With high, historic buildings rising up from this very compact square, Bremen’s Markt is one of the most remarkable in northern Germany. The two towers of the 1200-year-old Dom St Petri dominate the northeastern edge, beside the ornate and imposing Rathaus , which was erected in 1410. The Weser Renaissance balcony in the middle, crowned by three gables, was added between 1595 and 1618. In front of the Rathaus is one of the hallmarks of Bremen, the city’s 13m-high Knight Roland statue (1404). As elsewhere, Roland stands for the civic freedoms of a city, especially the freedom to trade independently. On the western side of the Rathaus – in front of the Kirche Unser Lieben Frauen (Church of our Beloved Lady) – you find the city’s even more famous symbol: the Town Musicians of Bremen (1951) by the sculptor Gerhard Marcks. This depicts a dog, cat and rooster, one on top of the other, on the shoulders of a donkey. The donkey’s nose and front legs are incredibly shiny after being touched by visitors for good luck.
The one obviously modern building on the Markt is the Haus der Bürgerschaft (State Assembly; 1966), whose geometrical steel-and-concrete structure features artfully moulded pieces of metal attached to its facade, suggesting a Gothic style that blends in with the other architecture of this historic square.