Thursday, September 5, 2013

1242 and Wiesbaden

There's this little bit of history, which most folks in Wiesbaden never get explanation why there aren't any buildings in existence today, except from the late 1600's on.

For years and years....there's been this comical nature between Wiesbaden folks and Mainz folks (the guys on the other side of the river).  They are basically separated by half a mile of water....nothing more.  Today, you can cross a bridge on foot in five minutes.  You'd basically declare that Mainz looks like a working-man's town, and Wiesbaden an upscale swanky town.

Well....back to the history lesson.

In the years before 1242....Wiesbaden wasn't exactly swank.  The local folks were a bit testy, challenging folks on various topics, and ended on the short end of the Mainz Catholic Church list.  It'd be polite in today's world to say that they'd become like a US Tea-Party group, and made themselves a broad target.

Insulting?  Well....there's not enough written down to explain how the Bishop of Mainz felt about all the words spoken.

The Bishop of Mainz was the chief player of local politics.  In 1242, he was more of powerhouse than any royalty in the region.  So things came to pass that he simply made a decision....burn Wiesbaden to the ground.

No one can say today with much authority over the number of houses, huts, or buildings involved....but it had to be more than just a hundred.  It's hard to say the reaction of Wiesbaden folks....some church bishop at their city limits....burning the place down.....more or less in the name of God.

One has to imagine locals being a bit testy and hostile after this event.  Like good Germans....they aspired to recover.  Some history to Wiesbaden lay in the ruins.  But, they rebuilt.

So roughly three hundred years pass by.  Wiesbaden has made a comeback of sorts.    Around 1547....a fire breaks out, and a fair amount of the town burns to the ground.  Some history to Wiesbaden.....lay in the ruins.  But, they rebuilt.

Fourteen years go by.  Wiesbaden has made a comeback of sorts.  Then in 1561....another fire breaks out, and a fair amount of the town burns to the ground.  Some history to Wiesbaden....lay in the ruins.  But, they rebuilt.

Toss in the Thirty-Years War, and more damage.

So around 1690, the remaining population of Wiesbaden are now bound and determined to rebuilt, with absolute enthusiasm.'s 730-odd residents.  You can figure half are over fifty or under eighteen....and it's basically on the backs of 200-odd guys to rack and stack the mess at their feet.

They'd messed with the Romans....the Catholic Church....the fires, and bluntly....their patience had been tried.  From 1690 on.....the real city today of Wiesbaden lays out like a curious marvel of design and perfection.  You could say that version one, two, three, and maybe up to version five of the city....have been burnt to the ground or destroyed.  You've got the one and only version in existence today.

If you kinda laid out this history lesson to the locals....they might know bits and pieces.  They are a forgiving crowd for the most part.  They'd admit maybe they are tough on commentary for their neighbors, and maybe this is part of the local tradition.  They are a swanky town compared to Mainz....mostly because they built it that way.  They'd claim they have more art and culture....because they wanted it that way.

A simple moment in history.  

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