The river that flows through Erfurt is called the Gera, but the river that flows through the city of Gera, in the eastern part of Thüringen, is called the White Elster. So the city of Gera has nothing to do with the Gera River, and visa-versa. (Sorry, it took me a while to figure this out.)
The New Mill on the Gera River in Erfurt was used for milling grain into flour until 1982. After that, it was turned into a technical museum showing how grain milling was done in former times, using water power. As of 2021, the New Mill is closed because of “recently discovered structural damage” which is currently being investigated.
For a small fee you can climb a narrow staircase up to the top of this church tower, past a large bronze bell which was cast in 1382. The bell is still rung sometimes, but there is a sign politely asking visitors not to ring it themselves. From the top of the tower there are nice views of Erfurt and the Gera River.
In former times, this river overflowed its banks quite regularly, causing periodic floods of the city center. To prevent flooding, a canal was dug in 1898, parallel to the Stauffenberg-Allee, to carry off the excess water. (Look for “Flutgraben” on the city map.)
The Krämerbrücke (shopkeeper’s bridge or candlemaker’s bridge) crosses the Gera River in the center of Erfurt. The unusual thing about it, as you can see from the photo, is that there are houses on the bridge, on both sides of it.
The bridge is 120 meters long, and they claim it is Europe’s longest inhabited bridge and in any case the only inhabited bridge in Europe north of the Alps. It was built in 1325 to replace an earlier wooden bridge which had burned down.
You couldn’t tell, just by walking through at street level, that this is a bridge. From this level, it just looks like a narrow street with half-timbered houses on both sides. Originally there were sixty-two houses on the bridge, but over the years some of them have been joined together so now there are only thirty-two.
My photos in this post are from 2004. I revised the text in 2021.
See more posts on Erfurt, Germany.