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Rothenburg ob der Tauber

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Plönlein a former marketplace, on the left side the Siebers Gate on the right the Kobolzeller Gate

Rothenburg ob der Tauber [1] (or Rothenburg odT 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.

Get in[edit]

  • 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[edit]

  • 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.

See[edit][add listing]

Town hall and Market square
The Market square
Klingentor, one of the gates to the city
  • 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.
  • The 50 m (165 ft) 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 (see plaques on the wall). The Wall is about 2.5 km (1.5 mi) 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).

Do[edit][add listing]

  • 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.
  • The do it yourself 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.
  • Rent a bike at Rad und Tat, Bensenstraße 17 (tel. +49 9861 87984)

Buy[edit][add listing]

  • Chronos-Nostalgiebilder, Milchmarkt 4 (just by the Markus Tower), +49 9861 9189821. Funny Souvenirs. You can dress up in a Medival or Rococo Costume and pick up the Photo at once.  edit
  • Georg Schopf, Galgengasse 1-3. This shop sells both souvenirs from cuckoo clocks to drinking glasses and antiques such as paintings.  edit
  • Kunstwerke Friese, Grüner Markt 7 (tel. +49 9861 7166). Cuckoo clocks, Hummel figurines, pewter beer steins, music boxes, dolls, and the usual suspects.
  • Käthe Wohlfahrt, Herrngasse 1, [2]. A somewhat touristy shop in three floors underground where one can buy Christmas decorations during the whole year.  edit

Eat[edit][add listing]

  • If you plan to stay in Rothenburg for a few days, keep in mind that the restaurants cater to the daily bus tours. This means that you should try to get in to eat dinner by 20:00 - especially in the low season, because few places are open much later than 22:00.
  • zur Höll, Burggasse 8, [3]. Gasthaus in a 1100 year old building  edit
  • Baumeisterhaus, Obere Schmiedgasse 3, just south of Marktplatz, housed in a Renaissance styled residence built in 1596 by the Master Builder. Main courses €12-€22.
  • Louvre, Klingengasse 15. Main courses €25-€28; fixed-price menu €49-€85.
  • Ratsstube, Marktplatz 6. A true tavern atmosphere. Main courses €10-€15.
  • Altfränkische Weinstube Am Klosterhof 7. On Wednesday nights at 20:00, the English Speakers' Club meets. All are welcome.

Drink[edit][add listing]

  • Unter den Linden, at Kurze Steige 7B (tel. +49 9861 5909). A cafe-bar at the Tauber river. Located in A-1 on the map above. It is quite the hike down and up, but the beer is nice and cold.

Sleep[edit][add listing]

  • Gasthof Goldener Greifen, Obere Schmiedgasse 5, just south of Marktplatz. Former home of Bürgermeister Toppler (~1406). [www.gasthof-greifen-rothenburg.de]
  • Pension Gundel 7 km (4.5 mi) south of Rothenburg in the village of Lohr. [4]
  • Hotel Gotisches Haus, Herrngasse 13, +49 9861 2020 (fax: +49 9861 1317), [5]. Situated right behind the Market Square and the Christmas shops  edit
  • Hotel Spitzweg, Paradeisgasse 2, +49 09861 94290, [6]. Right near the Roder Gate, 10 rooms in a 16th century hotel. A hearty German breakfast gets you going in the morning. Mr. Hocher is a great source of sight-seeing advice and he is always looking for a worthy chess opponent.  edit

Get out[edit]

  • Nuremberg - features a delightful castle, old town, and the nazi party rally grounds
  • Würzburg - a university town with an impressive palace
  • Nördlingen - a beautiful medieval town in a meteorite crater surrounded by a 14th century wall. Along the Romantic Road.
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