Old Germanic Guild Signs~

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Wandering around cobblestone streets in medieval Germanic towns,

one finds an incredible collection of very old guild signs.

Many are preserved from Medieval times, but the tradition of making these distinctive signs continues to this day. In my next post I will show you more contemporary signs that are seriously charming.

These old guild signs are made of wrought iron, and advertised the trade or services available inside.
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German-speaking countries have saved the largest collection of medieval and old guild signs in Europe. They are a treat to look for and find.


We are now home so it’s cheers to you from the Holler~

182 thoughts on “Old Germanic Guild Signs~

    1. Thank you! Aren’t they wonderful. It would be a dream to just go all over and photograph all of them! If you like them, check out my next post where I found even more!

      1. It’s a shame that so many historical things are destroyed without care! It boggles the mind to think of how many treasures have been burned, bombed, razed and otherwise trampled underfoot…and that horrendous practice still continues today.

    1. Exactly! I made it to the Christmas markets in Vienna, Wurzburg, Bratislava and Budapest. They start celebrating at Advent. The markets are absolutely amazing! Every sense is tantalized. I ate so much incredible local traditional food.

    1. Hehehe, I always look forward to your comments Brenda! Maybe it was a service for dealing with pesky people…. ๐Ÿ˜‰ Just kidding. It may be a fish or a whale? Jonah and the whale. A religious reading shop? Or a seller of tasty carniverous fish???? Laughing…..

    1. This is precisely what I was thinking over and over, and in these old towns, the new signs are made to match the old so it all remains utterly charming. I will show you some of the newer ones and the blending of old and new in my next post.

  1. Lovely photos Cindy. I visited Germany about a century ago, and loved the architecture there. I have never seen anything quite so pretty in this area, until I saw some crafting at Berea St. College, Berea, KY, where the blacksmiths were doing some wonderful iron work. Nothing as historic as this however.

    1. I know. Can you imagine? Having pride in what you put outside and in what you make with your own hands for the people you know, in your town, to use or consume. What a concept? No corporations. Dios Mio. The middle ages is sounding appealing!

  2. The guild crafted signs look elegant, ornate and lovely, Cindy. Somehow, add “quaint” with all the other formal words I wrote. I just adore this since I had a grandmother born in Germany but immigrated here as a young girl. She would not talk about Germany abd claimed she was “Americanized!” ๐Ÿ™‚

  3. Intricate, elegant, and personalized! These signs have so much more personality than ones we have now – where signs seem to be created out of the same stencils and/or in neon. I’m so glad you shared these images with us as this is something that can sometimes be overlooked during travels. Welcome back home Cindy! ~Lynn

    1. Thanks, it’s good to be back until I read the news. I agree with you. Talk about locally sourced. We have no idea where most of our consumed items comes from in America and we’d probably be very unhappy if we did know. These towns have local markets selling everything, fresh produce, like you don’t see here. I have photos. They sell produce I have never seen. All of it huge, healthy and fresh. You can go to market everyday for what you want to eat.

    1. You are right they are museum pieces, but the most wonderful thing is that they aren’t in museums. They are in the towns where they were made however long ago, cared for meticulously over time by the people who live there. How cool is that? You can just wander and find them.

  4. Welcome home Cindy.I can only guess you had a fantastic time given the continued pictures. Some of the signs are obvious but I find the first one a puzzle. Is it a lobster??
    xxx Huge Hugs xxx

  5. Oh Cindy, they are lovely! I do love the guild signs and there are two just down my street, one for the iron forge and the other (very important) the boulangerie! I’ve collected a few and would like to have enough to do a post just on photos of the guild signs. ๐Ÿ™‚

    1. Oh, I appreciate this. I took a lot of photos of old and newer signs and I had to figure out a way to group them. I really appreciate you noticing! Have a wonderful day.

    1. Yes, I love this too. All this care and attention to first make the signs, and then generation after generation appreciating them and caring for them. It is very special.

  6. Simply beautiful, Cindy. I marvel at how intricate this work is! Glad you’re home safe and sound, but I hope you’ve got more fascinating pictures to show us of your trip?!!

    1. Intricate, old and conserved. These three things make them special to me too. So glad you enjoyed them too Debbie. And, yes you know I have more to show you. I am just very grateful that you want to see them. Be well my friend~

  7. Beautiful gallery of these treasures, Cindy! I recall I was looking up a lot while walking on the streets while traveling Germany. ๐Ÿ™‚

  8. So much nicer than a more modern, traditional sign. The mention of your next post makes it sound like artists are still being commissioned to make them. Would love to walk downtown and see all that scrollwork. Welcome home, Cindy!

    1. It is simply beautiful. Yes, the old houses, the ancient street art, the old signage, the cobblestones. I can imagine how nice it would be to live in one of these towns, going to the outdoor market everyday to buy fresh ingredients for dinner. Wonderful.

  9. Hi Cindy, the guild signs almost look to mod and deco to be considered old. To light and airy to be ancient, heavy and old. Good to know you’re home safe. Hugs !

  10. Seeing this I felt beauty can be brought in anything.
    I am a Fabricator. I make Rolling Shutters in Steel.
    I understand the pains, efforts, intelligence, accuracy and sincerity behind making these Guild Signs.
    You have caught them right!

    1. I saw the Christmas markets for the first time in Vienna, Wurzburg, Bratislavia and Budapest. They are magical and they sell such incredible food! It’s like tasting the regional favorites of each city. I hope you go see the markets. You will love them.

    1. You deal with these losses daily Sherri and I can only imagine how difficult and discouraging it must be for you at times. You have my love, empathy and concern.
      I must say, I like a woman who has her priorites straight though. Dishes are beneath you and they should just wash themselves for heavens sake! Be well my dear friend. <3 <3

  11. I like when you say at the beginning “wondering around “cobblestone” …for crying out loud you wonder around every place on earth, if itยดs not with some wild beast in Africa itยดs in some pretty streets in Germany, wondering around…..
    Nice picยดs as always, good to travel through your blog.

  12. I think I remember seeing similar signs in Boston. Could be my imagination which is growing as I age. Thanks for stopping by after I’ve been off in my cocoon finishing the novel. Looking forward to catching up on what I missed in the blog world over the last many months. Feliz Navidad y un Feliz Aรฑo Nuevo Cindy, from my little corner of paradise.

    1. I am fascinated by them. It is so easy to walk by and not notice them. But if you notice one, you start to see them all, like finding pieces of a puzzle as you walk along! So pleased you find them interesting too~

  13. Until I turned over the lithograph I received from my Dad whose Grand Uncle was Alexander Calder, I did not realize we have Art Guilds which vouch for authenticity in paintings, Cindy. I have come to appreciate this ancestor more through my life. I loves the Guild signs in your photographs! ๐Ÿ™‚

    1. Yes, guilds are fascinating as so old. It is wonderful that they are still going. Calder influenced my generation so directly, amazing he is your relative. You know I am an early retired shrink. The field of family therapy relied heavily on Calder’s mobiles to illustrate the the precarious balance of dysfunctional family dynamics. In a healthier family it was posited, members can move out of the family without disrupting the familial core. A dysfunctional family operates like a Calder mobile, pull out one member, like pulling out one piece of Calder’s mobile, and the whole structure collapses. We actually watched the process on Calder inspired mobiles. So his influence extended well beyond his art. Remarkably synchronistic Robin.

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