The Kohlmarkt in Braunschweig (engl. Brunswick) with its surroundings is one of the oldest settlement areas of the city. Two long-distance trade routes met at this point. The original name “Kohlenmarkt” (coal market), like the Latin name “forum carborum”, refers to the storage and sale of coal and not to the trade of cabbage (german: Kohl). St. Ulrici’s Church once stood centrally on the market square, but was demolished in 1544 as a result of the Reformation.
Buildings on the Kohlmarkt
Until today the Kohlmarkt with its historical ensemble is the central meeting point of the city centre. A large number of the buildings were redesigned during the Gründerzeit era (Wilhelminian style) in the 19th century. Thanks to the prosperity of the time, older craftsmen’s and merchants’ houses were replaced by new buildings or their facades were redesigned decoratively. These new representative department stores on Kohlmarkt, as we can see on the panorama, were, in contrast to Braunschweig’s inner city, largely spared by war damage. For this reason, sixteen of the twenty buildings surrounding the marketplace count as cultural monuments.
Today, Kohlmarkt gives a varied image. The Wilhelminian “Haus zum Stern” at Kohlmarkt No. 2, shown here at the far right edge of the panorama, was built in 1894 in Neo-Renaissance style. Kohlmarkt 17 (second building from the left) also dates from this period, also with a facade designed in Neo-Renaissance style. Similarly, the façade of the classicistic Kohlmarkt 18 (third building from the left) from the 18th century was almost completely redesigned over the course of time.
Haus zur Sonne
Special attention should be paid to the historic “Haus zur Sonne” (= House to the Sun) at Kohlmarkt 19 (fourth house from left), which was built in the late 19th century. The massive stone building is one of the first of its kind in contrast to the half-timbered architecture that surrounded it at the time. Originally, the classicistic facade was rather sparsely decorated. In 1885 the building which originally was a two storey building with a high steep roof was rebuilt and its façade was decorated with Neo-Renaissance elements. It is probably only since this time that the sun symbol in the uppermost field of the gable has existed. The building was damaged by bombing during the Second World War, but was largely rebuilt and a third floor was added. The old company lettering “P.J. Blanck – Purveyor to the court” still reminds us today of Philipp Itzig Blanck and his flourishing textile business which was established here in the 19th century.
By the time of the panorama the shops in this street front included (left to right) the fashion House Koithan, Mode Herrmann, fashion store Jens Koch, Starbucks, Brax, Bijou Brigitte, and a TUI travel agency.