First English edition of the Nuremberg chronicle: being the Liber chronicarum of Dr. Hartmann Schedel…
FOLIO CLV verso and CLVI recto

The City of Erfurt is represented by a large woodcut extending over two FOLIO, and specially designed to represent this city. In the foreground is the river Gera, on which the city is located midway between Gotha and Weimar. The general aspect of the city, with its crowded buildings and tight-fitting wall, bastioned at frequent intervals, is forbidding. To strangers approaching it in the early days it could not have appeared very inviting. Although the city had seven gates in medieval times, only one appears in the illustration. It is reached by a bridge.

As we look beyond the walls we see numerous church spires, in most cases surmounted by a cross; and in this connection it must be remembered that when the Chronicle was published in 1493, Luther was but a lad of ten, and the Reformation had not yet gotten under way. He became a friar in the monastery of St. Augustine (now an orphanage) in this very city; but we have no means of identifying the monastery on this woodcut.

The City of Erfurt was very irregular in plan. The main feature was a city square (Friedrich Wilhelmsplatz), to the southwest of which is the Domberg, or what we might have called cathedral heights—an eminence on which stand side by side the Cathedral, or Dome, and the great church of St. Severus which may be identified by its three fourteenth century spires. The Cathedral (Beatae Mariae Virginis) is the most noteworthy of the city’s structures. It was begun in the twelfth century, but the nave was built in the thirteenth in Gothic style. The approach to both churches is by means of 48 wide stone steps, from which the immediate vicinity derived it name, “Vor den Graden,” that is, ‘Before the Steps.’ The Cathedral was not built according to any single plan, but is a composite of a number of styles of architecture, offering the greatest divergence. The chancel, which was added in 1349-72, with the fourteenth century crypt below, rests on massive substructures known as the Cavate. Besides fine fifteenth century glass, the cathedral has very rich portal sculptures and bronze castings, among others, the Coronation of the Virgin, by Peter Vischer. Besides the Cathedral and St. Severus Church, Erfurt possesses a number of very interesting medieval houses of worship, but it is impossible to identify them here.