You can hear the clattering of horse-drawn carriages in the distance. In the early morning, merchants from the northern Black Forest cross the Dreisam Bridge and pass through the Swabian Gate to sell their wares in Freiburg. They hurriedly scuttle in and out of shops with wrought-iron signs under ornate street lamps along the Salzstrasse. Hanmann Bienger is standing at the door of his inn “Zum Roten Bären”, observing the colorful spectacle. Above him stands a large, radiant golden bear. Mr. Bienger greets his guests personally and, at the end of their long working day, treats them to fine Baden cuisine and a glass of wine.
Things must have looked something like this over 700 years ago, when merchants visited Germany’s oldest inn to seek sustenance. Fifty-one generations later, the hosts of the “Zum Roten Bären” inn are still tending to the needs of hungry and thirsty guests.
Old city maps, photos and documents on the walls of the lounge bear witness to times gone by. Of course, a few things have changed over the centuries. Before the French troops left Freiburg in 1744, they blew up the fortifications at the nearby Schlossberg. The "Zum Roten Bären" Romanesque-Gothic building with arches was severely damaged during the incident and reconstructed in Baroque style. Despite numerous renovations and extensions, the building’s footprint has never changed.
Enjoy the charms of the old inn over dinner and experience first-hand the ancient cellar with centuries of history.