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Eichstätt and the Archaeopteryx

Representation of an Archaeopteryx - www. eichstaett.de

If it weren't for the signs at every entry of the city, one probably wouldn't guess that Eichstätt, lovely little town close to Ingolstadt (North of Munich) which conveys the impression of being a city for train models, is somewhat of a capital for any fossil lovers. As a matter of fact, all exemplaries of the Archaeopteryx found to this day were unearthed in the stone quarries around Eichstätt.

An original example of the "original bird" found a prominent place in the city's Jurassic Museum (Jura-Museum): The "Eichstätt Specimen" was first discovered in 1951, found again and recognized as an Archaeopteryx in 1973, and is now accessible to the public in the Museum's permanent exhibition. According to scientists, the Archaeopteryx might represent the link between dinosaurs and birds.

The Jurassic Museum is located on the "Willibald Fort" (Willibaldsburg), which was first constructed in 1353 and is now the city's emblem. After serving as the bishops' residence until the 18th century, the castle now accomodates the Museum of Prehistory and Ancient History (Museum für Vor- und Frühgeschichte) as well as a cultivated garden on top of the fortifications (Bastionsgarten) and of course... a cozy "Biergarten", complete with an unobstructed view of the beautiful valley of Altmühl river.