How old is it? Just about a thousand-year-old-ish.
The small but culturally-intriguing city of Hildesheim in Germany is the spot you need to head to see the world's oldest rosebush. In winter, it might look just like a dried shrub waiting to meet the gardener's sharp blades but the magic really happens when it comes back to life in spring. The historical rosebush is of the climbing rose variety and though it might not bloom every season, when it does, it is really a significant event for the local residents.
The rose is an important symbol for the city - one of the oldest in Northern Germany - and is very much intertwined in its historical and cultural context. The locals believe that Hildesheim will always prosper as long as the rose bush blossoms and flourishes. And if you are a visitor to the city, one of the easiest way to immerse yourself into the Hildesheim experience is to go on the walk of The Rose Path.
The Rose Path (Rosenroute) is a rose-guided walking tour of the city where you follow the little white roses imprinted on the street pavements. It begins at the Town Hall and at every stop, you will find plaques on the pavement to tell you which monument you are at. All you have to do is to just follow the roses and you won't get sidetracked!
There are 21 stops (including one at the Hildesheim Cathedral - a UNESCO World Heritage Site and home to the legendary rosebush) and the whole trail is an interesting historical, architectural and cultural recollection of the city. We've recreated a map of the walk and a short description of each of the stop so that you can embark on this fun journey too!
1. The Market Place (the Rose Path beings and end here)
The main square of the city and home to architectural landmarks including the Town Hall, the Temple House, the Wedekind House, the Luntzel House, the Roland House, the Butchers' and Bakers' guild houses, and the central Fountain.
2. The Church of the Holy Cross
Built by Bishop Hezilo in 1079 as part of The Collegiate Foundation of the Holy Cross and reconstructed in 1958. Interesting furnishings and figures from different centuries.
3. The Choir's House
It was the dormitory for the students of the The Collegiate Foundation of the Holy Cross and reconstructed in 1952.
4. The Seminary Church
Build between 1766 to 1772 with an Italian Baroque facade and the entrance is flanked by statues of Saint Francis of Assisi and Saint Anthony of Padua.
5. The Rear Bruhl
An interesting promenade showcasing half-timbered homes from the 16th century. These architectural gems are unique to this region and the Werner House right at the corner is the most well-preserved example. The exterior of these homes are ornately decorated by woodwork depicting historical and biblical scenes.
6. St Godehardi Church
A cloister church built in honour of Bishop Godehard featuring precious reliefs, artworks and sculptures.
7. Yellow Star Street
A street that is home to half-timbered houses.
8. The Lappenberg
A memorial site where a monument was erected in 1988 to commemorate the prosecution of the Jews.
9. The Alleyway at the Kehrwieder Tower
Pathway to the last intact Old City gate which is part of the old city wall that formerly served as watch-towers.
10, 11 & 12: Kessler Street, House no 57, House no 52.
Street lanterns and clinker paving marks the street that is considered to be part of the New City founded by the Provost of Hildesheim in the 1300s. House no 57 is considered to be most beautiful Baroque building in the city, and House no 52 is a well-executed reconstruction of the buildings from that era.
13 & 14: The Kehrwieder and the Langelinien Wall
Walking along the course of the remaining ramparts, you get a good view of the green areas of the city.
15: Josephinum Grammar School
The oldest school in the city with a gorgeous facade from 1694.
16: The Hildesheim Cathedral
Home to the 1000 year old rose bush, Hildesheim Cathedral was built between 1010 and 1020 but completely destroyed during WW2 and rebuilt from the 1950s. Its treasures has been preserved earning its place on the UNESCO World Cultural Heritage list. The treasures include artworks, bronze works from the time of Bishop Bernward, Bernward Doors and Bernward Column, as well as two of the four notable Romanesque wheel chandeliers: the Hezilo chandelier and the Azelin chandelier.
17. The Roemer - Pelizaeus Museum
An important museum with a distinguished permanent collection that is focused on ancient civilizations.
18. St Michael's Church
One of the most important churches of early Christian period architecture featuring ceiling frescoes, the famous Bernward Doors, and is also on the UNESCO World Cultural Heritage list.
19. A Renaissance Outlook
A site where the former Emperor's House (a stony Renaissance building with statues and imperial Roman medallions) used to be situated.
20. Andreas Church
Features the tallest church tower in Lower Saxony; it is accessible (364 steps) and offers a panoramic view of both the city and surrounding countryside.
21. Huck-Up Monument
A 1905 sculpture depicting the personification of a man and his bad conscience. The statue survived the war without a scratch.