Rothenburg ob der Tauber Things to Do Tips by nicolaitan
Rothenburg ob der Tauber Things to Do: 310 reviews and 659 photos
Rothenburg has about 40 fountains, some more elaborate than others. These were of particular value during sieges in the Middle Ages and Reformation wars but of course were used at all times. The greatest danger to these medieval towns was of course fire.
The St. George Fountain is located on the main town square and is the most elaborate, decorations dating from 1608. It is named for the dragon slayer at the top. Herterich's Well is 25 feet deep and with a 25000 gallon capacity. Note the metal sluices emerging from the fountain - seems basic, but Rothenburg was apparently one of the first places these devices were used to deliver the water ( best image 3). In the background, the older Gothic division of the Town Hall looms with the newer section to the right (image 1).
Image 4 depicts a considerably more basic well, located near the Kriminallmuseum - no bells and whistles. Another less decorated well is imaged at the Plonlein near the fish tanks ( see below).
This interesting museum is stated to be the best of class in Europe. It occupies a building near the town wall dating to the late 14th Century and occupies several floors as well as offering a few outside exhibits and a small cafe in the next building. Besides the obligatory torture and execution exhibits, there are an large number of displays concerning law including business, documents, seals, coats of arms, and a similar large number of woodcuts and drawings depicting justice and punishment in the middle ages and renaissance. The development of state law especially concerning human rights is also displayed.
It is easy to check out the torture equipment and leave but this museum offers a great deal more. We became interested in the woodcuts and drawings in displays lining the walls - these were fascinating. And the ingenuity of Middle Ages torture appears unending. I recall a drawing of a couple being punished for some sexual pecadillo - mounted backwards on donkeys, he was pelted with rocks while she was covered in honey and exposed to a swarm of bees. The gallows awaiting them were drawn in the background. Nice. and the documents on law and civil penalties were also of interest. This is an extremely interesting museum, and we could have spent far more than the hour plus that we did.
Do note that the room containing the execution devices is accessed from the exit stairway and indicated by only a small sign - easy to walk right on by.
And at last I know how the wheel was used as a method of extreme torture - it was dropped on the extremities of the convicted breaking his limbs until collapse - physiologic and physical - led to death by inducing shock. Death by crucifixion is often abetted by breaking the calf bones of the vicitim, with the same concept. There is nothing new under the sun.
Images 2 depicts the type of mask worn to humiliate gossips, lechers, and the like. Image 3 is a chastity belt, image 4 the drunk barrel, and image 5 the lethal wheel.
The Plonlein or Little Square is one of Europe's most frequently imaged touristic sites. Reached from the Main Square via the Schmiedgasse, it is a fork in the road with a quaint house with garden and fountain in the "Y". Restaurants, stores, and Schneeball displays line the street toward the square but mercifully there is very little commerce to interfere with the scenery when it counts. The road on the right runs downhill to the Tauber river through the Kobolzeller Tower built in 1360. The road on the left runs through the more famous Sieber tower built in 1385. Note on the yellow house in the middle the small window panes, classic for medieval windows. On the street to the right, adjacent the fountain, are several large metallic containers. In times of yore, fishermen kept their catch alive and fresh overnight in these bins for the morning market.
Along the Schmiedgasse (Smith's Lane) small alleys lead toward the city walls or deeper into the city, allowing some remarkable photo ops, of which my favorite is the little restaurant (image 5 ).
The Plonein is worth the walk - free of commerce, it defines Rothenburg. And how can one visit and not have a personal image of an icon?
When one possesses a crystal containing 3 drops of the blood of Jesus Christ, an ordinary altar will simply not do. The town council hired Wurzburg master woodcarver Tilman Riemenschneider to create a masterpiece for this relic. After 6 years ( 1499-1505, this altar arrived, now considered by many the greatest woodcarving in history. The benches in front of the altar were filled with silent visitors trying to absorb the entirety of this piece.
The crystal is set in a cross dating to 1270 and surrounding by carvings of remarkable detail. The cross itself is believed to contain a piece of the tablecloth from the last supper with a spilled drop of wine in the shape of a cross. The Reliquary Cross with the crystal is relatively high in the altar and difficult to image. Below is the famed carving of the Last Supper. Jesus is seen giving Judas the bread which marked him as the traitor, with John leaning against him. To either side, wood panels depict the entrance of Christ into Jerusalem and his prayers in the garden of Gethsemane.
Riemenschneider is an interesting man - married 4 times, he was a successful businessman with considerable wealth and also a politician becoming mayor of Wurzburg. Unfortunately Wurzburg back the wrong side in the Peasant's Revolt of 1525 and he was imprisoned and tortured. Both his hands were broken, ending his artistic career.
The stunning high altar at St. Jakob's dates to the early 15th Century, funded by a grant from the descendants of the famed mayor Toppler. The central wood carvings are not attributed and the painted side panels are by Friedrich Herlin - perhaps the finest work of an otherwise competent career. Set against the great stained glass windows, this is another striking piece of work in a church filled with them.
Perhaps the most famous part of the altar is the crucifix scene, with four surrounding angels - Faith and Prayer on the right and Unbelief and Doubt on the left. Immediately below this scene are carvings of 6 saints, with the largest being the Virgin and John in the center looking up at the Crucifixion. The painting after which the altar is named is in the bottom panel and relatively obscure, featuring Christ with the Twelve Apostles. The eight side paintings by Herlin depict seven scenes in the life of the Virgin beginning with the Annunciation and with two for her death.
Altar of the Virgin Mary
This masterful work of carving dates from approximately 1520, the sculptor unknown but according to experts probably trained by Riemenschneider and located off-center in the north aisle. The central carving depicts the coronation of the Virgin, with images of the Virgin with Child on the left and with St. Ann, Virgin and Child on the right. Beneath the three major pieces, the bottom panel depicts the death of Mary. It seems hard to believe that this detailed altar is not even the second most famous feature at St. Jakob's Each of the images is labelled.
Entrance to St. Jakob's
Rothenburg's largest church was built between 1311 and 1471, consecrated in 1485, and Lutheran since 1544. It is dedicated to St. Jakob ( James in English ), the patron saint of merchants and pilgrims, depicted traditionally with a staff and the St. James scallop on his head. A traditional statue stands at the entrance ( image 2 ).The interior is rather spartan - I thought at first perhaps not to detract from the magnificent altars and stained glass windows but actually due to a cleansing of frippery in the 19th Century by Romantic purists. The simple high vaulted ceiling and the abundant windows make the interior bright and open.
An unusual architectural feature is an expansion of the church westward over the Klingenstrasse - it is in this area where the famed Altar of the Blood is housed ( image 3 ).
The stained glass windows of St. Jakob's are quite beautiful with rich deep colors. Behind the high altar, 3 sets of windows measure 56 feet in height. These are difficult to see raised from the floor but depict on the left the life of the Virgin Mary, in the center, the life of Christ, and on the right Redemption through the Sacraments. These date to the late 14th Century, artists uncertain.
The following tips will detail some ( but hardly all) of the remarkable treasures within.
St. James was one of the first disciples, the brother of John the Evangelist. His preaching took him predominantly to Spain, but a return to Jerusalem in 44 AD was fatal - he was beheaded by King Herod. The return of his relics to Spain was by miraculous events. After his execution, angels placed his body and relics in an unmanned rudderless boat which travelled to Spain unattended. These moved miraculously to Compostela. More likely, of course, his disciples had something to do with this, but miracles do live on. As a result, Santiago de Compostela is now the third most important Catholic city after Rome and Jerusalem. Rothenburg was a major stop for pilgrims of the Middle Ages and Renaissance en route to Spain.
Germany's most famous store selling Christmas items began as a cottage shop in 1964, founded by Wilhelm Wohlfahrt and named after his wife. The business moved its headquarters to Rothenburg in 1977, now the center of a 9 store chainlet, with branches in several touristic cities in Germany, and with three outside Germany including one each in France, Belgium, and Minnesota US. This largest store also has a fee-entry museum detailing the history of Christmas giving.
The store is very worth visiting even if no purchases are intended - it is difficult to leave without something ( we bought ). Pictures cannot do credit to the incredible volume and variety of the merchandise offered. This store is hard to believe, conveniently located near the main square, and absolutely worth at least a quick look. We spent far longer in here than intended.
Note that the spirit of giving does not extend to giving photography rights to visitors - expect to be harassed.
Side View of the Rathaus
One of Germany's most photographed buildings dominates the main market square. The most frequently imaged part of the buillding is actually the side, with a long terrace brightened by flowers and on festival days banners. This portion, built after a major fire, is in the Renaissance style and built between 1572-8 by Leonhard Weidman. On the corner of the building, there is a statue of Leonhard ( image 3 ). The arcade was added in 1681.
The older portion including a 200 foot tall tower, is Gothic ( 13th C ), and the portion of the building which survived a major fire. This part, the white building, fronts on the Herrngasse. The tower offers an overview of the city for those willing to climb a narrow steep circular staircase. The older Gothic section facade overlooks the St. George Fountain ( image 4).
The Councillor's Tavern today houses the tourist information office. Centuries ago it was the exclusive drinking venue for the town managers and dates probably to the 13-14 Century. The major clock was installed in 1683, but the building is most famous for the Meistertrunk show put on hourly. An apocryphal tale created in the 19th Century describes how a retired mayor named Nusch drained a gallon of wine in one gulp and saved the city from destruction by the Catholic forces besieging it during the Thirty Years War ( 10/31/1631 ). More likely the town fathers just bribed the HRE commander Tilly.
The mechanical show was created in the early 20th Century. The two little doors near the top of the building open and on the left as one watches Tilly stares in disbelief and the ex-mayor drinks the whole thing ( Images 1 and 4 ). If you have seen the Orlov or the Marienplatz mechanical displays, you will be far more fascinated by the gaggle of gaping geese with humanoid habitus photographing the event ( image 5 ) This legend is also the subject of an annual festival.
More Reviews (3)
nicolaitan's Related Pages
Rothenburg ob der Tauber Travel Guide
Member Travel Pages
- "One of the most romantic towns in Europe"
- "Up the Romantic Road to Rothenburg Ob Der Tauber.."
- ""Most German of German towns""
- "DIE ROMANTISCHE STRASSE"
- "TOURIST'S LOVE ROTHENBURG OB DER TAUBER!"
- "Not touched since 1600, re-virginized"
- "Romantic Rothenburg"
- See All...
- Things to Do in Rothenburg ob der Tauber
- Hotels in Rothenburg ob der Tauber
- Transportation in Rothenburg ob der Tauber
- Nightlife in Rothenburg ob der Tauber
- Restaurants in Rothenburg ob der Tauber
- Shopping in Rothenburg ob der Tauber
- Warnings and Dangers in Rothenburg ob der Tauber
- See All...
Explore the World
- Alonnisos Island Hotels
- Cayucos Hotels
- San Antonio Abad Hotels
- Norfolk Island
- Balicasag Island
- Unapool Hotels
Badges & Stats in Rothenburg ob der Tauber
- 13 Reviews
- 55 Photos
- 11 Forum posts
- 6 Comments
- See All Stats
- See All Badges (42)
Have you been to Rothenburg ob der Tauber?Share Your Travels
Latest Activity in Rothenburg ob der Tauber
- Posted in Miscellaneous Forum "Re: What new words have you..."
- Commented on one of BruceDunning's Rothenburg ob der Tauber travel pages
- updated a Rothenburg ob der Tauber Travel Page "Romantic Rothenburg"
- Wrote a Review Architectural Considerations in Rothenburg ob der Tauber Favorites
- Uploaded a Photo to "Architectural Considerations"
Top 10 Pages
- Istanbul Intro, 55 reviews, 283 photos, 6 travelogues
- Amsterdam Intro, 53 reviews, 206 photos
- Vienna Intro, 48 reviews, 197 photos
- Top 5 Page for this destination Long Island Intro, 59 reviews, 175 photos, 3 travelogues
- Top 5 Page for this destination Nevsehir Ili Intro, 38 reviews, 185 photos, 3 travelogues
- Prague Intro, 45 reviews, 173 photos, 3 travelogues
- New York City Intro, 57 reviews, 160 photos, 2 travelogues
- Salzburg Intro, 40 reviews, 167 photos, 1 travelogue
- Berlin Intro, 42 reviews, 159 photos, 1 travelogue
- Budapest Intro, 42 reviews, 133 photos, 3 travelogues
Latest Rothenburg ob der Tauber hotel reviews
- Hotel Spitzweg
- 220 Reviews & Opinions
Latest: Nov 10, 2013
- Silence Burghotel
- 215 Reviews & Opinions
Latest: Nov 18, 2013
- Altfrankische Weinstube
- 77 Reviews & Opinions
Latest: Dec 4, 2013
- Hotel Uhl
- 72 Reviews & Opinions
Latest: Oct 28, 2013
- Herrnschlosschen - Hotel - Restaurant - Garden
- 169 Reviews & Opinions
Latest: Dec 3, 2013
- Hotel Eisenhut
- 137 Reviews & Opinions
Latest: Dec 1, 2013
- Zum Rappen
- 56 Reviews & Opinions
Latest: Oct 31, 2013
- Hotel Klosterstuble
- 273 Reviews & Opinions
Latest: Dec 4, 2013
- Hotel-Garni Hornburg
- 161 Reviews & Opinions
Latest: Nov 7, 2013
- Hotel-Gasthof Breiterle
- 55 Reviews & Opinions
Latest: Nov 2, 2013
- 54 Reviews & Opinions
Latest: Oct 31, 2013
- Hotel Goldener Hirsch Rothenburg
- 79 Reviews & Opinions
Latest: Sep 27, 2013
- Bayerischer Hof
- 11 Reviews & Opinions
Latest: Nov 27, 2013
- Romantik Hotel Markusturm
- 243 Reviews & Opinions
Latest: Nov 6, 2013
- Tilman Riemenschneider
- 33 Reviews & Opinions
Latest: Nov 6, 2013