Markusturm in der Altstadt in Rothenburg ob der Tauber
Rothenburg ob der Tauber

What is there to do? Which buildings, museums, monuments and other sights are worth a visit? We reveal what you should see and experience in Rothenburg ob der Tauber

Reading time: 10 minutes

8 Top Sights in Rothenburg ob der Tauber

From the Plönlein, the path on the left at the Siebersturm leads into the Spitalviertel, on the right, the Kobolzeller Tor leads into the Tauber Valley

1

Plönlein 

It is the most famous photo motif of Rothenburg ob der Tauber: the crooked half-timbered house that looks like something out of a Grimm fairy tale, standing in front of the entrance to the Spitalviertel district. The enchanting building forms the centre of the Plönlein, which means "little square by the fountain."

The historical Plönlein ensemble also includes the fountain in front of the half-timbered house as well as the two towers of the city wall that rise up on both sides: on the left, the Siebersturm, which leads into the Spitalviertel (hospital quarter), and on the right, the tower of the Kobolzeller Tor from 1360, which points in the direction of the Tauber Valley.

Rothenburg's city wall has 42 towers, six gates and several doorways

2

City Wall and Tower Path

Rothenburg ob der Tauber is surrounded by a wall with 42 towers, six gates and some little doors for pedestrians. "Franconian Jerusalem" was the name given to the city because of its impressive silhouette.

A four-kilometre path connects the towers in two and a half hours of walking time and leads around the old town. The central starting point is the Röderturm tower with its great view over rooftops and alleys. Information boards and a brochure about the trail provide information about the town's history.

In Rothenburg and the Tauber Valley, private gardens open their doors to visitors

Rothenburg's Garden Paradises

SPONSORED POST The residents of the medieval half-timbered town of Rothenburg ob der Tauber are opening their private gardens to the public in 2023 after registration at garten@rothenburg.de. From the kitchen garden at the city wall to a magnificent flower garden in the Tauber Valley, the whole variety of gardens in Rothenburg ob der Tauber can be seen there.

The visit to the gardens is free of charge, as is the information brochure. Opening hours, detailed information on the individual gardens and a brief outline of Rothenburg's garden history can be found in the Rothenburg Garden Paradises brochure. More information: rothenburg-tourismus.de

Altar of the Holy Blood in St. Jacob's Church by the woodcarver Tilman Riemenschneider

3

St. Jakob's Church

The name indicates: Rothenburg ob der Tauber is located on the German Jakobswege network. Pilgrims coming from Nuremberg go via Speyer towards France and on to Spain. From Rothenburg ob der Tauber it's another 2,463 kilometres to Santiago de Compostela!

More than a thousand pilgrims a year get their pilgrim's stamp in St. James' Church, which was built between 1311 and 1484 and is now a Protestant church. Highlights of the church: the impressive Riemenschneider altar, another late Gothic altar with the oldest depiction of Rothenburg's market square, the colored windows in the east choir and the large Rieger organ from 1968.

  • Concerts are held throughout the year.
  • Daily guided tours of the church.
  • Open daily 10 am to 6 pm.
Käthe Wohlfahrt Weihnachtsdorf in Rothenburg ob der Tauber

4

Käthe Wohlfahrt Christmas Museum

The museum in Herrngasse shows how Christmas used to be celebrated in Germany and how, depending on the region, different customs came about. Until the 14th century, Christmas was a predominantly clerical celebration. After that, the first Christmas customs developed in the environment of the craft guilds. Then, from the 18th century, the celebration took over private homes as well.

The permanent exhibition shows objects created between 1870 and 1950. You can see Christmas trees, Christmas tree decorations and candle arches, Christmas tree stands, Christmas postcards and paper nativity scenes, Christmas tree lights, Advent wreaths, Christmas calendars and much more. In the adjoining "Christmas Village" you can buy Christmas articles of all kinds.

  • Monday to Saturday 10 am to 5 pm
  • Sunday 11 am to 4:30 pm
Autumn atmosphere in Rothenburg Castle Garden

5

Castle Garden

A castle has not existed in Rothenburg ob der Tauber for a long time. Today, the castle garden, which are the town's green oasis, stretches out in its place. A display board informs visitors about the former castle of the Staufer. The garden is characterised by old trees and wide lawns. A stele evokes the times when the Staufer emperor maintained his control over the imperial city.

A pogrom stone commemorates the Jewish inhabitants who were murdered in the course of the Rintfleisch pogrom in 1298. Behind the former gardener's house is the statue flowerbed. In a sea of blossoms, statues represent the individual seasons. From the castle garden you also have a beautiful view over the Tauber Valley. You can access the garden around the clock.

Rothenburg Criminal Museum: Time Travel to the 14th to 17th Centuries

6

Medieval Museum of Criminology

Creepy or highly informative? If you've always wanted to know what the Iron Maiden was really all about, and don't shy away from the sight of masks of shame, thumbscrews, stretching benches and the like, this museum is the place for you. And also for those who want to learn about 1,000 years of German and European legal history.

The museum, which is housed in the former St. John's monastery, does not aim to shock, but rather to enlighten with its exhibits about how the law has changed since the Middle Ages and which prejudices are wrong. In addition to the history of criminal law and its sanctions, the exhibition also focuses on the persecution of robbers and witches and recounts spectacular criminal cases. The visit is also suitable for children. Open daily.

Double Bridge: Historic road bridge located southwest of the town centre of Rothenburg in central Franconia

7

Double Bridge in the Tauber Valley

Southwest of the old town, an old bridge crosses the Tauber River. The striking structure made of shell limestone masonry with two rows of arches placed one on top of the other is called the Double Bridge. Presumably, the original structure was built around 1330. The bridge was part of the trade route from Augsburg to Würzburg and, as a toll bridge, helped Rothenburg ob der Tauber to become wealthy in the Middle Ages.

In 1945, the German Wehrmacht blew up the bridge. It was rebuilt after the war. The reconstruction was completed in 1956 after a good year of construction. From the bridge you have a unique view of the city skyline of Rothenburg ob der Tauber. Today, the Rothenburger Taubertalweg with roadway and pavement runs over the bridge.

The memorial stone at the White Tower recalls Rothenburg's Jewish history

8

Tracing Jewish History

The history of the Jewish community of Rothenburg ob der Tauber alternates, as in so many other Bavarian towns, between toleration and merciless persecution. At first, the community flourished in the Middle Ages; the Talmud expert Rabbi Meir ben Baruch of Rothenburg ob der Tauber enjoyed Europe-wide prestige.

Then came the catastrophes: In the Rintfleisch pogrom of 1298, many members were murdered. After resettlement, the community was again hit by a pogrom in the plague year of 1349. In 1520, the final expulsion took place until Jewish families started to settle again from 1870 onwards. Finally, in 1938, all Jewish citizens were expelled. A multitude of traces and testimonies of Jewish history have been preserved in Rothenburg ob der Tauber.


Suggestion for a 60-minute tour: Kapellenplatz, Weißer Turm, Judengasse and Klosterhof. Also, 12 Stolpersteine (memorial stones) have been laid in the old town to commemorate Jewish Nazi victims. Guided tours are offered by the Evangelical Church Community of St. Jacob, and individual explorations are also available with QR code information at judengemeinde.de. And the Rothenburg Museum has a Judaica section.

Rothenburg ob der Tauber: Vogelperspektive

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