Sunday, October 25, 2015

Rothenburg ob der Tauber, Germany: A fairytale Town!

Awesome Christmas Market in Rothenburg ob der Tauber, Germany!
Rothenburg ob der Tauber or just Rothenburg, is a town on the Romantic Road in Bavaria, Germany, about halfway in between Frankfurt and Munich.
It is known for its medieval center (Altstadt), seemingly untouched by the passage of time, encircled by the undamaged 14th century town wall.
In the Middle Ages, Rothenburg was a free imperial city, reaching its apex of prosperity under Bürgermeister Heinrich Toppler in the 15th century with a large population of 6,000 - much larger than Frankfurt and Munich at that time. Now Rothenburg is a small town and a big tourist attraction. The name "Rothenburg ob der Tauber" means, in German, "Red fortress above the Tauber". This is so because the town is located on a plateau overlooking the Tauber River. As to the name "Rothenburg", some say it comes from the German words Rot (Red) and Burg (burgh, medieval fortified settlement), referring to the red colour of the roofs of the houses which overlook the river. The name may also refer to the process of retting ("rotten" in German) flax for linen production.

Christmas market in Rothenburg ob der Tauber, Germany.
Medieval town Rothenburg ob der Tauber in rainy weather!
Rothenburg ob der Tauber marketplace.
Town Hall of Rothenburg ob der Tauber, Germany!
Streets of Rothenburg ob der Tauber in Germany.
Rothenburg ob der Tauber, Germany.
Rothenburg ob der Tauber in Germany.
Winter in Rothenburg ob der Tauber, Germany.
Go there:
Rothenburg is popular with big bus tour groups, especially in the summer. Therefore, it is advised that you see the town in the morning or the evening when the bus crowds aren't there.
If you are taking a train in, make sure you are buying a ticket to Rothenburg ob der Tauber, there are several other Rothenburg in Germany. The train station is east of the town wall, about a 15 min walk to the center Market Square (Marktplatz) of the historic center.
If you are going by car and want to reach Rothenburg quickly, take autobahn A 7 and exit 108. From there on Rothenburg is well marked via Ansbacher Straße.
If you prefer a more scenic drive, take the Romantic Road (Romantische Straße) into the town. From Würzburg, head south on the Romantische Straße starting on federal road B 19 to Bad Mergentheim. Continue on to Creglingen and Detwang until you reach Rothenburg. If you are driving north, you will come up federal road B 25 from Dinkelsbuhl.


Get around:
Walking will get you from one end of town to the other in about 15 min.
Driving is unnecessary and at times impossible, it is best to park the car outside the old city walls and walk.

Rothenburg ob der Tauber, Germany.
Rothenburg ob der Tauber, Germany.
The beautiful city of Rothenburg ob der Tauber - Germany.
The beautiful colors of the Rothenburg Marktplatz in Rothenburg ob der Tauber, Germany.
To See:
  • The Market Square (Marktplatz) is the center of urban life in Rothenburg. The square is framed on the west by the Town Hall (Rathaus), on the north by the Councillors' Tavern (Ratstrinkstube) with its tourist information center, on the east by shops and cafés, and on the south by St. George's Fountain.
  • 13th century Town Hall Tower (Rathausturm) at the center of the Altstadt offers the best view of the area. It costs €1 and takes 241 steps to get up. The tower does not have a foundation of its own: it rests on top of the gable of the Gothic building. The front part of the Town Hall, a Renaissance building, was built in the 16th century. It is free of charge to enter the Town Hall (Rathaus).
  • The Medieval Crime and Punishment Museum (Kriminalmuseum), just south of Market Square, is full of examples of torture equipment and is not for the faint-hearted.
  • The Plönlein, a few blocks south of the Market Square, offers a charming medieval sight. Standing at the right point, you can see two towers: on the left, more or less straight ahead, is the Siebers Tower (Siebersturm) dating from 1385, and down on the right, from the Tauber valley, is the Kobolzell Gate (Kobolzeller Tor) dating from 1360. These two access roads form a small triangular square, which is Plönlein. The Plönlein is often referred to as one of the most photographed spots in Germany.
  • The Town Wall encircles the city, giving the Altstadt the shape of a head, with the nose - the Castle Garden - pointing west. The existing town wall was built in the 14th century, was partially damaged in World War II, and restored through gifts from donors from around the world. The Wall is about 2.5 km long and covered, with several towers and entrances at the gates. One of the easiest points of access to get up to the sentry wall is just south of Siebers Tower (Siebersturm). The entry is free and offers a good vantage point to see the town.
  • St. Jakobskirche (Church of St. Jacob), Klostergasse 15, north of the Market Square, contains a masterpiece by the famous Würzburg sculptor Tilman Riemenschneider (ca. 1460-1531). 
To Do:
  • Two walking tours are offered. Both tours are in English, cost €6, and leave from Market Square. The tourist office tours are 90 min and run from April to October and December daily at 14:00. The 60 min Night Watchman's tour runs nightly mid-March to December at 20:00.
  • Town Wall tour. The best stretch of the wall to walk is from the massive 16th century Spitaltor (go through the Siebersturm to the southern tip of the Spitalgasse) to the Klingentor, completed around 1400, at the northern tip of the wall. This takes about a half-hour if you don't stop. Offers excellent views and photographic opportunities.
Christmas in Rothenburg ob der Tauber, Germany!
Market square of Rothenburg ob der Tauber, Germany.
Plönlein with Kobolzeller Steige and Spitalgasse, Rothenburg ob der Tauber, Germany.
St. George Fountain in Rothenburg ob der Tauber, Germany.
Stadtkirche St. Jakob in Rothenburg ob der Tauber, Germany.
Wall of Rothenburg ob der Tauber, Germany.
Town Hall Tower & Town Hall of Rothenburg ob der Tauber.
Town Hall Tower of Rothenburg ob der Tauber.
Town Hall of Rothenburg ob der Tauber.
The Medieval Crime and Punishment Museum.
Main sights:
Museums
  • The Criminal Museum (Kriminalmuseum) gives an insight into judicial punishment over the last 1000 years. Exhibits include instruments of torture, shrew's fiddles, scold's bridles, medieval legal texts and guidance on witch trials.
  • Imperial City Museum (Reichsstadtmuseum) with the municipal collections and a weapon collection.
  • Doll and Toy Museum (Puppen- und Spielzeugmuseum)
  • Schäfertanz Museum.
  • Christmas Museum (Weihnachtsmuseum "Käthe Wohlfahrt")
  • Craft House (Handwerkerhaus) which shows the everyday life of craftsmen's families in Rothenburg in 11 rooms.
  • Historical vaulting and state dungeon.
Buildings:
  • St. James' Church with its Holy Blood reredos by Tilman Riemenschneider, another Riemenschneider altar (Altar of the Holy Cross) is in the Detwang church.
  • Town wall 
  • Plönlein 
  • Spital bastion 
  • St. Wolfgang's Church by the Klingentor gate.
  • Great hall of the castle (St. Blasius' Chapel)
  • Toppler Castle in the Tauber valley.
  • Double bridge over the Tauber.
  • The Wildbad Rothenburg was built between 1898 and 1903 by Friedrich Hessing as a spa hotel. Since 1982 it has been used as an Evangelical conference centre.
  • Historic town hall with clock tower and Meistertrunk clock.
  • Altes Brauhaus 
  • Old Smithy
  • Old Town Hall
  • Monastery
  • Franciscan church
Altes Brauhaus.
Market square of Rothenburg ob der Tauber, Germany.
Medieval town wall and Klingentorturm.
Rothenburg ob der Tauber, Germany.
Rothenburg ob der Tauber, Germany.
Rothenburg ob der Tauber, Germany.
Rothenburg ob der Tauber, Germany.
Rothenburg ob der Tauber, Germany.
St. George Fountain in Rothenburg ob der Tauber, Germany.
St. Wolfgang's Church in Rothenburg ob der Tauber.
Toppler Castle in Rothenburg ob der Tauber, Germany.
Wall of Rothenburg ob der Tauber, Germany.
Wildbad Rothenburg.
Wildbad Rothenburg.
Websites:
Rothenburg o.d.T. Tourist Office website
Rothenburg travel guide
Criminalistics museum
Rothenburg tourist information
Doll and Toy Museum

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