Painted Faces

Painted building façades are a typical sight in southern Germany, a way to tell stories and brighten up the long days of winter. This is the Town Hall in Lindau, built between 1422 and 1436. Lindau is a small town on an island in Lake Constance (Bodensee in German), the largest lake in the German-speaking world, which forms part of the border between Germany, Austria, and Switzerland.

In an era when watches didn't really exist and few people had clocks, having a large clock on a prominent building was a service to everybody in the town. Frequently the only clock in town would be on the bell tower of the local church, but here in Lindau the Town Hall also has a clock. This was one way for the wealthy merchants of a town to exhibit a sense of independence from the power of the church – without denying faithfulness and honor to God. Below a statue of Justice (holding the scales and a shield with the colors of the town flag is the motto "Soli Deo Gloria" (Glory to God alone).

There's another painting on the back side of the building, but you'll have to visit Lindau to see that.

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