The town we are living in is only a short 30 minute Autobahn drive away from a beautiful old historic town called “Rothenburg ob der Tauber”. This is truly worth the drive and we spend almost an entire day walking around the city, looking at all the old houses, city walls, towers and beautiful views. The city was damaged quit heavily during World War 2 but was restored nicely in their old charm and history.
This little charming town has a population of 11,300 but has a lot of visitors national as well as international on a daily basis, rain or shine, this is a HUGE tourist attraction that doesn’t cost you any money to enjoy; we even brought our own lunch and snacks and only paid for parking, which I’m sure was free some place as well.
The proud times of the free imperial town, that was exalted to Rothenburg in the year of 1274, are evident in its imposing Town Hall and the closed town wall, which allowed the city fathers to impose taxes upon the folk and tolls along the most important trading routes. Rothenburg soared up to full prosperity and power under mayor Heinrich Toppler. His death, shrouded in mystery, in the dungeon of his Town Hall in 1408 and the 30 year war brought an end to the town’s economic importance. its incorporation into the Kingdom of Bavaria in 1802 signified the definitive end to its abundant wealth.
The town was awoken from its hibernation at the beginning of the 20th Century with the first trickle of tourists who meandered into Rothenburg. The fact that Rothenburg counts today as one of Germany’s best kept towns is the work of a far-sighted folk that saved the character of the town during the most diverse times.
The Market square is a sight to see; Upon the gable of the city councilor’s tavern, the windows of the artistic clock open to show the legendary “Meistertrunk” (“Master Draught”) of mayor Nush. Gothic, renaissance and baroque styles are unified in the stately Town Hall. On the other side of the market square, half-timbered houses and the patrician houses make for a view that is all around pleasing to the eye.
The West Gallery of St. Jacob’s Church is home to the most valuable work of art in the town, the “Heilig-Blut-Altar” (Altar of the Holly Blood) by Tilman Riemenschneider. Some Say that this is the original impetus for the influx of visitors, since many pilgrims in the Middle Ages rested here on their long journey to Spain. On the rare side of the high altar by Friederich Herlin are pictures of the legend of Jacob as well as the oldest depiction of Rothenburg from the year 1406.
The Medieval Crime Museum was another interesting museum to check out; It is Europe’s most important museum emphasizing the development of jurisprudence covering the last 750 years. Objects like the torture instruments and shame masks give witness of times past when humane infliction of punishment was unknown.
There was so much to see and do in Rothenburg and is was just a wonderful sightseeing tour for the entire family; do as much as you like or as little as you like, either way you still create some lasting memories…..
Be sure to visit Rothenburg.de for more info and a lot more history, they have their website in English as well….