. The current architecture of the church and the tower dates from the 18th century, but recent restoration work brought to light beautiful frescoes dating from around 1500 and this work may not be over. Today the church hosts many concerts of sacred music, especially Bach.