Also available: Segment on the Ingolstadt Christmas Market
Location, location, location!
The City of Ingolstadt was easily overlooked among Bavaria's many great cities. It sat on the Danube River, but was sandwiched between the better known locations such as Ulm and Regensburg. Meanwhile, in the north-south direction, it was halfway between Nuremberg and Munich on Autobahn 9. So, as travelers established their Bavarian itineraries, Ingolstadt was likely one of those places left off. The advantage was, therefore, that visitors were likely not to be competing with large throngs of tourists. Meanwhile, Ingolstadt had plenty of sights of its own to recommend, especially given its very recent and thorough renovation.
The inner city was a large oval snuggled against the north bank of the Danube. I crossed over at the main bridge, the Konrad-Adenauer Brück, on the main road leading from the train station and made it into the Altstadt (Old City). From the bridge, Ingolstadt's primary attraction, the Neues Schloss (first photograph) was clearly visible. This castle was bright white and bulky with little outside decor, but marked with that beautiful golden clock gate. The Schloss served as the Bavarian Army museum (but sadly I did not have time to visit it).
The Neues Schloss sat at one end of the main pedestrian zone that bisected the city, making its way through Ingolstadt's contingent of seven major churches and three main market squares. One of those market squares is shown in the second photo, the Rathausplatz with the Altes Rathaus (old town hall) and its squarish tower at left background and the St. Moritz Catholic Church with its pyramid-like steeple at the right background. The Altes Rathaus was quite an impressive building (much, MUCH more impressive than the neo-modernish Neues Rathaus -- the plain looking apartment-like building on the far right side of the photo). The Altes Rathaus served as the home of the Tourist Information Bureau.
Among the seven churches, I visited three -- the St. Moritz was so-so, but the other two were very impressive for different reasons. The Saint Maria Victoria and the Liebfrauenmuenster (third photograph) were just about next door to each other on the western side of town, away from the pedestrian zone. St. Maria Victoria had a brilliant Baroque interior, brightly decorated with fantastic frescoes. Meanwhile, the Muenster was clearly recently restored, and its interior was bright and colorful, accented by the massive brass scultpure of the crucifixion at the back of the church. As I had visited during the Christmas Market season, the Munster was also home to one of the more impressive Nativities I had seen.
Ingolstadt looked newly renovated, and the look was impressive. Many of her most decorative storefronts had recently been repainted, giving much of the city a fresh look. The colors were bright and varied, like the downtowns I've visited in Austria (see Linz, for example). The pedestrian streets look recently repaved. The addition of the Christmas decorations helped, too. Unfortunately, some of the repainting probably removed many of the murals that probably once decorated the city. Instead, there were just a few teasers. The Hopfisterei, in the western part of town, was an example where the old building was renovated and turned a solid bright yellow with a single old-style figurine of a man holding an object that looks like a stein of beer (I cannot tell from the photo I took).
One thing that surprised me was how big Ingolstadt really was. I expected it to be just a small city, easily combed in a half-day, but boy was I wrong. It was about as big as Regensburg and very spread out. The train station was about a mile from the downtown, an unusual distance for German cities where the station was usually right in the middle. The walk gave me a chance to survey the surroundings -- largely a mix of modern suburbia and old apartments -- that told me Ingolstädters were doing pretty well. I took that to mean the citizens don't mind being bypassed by the tourist crowd, but at the same time the Welcome mat was out!
So, if you are on your way between Nuremberg and Munich, and want to take a quick break, pull off Autobahn 9 when it reaches the Danube and look at Ingolstadt! Don't feel you have to miss it!
Trips taken 30 November 2002 -- Page last updated 01 September 2006 -- (C) 2003 Tom Galvin