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Posts tagged ‘Rothenburg ob der Tauber’

Rothenburg ob der Tauber: medieval night glow

Many visitors to Rothenburg ob der Tauber are here for the day, and when day turns to night, you can have the place to yourself for the opportunity to view and photograph. And judging by these photographs, you may well ask yourself: where did everybody go?

A good place to start to get your bearings straight is the Marktplatz (Market Square; photo above and map below). While you wait for Hans Baumgartner to begin his Nightwatchman nightly walking tours (in English or German), you can look up the Ratstrinkstube (Councillors’ Tavern) for a modest retelling of the Meistertrunk legend. This 90-second video shows how the figures for Mayor Nusch and General Tilly greet curious onlookers at the square (at 8pm); more night images follow below.

Each photograph below corresponds to its label on the following map; click on the “arrow-window” icon at the upper-left corner of the map for additional details.


1. Marktplatz, west on Herrngasse

Rothenburg ob der Tauber, Bayern, Bavaria, Germany, fotoeins.com

1. Marktplatz, west on Herrngasse

2a. Schmuckbrunnen, Marktplatz

Rothenburg ob der Tauber, Bayern, Bavaria, Germany, fotoeins.com

2a. Schmuckbrunnen (left-centre) and patrician houses at Marktplatz 9 and 10

2b. Marienapotheke

Rothenburg ob der Tauber, Bayern, Bavaria, Germany, fotoeins.com

2b. Mary figure (c. 1470), Marienapotheke

3. Burgtor, Burggarten

Rothenburg ob der Tauber, Bayern, Bavaria, Germany, fotoeins.com

3. Burgtor, Burggarten

4. Untere Schmiedgasse, Plönlein

Rothenburg ob der Tauber, Bayern, Bavaria, Germany, fotoeins.com

4. Untere Schmiedgasse, south to Plönlein

5. Plönlein

Rothenburg ob der Tauber, Bayern, Bavaria, Germany, fotoeins.com

5. Plönlein, with Siebersturm (left) and Kobozellertor (right)

6a. Weisser Turm

Rothenburg ob der Tauber, Bayern, Bavaria, Germany, fotoeins.com

6a. Weisser Turm, former gate on the 12th-century city wall. West from Galgengasse/Paradeisgasse

6b. Galgentor

Rothenburg ob der Tauber, Bayern, Bavaria, Germany, fotoeins.com

6b. To Galgentor, east from Galgengasse/Paradeisgasse

7. Paradeisgasse/Galgengasse

Rothenburg ob der Tauber, Bayern, Bavaria, Germany, fotoeins.com

7. South, from Paradeisgasse/Galgengasse

8. Schrannengasse (Judenkirchhof)

Rothenburg ob der Tauber, Bayern, Bavaria, Germany, fotoeins.com

8. Schrannengasse (Judenkirchhof)

9. Judengasse

Rothenburg ob der Tauber, Bayern, Bavaria, Germany, fotoeins.com

9. Judengasse, west/downhill from Heugasse; more about the town’s Jewish history here

10. Heugasse/Schrannenplatz

Rothenburg ob der Tauber, Bayern, Bavaria, Germany, fotoeins.com

10. Heugasse at Schrannenplatz

11. Klingentor

Rothenburg ob der Tauber, Bayern, Bavaria, Germany, fotoeins.com

11. Klingentor

12. St Wolfgangskirche

Rothenburg ob der Tauber, Bayern, Bavaria, Germany, fotoeins.com

12. St. Wolfgangskirche (St. Wolfgang Church)

13. St. Jakobskirche

Rothenburg ob der Tauber, Bayern, Bavaria, Germany, fotoeins.com

13. St. Jakobskirche (St. James’ Church)

14. Kirchplatz

Rothenburg ob der Tauber, Bayern, Bavaria, Germany, fotoeins.com

14. Kirchplatz, west to St. Jakobskirche

15. Georgengasse

Rothenburg ob der Tauber, Bayern, Bavaria, Germany, fotoeins.com

15. Georgengasse, east to Weisser Turm


More on Rothenburg ob der Tauber

•   The medieval city by day
•   A trip through the city’s Jewish history

Thanks to Rothenburg ob der Tauber Tourism Service for providing access to services and facilities, and thanks to Akzent Hotel Schranne for a warm welcome and a comfortable convenient stay at Schrannenplatz. I made the photos above on 11 and 12 November 2015. This post appears on Fotoeins Fotopress at fotoeins.com as http://wp.me/p1BIdT-7JR.

Rothenburg ob der Tauber: Jewish history since 1180

After their visit, most will depart Rothenburg ob der Tauber with memories of a romantic medieval town that seems almost frozen in time.

But a careful measured walk also produces a deeper examination of the town’s history with clear signs to an historical and centuries-old presence of Jews. A Jewish settlement goes back to at least 1180 AD/CE in written records with the appearance of the name of Samuel Biscopf, a Jew from Rothenburg ob der Tauber (“erste Erwähnung eines Rotenburger Juden”: [ℵ1], p. 136; [ℵ2], pp. 133-135).

The centuries are marked with a growing thriving Jewish community, persecution, violent death, explusion, and a return to life.

Summary Timeline:

•   1180 AD/CE, first mention of Jewish community in Rothenburg; 1st Jewish quarter and synagogue at present-day Kapellenplatz.
•   1250-1286, Rabbi Meir ben Baruch, teaching life and times in Rothenburg.
•   1298, Rintfleisch-Pogrom: 450 Jews killed in Rothenburg; total 5000 Jews dead in Franconia.
•   1339, some of the first set of graves buried at the Jewish Cemetery, at present-day Schrannenplatz
•   1349, Pogrom and persecution, Jews accused of poisoning wells with corpses due to the Black Death.
•   1370, Establishment of 2nd Jewish quarter, around Judengasse.
•   1404, 1st Synagogue converted to St. Mary’s Chapel.
•   1407, 2nd Synagogue constructed close to burial ground, at present-day Schrannenplatz.
•   1520, Theologian Johann Teuschlein incites anti-Jewish hysteria, forcing expulsion of all Jews from Rothenburg. No Jews allowed in the city for next 350 years; 2nd Synagogue and Jewish cemetery destroyed.
•   1861, all Jews allowed to settle anywhere in Bavaria.
•   1870-1875, Jews begin returning to the city.
•   1872, Equality granted among Jews and Christians, after the 1871 constitution of the new German Empire.
•   1888, Prayer hall (“3rd synagogue”) at present-day Herrngasse 21.
•   1875, 2nd Jewish cemetery at Würzburger Strasse and Wiesenstrasse.
•   1938, Rothenburg declared “free of Jews” on 22 October, as last remaining 17 Jews driven out, two and a half weeks before the Reichspogromnacht.
•   1942, 2nd cemetery desecrated and destroyed. Few, if any, descendants of early 20th-century community remain or known to be alive.

The word “pogrom” is a late 19th- to early 20th-century Russian word (“погром”), derived from the verb “gromit” (громи́ть) meaning “to destroy with violence.” While “pogrom” is used generally to describe mob violence by one ethnic or religious group on another, the term is used in this post to describe attacks on the Jewish community.


The following map shows a recommended 1.6 km (1 mi) self-guided walk with labeled stops and corresponding descriptions and photographs below. The walk begins and ends at Marktplatz near the Tourist Information centre. Click on the “arrow-window” icon at the upper-left corner of the map below for additional details.


1. Kapellenplatz (Chapel Square), 1st Jewish quarter

Beginning in about 1180 AD/CE, the first Jewish settlement was centred here in the area of present-day Kapellenplatz. The historically renowned teacher Rabbi Meir ben Baruch played a critical role in synagogue- and (Talmud) school-life in the mid to late 13th-century. With Jews blamed for the Black Death resulting in the 1350 Pogrom, houses left behind by expelled Jews were claimed by the town. Returning Jews established a new community around Judengasse and Schrannenplatz. By the early 15th-century, the abandoned (first) synagogue had been converted into St. Mary’s Chapel, which itself was torn down in 1805. After complete destruction from bombing in World War Two, nothing original remains at Kapellenplatz.

Kapellenplatz, Chapel Square, Rothenburg ob der Tauber, Bayern, Bavaria, Germany, fotoeins.com

Northwest corner, Kapellenplatz

Kapellenplatz, Chapel Square, Rothenburg ob der Tauber, Bayern, Bavaria, Germany, fotoeins.com

South side, Kapellenplatz


2. Rabbi-Meir-Gedenktafel (Meir Memorial Plaque), 1st Synagogue

At the entrance to the building at Kapellenplatz 5 is a bronze plaque to memorialize the presence of Rabbi Meir ben Baruch whose synagogue and school were once at the present location. A leading Talmud scholar and authority of his time, he wrote commentary and poetry, and taught and mentored in Rothenburg ob der Tauber between 1250 and 1286.

Rabbi Meir ben Baruch von Rothenburg, einem der bedeutendsten Talmudgelehrten. Zum Gedenken. Geboren um 1220 in Worms, lebte und wirkte er von etwa 1250 bis 1286 in der Synagoge und in der Talmudschule, die auf diesem Platz standen, dem ersten Judenviertel Rothenburgs. Er starb 1293 in Ensisheim und wurde 1307 in Worms begraben. Synagoge und Talmudschule wurden 1404 in eine Marienkapelle und in ein Seelhaus umgewandelt. Die Marienkapelle wurde 1805 abgebrochen.

In memoriam to Rabbi Meir ben Baruch of Rothenburg, one of the most important Talmud scholars of his time. Born around 1215-1220 in Worms, he lived and worked between 1250 to 1286 at the Synagogue and Talmud School at this present-day square where the first Jewish settlement in Rothenburg was located. He died 1293 in Ensisheim; he was later buried in his hometown of Worms in 1307. From 1404, the Synagogue and Talmud school were converted, respectively, to St Mary’s Church and a shelter for the poor and sick. Neither building survived to the present day.

Rabbi-Meir-Gedenktafel, Rabbi Meir Memorial Plaque, Kapellenplatz, Chapel Square, Rothenburg ob der Tauber, Bayern, Bavaria, Germany, fotoeins.com

Bronze memorial plaque to Rabbi Meir ben Baruch.


3. Rabbi-Meir-Gärtchen (Rabbi Meir garden)

In memory of Rabbi Meir ben Baruch (2. above), the garden is next to the old Judentanzhaus (“Jewish dance hall”: built around 1400, modified 1613, burned down from bombing 1945, reconstructed 1953). In 1914, Jewish tombstones were unearthed at the old Jewish cemetery (see 5. below); some of these tombstones are now embedded in the garden’s surrounding wall. Hebrew inscriptions on the stones and their German and English translations are found here. On the ground, a memorial in the garden proper commemorates the last number of Jews who were driven out of Rothenburg in 1938.

Rabbi-Meir-Gärtchen, Judentanzhaus, Weisser Turm, Rothenburg ob der Tauber, Germany, fotoeins.com

Rabbi-Meir-Gärtchen, Judentanzhaus (D-5-71-193-120)

Rabbi-Meir-Gärtchen, Judentanzhaus, Weisser Turm, Rothenburg ob der Tauber, Germany, fotoeins.com

Jewish gravestones imbedded into wall.

Rabbi-Meir-Gärtchen, Judentanzhaus, Weisser Turm, Rothenburg ob der Tauber, Germany, fotoeins.com

Rabbi-Meir-Gärtchen, Judentanzhaus, Weisser Turm, Rothenburg ob der Tauber, Germany, fotoeins.com

“Zum Gedenken an unsere jüdischen Mitbürger, die in der Zeit von 1933 bis 1938 aus Rothenburg vertrieben wurden.” (In memory of our Jewish citizens who were expelled from Rothenburg between 1933 and 1938.)


4. Judengasse (east end), 2nd Jewish quarter

From about 1370, the Jewish community established a second community and living quarter around what is now called Judengasse, or “Jews Alley”. The photo below shows the east end of present-day Judengasse at Am Platzl.

Judengasse, Am Platzl, Rothenburg ob der Tauber, Germany, fotoeins.com

 


5. Schrannenplatz (Granary), 2nd Synagogue

What’s interesting is that Judenkirchhof was renamed Schrannenplatz in 1958. The present site was already known as the Jewish burial ground in 1339, and by 1410, a new and second synagogue had been built nearby. After the expulsion of Jews in 1520, the synagogue was converted to a chapel which itself was torn down by 1561. After 1520, the cemetery was converted to Christian use, and was enlarged a decade later with Jewish graves dug up and their bones removed. When the site was opened for construction in 1914, over 30 Jewish tombstones with dates between 1266 and 1395 were discovered. These stones are presently found in the wall of the Rabbi-Meir-Garden (3. above), the Reichsttadtmuseum (10. below), and the Jewish Museum Franconia in Fürth (about 120 km east-northeast from Rothenburg ob der Tauber).

Schrannenplatz, Judenfriedhof, Stadtmauer, Rothenburg ob der Tauber, Germany, fotoeins.com

Southeast corner of Schrannenplatz, facing northwest

Schrannenplatz, Judenfriedhof, Stadtmauer, Rothenburg ob der Tauber, Germany, fotoeins.com

South side, Schrannenplatz

Schrannenplatz 17/18, Rothenburg ob der Tauber, Germany, fotoeins.com

“Judenkirchhof” (Jewish cemetery), at Schrannenplatz 17/18


6. “Judenkirchhof” inscription, Schrannenplatz 16

This barn at Schrannenplatz 16 dates back to about 1783. During the period of exclusion of Jews (1520-1870), all stonework associated with the 2nd Synagogue and adjacent cemetery was considered basic building materials. Not only does the faded inscription suggest a link to the area’s past, but also suggests the desecration of Jewish graves and symbols and incorporation into subsequent construction.

Schrannenplatz 16, Rothenburg ob der Tauber, Germany, fotoeins.com

Former barn at Schrannenplatz 16 (D-5-71-193-539). A closer view of the area within the dashed box is shown below.

Schrannenplatz 16, Rothenburg ob der Tauber, Germany, fotoeins.com

Left: faded inscription “Judenkirchhof” (“Jewish cemetery”). Right: “This building was constructed by Johan Bernhard Kohn in 1783.”


7. Judengasse, at Heugasse

In the final quarter of the 14th-century, Jews returned to Rothenburg and began settling outside the first town wall. The street took on the name “Judengasse” or Jews’ Alley as far back as 1377, and both Jews and Christians lived among another. With cautious painstaking detail to renovation, some 21 buildings remain mostly in their original form, which makes Judengasse the only late-medieval Jewish street to survive in Europe.

Judengasse Heugasse, Rothenburg ob der Tauber, Germany, fotoeins.com

Judengasse, west from Heugasse


8. Judengasse 10 and 15/17

The Mikwe (Mikveh) or ritual bath at Judengasse 10 still contains groundwater, but is under private property and not open to the public. A replica of the Mikwe is in the Reichsstadtmuseum. Across from Judengasse 10 is the double-house at 15/17 with two entrance arches resembling two stone tablets for the Ten Commandments. The following two photos at Judengasse 10 and 15/17 are by Tillman2007 (Wikipedia, CC3 license).

Judengasse 10 (D-5-71-193-241): initial construction to 1409; alterations to 1558 from dendrochronological dating.

Judengasse 15/17 (D-5-71-193-245): initial construction to 1399 from dendrochronological dating.

9. Judengasse (west end), 2nd Jewish quarter

At the west end of Judengasse (at Klingengasse), a memorial plaque commemorates the presence of the Jewish quarter (Jüdisches Viertel), from about 1371 to 1520.

Jüdisches Wohnviertel, Jewish quarter, Judengasse, Altstadt, Rothenburg ob der Tauber, Germany, fotoeins.com

South on Klingengasse, at Judengasse. Hotel Schwarzer Adler: built in 1784 over the remains of the old Blue Tower city gate (D-5-71-193-292).

Jüdisches Wohnviertel, Jewish quarter, Judengasse, Altstadt, Rothenburg ob der Tauber, Germany, fotoeins.com

Judengasse, facing east-southeast. The fountain in the centre-foreground (D-5-71-193-319) was built in 1600 with the column and lion figure added in 1704; the second fountain was added between 1715 and 1830.

Jüdisches Wohnviertel, Jewish quarter, Judengasse, Altstadt, Rothenburg ob der Tauber, Germany, fotoeins.com

הרובע היהודי, Jüdisches Viertel (Jewish Quarter), ca. 1371-1520. Memorial plaque on building address Klingengasse 12 (D-5-71-193-292).


10. Judaica, Reichsstadtmuseum (Imperial City Museum)

The Judaica collection in the Imperial City Museum contains items related to Rabbi Meir and Jewish gravestones uncovered during construction at Schrannenplatz in 1914 and saved from destruction. Very few items representing daily life in the medieval Jewish community survived to the present-day.

Judaica, Reichsstadtmuseum, Imperial City Museum, Altstadt, Rothenburg ob der Tauber, Germany, fotoeins.com

Memorial to the Rintfleisch 1298 pogrom: recovered original tablet with Hebrew inscription; German and English translations in 11. below.

Grabsteine, Judenkirchhof, Judaica, Reichsstadtmuseum, Altstadt, Rothenburg ob der Tauber, Germany, fotoeins.com

Recovered 13th- and 14th-century gravestones from Jewish cemetery.

Judaica, Reichsstadtmuseum, Imperial City Museum, Altstadt, Rothenburg ob der Tauber, Germany, fotoeins.com

Bronze signet for Jewish community in Rothenburg (“R”), about 1410.

Judaica, Reichsstadtmuseum, Imperial City Museum, Altstadt, Rothenburg ob der Tauber, Germany, fotoeins.com

Chanukkah candle holder (Fayence style): Bohemia, 1773.

Judaica, Reichsstadtmuseum, Imperial City Museum, Altstadt, Rothenburg ob der Tauber, Germany, fotoeins.com

Silver wedding ring in the shape of a tower: Hungary/Bohemia, about 1900.

Judaica, Reichsstadtmuseum, Imperial City Museum, Altstadt, Rothenburg ob der Tauber, Germany, fotoeins.com

Silver dreidl: Hungary 1987. “נס גדול היה שם” (Nes Gadol Hayah Sham), “a great miracle happened there”.


11. Pogrom-Gedenkstein, Burggarten (Pogrom memorial, Castle Gardens)

To mark the 700th anniversary of the 1298 Pogrom, a memorial stone was established in 1998 on the north side of the Chapel of St. Blaise in the Castle Gardens. The original memorial stone in Hebrew is now located in the city’s Judaica collection of the Imperial City Museum; see 10. above. The German translation of the Hebrew inscription goes:

With a bitter soul an equally bitter cry, because we have forgotten about the first persecutions. In their memory I have chiselled onto a stone tablet Rothenburg’s martyrs who were killed and burned because of the uniqueness of God, in the year 58 according to the small counting of the 19th Tamus. And in the castle outside of town, residents forced a conclusion by lighting a fire and killing young and old alike. On the 12th day of the fifth month of the sixth thousand year my job came to an end and on the third day He will come and set us free, my Saint and my Savior. Amen. Amen. Amen.
Pogrom-Gedenkstein,  Burggarten, Altstadt, Rothenburg ob der Tauber, Germany, fotoeins.com

1298 Pogrom Memorial, on the north side of Chapel of St. Blaise (Blasiuskapelle)

Pogrom-Gedenkstein,  Burggarten, Altstadt, Rothenburg ob der Tauber, Germany, fotoeins.com

Top of the memorial (death by fire), 1/4

Pogrom-Gedenkstein,  Burggarten, Altstadt, Rothenburg ob der Tauber, Germany, fotoeins.com

German translation of Hebrew inscription, 2/4

Pogrom-Gedenkstein,  Burggarten, Altstadt, Rothenburg ob der Tauber, Germany, fotoeins.com

Replica of memorial stone; original in Reichsstadtmuseum (see 10. above), 3/4

Pogrom-Gedenkstein,  Burggarten, Altstadt, Rothenburg ob der Tauber, Germany, fotoeins.com

Bottom of the memorial, 4/4


12. Ehemaliger jüdischer Betsaal (Former Jewish prayer hall, 3rd Synagogue)

In 1888, members of the Jewish community purchased the building at Herrngasse 21. The building found use by the community as a prayer room, school, teacher’s accommodations, and ritual bath (Mikwe, Mikveh), until the Nazis expelled the remaining Jews in 1938.

Ehem. jüdisches Betsaal, former prayer hall, 3rd Synagogue, Altstadt, Rothenburg ob der Tauber, Germany, fotoeins.com

Herrngasse 21: former Jewish prayer hall, now Hotel Klosterstüble.


More:

With their corresponding “Baudenkmal” file numbers, many of the structures above are in the city’s listings of heritage and historical buildings compiled by Bayerisches Landesamt für Denkmalpflege (Bavarian State Ministry for the Preservation of Cultural Heritage); see also Bayerische Denkmal-Atlas (Bavarian Monument Atlas).

•   City of Rothenburg ob der Tauber: English | German
•   Alemannia Judaica, in German
•   Evang.-Luth. Kirchengemeinde St. Jakob Rothenburg, in German
•   “Auf jüdischen Spuren im mittelalterlichen Rothenburg” (Judengemeinde Rothenburg), in German
•   Self-guided tour of Rothenburg ob der Tauber with 20 stops within the city’s Old Town, in English

[ℵ1] “Archiv des Historischen Vereins von Unterfranken und Aschaffenburg, Volume 12”, Historischer Verein von Unterfranken und Aschaffenburg, Würzburg, 1853. Digital copy on Google.

[ℵ2] “Regesten zur Geschichte der Juden im Fränkischen und Deutschen Reiche bis zum Jahre 1273.” Aronius, Julius; Dresdner, Albert; ed; Lewinski, Ludwig, ed; Historische Commission für Geschichte der Juden in Deutschland, 1902. Digital copy at Goethe Universität digital collections (Frankfurt am Main) and University of Michigan Book Collection.


Thanks to Rothenburg ob der Tauber Tourism Service for providing access to services and facilities, and thanks to Akzent Hotel Schranne for a warm welcome and a comfortable convenient stay. Except for the two photos at Judengasse 10 and 15-17, I made the photos above on 11 and 12 November 2015. This post appears on Fotoeins Fotopress at fotoeins.com as http://wp.me/p1BIdT-7xI.

Rothenburg ob der Tauber: medieval city by day

I’ve been hearing about this place for years. “Ya gotta come; the beautiful magical city is a dream come true.” At some point, hype bleeds into “white noise”, and attention turns elsewhere.

The day arrives when the timing is a great fit, when the city becomes the first stop on a four-week long tour of the country. I’m hitting a seasonal “sweet spot” in between the summer surge and the Christmas crush. There are far fewer tour buses and day-trippers, but even in mid-November, plenty of visitors are spellbound by the visual beauty. Freed by the weight of the crowds, the feeling collectively from Rothenburg ob der Tauber and her residents feels a lot like a big exhalation of relief.

Directly translated as “red castle over the Tauber (river)”, Rothenburg ob der Tauber is located in the Middle Franconia (Mittelfranken) region of Bavaria. The city lies at the junction of the Romantische Strasse (Romantic Road) and the Burgenstrasse (Castle Road).

From the first community established in nearby Detwang in 960 AD/CE, the Hohenstaufen “Castrum Imperiale” (Imperial Castle) in 1142, a new settlement adjacent to the castle recognized as “Civitas” in 1241, the young city’s Free Imperial City status claimed in 1274, the Reformation’s arrival in 1544, the Thirty Years’ War siege and forced occupation in the early 17th-century, an independent imperial city forced to join the Bavarian Kingdom in 1802, Allied bombing destroyed a large chunk of the old town in World War Two, to subsequent post-war reconstruction and repair, the rich and tumultuous history together with the half-timbered red-roofed houses, cobblestone streets, and the stone wall perimeter make Rothenburg ob der Tauber one of the most beautiful medieval cities in Europe.

What follows is a photographic and walking tour of the city, with 20 spots indicated in the map below. Each numbered spot is accompanied by corresponding photographs below; click on the “arrow-window” icon in the upper left corner of the map below for additional details.


1. Marktplatz: Rathaus, Ratstrinkstube (Market Square: Town Hall, Councillors’ Tavern)

Anchoring the west side of Marktplatz (Market Square), the city’s Rathaus (Town Hall) consists of two parts: the west Gothic part goes back to the 14th-century and the east Renaissance construction goes back to 1572. The gallery arcade facing Market Square was added in 1681. At the north side of the square is the Ratstrinkstube (Councillors’ Tavern) built around 1466, with the astronomical clock added in 1683, and figures for the legendary “Meistertrunk” (Master Draught) scene added in 1910. The city’s Tourist Information Office resides in this building.

Rothenburg ob der Tauber, Middle Franconia, Mittelfranken, Bayern, Bavaria, Germany, fotoeins.com

Rathaus. The arcade seen here added in 1681.

Ratstrinkstube, Meistertrunkuhr, Marktplatz, Rothenburg ob der Tauber, Middle Franconia, Mittelfranken, Bayern, Bavaria, Germany, fotoeins.com

Ratstrinkstube at left; nearby red and yellow buildings at Markt 4 and 2, respectively. At right, yellow gable building at Marktplatz 6 dates back to 1415.


2. Herrngasse (Nobles’ Lane)

Over centuries, the street was once the preferred area where wealthy families resided in their big patrician houses. Constructed in 1615, the Herrnbrunnen (Nobles’ Fountain) was the former market fountain where livestock markets once stood in proximity. The Franziskanerkirche (Franciscan Church) is the one of the city’s oldest churches, inaugurated in 1309 and built in the early Gothic style. Near Marktplatz, the Deutsches Weihnachtsmuseum (German Christmas Museum) is inside the Käthe Wohlfahrt Weihnachtsdorf (Christmas Village).

Herrngasse, Rothenburg ob der Tauber, Middle Franconia, Mittelfranken, Bayern, Bavaria, Germany, fotoeins.com

Looking east to Marktplatz, the green, orange, & yellow houses (from left) at 12, 10, & 8 Herrngasse go back to the 15th-, 15th-, & 12th-centuries.

Herrnbrunnen, Herrngasse, Rothenburg ob der Tauber, Middle Franconia, Mittelfranken, Bayern, Bavaria, Germany, fotoeins.com

West on Herrngasse to Castle Gate (Burgtor). Left: Franziskanerkirche (Franciscan Church, 1309). Centre-right: Herrnbrunnen (Nobles’ Fountain, 1615).


3. Burgtor (Castle Gate)

The tower leading to the former castle was completed around 1470 with adjacent guard houses added at the end of the 16th-century. An earthquake in 1356 destroyed the Hohenstaufen Castle which was never rebuilt; the rubble was used as subsequent building material. All that’s left are the castle gate and the castle gardens.

Burgtor, Castle Gate, Rothenburg ob der Tauber, Middle Franconia, Mittelfranken, Bayern, Bavaria, Germany, fotoeins.com

East from the castle garden: Burgtor (Castle Gate)


4. Burggarten: Taubertalblick (Castle Garden: Tauber valley view)

The castle garden is a beautiful park which looks over the Tauber river valley. The garden is at the site of the former Hohenstaufen Castle built in 1142 and destroyed in 1356. At the west end of the garden is a view below of the Topplerschlösschen (Toppler’s Manor House, 1388) owned by Lord Mayor Heinrich Toppler and put into use as Toppler’s weekend house and defensive tower to repel possible invaders. The building now houses furniture collection from the 16th to the 19th-century.

Topplerschlösschen, Taubertal, Toppler's Manor House, Tauber valley, Rothenburg ob der Tauber, Middle Franconia, Mittelfranken, Bayern, Bavaria, Germany, fotoeins.com

West to the Topplerschlösschen (Toppler’s Manor House, far-left), sitting snug in the Tauber river valley below.


5. Burggarten: Stadtblick (Castle Garden: city view)

At the south end of the garden, the view is south-southeast to the city. At centre-right next to the Tauber river are the Herrnmühle and Kobolzellerkirche (Nobles’ Mill, Kobolzeller Church). The Herrenmühle site first began as a grain mill in 1340; over centuries functionality expanded to oil press and timber mill. Buildings in use now as guesthouse for visitors were built in 1760. First construction of the Kobozeller Church dates back to 1472. Along the way to the next location, you’ll come across the Mittelalterliches Kriminalmuseum (Medieval Crime Museum).

Stadtblick, Kobozeller Kirche, Doppelbrücke, city view, Kobozell Church, Double Bridge, Rothenburg ob der Tauber, Middle Franconia, Mittelfranken, Bayern, Bavaria, Germany, fotoeins.com

Southeast to the city; at right-centre in the valley below, Herrnmühle and Kobozeller Kirche


6. Plönlein (Little Square)

The name for this small flat square is derived from the Latin word “plānum” or “level ground”. The south facing shot (below) at Plönlein generally makes for one of the best known settings and photographs for Rothenburg ob der Tauber. But this photo is a north facing shot with the late-autumn afternoon sun behind me to the south, and is equally representative of half-timbered houses and cobblestone streets in a medieval setting which gives the city its “romantic” description.

Plönlein, Rothenburg ob der Tauber, Middle Franconia, Mittelfranken, Bayern, Bavaria, Germany, fotoeins.com

North from Plönlein to Untere Schmiedgasse. The fountain at left was once used to store fish from the Tauber river.


7. Siebersturm (Siebers Tower)

Siebers Tower was built in 1385 as part of the “new” defenses (second or outer wall) to fortify the southern entry into the city. From here south along Spitalgasse is the hospital (“Spital”) quarter which began in 1280 and was subsequently included with the fortifications when Spitaltor and Spitalbastei were built. The main hospital in the hospital quarter was built in the late 16th-century.

Siebersturm, Siebers Tower, Rothenburg ob der Tauber, Middle Franconia, Mittelfranken, Bayern, Bavaria, Germany, fotoeins.com

North on Spitalgasse, to Siebersturm.


8. Spitalbastei (Spital Bastion)

The Spitalbastei (Infimary/hospital bastion) is one of the largest and most extensive fortifications to the city wall. Construction began in 1542, with the outer gate built in 1586, and additional defense structures added in 1616. The two inner courtyard fortifications are in the form of a figure-eight. The outer gate built in 1586 bears the Latin inscription: “Pax intrantibus, salus exeuntibus” (peace to all who enter, fare well to all who leave).

Spitalbastei, Spital Bastion, Rothenburg ob der Tauber, Middle Franconia, Mittelfranken, Bayern, Bavaria, Germany, fotoeins.com

North from Nördlinger Strasse, to the outer gate into Spital Bastion

Latin inscription, outer gate, Spitalbastei, Spital Bastion, Rothenburg ob der Tauber, Middle Franconia, Mittelfranken, Bayern, Bavaria, Germany, fotoeins.com

“Pax intrantibus, salus exeuntibus”, Latin inscription over Spital bastion outer gate (1586)


9. Spitaltor (Spital Gate)

The Spital Gate is one of my gates from which the city wall can be accessed, climbed, and walked, up high along its perimeter. The south perimeter is particularly vulnerable to the flat terrain along the right/east flank of the Tauber, which goes some way to explain the extent of the defensive measures built here.

Spitaltor, Spital Gate, Rothenburg ob der Tauber, Middle Franconia, Mittelfranken, Bayern, Bavaria, Germany, fotoeins.com

Spitaltor, from inside the Spital Bastion.


10. Auf der Stadtmauer (On the city wall)

As the medieval city expanded, a second wall was built as the outer defensive perimeter beginning in the middle of the 14th-century. Walking along this city wall provides extensive views of the red roofs, timbered houses, sheltered side streets and alleys, and the prominent skyline with St. Jacob’s Church in the distance; quiet contemplation is highly recommended at daybreak and dawn.

Stadtmauer, city wall, Rothenburg ob der Tauber, Middle Franconia, Mittelfranken, Bayern, Bavaria, Germany, fotoeins.com

On the city wall, northwest to Siebersturm.

Stadtmauer, city wall, Rothenburg ob der Tauber, Middle Franconia, Mittelfranken, Bayern, Bavaria, Germany, fotoeins.com

On the city wall, north to Rödertor.


11. Gerlachschmiede, Rödertor (Old Forge, Röder Gate)

The pretty triangular half-timbered house with the gable, windows, and the crowned serpent coat-of-arms once belonged to the blacksmith, Georg Gerlach. Destroyed in the Second World War, the building was reconstructed in 1951 to resume function as a forge until 1967. The Röder Gate goes back to the 14th-century and includes one of the few lookout towers on the medieval wall.

Gerlachschmiede, Rödertor, Old Forge, Röder Gate, Rothenburg ob der Tauber, Middle Franconia, Mittelfranken, Bayern, Bavaria, Germany, fotoeins.com

Lower-centre: Gerlachschmiede (Old Forge). Right: Medieval city wall to the tower at Rödertor (Röder Gate).


12. Paradeisgasse (Paradise Alley)

“Geniesse, was Dir Gott beschieden,
Entbehre gern, was Du nicht hast,
Ein jeder Stand hat seinen Frieden,
Ein jeder Stand auch seine Last.”

From the poem “Zufriedenheit mit seinem Zustande”, in the book “Geistliche Oden und Lieder”, Leipzig (Weidmann) 1757, written by Christian Fürchtegott Gellert (*1715-1769+).

Paradeisgasse, Paradise Alley, Rothenburg ob der Tauber, Middle Franconia, Mittelfranken, Bayern, Bavaria, Germany, fotoeins.com

Excerpt from 1757 poem by Christian Fürchtegott Gellert.


13. Am Platzl (At the little square)

This tiny square marks the former boundary to the Jewish community: to the left is Judengasse, and the road to the right leads to Schrannenplatz (grain storage and animal farms) which itself was also the site of the former Jewish cemetery.

Am Platzl, Rothenburg ob der Tauber, Middle Franconia, Mittelfranken, Bayern, Bavaria, Germany, fotoeins.com

Left: Judengasse. Right: To Schrannenplatz.


14. Pulverturm, Schrannenplatz (Powder Tower, Grain Trade Square)

At the northern perimeter to the Old Town, the “outer” medieval wall runs east-west. Shown at left is the Pulverturm (Powder Tower) which was used to store the town’s supply of gunpowder. Built around 1408, the tower was originally known as Fürbringer Tower, but the name was eventually transferred to a smaller 16th-century tower to the west near Klingentor.

Pulverturm, Schrannenplatz, Rothenburg ob der Tauber, Middle Franconia, Mittelfranken, Bayern, Bavaria, Germany, fotoeins.com

Pulverturm (Powder Tower), north perimeter of the outer medieval city wall.


15. St. Wolfgangskirche (St. Wolfgang Church)

Also called the Shepherds’ Church to honour its patron saint, St. Wolfgang Church was built in the late 15th-century in late-Gothic style. Constructed behind the Klingen Tower, the church is also known as the Wehrkirche (defense church) by its inclusion within the city’s fortifications, complete with cannon platforms and underground caverns for storing ammunition.

St. Wolfgangskirche, Rothenburg ob der Tauber, Middle Franconia, Mittelfranken, Bayern, Bavaria, Germany, fotoeins.com

St. Wolfgangskirche


16. Klingentor (Klingen Gate)

To bolster the northern flank, the 30-meter high Klingen Gate formed part of the extra defence built in the late 16th-century. With the installation of a copper tank, the tower was converted to water storage to serve the fresh water needs of the city’s populace.

Klingentor, Rothenburg ob der Tauber, Middle Franconia, Mittelfranken, Bayern, Bavaria, Germany, fotoeins.com

North to Klingentor (Klingen Gate), on Klingengasse


17. Klingengasse 9 (Klingen Alley 9)

“Du findest für den Leib,
das Brot in diesem Haus.
Das Brot für deine Seele,
teilt Gottes Wort dir aus.”

Built around 1501 and housing a bakery until 1966, the Feuerleinserker (“Feuerleins Oriel”) building is particularly well photographed at the corner of Klingengasse and Küblersgässchen, particularly in spring and summer with flowers in full bloom. I’ve chosen to photograph the Klingengasse side of the building with the inscription.

Klingengasse, Rothenburg ob der Tauber, Middle Franconia, Mittelfranken, Bayern, Bavaria, Germany, fotoeins.com

South on Klingengasse

Feuerleinserker, Feuerleins Oriel, Klingengasse 9, Rothenburg ob der Tauber, Middle Franconia, Mittelfranken, Bayern, Bavaria, Germany, fotoeins.com

Feuerleinserker (Feuerleins Oriel), at Klingengasse 9


18. Reichsstadtmuseum (Imperial City Museum)

The Imperial City Museum is housed in a former Dominican convent founded in 1258. With the 14th-century nunnery kitchen left almost intact, the museum also contains exhibits about the art and culture for the former imperial city, including the Rothenburg Passion (1494), archaeological finds, medieval and post-medieval artifacts, as well as an important “Judaica” collection of Jewish historical artifacts.

Reichsstadtmuseum, Rothenburg ob der Tauber, Middle Franconia, Mittelfranken, Bayern, Bavaria, Germany, fotoeins.com

Reichsstadtmuseum


19. Klostergarten (Convent Garden)

The garden was once a part of the neighbouring former Dominican convent which is now the Imperial City Museum.

Klostergarten, Rothenburg ob der Tauber, Middle Franconia, Mittelfranken, Bayern, Bavaria, Germany, fotoeins.com

Garden with St. Jacob Church in background. A herb garden likely owes its origins to the nuns who once occupied the convent.


20. St. Jakobskirche (St. Jacob/James Church)

With construction of the east end beginning in 1311, this Lutheran church is dedicated to St. Jacob (St. James) and is included on the pilgrim road to the St. James shrine in the Cathedral of Santiago de Compostela in Galicia in northwestern Spain. Outside the entrance to St. Jakobskirche is the statue of the saint dressed in a pilgrim’s hat with staff in one hand and the scallop shell in the other; he is the patron saint of pilgrims and merchants. The name “Santiago” (Diego) is the Galician version of the Vulgar Latin “Sanctu Iacobu” or “Saint James”.

St. Jakobskirche, Rothenburg ob der Tauber, Middle Franconia, Mittelfranken, Bayern, Bavaria, Germany, fotoeins.com

St. Jakobskirche


and back to Marktplatz (Market Square)

After leaving the church you can head back to Marktplatz, where this walking tour began. Alternatively, you can go to the restaurant or tavern of your choice where food and drink you’ve been eyeing all day wait for you.

•   Exploration on foot of city’s Jewish history

Marktplatz, Rothenburg ob der Tauber, Middle Franconia, Mittelfranken, Bayern, Bavaria, Germany, fotoeins.com

Marktplatz in afternoon light


More on Rothenburg ob der Tauber

•   City tourism
•   Bavaria, in English
•   Germany Travel, in English
•   Castle Road (Burgenstrasse), in English
•   Cities of Franconia (Fränkische Städte), in English
•   Romantic Road (Romantische Strasse), in English

•   List of city’s heritage and historical buildings, in German.
•   Bayerisches Landesamt für Denkmalpflege (BLfD), Bavarian State Conservation Office.
•   ( Bundesland: Bayern, Regierungsbezirk: Mittelfranken, Landkreis: Ansbach )

Thanks to Rothenburg ob der Tauber Tourism Service for providing access to services and facilities, and thanks to Akzent Hotel Schranne for a warm welcome and a comfortable convenient stay at Schrannenplatz. I made all of the above photos on 11 and 12 November 2015. This post appears on Fotoeins Fotopress at fotoeins.com as http://wp.me/p1BIdT-7xB.

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