Erfurt’s landmark is the unique ensemble created by the combined effect of the Mariendom (Cathedral of The Blessed Virgin Mary) together with the Severikirche (St. Severus Church). These two magnificent examples of German Gothic architecture at its best majestically dominate the cityscape.
The "Gloriosa" (1497), the "Queen of Bells", has been praised for centuries throughout Europe for its magnificent resonance. Inside the cathedral there is an elaborate Gothic chancel with a series of 13 coloured stained-glass windows which are almost 13 meters high and are among the greatest works of medieval stained-glass art. The cathedral contains many noteworthy art treasures that have been created throughout the various centuries.
A wide and impressive open-air stairway leads up from the market square to the cathedral itself and to the Church of St. Severus (1278 - 1400), which contains the sarcophagus of St. Severus (1363).
Around the Cathedral Square there are many historical buildings which survived numerous city fires as well as an artillery attack in 1813. The "Grüne Apotheke" (18th century) and the "Haus zur hohen Lilie" (1538) are two fine examples of the buildings in this area. The entrance to "Marktstrasse", which formed one axis of the "via regia" (the Royal Route) and thus became an ideal point of congregation for traders, is situated on the east side of the extensive cathedral square. A busy open-air market has now taken over this location. On the right-hand side there is a passage way leading to the carefully restored structures of the "Große und kleine Arche" and the "Haus zum Sonneborn".
The Krämerbrücke / Merchants’ Bridge is Erfurt’s most interesting example of secular architecture. This arched stone bridge was constructed in 1325 over the river Gera where the original ford was located along the "via regia" trading route. The Krämerbrücke is the only bridge north of the Alps to be built over entirely with houses that are still used as residences. In medieval times there were two churches built at either end of the bridge, one of which, the Ägidienkirche, is still in existence.
From the Krämerbrücke you can turn down into Michaelisstrasse, which has been called the "stone chronicle of Erfurt". Reminiscent of this stone chronicle are many of the historical houses. There is also "collegium maius", the main building of the old university. On lot no. 39 the main buildings of the university have been located. The collegium majus was destroyed in the 1945 bombing and was re-erected in 1999. A part of the former university library with its rich stores including the famous "Amploniana" collection still exists today in the Steinhaus (1844/47). In the street branching off from Michaelisstrasse, called "Allerheiligenstrasse" ("All Saints Street"), you can find the Humanistenstätte Engelsburg, which was the meeting place of the famous Erfurt circle of humanists around the year 1511.
The Augustinerkloster posseses valuable stained glass windows dating back to the beginning of the 14th century. Martin Luther lived here as a monk from 1505 to 1511. Within the monastery complex there is an important library with rare books and a permanent exhibition about the life of Luther. Today the Augustinerkloster is used as parish church and as an ecumenical.