Rothenburg ob der Tauber was one of the largest cities in Germany during the Middle Ages, with a population of around 6,000. Established in 1150, it was part of the "Romantic Road" that was a trade route linking Frankfurt and Munich.
Today it is one of the best preserved city, with it's complete medieval wall and buildings.
Within the city walls is St. Jakob's Church. Saint James (pictured with a funny hat, walking stick, and a seashell) went to spread the gospel of Jesus, travelling from Jerusalem to Spain.
Churches were built along his route, including this one. The route St. James took to get to Spain is known as the El Camino, and St. Jakob's church was one of the stops many of the missionaries made on their way to Spain.
So technically, we were on the El Camino, although we didn't walk on it that long.
In order to attract pilgrims to Rothenberg, the church held the holy relic of Christ's Blood. a 500 year old, 35 foot high alter contains a capsule with a stained cloth containing the blood of Christ.
There was also the Nightwatchmans Tower.
The Tower where they kept prisoners. The small stairwell and building was closed.
The Historicl old town buildings are maintained to be similiar to what you would have seen during the Middle Ages.
It was required that all businesses must have a sign out front with a picture displaying what goods the business was selling. Makes sense because in the Middle Ages, reading and writing was often restricted to the clergy or the aristocrats and therefore most of the servants and common folk who would be doing the shopping would be unable to read the signs and would rely in pictures.
The entire city is routed with water. The water would move from high up in the city through the fountains and later flow down towards the edge of the city. Because of the plentiful water system, the city never burned entirely, unlike other Medieval towns.
At one building there were statues showing the 7 Vices and the 7 Virtues. But they mixed them all together.
We also just walked around the wall and saw the vineyards below. It was beautiful.
Definitely worth the visit, but be prepared to walk.
Chauffeur’s Corner (Brian)
So Rothenburg will go down as the 1.5hr “free” stop that cost roughly $50.
We had read about this town from Rick Steves and decided that it would be cool to see. I had only planned on walking along the city wall, but we decided to change things up and go into the city. There were many cool sights and I may want to return at some point. It didn’t feel like a tourist trap, as the stores were authentic, but it is definitely niche.
We returned to our car, filled up with fuel before hitting the highway heading to Cologne. Only after 5-10 miles on the highway do I notice something white flapping under my windshield wiper. It takes another 5-10 minutes to find an exit. Take a guess….
Yeah…a parking ticket. I knew we had parked in a “parking area”, but there was no gate for entry/exit and I failed to see the ticket machine. Fortunately, it was only 10 Euro…roughly $12.50. Unfortunately, we couldn’t figure out how to pay and the rental car company charged it for us…after a nice administrative fee. That was only the beginning of my ticket woes for this day.