The east side of the Ulmer Rathaus at the market place
Due to the opulent exterior painting from the early Renaissance, the Ulm Town Hall (Ulmer Rathaus) can be easily found as a Renaissance monument near the Muenster cathedral. Behind the town hall you can see the tower of the Muenster shining out at night. From the astronomical clock to the beautiful frescoes of the Ulm city painter, Martin Schaffner (1478-1546), there is a lot to discover here.
The history City Hall of Ulm
In 1370, the so-called “neue Kaufhaus” (new department store) was built. This is the southeastern main building and the oldest part of the building. It was not until 1419 that it was called the town hall for the first time. In the 15th century, the Gothic-framed windows were installed on the south side of the council chamber. There you can see the seven electors who elected the emperor since the Golden Bull of 1356. Therefore, city halls were often decorated with their statues at that time. But the double windows on the east side were also created at that time.
The Astronomical Clock of Ulm
The marvel of the astronomische Uhr (english: astronomical clock) was assembled around 1520. A fully functional model can be admired today directly in the Ulm City Hall on the second floor. It was built by apprentices of the tower clock factory Philipp Hörz in Ulm. Almost nobody can read the clock properly, yet it follows a very simple principle. It only replicates the sun, the moon and the signs of the zodiac. It has a total of 14 functions that can only be explained by people who have studied the clock in depth.
Ulm’s town hall also houses a second special clock in the council window. Namely, there is a glass sundial there that can show the hours in the morning. Since the Ulm council only met in the mornings during the Reichstadt (Imperial City) period, this was only a problem when meetings lasted too long.
By the way, on the left in the background we see Ulm’s central library, which was opened in 2004. This unique “glass pyramid” was designed by the architect Gottfried Böhm.
This panorama of the city hall Ulm is presented in our exhibition series Germany Street Fronts.