Große Blau in the Fishermen’s Quarter
The Große Blau is a branch (next to the Kleine Blau) of the river Blau in the old town area of Ulm, just before the Blau flows into the Danube. The Blau is a 22 km long river that rises in the Blautopf in Blaubeuren and flows through the Blautal to Ulm. The fishermen’s (Fischerviertel) and tanners’ quarter (Gerberviertel) developed around the two arms of the river on the edge of Ulm city centre. Fishermen and craftsmen settled here. The fishermen took their boats into the Danube to catch fish. Eventually the “Ulmer Schachteln”, flat boats with box-shaped superstructures for transporting goods and people, came into being.
The location on the flowing water was also ideal for tanners. The row of houses shown here is the river-side back of Fischergasse and shows typical tanners’ houses. On wooden piles in the shallow water, galleries (balconies) rise up, which were well suited for hanging up the processed animal skins to drain and thus still bear witness today to the former leather production. Since many of the houses on the river have foundations standing directly in the water and the soft subsoil sometimes gave way, they sank unevenly over time. This is how the picturesque charm of the fishermen’s quarter (Fischerviertel) with its leaning half-timbered houses came about.
Redevelopment and tourism
Today, the Fischerviertel with its ancient half-timbered houses, sometimes strange building shapes, narrow alleys, authentic restaurants and picturesque views attracts tourists from all over the world and is considered the most important sight in the city next to the Ulmer Münster (Cathedral). However, it owes this to a tourist resurgence since the 1970s. Before that, it lay beyond the focus of visitors as a run-down, dilapidated quarter. It was only with the renovation of the old Lochmühle by a private owner that a wave of restoration began, which finally led to the establishment of restaurants, hotels, galleries and small specialist shops in the 1980s and transformed the district into a picturesque tourist magnet.
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