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Rothenburg ob der Tauber

Page 5
Continued from page 4


ABOVE: Tourists congregate in the Markplatz to watch the doors of the town clock open on the Ratstrinkstube (City Councilors' Tavern) in the center of the photo.

Rothenburg isn't a large city, and you can see most of its important sights easily on foot. Two parts of town are especially worth your time:

The Markplatz. The market square (see photo above) is in the center of town. The Markplatz is surrounded by civic buildings and patrician houses, and it's the site of both a weekly public market and the annual Christmas Market or Reiterlesmarkt. The square's two most important buildings are:

  • Rathaus (Town Hall): After you've visited the tourist office on the main floor, you can look around the interior of this building, which was built and enlarged over a 300-year period from around 1250. A staircase leads to an observation gallery in the tower, where you can look over the town's rooftops. The Historical Archways museum and dungeons (entrance in courtyard) are a popular tourist attraction.

  • Ratsherrntrinkstube (City Councilors' Tavern): Every hour on the hour from 11-3 p.m. and 9-10 p.m., windows to the leftof the town clock open to rcerate the "Meistertrunk" of 1631, when the town's mayor reportedly glugged nearly a gallon of Franconian wine on a bet with a general whose troops had just conquered the town during the Thirty Years' War. In winning the bet, the mayor saved Rothenburg from destruction. (Note: The Meistertrunk is the theme of an annual historical play, "The Master Draught," in early June.)

The walls. Allow two to three hours for a walk along the medieval walls that surround Rothenburg's historic center. You'll enjoy great views of the city's rooftops and the surrounding countryside, and you can climb down along the way to admire the city's gates and other fortifications. A full tour requires 3.4 km (2.1 miles) of walking. The walkway has railings and is mostly level, but you'll need to watch your head in sections with low roofs and overhangs.

Be sure to visit the Jakobskirche or St. Jakob's Church, the largest of Rothenburg's churches, which--along with the Rathaus--was the focal point of the Free Imperial City of Rothenburg during the Middle Ages. This Lutheran church is famous for its two altars, one of which--the Heilige Blut or Holy Blood Altar--is a remarkable piece of woodcarving that was built to house a capsule containing what is said to be three drops of Christ's blood. The Jakobskirche is also noted for its organ, and organ concerts take place twice a week during summer.

For more information on sightseeing, continue to our page about Rothenburg's museums:

Next page: Rothenburg museums

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