Lisa-Marie Fischer and Marburg “Marburg is the perfect size to feel comfortable in”

Singer and Songwriter Lisa-Marie Fischer ist born in Marburg
Singer and Songwriter Lisa-Marie Fischer ist born in Marburg | Photo (detail): © lisamariefischer.com

With its half-timbered houses and “castle on the hill”, the university town of Marburg in the German state of Hesse was already a favourite of the Brothers Grimm. The songwriter Lisa-Marie Fischer reveals some of the curiosities the town has up its sleeve.

Ms Fischer, what makes Marburg so endearing?

Marburg is very idyllic – neither too big nor too small. And thanks to the many students there is a good mix of different people.

In your opinion, what is an absolute must for visitors to the town?

I always take my visitors from the USA on a short tour, beginning in the upper town with a meal at the market square, then on to Marburg castle, where one has a fantastic view of the whole town, and then taking in St. Elisabeth’s Church. And then, if the visitors have any energy left, I take them up to Kaiser Wilhelm Tower, known locally as the Spiegelslustturm, on the Lahnberge hills.

In the Middle Ages, Marburg – after Elisabeth of Hungary was canonized and St. Elizabeth Church was built – was a famous destination for pilgrims. What attracts visitors to the town nowadays?

The night walks that are on offer are very popular, during which participants also get to sample the famous “Marburger Nachtwächer” (Marburg night watchman) schnapps.

A fairy-tale idyll packed with students

Which part of the town do you personally like best?

I really like the upper town. It is really something special, and the old half-timbered houses are so charming. The southern quarter is also one of the most beautiful residential areas in Marburg, in my opinion – very central and with loads of small restaurants and cafés.

The university is the oldest university founded by Protestants in Germany. What is its influence on the town?

An incredibly large number of young people live here. We have nearly 20,000 students, which obviously you can’t help but notice. The upper town is home mainly to student pubs where you can get a cheap meal – though not always a good one. During the university holidays Marburg can sometimes feel like a ghost town.

Tell us about your favourite place in Marburg.

My favourite place is the “Cappuccino” café in the upper town. They do the best coffee and it’s a fantastic place to people-watch because it is located directly between the town centre and the university.

How would you describe the people of Marburg?

Because there are so many students it is difficult to tell who is really from Marburg and who isn’t. But generally speaking the people of Marburg and Hesse are not so friendly. When people come to visit me from other towns or countries, they are always charmed by the town but criticize how unfriendly the people are.

Lifts and other peculiarities

Marburg also boasts the first and probably only German vintage police car museum. Does the town have any other curiosities up its sleeve?

Another curiosity are perhaps the sculptures and other artworks on the Grimm-Dich-Pfad, a walking path dedicated to the Brothers Grimm. Characters and motifs from Grimm’s fairy tales are to be found all over Marburg. For instance, Cinderella’s shoe can be found at the castle, and on the way to the upper town stone carvings of the faces of the wolf and seven young goats can be seen hanging on a wall.

Jacob Grimm wrote the following about Marburg: “I believe there are more steps on the street than in the houses.” Situated as it is in a narrow valley, Marburg is one of only very few towns in Germany today in which the different parts of the town are interlinked by lifts and in which lifts are considered part of the public transport system …

Yes, and the lifts are always incredibly full. Especially during local festivals it is almost impossible to catch one. What is more, the lifts break down almost every day. But it really is pretty tiring to walk up all the steps to the upper town, which is why people prefer to wait a while for a lift.

Where can you go in Marburg to enjoy some green spaces?

To the beautiful castle garden! And of course there is the Lahn river which flows through Marburg. In the summer, students in particular enjoy sunning themselves on its banks – and often have barbecues there until late in the evening.

When is the best time to visit Marburg?

At any time of year really! I like winter most of all, so I think it’s best to come to Marburg around Christmas time. We have a small but very pretty Christmas market on the town square, and another larger one at St. Elisabeth’s Church.

Marburg is not Nashville

The songwriter Lisa-Marie Fischer on stage The songwriter Lisa-Marie Fischer on stage | Photo (detail): © lisamariefischer.com Do you also write songs about your home town?

I did once write a song about Marburg, but that was only for school. When I wander through the town or watch all the different people I also get lots of ideas.

How does someone from Marburg end up writing country music?

That doesn’t really have much to do with Marburg. Unfortunately, the music scene here is not particularly open to new things. In 2008, I was in America with my parents on a music cruise. Experiencing country musicians live made such an impression on me that I began writing music immediately afterwards. I also met my producer from Nashville during the cruise, and as a result was able to record two albums there.

Marburg is roughly an hour away from both Frankfurt and Kassel. Have you ever considered moving to one of the larger neighbouring cities?

Unlike many other people I think Frankfurt is quite pretty, but it’s enough for me to go there just now and again. I think Marburg is the perfect size to feel comfortable in. What is more, Marburg is situated more or less exactly in the middle, which is very handy when you travel as much as I do.  
The country and folk singer-songwriter Lisa-Marie Fischer (born 1991) grew up in Marburg. She brought out her first CD in 2011, featuring almost solely material that she had composed herself. This was followed by tours of Germany and the USA. Lisa-Marie Fischer recorded her third album Holding On in 2014.
 
  • The university town of Marburg Photo (Detail): © Georg Kronenberg / www.georgkronenberg.com
    The university town of Marburg
  • Landgrafenschloss, the “castle on the hill” Photo (detail): © Georg Kronenberg / www.georgkronenberg.com
    Landgrafenschloss, the “castle on the hill”
  • Castle grounds Photo (detail): © Georg Kronenberg / www.georgkronenberg.com
    Castle grounds
  • The Spiegelslustturm on the Lahnberge hills Photo (detail): © Georg Kronenberg / www.georgkronenberg.com
    The Spiegelslustturm on the Lahnberge hills
  • Weidenhausen, oldest district of Marburg Photo (detail): © Georg Kronenberg / www.georgkronenberg.com
    Weidenhausen, oldest district of Marburg
  • Old half-timbered houses in Weidenhausen Photo (Detail): © Georg Kronenberg / www.georgkronenberg.com
    Old half-timbered houses in Weidenhausen
  • Cinderella’s shoe, a sculpture on the Grimm-Dich-Pfad Photo (detail): © Georg Kronenberg / www.georgkronenberg.com
    Cinderella’s shoe, a sculpture on the Grimm-Dich-Pfad
  • Philipps-Universität Marburg, founded in 1527 Photo (detail): © Georg Kronenberg / www.georgkronenberg.com
    Philipps-Universität Marburg, founded in 1527
  • Carvings of the faces of the wolf and seven young goats on a wall Photo (detail): © Georg Kronenberg / www.georgkronenberg.com
    Carvings of the faces of the wolf and seven young goats on a wall
  • New Botanical Garden Photo (detail): © Georg Kronenberg / www.georgkronenberg.com
    New Botanical Garden
  • Town hall and market place with musicians Photo (detail): © Georg Kronenberg / www.georgkronenberg.com
    Town hall and market place with musicians
  • St. Elisabeth’s Church, an archetype of Gothic architecture in Germany Photo (detail): © Georg Kronenberg / www.georgkronenberg.com
    St. Elisabeth’s Church, an archetype of Gothic architecture in Germany
  • Boat trip on the river Lahn Photo (detail): © Georg Kronenberg / www.georgkronenberg.com
    Boat trip on the river Lahn