Nürnberg’s oldest church, consecrated in 1273, houses the shrine of St. Sebald, a hermit who, legend has it, was son of a Danish king who married a French princess and abandoned her on their wedding night to answer the call and come to the forests around Nürnberg to preach Christianity. Sebald’s knack for turning icicles into fuel made him a hit with poor peasants who couldn’t afford wood. A bit antithetical to Sebald’s life of self-imposed poverty is his tomb, a splendid brass monument by Nürnberg’s own Peter Vischer (1455–1529), who with the aid of his five sons labored on his finest work for 11 years. The canopy and pillars are lavishly crowded with snails, dolphins, foliage and even an image of Visher himself, a stout, bearded figure wielding the tools of his trade. The church adopted the principles of the Reformation around 1525 and became Lutheran, a coup for Martin Luther, who rightly observed that Nürnberg was “Germany’s eye and ear”—a reference to the 21 Nürnberg printing presses that soon began spreading Lutheran doctrines around Germany.
- Frommer's Staff