LivingTravelWhy you should visit Rothenburg ob der Tauber

Why you should visit Rothenburg ob der Tauber

More than two million tourists flood this medieval town in Bavaria every year. Signs welcome tour buses in German, English and Japanese, and the town is illuminated by camera flashes. The entire Romantic Road is very visited, but why is this city so flooded?

The answer is that it is the best preserved medieval city in Germany. It is incredibly touristy, but even those who are against the established route should stop here. The museum-quality Altstadt (Old Town) is still surrounded by medieval walls, and stories of its charm halted its destruction in the midst of WWII. The city is worth it, especially at Christmas. Cross the medieval walls and return to history with this guide to Rothenburg ob der Tauber.

Historia de Rothenburg ob der Tauber

Rothenburg Castle was built on the River Tauber in 1070. A city developed around it, officially founded in 1170. A castle needs protection and walls and towers were added in the 13th century. Several towers can still be explored, although the castle no longer exists. Its location along the river and agricultural lands allowed it to grow in wealth and influence.

This promising future changed rapidly. The influential Jewish community was expelled in 1521, depriving the people of prosperity and power. A peasant’s revolt in 1525 took its toll. And then the city was weakened by the Thirty Years War. The townspeople embraced the Lutheran Protestant Reformation which collided with the Catholic Lord of the city. Rothenburg refused to garrison Johann Tserclaes’ troops in October 1631 and the Catholics laid siege. The city was quickly defeated and sacked, which happened over and over again.

To further exacerbate its misfortune, the plague arrived in 1634. Time moved on, but Rothenburg was totally ruined and missed much of its population, freezing it in time.

This changed in the 1880s with the Romantic era. Artists like Carl Spitzweg rediscovered forgotten Rothenburg. His depictions of the charming city brought tourists. Once again, Rothenburg was full of people.

This image of picturesque Germany was redesigned to fit the Nazi ideologues’ portrayal of the perfect German city in the 1930s. Regular day trips were arranged for party members, and once again their party was expelled. growing Jewish population.

This romantic image really helped save the city during WWII. When the bombs fell on the village on March 31, 1945, 37 people died, more than 300 buildings were destroyed, and more than 2,000 feet of the walls fell. This was detrimental to the Germans, but it also affected the United States Under Secretary of War, John J. McCloy. He had heard stories of the beauty of Rothenburg from his mother and did not want to see the city destroyed. He ordered to stop the artillery and instead negotiated their surrender.

The local military commander, Major Thömmes, agreed, ignoring Adolf Hitler’s orders. American troops occupied the city on April 17, 1945, and McCloy was subsequently made the Honorable Protectorate of Rothenburg.

It turns out McCloy wasn’t the only one who worried about Rothenburg’s future. Donations to rebuild the city came from around the world. The reconstructed walls feature commemorative bricks with the names of the donors.

The city still inspires people’s imagination. It is said to be one of the inspirations for the people in the 1940 Disney film Pinocchio . Filming was also done in Rothenburg for Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part 1 and 2 (the scene where Grindelwald steals the elder wand).

Visitor Information for Rothenburg ob der Tauber

  • Location: halfway between Frankfurt and Munich
  • There are several Rothenburgs in Germany. If you are buying a train ticket or looking for information, be specific: “Rothenburg ob der Tauber”.
  • The train station is east of the city wall, about 15 minutes from Marktplatz .
  • By car, take the A7 motorway, exit 108 and follow the signs to Rothenburg.
  • Tourism website
  • Rothenburg Attractions
  • Suggestions : While many people visit, not all stay overnight. Survive the tour buses for a much quieter Rothenburg.

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