Rothenburg ob der Tauber – Day 4

This article first appeared on the original TannerFamilyOnline site in the summer of 2005. This is the first of five day trips we took during a one week period during our first summer there together. This article is originally dated June 24, 2005 and was written by Heather after being in country for only 3 months.


Today we’re off to Rothenburg. We’re in the car on the Autobahn as I’m writing this. I haven’t had time to do any of the vacation journals this week so I brought the laptop with me today since we’ve got about an hour and a half drive before we get there.

Rothenburg, itself is a fairly large city and old Rothenburg is in the center of town. The old city is huge too! A tall stone wall completely surrounds this city. It dates back to the medieval ages. The town had a curfew and if you missed curfew, you were required to answer a series of complex questions to prove you were who you said you were. This apparently kept enemies out. Once you entered the city, it’s like you’re in a different world.

There’s so much to see! A lot of the stores and houses have dates above the doors of when they were built or restored at some point. Some dated back to 1400s and later.

We stopped into St. Jacobs church. It’s a massive church. Huge stained glass windows and a huge alter at the front of the church. Wooden seats where the choir sat. Construction of the church was started in 1311 and reached it’s current state in 1544. On the second floor there’s a big pipe organ and behind it is another alter called the blood alter. It’s hand carved out of wood. It took 6 years to build between 1499-1505. You can’t even see it from the first floor-it’s completely hidden behind the organ. St. Jacobs was a Catholic church and is currently Lutheran church. Right now, they’re doing some restoring to the outside of the church also.

Oh yeah, before I forget I must share: We were walking around just looking in shops and I happened to notice some Americans-which isn’t uncommon. But these Americans just so happened to be from Nebraska of all places!!! Small world – eh?! I found out they were high school aged kids from across the state traveling with the Ambassador’s of Music. There were several stops throughout Europe and just so happened to be in Rothenburg the same day we were!

We stopped in an organic shop that had a wild garlic sauce for garlic breads-very yummy. I ended up buying Apple chips and orange cookies-which were made with no eggs or milk. Not bad prices in this store and the owner was really nice-they even have a website- all sorts of stuff to buy. Here’s the website if you wanna go look at it.

A little further down the street is the famous picture of Rothenburg where the street comes to a Y in the road. That’s the picture at the top of this page. I did take pictures of it, but unfortunately there’s construction going on right where you get the best picture at. Hopefully it’ll be better this winter-I’m sure we’ll be back then.

So, back up the street we went, walking along one of the outer walls-which wasn’t too high. The reason being is that when you look over the wall-it’s basically a straight shot down-not much way to be attacked from that side. The view was beautiful. There was a bridge way at the bottom-it looked like it was a stone bridge, and great views of the valley below.
We found the Criminal Museum, which was really interesting. Talk about some painful torture devises! They were big into shame masks back then-anything from talking too much and gossiping to adultery and acting like a pig. It’s worth the visit to see.

Right beside the criminal museum was a small Catholic church-pretty plain inside with a couple of ornate fixtures. The architecture in these places was amazing–everything made out of stone so it’s nice and cool inside and high arches. It’s pretty incredible to think how people made these places.

After pretty much walking around for hours, we decided to take a horse drawn wagon ride through the city to see some of the places we hadn’t already. The streets throughout the town are all cobblestone-I bet the ride was pretty bumpy with just wooden wheels!

The old city is a lot bigger than I thought it would be. In it’s time, Rothenburg had 5,000 residents. It’s definitely a two day trip at least to see everything. We didn’t even make it up to the stone wall–you can walk around up there inside the wall. So, needless to say, here’s another stop we need to make again:). There’s just so much to see and if you really want to SEE it, you need to take your time.