clearly visible above the misty fields and the pale-green and yellow-rnleafed willows and poplars gendy gilded by a vaporous sun,rnwere the ruins of the Schonburg fortress, a robber baron’s keeprnwhich the irate inhabitants of Naumburg had finally stormedrncenturies ago in order to secure free passage for the barges plyingrnup and down the sluggish Saale River. One of Nietzsche’srnfavorite haunts, it was here that in 1859 the young Friedrichrnfounded a literary society (the “Germania”) with his twornfriends, Gustav Krug and Wilhelm Pinder.rnThe bravely named “Deutscher Ilof,” to which I had beenrnsteered by a most cooperative Fremdenverkehrsamt (tourist office),rnturned out to be a partially reconverted cafe, which thernowner, an already white-haired lady, was trying to turn into arnhotel. The humble entrance was through a garage door, andrnthe bedroom I was lucky to obtain (without a shower or toilet)rnwas reached by a crude wooden staircase leading upward overrnthe downfloor dining room tavern. Later Fran Schiilke explainedrnthe gamble she had taken in 1982, when she and herrnfamily had decided to acquire this house. In Walter Ulbricht’srnand Erich Honecker’s DDR, there was simply no room forrnsmall-scale tourism, which is why Naumburg, notwithstandingrnits world-famous cathedral, still boasts only four small hotels.rnIn 1850, when Nietzsche’s recently widowed mother movedrnto Naumburg with her son “Fritz” and her daughter Elisabeth,rnthe old cathedral town was still solidly protected by medievalrnramparts. The creaking portals of its five towered gates werernclosed at 10 P.M. and not reopened until five o’clock the nextrnmorning, so that those venturing out in the evening had to hurryrnback before the closing time for fear of being shut out for thernnight. Of those towered gates only one—the dark-stoned, redtiledrnMarientor, on the city’s northern rim—has survived. Thernyoung Fritz could cleariy see it from the upper-floor room hernoccupied in a nearby house, standing guard over a landscapernthat never ceased to delight him: an orchard full of fruit trees,rnwith a poplar-lined highway stretching off across plowed landsrnor stubble toward the distant hillside vineyards, which make thernSaale river-valley the northernmost wine-growing region inrnGermany.rnSuburban houses now obstruct this once pleasantrnprospect—as they do the view one has from the wooden verandahrnof another, later Nietzsche-Haus, located at the southernrnend of the Weingartenstrasse (Vineyard Street), within yards ofrnthe dark-stoned remains of the medieval ramparts. This twostoryrncorner house—Nietzsche’s official “home” from the earlyrn1860’s until he left for Basel in 1869, and again, after his mentalrnbreakdown from 1890 to 1897—is for the time being littlernmore than an empty shell. For shortly before their mother’srndeath in 1897, Nietzsche’s dreadful sister Elisabeth emptiedrnthe house of its furniture and, taking advantage of her brother’srncrippled state, transported the family’s belongings, includingrnall of Fritz’s precious manuscripts, to Weimar. Undaunted, therntown fathers of Naumburg have decided to turn this Nietzsche-rnHaus into a library as well as a museum: one which alreadyrnboasts a fine collection of framed photographs of family membersrnand of close university friends.rnAny visitor to Naumburg’s Altstadt is likely to be struck byrnthe quantity of handsome doorways, with gracefully carvedrnkeystones, that are still to be seen, some dating from the 17thrncentury. But I could not help noticing the ramshackle state ofrnmany inner courtyards, with broken windowpanes, rottingrnbeamwork, and sagging eaves attesting to decades of impecuniousrnneglect. Yet those 40 years of neglect may turn out to berna saving grace. For, though here and there one comes uponrnparked cars—Opels, Volkswagens, Citroens, Fiats, Nissans, andrneven an expensive BMW, next to a few rusty East German Trabantsrn—the “insolent chariots” (as Lewis Mumford used to callrnthem) have yet to wreak the havoc and congestion they havernbrought to so many other German cities and to ruin the pedestrianrntranquillity of Naumburg’s quaintly cobbled streets.rnThe old town’s two principal attractions are its spaciousrnMarktplatz, which is still used as a marketplace on Saturdays,rnand (for art lovers) the worid-famous statues of its cathedral.rnFlanked on one side by a Renaissance Rathaus (townrnhall), the market square is bordered on two others by a numberrnof tall-roofed burgher houses, whose delicately painted facadesrnrun a chromatic gamut from pearl-grey and pistachio green,rnfrom caramel yellow to a warm maroon. At the local tourist office,rnsituated on the remaining side of the square, I was greetedrnwith bewilderment when I asked in which of those fine housesrnNietzsche’s friends, Gustav Krug and Wilhelm Pinder, hadrnonce lived. Keine Ahnungl No idea! However, with the help ofrnthe “curator” of the Nietzsche-Haus, I finally located it in thernnorthwest corner of the square: a handsome burgher house,rnwith three superimposed tiers of dormer windows peeping outrnfrom the tall roof, whose ground floor now serves as a ModehausrnFischer (fashion-shop for women), next to the editorial officesrnof the Naumburger Tageblatt. First cousins, the meditativernWilhelm Pinder and the impetuous, violin-playing GustavrnKrug were the grandsons of one of Naumburg’s leading ladies,rnwho maintained a literary salon. Krug’s father, a jurist attachedrnto the Royal Court of Appeals, was an accomplished musicianrnand a personal friend of Mendelssohn, and so beautifully couldrnhe play on his magnificent grand piano that the youngrnFriedrich Nietzsche, who from the age of two onward had displayedrna precocious taste for music, would often stand outsidernin the street, rooted to the spot by the “sublime” sound ofrnBeethoven chords pouring out from the open window.rnThe Domgymnasium (cathedral high school), to which thernten-year-old Fritz was admitted in 1854, along with his friendsrnWilhelm and Gustav, was then located in several gloomy classroomsrnovedooking the cloister, near the entrance to the cathedral.rnNo one but a Nietzsche “fan” would want to waste arnminute glancing up at the school’s narrow dormer-windows,rnjutting out from the cloistral roof, for the main attraction isrnelsewhere. Not, as I had fondly imagined, adorning the westernrnfacade—like the statues at Chartres, Notre Dame, or Reims—rnbut inside the cathedral, in a curious chapel (regarded as a secondrn”choir”), separated from the austere nave by an extraordinaryrnrood-screen.rnIn all of my visits to chapels, churches, and cathedrals, 1 cannotrnoffhand recall ever having been so struck, as here, by thernextraordinary contrast presented by the two inherently contradictoryrnaspects of Christianity. On the one hand, the naivernfaith and tribulations of the humble disciples, wonderfully portrayedrnby a master-craftsman in a series of dramatic scenesrnspread across the rood-screen—the Last Supper, Iscariot collectingrnhis 30 talents of silver, the Judas kiss in the garden ofrnGethsemane, Peter’s rage in hacking off Malchus’s ear with arnsword, and his subsequent, eady-dawn (“Before the cock crowrnthrice”) repudiations of Christ. And then, once one hasrnstepped through the sculpted rood-screen under one of thernoutstretched arms of the crucified Christ, the deliberate elevationrn(a dozen feet above the chapel floor) of Naumburg’s aris-rnAPRIL 1996/13rnrnrn