The clear water flowing through the Gerberau and Fischerau streets reflects the picturesque facades of the old houses and their flower-bedecked windows.
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Quacking ducks drift in the shallow babbling streams while sparrows happily hop about the narrow cobblestone streets. Freiburg locals fondly call these idyllic narrow streets between Martinstor and Schwabentor "Klein Venedig" or "Little Venice".
The area was once home to Freiburg’s trade craftsmen and known as the “Schneckenvorstadt”, or Snail District, likely because of the many small spiral staircases found in the small houses and shops of the workers. In order to ply their trades, the millers, tanners and fishermen all needed the water of the Dreisam River. A sophisticated system of numerous canals was devised to divert the valuable resource right to their doors. Starting at the so-called “island” and its oil mill, the streams (much deeper and wider here than Freiburg’s other Bächle) flow through the Fischerau and the Gerberau.
Enjoy the peaceful atmosphere and take a stroll through the narrow streets on a sunny day, past small galleries, inviting cafés and unusual shops, such as the hand puppet store, Barleben. Here lives Lutz, the playful terrier, Hein Tüddel the rat, and Mr. von Räudenfell. Warning: the fox is one very smarty pants and will sometimes talk your ear off.
But you should also watch out for animals in the Gewerbebach stream. There have been regular sightings of a crocodile here since 2001!