Rothenburg ob der Tauber – Where Christmas Never Ends
Tourists from all over the world come to visit Rothenburg ob der Tauber for a memorable incursion into the past. The Bavarian town has a surprisingly well preserved medieval look, especially in the Old Town (Altstadt), where half-timbered houses, massive towers, sinuous cobbled streets and fortification walls make up a wonderful picture.
The name of the town means “Red Fortress above the Tauber”, and it describes the geographical position of the settlement – which is above the Taube River – as well as its dominant color: red, on the roofs of the old buildings. Here visitors have the most enjoyable and authentic medieval experience in Germany, especially if they come during exiting festivals such as the ‘Master’s Draught’.
Another thing that makes the town very popular among tourists is its perpetual Christmas. People can buy Christmas gifts, handcrafted souvenirs and lovely decorations all through the year. Actually, there is even a Christmas Museum in the town, where a magical exhibition attracts visitors every day.
The museum is owned by a German chain of stores that sells Christmas-related articles, and whose head office is right here in Rothenburg. The store reportedly holds the largest selection of traditional German decorations and other Nativity-related products. Tree ornaments, figurines, candles, nutcrackers – you name it and they have it!
One of the most visited buildings in the town is the imposing St. James Church, a historic Lutheran place of worship that was built between whose construction began in the early 14th century and ended in the late 15th century. The reason for which people from all over the world come to this church is the fact that it represents an important pilgrimage stop on the way to the amazing St. James Cathedral in Santiago de Compostela, Spain. It is also famous for some very important relics, including the Holy Blood altarpiece carved in wood between 1500 and 1505.
For excellent views of the town and the beautiful Tauber Valley, you can take a long walk on the medieval town walls that still surround the old part of Rothenburg. The circular fortification is approximately 1.5 miles long, and the walk is absolutely worth it. Another excellent place for views over the town and the surrounding countryside is the Town Hall (Rathaus), more specifically its tall tower with 214 steps. Yes, the climb is difficult, but also very rewarding.
And finally, there is no true incursion into the Middle Ages if you don’t get to see something dark and gruesome. After all, this era was called the Dark Ages for a reason. So if you are ready to discover some quite troubling realities of the past, you should stop at the Medieval Crime Museum (Kriminalmuseum). It is so vast and there are so many exhibits (instruments of torture, legal documents and so on) inside, that it can take half a day to see everything. However, one-hour tours are also possible.
We suggest that afterwards you take some time to relax and clear your mind in the Castle Garden, which can be found on the ruins of a 12th century castle. You can even hike towards a lovely valley below from here, if you feel like it.
- The best time to visit the town is in spring and summertime, but winter is also very exciting, especially when Christmas approaches.
- Great luxury hotels in Rothenburg:Hotel Eisenhut, Historik Hotel GotischesHaus, and others.