AMBERG, Germany — Located only 30 minutes from Vilseck is the beautiful city of Amberg. It is full of rich history and locations ripe for exploration.
City tours are usually conducted by the Tourist-Information Center, but they are currently not available due to COVID-19. Instead, visit many of the city’s historical sites through means of a self-guided tour.
Inside Amberg’s Rathaus located in the city center, the 3rd Squadron, 2nd Armored Cavalry Regiment gifted the people of Amberg a large plaque in 1992 — a way of saying thank you for 40 years of hospitality. During the majority of the Cold War, the unit was stationed here in Germany to conduct border surveillance missions. In 1992, the unit departed back to the United States to be stationed at Joint Base Lewis-McChord. The regiment was relocated numerous times across the U.S., before being permanently stationed here again in 2006.
Amberg has many churches that date back to the medieval period.
Located in the far western portion of the city is the Church of St. George, which was first mentioned in writings dating back to the late-1000s. Construction for a new gothic style church, to replace the previous Romanesque structure, began in the mid-1300s and was completed at the beginning of the 1500s, except for the tower. The church was eventually redone during the Baroque era and given to the Jesuits and then to the Order of Maltese Knights. The Church was under their charge until their secularization in the mid-1800s, but it was not until 1923 that it became a parish church again.
The city also has an array of interesting buildings steeped in history and legend.
Nearby the church is the Hotel Eh-Haesul — the smallest hotel in the world. An early- 1700s legend states that young couples, who wanted to marry, had to own property within the city to gain consent from the city magistrate. So when a groom discovered a small courtyard in a little lane in between two other properties, he purchased it, built walls, a roof and called it home. He was then able to marry his fiancée. While legend claims that Hotel Eh-Haeusl used to be a way to make marriage easier for couples, now it is used as a standard hotel for two people.
On the eastern end of the city was the historic mint facility. Minting periodically ended with the transfer of power from the Palatinate to Bavaria, but it was revitalized in 1763. The mint later closed in 1794, and it was replaced by a weapons factory that began production in 1801. Today, visiting the old mint facility location leads into a beautiful courtyard.
Amberg is a marvelous city, and more than worth spending the day exploring. It should remind all Americans how lucky we are to have the opportunity to be stationed in the heart of Europe.