Perlach Tower in Augsburg: Citizens should save landmarks – Bavaria

The Turamichele Festival is an integral part of Augsburg customs. Every year at the end of September, Archangel Michael fights the devil at the window of the Perlach Tower by stabbing Satan lying at his feet with a spear. Children stand on the town hall square and cheer on the archangel. Last year, however, something was different: the floral decorations were missing on the window of the Perlach Tower. Far-reaching savings measures can be expected at any time in Augsburg, but so far nothing has failed due to the lack of money for flowers. The problem was that the once proud tower is now so dilapidated that it could no longer safely bear the weight of the flowers.

The Perlachturm, which together with the neighboring town hall is considered a landmark of Augsburg, has been closed since 2017. Nevertheless, Augsburg has still not managed to raise the funds to renovate its landmark. In this respect, the lack of floral decorations for the Turamichele festival was somehow an expression of the city’s tight finances, but now everything is supposed to get better – with the help of donations from the citizens. The city has started a fundraising campaign, the women of Augsburg should transfer money, sponsor bells or otherwise pay in money that is missing for the nine million euro renovation, which is to be carried out by 2028. Otherwise, the city apparently still does not see itself in a position to make the monument, which has since been covered over a large area due to the risk of collapse, accessible again.

The trigger for the new hustle and bustle are federal subsidies, which Claudia Roth, Minister of State for Culture and Media, landed at the end of last year. The Augsburg member of the Bundestag for the Greens has campaigned for the city to receive almost three million euros from the “CultureInvest” funding program, with which the federal government supports, among other things, cultural monuments of “national relevance”. The city has also built up reserves for the renovation, at least three million are available, the own funds could still increase significantly – but overall, without donations, it would not be enough for the targeted nine million.

Mayor Eva Weber describes the Perlachturm as “an important piece of home” and as an impressive building for guests from an architectural epoch that was important for the city. In the year 989 it was built as a watchtower and then increased in height. The tower was given its current appearance between 1612 and 1618 by Augsburg’s famous master builder Elias Holl, whose 450th birthday the city is celebrating this year: with a columned dome, onion-shaped roof and the figure of the Suebian city goddess Cisa on top. At almost 70 meters, the Perlach Tower is one of the tallest buildings in Augsburg. The city praises it together with the town hall and the upstream Unesco World Heritage object Augustus fountain as a “Renaissance ensemble of European standing”.

However, this ensemble does not look as good when half the tower is covered, as is currently the case due to the dilapidation. Nets are hanging from the base of the tower, and an inspection revealed significant damage to the top two floors and the tower facade. The nets should intercept any falling material. In order to make the listed tower accessible again, a huge crane is to lift the tower bulb in one piece during the planned renovation in order to remove the damaged reinforced concrete ceilings underneath. According to the city, this results in “the unique opportunity to saw out the statically critical reinforced concrete stairs piece by piece and transport them away through the open tower quiver”.

A new, free-floating staircase inside the tower is planned, platforms should enable a view of the city from the tower windows. In the course of the conversion, a small Gothic room should also be accessible again after more than 400 years. At the end, where the tower warden originally had his two-storey apartment, the spiral staircase breaks through the ceiling and opens up the viewing pavilion designed by Elias Holl, which offers a view as far as the Alps in good weather.

Construction work is scheduled to begin in November 2023. As many Augsburgers as possible should buy “sustainable blankets made of recycled cotton with motifs of the most famous Holl buildings”, 69.99 euros for a good cause. Interested parties can also simply purchase tickets for a benefit concert at the State Theater: On Friday, the Augsburg Philharmonic will play a musical program related to the city’s history in Martini Park. The proceeds will go towards the planned renovation.

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