Rothenburg old TownOld Town of Rothenburg
Altstadt (Rothenburg) - 2018 Everything you need to know before you go (with photos)
Sure you want to remove this query? On the Romantic Road we drove from Munich to Frankfurt and went to some towns. Those we liked best were Landsberg (1/2 day) and Rothenburg (worth at least a whole day). Augsburg/Germany and Bad Merthingen (1/2 each) were definitely good stops.
Curiously, although Landsberg is a very charming town, it was the place where Hitler was imprisoned after the 1923 putsch and where he carried his My Struggle in. You sure you want to remove this reply? Sure you want to remove this query?
You sure you want to remove this reply?
Rohenburg Free Tour Map
Survey of the old town of Rothenburg: To spend a whole sunday in the Rothenburg Old Town (Row-tin-burg, with rolling R) is like going 400 years into the past. During this period the chapel of a small town is full of colourful half-timbered houses, old monuments, cobbled streets and a medieval town wall. Rothenburg's principal tourist feature is the beautiful old town.
Rothenburg is a great place to spend at least one overnight stay, as it really does feel magic in the evenings after the departure of the coaches. When you have more free space, you can also ride along the town wall (Turmweg) or by bicycle to the Rothenburg ob dem Tauber stream, which gives the town its full name.
In Rothenburg you will definitely find a place where you can take your leisure while relaxing and enjoying yourself. I wish you a lot of fun on your walk through the old town of Rothenburg! Soon after King Konrad III erected his palace in Rothenburg in 1142, the merchants began to sell their goods and products on the marketplace. It quickly became the centre of the city's commercial and community activities.
As Rothenburg was situated on two large mediaeval trading roads, it was granted the title of Free Imperial Town in 1274 by Rudolf I, King of Germany (Habsburg dynasty). In 1400 the town quickly became the second town in Germany after Cologne, and the market place flourished. Rothenburg's greatest festivities as well as some of the best colourful manor and half-timbered buildings took place on the site.
1474 the holy Roman emperor Friedrich III celebrated a large celebration on the Rothenburger market place, where he handed over king Christian of Denmark symbolising the obligation of alliances to the Germans state Holstein. Throughout the 30-year war in the 16th century, the marketplace housed hostile forces, each of the 7 occupations of the town.
In 1632 the Swedish king Gustav-Adolf himself remained here during one of the professions and was sleeping in the town halls. Ratstrinkhalle (Ratstrinkstube): Via the Drinking Hall-- The enormous room was constructed in 1446 and was once a very luxurious taverna that could only be accessed by town councillors.
In 1638 the large main watch was fitted and in 1768 a solar watch was placed above the Rothenburg emblem. According to popular tradition, in 1631 Mayor Nusch (Nu-sh) rescued the Evangelical city from being destroyed by the Catholic General Tilly's forces by making a bet by drank over 3 litres of Frankish vine in one sip.
History has it that General Tilly and his 40,000 soldiers remained throughout the whole cold season before departing, which hardly deprived Rothenburg of its diet. City Hall: In 1240, after the fire in the Old Town Hall on the site of today's Fleisch- und Tanzhalle, a giant new Gothic Town Hall (Town Hall, distinctive Town Hall) was erected here in 1250.
1408 the dear mayor Toppler passed away in the vault under the gothic town house during his captivity. In 1501, when the front half of the edifice turned towards the market square burnt down, the Gothic town house also had a fire-buster. Here you can see a picture of the town council from 1466 before the fire.
As the Gothic town hall was constructed 250 years ago, they resolved to reconstruct the facade in a more Renaissance fashion instead. In 1572, the new front half of the town hall was the most striking example of Renaissance north of the Alps for almost a century.
1632, during the 30-year war, Swedish king Gustav-Adolf remained in the new half of the town hall, while his armies occupy the town. In 1681, the façade of the town hall was extended by the arcaded veranda near the road and the coats of arms of the seven electors adorned the archways.
Looking at the corners of the window in the small central steeple at the front of the town hall, one can see the spiral stairway that leads to it. Next we go to the much higher bell turret on the backside of the town hall during their free walk through Rothenburg.
At the front of the town hall, opposite the market square, you will find the entry to the ascent to the top of the belltower. City Hall tower: Concerning the Town Hall Tower: The preserved rear part of the Gothic Town Hall remains intact in black, but has received a Renaissance upgrading of the belltower.
Its 170-foot height provided better communications with the town' s watch towers, and even today you can still walk the 220 stairs for the best view in Rothenburg. In Rothenburg, it was not always simple to get enough drinking and drinking soda, even if it is due to the Tauber, because it lies on a cliff.
In 1418, an subterranean sewer system was constructed to supply the Rothenburg's various wells with external drinking waters in the event of dry spells or during wars. With the new groundwater system, 300 of the approximately 800 Rothenburg houses were able to obtain their own well and increase the capacities of the wells.
Here was the former Rothenburg town council, which burnt down in 1240. In 1270, the splendid half-timbered house you see today was erected on the foundations of the Old Town House. Featuring high arched roofs, the first floor was used as a ballroom for festivities and events.
Today, the first floor of the building serves as a warehouse for colourful period dresses, which the town uses for yearly celebrations and historical re-enactments. One of the most attractive historical houses in Europe, this giant half-timbered building was erected in 1448 by Mayor Jagstheimer (yags-time-ahr). Emperor Maximilian I remained here in 1531, as the neighbouring Meat & Dance Hall hosted many famous people.
Rothenburg's mayor Nusch, who was a legend for the master educator's music in 1631, also spent some time here. The Imperial Dungeons: It is also possible to see 8 of the arches of the historical imperial dungeons to get an impression of the detention situation in the years 1500-1600, inclusive the Thirty Years War.
Henry Toppler, Rothenburg's most celebrated mayor, was once locked up in the vault here. Before the town hall arches were used as a jail, offenders were held in other smaller prisons within some of the ramparts, among them the Red Tower, which was constructed in 1385-1400 to accommodate serious offenders.
Access to the Imperial Dungeons is in the courtyard of the Rathaus and is on the southern side of the edifice along the Herngasse. Kathe Wohlfahrt Shop & Christmas Museum: Käthe Wohlfahrt (Kay-ta Vul-fhot) makes Christmas time all year round in a town known for its Christmas markets.
In Rothenburg there are 5 branches, but the head office is the most impressing. It is a fully-fledged Christmas town with a small bears' town and the biggest ornament library in Germany. Situated above the shop, the 2,700 m² Deutsches Weihnachtsmuseum (German Christmas Museum) is home to centuries of vacation stories.
Website of the Christmas Museum: The market place with the former king palace is connected by the representative Herrngasse road. Herrngasse is still home to some of the most magnificent Rothenburg houses and unusual stores. Walking through the holy of holies you come past the Franciscan Cathedral, the oldest in Rothenburg.
In 1285 (consecrated in 1309) it was part of a convent for the knights of the hinterland, a convent devoted to the Virgin Mary. In the Middle Ages, travelling merchants could rinse off seasalt from their casks and herrings, which resulted in the name of the transverse road Heringswaschstraße (Heringsbronnengäßchen).
Today's Steinbrunnen (stone fountain) from 1784 shows motives of the Rothburger imperial coat of arms and the coat of arms of the lions for the counts of Comburg. Though the Counts of Comburg may seem arcane today because they became extinct in 1116, in 1070 they constructed the small castle of the Essigkannen in the sick bay of Rothenburg.
Konrad was later coronated King of Germany (1138) and in Rothenburg rebuilt his castle Hohenstaufen (1142), which triggered the city' s growth (1170). Down in Heringsbronnengäßchen #2 there is a solid ivy-covered villa which is one of our favourite houses in Rothenburg.
Not only do the vineyards occupy most of the property's large inner yard, they also extend beyond the exterior walls. Inside the church were the gymnasium and the accommodation for the monastery of the Franciscan church. When you arrive at Burggasse at the foot of the hillside, the invention on the exterior walls of the winery is breathtaking.
Burgenstraße (Burggasse): Across Castle Road: On the Burgenstraße you have the first glimpse of the Tauber valley over the town walls. As we turn right to see the remains of the king's fortress behind the barn gate, we also see the other end of Burgstraße at the end of this free Rothenburg walk.
Much of the Burgstrasse in Rothenburg was part of the medieval Johanniskloster, which was founded in 1200. Our favourite Rothenburg is the To Hell Tavern (Zur Höll). Located in Rothenburg's oldest house with a 970 donation.
The small taverna has an authentically medieval flair and the largest choice of Frankish wine in the town. Coming from Rothenburg, the Castle Road was part of the 1200 km long trading trail that connected more than 70 fortresses, making the early town a success. To the west it went through Schwäbisch Hall and Heidelberg to the Alsatian frontier.
It was the central itinerary of the Way of St James to France and attracted an incoming stream of people, who named Rothenburg the Franconian Jerusalem.
Until 1170 this citadel lead to the growth of the neighbouring town and gave it the name Rothenburg ob der Tauber, which means Red Citadel above the Tauber. Through the Fürbringer Scheunentor (castle gate) one reaches the formerly enclosed farm yard, which is then linked to the fortress palace by a viaduct (see picture).
Conard III (Haus Hohenstaufen) got married in 1115 with Gertrude, the daugther of Count Heinrich II of Comburg-Rothenburg, who in 1102 established Berchtesgaden. In 1116 the Counts of Comburg (extinct) looked after parts of Franconia from their farm in Schwäbisch Hall and in 1080 constructed the small fortress on the mound of the Rothenburg sick bay, which is known as the vinegar can castle (today disappeared).
It was the beginning of the feuds between the Guelphs (Haus Welf) and the Ghibellines (Haus Hohenstaufen), which later expanded in Tuscany and lasted over 100 years. Friedrich IV received his father's palace in Rothenburg and the name of the Duke of Swabia, but the Duke of Franconia went to the Bishop of Würzburg.
Following the demise of Duke Frederick IV in 1167, Konrad Palace in Rothenburg was only used to a limited extent. Barbarossa's successors brought forth three more Holy Roman Emperors and several German Monarchs before the Hohenstaufen line became extinct in 1254. Between 1238 and 1251, the last Hohenstaufen King of Germany (Konrad IV) only remained at Rothenburg Palace seven once, then it was largely empty as imperial property and was destroyed by an earthquake in 1356.
Burgruine & Garden (Burggarten): The Hohenstaufen fortress was destroyed in 1356 by a major quake (the so-called Basel quake), which also destroyed parts of the old town fortification. The emperor in 1380 bought the ruins of the Rothenburg fortress to the town and had most of the rock mined to restore and strengthen it.
There was no band in this kingly fortress, so the ducal house was linked to the Konrad's home, where he welcomed visitors during his visit. Rothenburg was the second biggest town in Germany and one of the 10 biggest in the Holy Roman Empire at the point in Toppler' s work with 6,000 inhabitants.
Rothenburg's Jews were living on the outside of the old town walls, but had to take shelter for three whole day in Hohenstaufen Castle when a travelling crowd came to murder them in the face of religion. Helped by indigenous Christians, the Mob burnt and murdered a large proportion of the 500 Jews living in Rothenburg, among them wives and babies.
Whilst parts of the old Judenviertel near the White Tower were preserved, the municipality was formally banished from Rothenburg in 1520. Further down on the former palace site you will come across the orange-coloured garden house, which was once the principal gateway to Hohenstaufen Palace. In the 16th century, the holiday home was erected on the foundation of the old gate house and still today integrates the old romanic arch into its east façade.
Even though no fortresses in the 1100' had any amusement parks, the west of the house has a beautiful baroque castle park (Burggarten) in the former central court of the fort. One of the best places to unwind in Rotheburg, the park offers a magnificent view of the sick bay and the Tauber Valley below.
Once at the west end of the former palace site, you can even look down on the one-of-a-kind top-heavy Mayor Toppler' home by the riverside. At this end of the fortress there was a watch tower and a three-storey mansion. In 1908 a commemorative monument to the 500th birthday of the mayor was added to the park.
Burgtor & Tower (Burgtor & Tower): Via the palace gate: While the Fürbringer Scheunentor was the initial entry into the palace area, the transport moved to the Burgturm, which was linked to the area with the market place. The Hohenstaufen stronghold was devastated by the 1356 quake and they had to strengthen their defence on the western side of the town.
In 1460, they finished the castle gate and added the highest watch tower of the town, a draught bridge and other protection work. In front of the castle gate, two small gate houses were constructed to open the hopper in order to prevent potential aggressors. During the Middle Ages, all doors of the town were closed at sunset, so that one would have to foot a penalty at the gate house to get in at night.
In 1258 the imperial chef Lupold von Nordenberg financed a parade to move the order of nuns from the neighbouring town of Neusitz to this place. There was a large courtyard, a humble little chapel and bedrooms in the nun's area. Though the monastery was closed in 1544 and the chapel demolished in 1813, the remainder of the site has been retained as part of the Imperial City Museum.
Away from the harbours of lunch tourism, this is one of the best gardens within the fortifications. The Imperial Town Museum (Reichsstadtmuseum): On the Imperial Town Museum: The Imperial Town Museum tells the story of Rothenburg from 1247 to 1802, when it was used as a free imperial town, in the residence of the former Dominican monastery.
Opened in 1936, the main focus of the building is on the monastery (begun in 1258 and closed in 1544), but it also includes much more. In the Imperial City Musuem the Imperial Palace displays mediaeval arms, painting, Jewish prehistory and the impressing monastery cuisine. Mediaeval Crime Museums, which we will discuss later in this itinerary, are our favourite in the city, but the Imperial City Museums are only a scarce second.
Opening hours of the museum: Website of the museum: Museums costs: Many Rothenburg postal cards show this picturesque 17th century building. Just standing up the street from the building and looking back towards the town centre gives you the same views you see on dishes and cards in town.
St. Jacob's Church: Saint Jacob's Church: The Jakobskirche is the most important of Rothenburg's churches and was completed in 1485 after 170 years of construction. It is consecrated to Saint James, who was one of the twelve apostles of Jesus and the first of them.
As Rothenburg was already on two important commercial roads, the imposing Rothenburg Cathedral gave the town a new alley to draw refugees for travellers on their way to Spain from the north and east. Initially, the arched roof chapel was Roman Catholics, but was transformed into a Lutheran during the Reformation of 1544.
Saint-Jacob's greatest tourist feature is the altar of the Holy Blood, also known as the Franciscan altar, which is located at the top of the western side of the temple. All the altar of the Holy Blood was initially located in the Franciscan Cathedral, the oldest in Rothenburg, before it was relocated here.
In 1490, one of the artist's other works, the Louis de Toulose altarpiece, was also in the church of Saint Jacob. There is an alter on the northern side of the church, sculpted by one of the 1520 belt cutters, devoted to the Virgin Mary. Initially, the Virgin Mary's shrine was located in the Chapel of the Holy Spirit in the sick bay, before being transferred to the Church of St. James.
In 1446 the high alter on the east side of the Jakobskirche was engraved by Schwabian craftsmen and is devoted to the twelve apostles. Frederick Herlin skilfully decorated the scenes and side panelling, and the woodwork on the back of the alter is the oldest known depiction of Rothenburg.
The Imperial Kitchen Master Restaurant: Astonishingly, we adore the tree-lined courtyard of the dining room with views of Saint Jacob's Church. Known as the house of the imperial chef Lupold von Nordenberg, the Villa was his own home in 1200 and was very popular in early Rothenburg. It was one of the few remaining structures within the town' s former ramparts to have been destroyed by the bombing of the Second World War in 1945. Since 1948 it has been used as a pub and inn.
Rothenburg's most magnificent Renaissance villa. Constructed in 1596 for the locally architect and mason Leonard Weidmann. Genuine stone sculptures are exhibited in the Imperial City Museum and have been substituted by reproductions for conservation. Leonard Weidmann also constructed the Spitalbastei and the Hegereiterhaus in the Krankenzimmerviertel, two of the city' s most cool buildings, before completing the Baumeisterhaus.
Médieval Crime Musuem (Medieval Crime Museum): Regarding the Mediaeval Crime Museum: In the former convent of the monks of Saint John there is the only legal museums in Europe! Mediaeval Crime Museums comprise over 1000 years of mediaeval legal histories, as well as spectacular crime cases, among them the prosecution of witches in Bavaria.
It' by far one of the most cool things Rothenburg has to offer and will help you immerse yourself in the mediaeval world. Website of the museum: St. John's Basilica & Fountain (St. John's Church): The Saint John's Church: Initially constructed in 1200 as a Romanesque sanctuary for the Saint John's Hospital near by, this temple also housed the Order of St John.
On the outside of the tower, the clinic was constructed for the first ramparts to prevent the spreading of infection in the town. When a small village was created at the south end of Rothenburg, the town walls were extended in 1385. With this extension, the 1390-1410 Lutheran Cathedral was completely reconstructed in today's architectural form, along with the town tower on the east side (no longer exists).
During the Reformation, Saint John's was compelled to change to the position of Reformer, but has since retired and is now Rothenburg's only Roman Catholic denomination. Its interior is one of the blanders in the city, but it is still an important place to visit. Johannisbrunnen, a large fountain next to the cathedral, is the largest fountain in the city and holds over 25,000 gal. of drinking oil.
Constructed in 1608, rebuilt in 1716, it is adorned with a nice pillar covered with the astrological mark Aquarius to consecrate the waters. Directly past the fishing lakes there is a wonderful view of the baroque gardens and the large vineyards on the hillside directly under the town walls.
Plönlein Corner is the most iconical picture of Rothenburg you have ever looked for. In Latin Plönlein means a small flat surface, but it is the height difference in the division of the street that makes it chilly. To the right of the Plönlein corner is the Kobolzeller Turm & Tor, which began in 1204.
From the Tauber valley, the control point of the steeple was a row of 4 gateways constructed to force traffic for additional protective cover. After the 1356 quake, the watch turret was erected near the door. There is also a 1204 door on the top of the mound to the south of Plönlein Corner Sifter Maker's Towers, with the 1385 watch towers when the Infirmary Quarter was secured.
On the sick bay: Initially oriented towards the parish of Detwang an der Tauber, the Rothenburg community began to move up the hillside in 1080. At the beginning of the 200s, when the first ramparts were erected, the quarter remained outside the ramparts. From 1370-1385 the infirmary was finally surrounded by the ramparts, but a major fire in the 1500s necessitated the reconstruction of most of the clinic except for the Church of the Holy Spirit.
Tour of the city walls (tower path): Over the city wall: Featuring about 2.5 miles of mediaeval city walls and 70 spires around Rothenburg, a walk on the 20-foot walls is one of the pleasures of any visitor. It' s magic to work up the stairs and into the roofed sidewalk on top of the mural.
Slots in the walls offered viewpoints and perspectives for detailed aggression. Allied airplanes threw a bomb on the northern side of Rothenburg during World War II, killed 37 persons, destroyed 306 homes, 6 publics and 9 watch towers and damaged over 2000 foot of the Berlin wall. Much of the donation came from sponsors who sponsored 1 metre long parts of the Berlin wall by purchasing badges with their surnames.
While entering the walls, you will notice the various boards of national and international sponsor. Tour of Rothenburg city walls. Constructed in 1270, it has sneaked into the hearts of the world: the daily history of coopers, shoe builders and looms who spent over 500 years in this home.