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Rothenburg ob der Tauber

Photo credit: dmytrok / Foter / CC BY-ND
Rothenburg ob der Tauber
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  • 10+ km
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  • full day

The best-preserved medieval walled town in Germany

Be careful, there are a few Rothenburgs in Germany. The medieval village in question is called Rothenburg ob der Tauber (meaning "Rothenburg on the river Tauber"). Also, keep an eye on your budget, because souvenirs are pretty expensive here.

Rothenburg ob der Tauber, founded in 1274, is a medieval town in Germany, a place that attracts hundreds of tourists who want to get lost in a fairy-tale world. The village has gained its touristic significance in recent years. Suddenly, the barns were turned into comfortable hotels and the town buildings became the main attractions.

 

Rothenburg ob Tauber is the best preserved walled town in Germany. In the Middle Ages, Rothenburg was the second largest city of Germany, with an impressive number of 6000 residents. And today its walls and towers represent at the historical remnants of that past.

 

The Town Hall tower opens a mind-blowing view to the village and beyond. It’s a white building climbing upwards and dates back to the 13th century. The view extends to the surrounded pastoral sights as well. The Rothenburg Vaults are right next to the tower. Here you can see the medieval weapons and dungeons where criminals and notable individuals, like the local mayor, were imprisoned.

 

The town square lies before the Town Hall building and is the central gathering spot in Rothenburg. This is where main festivities and events take place. During special occasions tourists can meet the locals dressed in medieval German attire.

 

Medieval Crime Museum is the local specialty and a must-visit. The collection includes bazaar instruments of torture, information on medieval death penalties, and penalties of honour, like the Mask of Shame and the Rosary, the latter was used by the church for people who didn’t attend the service or fell asleep during it. The museum also offers a gift shop, in case you want to take a piece of it back home.

 

St. Jacob’s Church is another must-see; it contains one of the local treasures – a 500-year-old altarpiece called The Holy Blood Alter and made by Tilmann Riemenschneider, a famous German woodcarver. The name of the altar is derived the Rock Crystal Capsule placed on it. The Capsule is believed to contain 3 drops of Christ’s blood. The church itself was built between 1311 and 1484; it took 170 years to complete the construction.

 

Walk out of the village and down to Tauber Valley, where you’ll find a beautiful hidden site, Mayor Toppler. It’s a 600-year old castle, built as a summer house for the town mayor.

 

The main town castle was, unfortunately, destroyed by an earthquake. Today you can walk in the Castle Gardens instead; they take the spot of the old castle and are full of beautifully-designed flower buds and sculptures.

 

If you’re a fan of adventures and romantic walks in ancient cities, make sure to book a hotel for the night. The overwhelming majority of visiting tourists dedicate only a day to the city, leaving it in the evening. If you break the rule and stay overnight, you’ll be able to see it without the tourist crowd, which is a much more rewarding experience.

 

Finally, it’s an ideal destination both in summer and winter. In colder months, the Rothenburg becomes a Christmas village with magical snowy streets, holiday ornaments and even its own Christmas museum.

 

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