Across from the Markt is the St. Georges' Fountain is one of many water reservoirs in the city.
The fountain, which is eight feet
deep and twenty feet in diameter,
holds the most water of any fountain in the city. There once over
fountains in Rothenburg, as these pools were for drinking water and fire
control. Narrow winding lanes and timbered houses made medieval cities
tinderboxes and ample water for fighting fires was a necessity.
late November and most of December, the Markt is the site of the town's
Christmas Market (Reiterlesmarkt), which is one of the oldest
in Germany. The Markt is crowded most of the year, but at Christmas
it is even more popular.
There are several restaurants, bakeries and shops in this area, so plan
to spend some time in this section of the city. One of
the most popular shops is Käthe Wohlfahrts Weihnachtsdorf (Christmas
Village), located at #1 Herngasse. The shop, which is open year round,
offers a variety of Christmas and holiday season collectibles. The prices
are high, but the quality of the items for sale is excellent. In addition, a
German Christmas Museum is on the second floor of the building. See the shop's
official website for more details on what they offer.
Saint Jacob’s Church (the new St. Jacob’s church) appears a large and
ostentatious building for a town the size of Rothenburg, but it was built at
the apex of the city’s power (14th century) and reflects the stature of the
town at that time. The building, which had its seven hundredth
2011, has a bland interior, as is common for churches in southern Germany.
The treasure of the church is the Holy Blood Altar by the famous Wurzburg
sculptor and woodcarver Tilman Riemenschneider. The altar was built to house
a drop of Christ’s blood, a relic that attracted many pilgrims to Rothenburg
in the Middle Ages.
One interesting exterior feature of the building is that
one end of it was arched over a small lane, which continues to be used for
The compact Franziskanerkirche (Franciscan Church) on Herrngasse is the
city’s oldest church by two years and includes an altar by Tilman
Riemenschneider (the Franziskusaltar (1490). The church is worth a
walkthrough and is on the way to the Castle Gardens.
Continue down Herrngasse and through the Castle Gate. Early in the city’ history there was
a castle here, but it was destroyed by an earthquake and the materials used
to build the city walls. Although, perhaps misnamed as a garden, this area
leads to a spectacular view of the Tauber River Valley and a panoramic view
of the city itself.
Plönlein (little square) in the southern section of the Old Town is,
perhaps, the most photographed scene in the city. It is here that a
high road (from outside the town) meets a lower road from the town in an
area of highly decorated buildings. The juxtaposition of
cobbled, narrow streets and the crush of colorful, half-timbered
buildings make this intersection a microcosm of the appeal of Rothenburg.
Another attraction that might interest you is the Medieval Crime Museum on
Burgasse. It features tools for torture and other examples of what it meant to be on the
wrong side of medieval law in Rothenburg (and Germany).
attraction is the
Imperial City Museum on the art
and culture of Rothenburg located at Klosterhoff 5. The building is a former
Dominican convent with sections dating from the 13th century.
One more thing - Schneeball is the word for snowball in German, but it also
refers to a dough-based desert popular in parts of Bavaria. Take all of
those leftover strips of dough from pie and pastry making, cut them in small
narrow lengths, assemble them into a ball shape, deep fry and dip in
powdered sugar, cinnamon, chocolate or another tasty topping. While you can
find these many places in Bavaria, Rothenburg was the first town where we
found a shop devoted exclusively to Schneeball. To be honest, these are not
our favorite treat from a Bavarian bakery, but other tourists seem to love
them. Give me a slice of Shwarzwalder Kirschtorte (Black Forest chocolate,
cherry cake) any time.
Entrance to the Old Town is by one of several gates, but unless you are
lodging there, park in one of the lots outside the walls on the eastern and
northern border. Parking within the city is only for visitors with hotels and
is limited to loading and unloading luggage. Driving and parking
restrictions are in effect at various times of the day and night. In other
words, unless your hotel provides parking in the Old Town, drive in to leave
your bags and park outside of the walls. If you are a day visitor, park
outside the walls an walk in – it is just a short walk.
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