My interest in the city of Nuremberg was split into two large areas: the "Nazi area" (where there is a tight concentration of buildings created during Hitler's Third Reich) and the "medieval area" (where a centuries-old fortification surrounds old buildings, churches, and even a castle with some sections being over 900 years old).
On the first day in Nuremberg, I went to the museum located in what was meant to be the congress hall under the Nazi government. It was a museum that talked a lot of Nuremberg's significance in the Third Reich as well as the architectural plans that were begun there. I knew a fair bit about this already, having read an autobiography from Albert Speer (the chief architect for much of the Third Reich). Basically, even before the Nazis came to power in 1933, they held rallies in Nuremberg. This was mainly due to the Luitpold war memorial, which was the central point of pre-1933 rallies. After they came to power, Hitler wanted to give his rallies a shot of steroids and so commissioned Albert Speer to create massive spaces for people to gather, as well as a road to serve the rallies and their guests (who often numbered well into the hundreds of thousands). A congress hall and a colosseum for martial events was also planned. The rally grounds were the only thing that ended up being completed. The road (called the Grosse Strasse, or Great Road) only had 1.5 out of 2 kilometers completed. The congress hall was maybe about a third finished (it never even had a roof placed over it and so now resembles a colosseum), and the actual colosseum is nothing more than a few cement blocks set into an otherwise unremarkable hill. Once Hitler began the war, the Nuremberg construction plans (and other big Nazi architectural plans) were totally abandoned, with most projects being diverted for the war. In Albert Speer's book, Hitler actually complains often about the war as if it's some nuisance being foisted onto him because he just wants to get back to his pet project of rebuilding German cities in the Nazi image. There's a lot of bizarre flip-flopping described in Speer's memoirs like that. Anyway.
The Great Street and the other Nazi projects are largely falling into decay. All along the Great Street, for example, are places where people could stand to watch parades and the like. These platforms that span the entire 1.5 km of road are now being overthrown by nature. There were places where growing trees had literally upturned the cement slabs that make up the steps. There was something almost beautiful about it.
The biggest of the Nazi installations is by far the congress hall (which, because of its shape and the lack of a roof, I initially confused for the collosseum). This is the second biggest Nazi building ever made, with the biggest being an obscure resort on an island off the coast of Denmark for workers of the Third Reich. Anyway, I can't remember the precise number, but I think something like 1,400 workers were employed for the construction of this monster that was never finished. The noise and activity of construction probably would have dominated the area, and I can only imagine how ugly it would look going up over the lake that it sits on. I've seen pictures of people in leisurely canoe rides in the lake with the big ugly construction project risking up behind them. The congress hall is roughly twice the size of the Colosseum in Rome. The actual Nazi Colosseum was supposed to be even bigger.
And then there was the castle stuff. It was only about a half hour walk away from where I lived (maybe a bit more), near the main train station of Nuremberg. It's really easy to see from the street: this area of town, called the Altstadt, is surrounded by a medieval castle wall. It's apparent that there also used to be a moat around this wall, but this moat area is now walkable and actually has a small skating park down there. From the street, you can see all of this, including the large guard towers that are part of the wall.
I'm currently in Munich, the last place for my project (though I will be going to Hamburg and Schwangau after my project is technically over). I decided I'm going to continue the blog after I get home to Canada (May 9) and update as I work the project into its final form.