The charming small town of Rothenburg ob der Tauber lies in Bavaria along the Romantic Road. While it already should be on the top of your “must-sees” in Germany, if you need more convincing, then read on.
1. Medieval Crime Museum
Where can you find historic artifacts like the neck violin (pictured above), chastity belts and executioner masks? At the Medieval Crime Museum in Rothenburg! Tours cost €5 for adults and €3 for children 6 and older. Plan to spend an hour or two checking out the exhibits and history. Don’t forget to take a picture in the stocks right by the entrance! Website.
These shortcrust pastries originate from the Rothenburg region and were originally only served on special occasions liked weddings. Classically, they are dusted with powdered sugar, but you can find a variety of flavors at specialty shops throughout Rothenburg. More on schneeball.
3. Year Round Christmas Stores
You’ll find nutcrakers, pyramids, ornaments, and smokers in almost all of the street side tourist stores. Make sure you check out the Kathie Wohlfahrt Christmas Village and museum.
4. Medieval Charm
Rothenburg was mostly preserved during WWII because the US Assistant Secretary of War John J. McLoy knew the historical importance and charm of the city. Some homes, watchtowers, and buildings were destroyed and 37 people died during a bombing in 1945. As the end of the war grew near, 6 soliders from the US army approached the town with an offer to save their city. They were stopped by a German soldier and told him, “We are representatives of our division commander. We bring you his offer to spare the city of Rothenburg from shelling and bombing if you agree not to defend it. We have been given three hours to get this message to you. If we haven’t returned to our lines by 1800 hours, the town will be bombed and shelled to the ground.”* The German army stepped down and allowed the town and it’s historic enchantment were preserved.
*William M. Dwyer, “So Long for Now: A World War II Memoir,” Xlibris Corporation (2009), pp 118-131
Additional information from: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rothenburg_ob_der_Tauber
5. Clock Tower
This clock tower reenacts the historic “meistertrunk“. The meistertrunk refers to an event in 1631 when the town was under Siege by Count Tilly. Count Tilly told the city that he would spare them if any of it’s residents could drink a could finish a tankard filled with 6 pints of wine. The mayor took him up on his challenge, successfully finished the tankard and saved the city. On the hour from 11 AM to 3 PM and 8 PM to 10 PM, the clock reenacts this historic event.* There is also a yearly festival that celebrates this event. More information.
* “Meistertrunk Clock.” Waymarking. Groundspeak, Inc, 27 Oct. 2006. Web. 16 Feb. 2016.
6. Wall Around the City
The walls and towers around the city were built in the 13th century. Look for the “White Tower” and the “Markus Tower”, which are original structures. Parts of the wall and some towers were destroyed during WWII, but were rebuilt afterwards with donations from people all over the world.
7. Cliché Tourist Photos
The Plönlein is the most iconic building in Rothenburg. You’ll find it on postcards and street art all over the city. You can’t miss out on taking your own photo of this building.