The Kornhausplatz in Bern
This panoramic photo, taken in May 2016, shows the Kornhausplatz, which was renovated and rebuilt in 1997 at a cost of 1.69 million CHF, already without streets for car traffic. Kornhausplatz is located in the middle of Bern’s old town, which was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1983. The reason for this was that the historical core of the city consists of many buildings with medieval basic substance, which has been preserved until today. On the Kornhausplatz in Bern you can see some of them.
The granary (Kornhaus)
The name and the massive appearance of the building on the right side of the panorama photo already give an idea that it is indeed a former granary of the city. This explains the name of the square: Kornhausplatz. Made of Bernese sandstone, the granary was built from 1711 to 1715 according to the plans of Abraham Dünz the Younger and Hans Jakob, who were brothers.
The building was operated as a municipal grain office until 1798. As early as 1482, the annuities, tithes and gülten from the collatures of Utzendorf, Ersigen, Kriegstetten and Kirchberg were collected. It was grain and wine for the city salaries. In 1617 the municipal grain office was first administered by the Small Council and later by the Great Council.
Later in 1895 the granary was rebuilt into the Museum of Trades according to the plans of the architect Paul Adolphe Tièche. In the cellar, the architect Friedrich Schneider designed a banqueting hall from 1896 to 1898, decorated with frescoes by Rudolf Münger. There you can still find the famous Kornhauskeller, which the locals call “Chübü” for “Kübel” in Bernese German. Today, the Kornhaus also houses the main library, a stage, a box office for the Bern City Theater, a cultural forum and a café.
On the panorama photo you can see the Kindlifresserbrunnen (Child Eater Fountain) on the left in front of the Kornhaus in the middle of the Kornhausplatz. There was already a wooden fountain there in the 15th century. In 1545, Hans Gieng built this fountain in its place, which was initially called Platzbrunnen. It was not until 1666 that the first records were found in which the name Kindlifresserbrunnen appeared. During the renovation mentioned at the beginning in 1997, the fountain had to be moved slightly to make room for the streetcar line. In the process, the date MDXXXXV (1545) was discovered at the bottom of the fountain basin.
On a Corinthian column, surrounded by armed bears, stands the Child Eater, who is devouring a naked child. In his sack the child-eater holds more children captive. The child-eater devours naughty children in the vernacular of the Middle Ages. There are also several other interpretations, which assume, for example, a connection with the ritual murder of Rudolf of Bern.
The street block at Kornhausplatz
While to the right of the Kornhaus the beautiful building of the city theater is no longer in the picture, to the left you can see a row of houses that were built of Bernese sandstone just like the Kornhaus. Here comes a list of the buildings on the Kornhausplatz left from the Kornhaus to the Marktgasse:
Nr. 2 Juwelier Bucherer zu finden unter Marktgasse 2
Nr. 6 AEK Bank 1826
Nr. 8 Thomas Sabo Filiale
Nr. 10 Café Leichtsinn
Nr. 12 Sergio Castelli Akkordeon Schule
Nr. 14 Café Kuba
Nr. 16 Restaurant Anker