Jewish Ritual Bath in Friedberg, Hesse

The mikvah or mikveh is a bath used for ritual immersion in Judaism to achieve ritual purity. This one in Friedberg, Hesse, belongs to a small group of remaining monumental mikvahs dating back to the Middle Ages. The others are in Friedberg, Speyer, Cologne, Worms, Offenburg, and Andernach.

With a depth of 25 m, the mikvah in Friedberg is the biggest and most impressive among them all. It is also one of the last monuments of Jewish life in Friedberg. From the 13th century until 1942, the Jewish population lived in and near the Judengasse (between the town and the castle). Their synagogue was burned down on 10 November 1938.

We went to see the mikvah this afternoon. We were the only visitors on this snowy afternoon, so the museum attendant told us.

What an experience this was to be inside this mikvah! While we were talking, we noticed the extraordinary acoustics – any sound resonated for about six seconds within the walls.

The octagonal skylight, which we passed on the way in, was reflected in the waters down below. Then, our sound was reflected in the walls. This was truly amazing.

The last part of the stairway is closed off to the public though. Climbing down 23 regular steps and another 52 steep steps requires a sure foothold and sturdy shoes.

The entrance is euro 2 per adult. Hours of operation: wetterau-museum

This was definitely a cultural and historical highlight.

 

List of Christmas Markets around Oberursel

Many expats and visitors to Germany head to the ever so commercial Christmas markets in the bigger cities, e.g. Heidelberg, Frankfurt, and Nuremberg, for that special Christmas flair.

I have been here in Germany for more than 20 years, and have got to know the big ones as being crowded, over-priced, and offering the same old merchandise.

oberursel-weihnachtsmarkt-2014

It is better to go to the smaller ones, where merchandise has been individually crafted, there are home baked goods, prices are lower, and they are less crowded.

Some vendors are volunteers working for a kindergarten or a charity organization, some represent the local fishing club, others sell handcrafted items made my mentally/physically challenged people, etc. The smaller markets are much more individual.

Around the Oberursel area, we have the following Christmas markets, which usually range from one day to four days.

The one listed in Friedberg is the only one which runs for a full four weeks.

10 Dec 2016 (Sat): Massenheim from 16:00 – 22:00 Address: center of the village

Edit: The Massenheim Christmas market takes place on 03 December. This is from a more reliable source – my friend, Peter, who, along with his ensemble, plays there tomorrow.

11 Dec 2016 (Sun): Bommersheim 12:00 – 20:00(part of  Oberursel) Address: Burgstrasse/Lange Strasse

29 Nov – 23 Dec 2016: Friedberg  http://www.friedberger-advent.de/

24 – 27 Nov 2016 (Thu – Sun): Oberursel Address: Innenstadt bis Marktplatz

03 -04 Dec 2016 (Sat – Sun): Stierstadt 14:00 – 18:00 Address: Gartenstrasse

03 -04 Dec 2016 (Sat – Sun): Steinbach Address: Kirchgasse and Pijnackerplatz

09 – 11 Dec 2016 (Fri – Sun): Bad Vilbel Address: Wasserburg http://www.kultur-bad-vilbel.de/weihnachtsmarkt/

29 Nov 2016 (Sun): Dortelweil (part of Bad Vilbel) 11:00  –  18:00

If you know of any others in the area, please share them under ‘comments’ or send me an e-mail.