Soest is an old cathedral town on the Hellweg, a trade route from the Rhine to the river Weser that has been used for at least a thousand years. The town is tinged with a green shimmer due to the use of green Anröchte sandstone in its buildings.
As a member of the Hanseatic League, Soest was one of the most important towns in Westphalia. This is reflected in many buildings, including the late-Gothic Wiesenkirche (St Mary’s in the Meadows), a hall church dating from 1313. The Romanesque tower of the Dom St. Patrokli (Cathedral of St. Patroclus) rises high above the old town and is located just a few steps from the Nikolaikapelle (Nicholas’ Chapel), which dates from the 12th century. Across the pedestrian street from St. Patrokli, one finds St. Petri (St Peter’s), which is known as the “Alden Kerke” and dates back to the 8th century. It is one of the earliest churches to have been founded in Westphalia.
Even today, the half-timbered houses and winding lanes often give the visitor the sense of a mediaeval town. About 600 of the buildings are listed as architectural monuments.
One can walk the whole way around the town on top of the walls and in the former moat of the town fortifications, which are almost completely preserved. This walk enables the visitor to peep into the green gardens – a special experience when the trees are in flower. Also worth seeing is the Osthofentor (Osthofen Gate). Now a museum, it is the last of ten original town gates.
In the foreseeable future, the Soest stream will be framed once more by gardens, half-timbered houses and cobblestones, providing a further charming attraction in the old town.
Visitors can stroll along the historical walking route through the old town and learn about areas of historical interest as well as the latest results of archaeological research. This information is provided on more than 40 signs along the route. There is also an accompanying brochure (also available in English and Dutch).