Rothenburg ob der Tauber
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.
Sightseeing in Rothenburg
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
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
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
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:
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