The streets are narrow, and the houses are mostly picturesque old structures, built of wood, with many quaint gables and dark archways.
Most of the streets are narrow and crooked, and the majority of the houses have their gables turned towards the street.
The grand old patrician houses of the days of its Hanseatic glory, with their lofty and often elaborately ornamented gables and their balconied windows, are the delight of the visitor to the town.
The most magnificent part of the exterior and indeed the finest polychrome monument in existence is the west façade, built of richlysculptured marble from the designs of Lorenzo Maitani of Siena, and divided into three gables with intervening pinnacles, closely resembling the front of Siena cathedral, of which it is a reproduction, with some improvements.
Its subject, which is of high historical value as a record of costume, represents the translation of the body of St Mark, and gives us a view of the west façade of the church as it was at the beginning of the 13th century before the addition of the ogee gables, with alternating crockets and statues, and the intermediate pinnacled canopies placed between the five great arches of the upper storey.
The galley-slips around Zea were roofed by a row of gables supported by stone columns, each gable sheltering two triremes.
The façade of the Saalhof in the Saalgasse dates from 1604, the southern wing with the two gables from '715 to 1717.
The sculptures found have been assigned to this building, probably to the gables, as they are archaic in character, and show a remarkable resemblance to the sculptures from the pediment of the early temple of Athena at Athens.
The walls survive, indeed, only in isolated fragments, but the narrow winding streets of the older part of the town, and the market-place surrounded by houses with high-pitched gables and roofs are very picturesque.
The streets are lined with magnificent oaks, while many of the houses with heavy, thatched gables date from the 17th century.
The streets are for the most part narrow and irregular, and, although most of the houses are comparatively modern, some of them retain the picturesque gables characteristic of earlier times.
There are several quaint old houses, with high gables, in the market-place, in the middle of which stand a Roland column, of about 1445, and a bronze figure known as the Butterjungfer (butter-girl), of uncertain origin and meaning, but now regarded as the palladium of the town.
The exterior is simple, but the buildings which surround the main courtyard have high-pitched roofs surmounted by numerous dormer windows with decorated gables, recalling the Flemish style of architecture.
Numerous handsome medieval buildings testify to its former prosperity as a prominent member of the Hanseatic league, and its many quaint houses with high gables and overhanging eaves have gained for it the appellation "the Nuremberg of the North."
A few, however, preserve antique narrow fronts with gables, as in some of the North German towns.
The streets in the oldest part of Amsterdam are often narrow and irregular, and the sky-line is picturesquely broken by fantastic gables, roofs and towers.
The thatched house with crow-stepped gables in Church Street, in which Hugh Miller the geologist was born, still stands, and a statue has been erected to his memory.
A praiseworthy desire to maintain the picturesqueness of the town has led most of the builders of new houses to imitate the lofty peaked gables, oriel windows and red-tiled roofs of the older dwellings.