Rothenberg Travel Blog› entry 6 of 11 › view all entries
This is my fave city in bavaria. it is a medival town. home of the famous rothenberg snowballs. These pastry balls, which are each about the size of a softball, are made of strips of pastry wound into a ball, deep fried, and coated with various icings or toppings. Very yummy! you must have one before leaving this town.
Rothenburg ob der Tauber is a town in the district of Ansbach of Mittelfranken (Middle Franconia), the Franconia region of Bavaria, Germany, well known for its well-preserved medieval old town, a destination for tourists from around the world. In the Middle Ages, it was an Imperial Free City. A significant fraction of Rothenburg is carfree.
The name "Rothenburg ob der Tauber" is actually a shortened version of "Rothenburg oberhalb der Tauber", which in German means "Rothenburg above the Tauber".
Since German does not have the th-sound (as in thin), the proper pronunciation of the first syllable of the name is more or less like English rote, while -burg is similar to "burk". In IPA (International Phonetic Alphabet): [ro:tənbʊag ɔp dєr taʊba].
In 1274, Rothenburg became a Free Imperial City and at the time one of the 20 largest cities of the Holy Roman Empire. The population was around 5,500 people within the city walls and another 14,000 in the 150 square miles (390 km²) of surrounding territory.
In October 1631 during the Thirty Years' War, Catholic Count Tilly wanted to quarter his 40,000 troops in Protestant Lutheran Rothenburg. Rather than allow entrance, the town defended itself and intended to withstand a siege. However, Tilly's troops quickly defeated Rothenburg, losing only 300 soldiers. After the winter they left the town poor and nearly empty, and in 1634, the Black Plague killed many more. Without any money or power, Rothenburg stopped growing and preserved its 17th century state.
Since 1803 the town has been a part of Bavaria. Romanticism artists of the 1880s rediscovered Rothenburg, bringing tourism to the town. Laws were created to prevent major changes to the town.
In March 1945 in World War II, Nazi soldiers were stationed in Rothenburg defending it. On March 31, bombs were dropped over Rothenburg by 16 planes killing 39 people and destroying 306 houses, six public buildings, nine watchtowers, and over 2,000 feet (610 m) of the wall. The U.S Assistant Secretary of War John J. McCloy knew about the historic importance and beauty of Rothenburg, so he ordered US Army General Jacob L. Devers not use artillery in taking Rothenburg. The local military commander Major Thömmes ignored the order of Adolf Hitler for all towns to fight to the end and gave up the town, thereby saving it from total destruction by artillery.
The building on the town square is the Ratstrinkstube and contains a clock which re-enacts the historic meistertrunk daily. According to legend, the meistertrunk commemorates the event in 1631 when the walled town was under siege by the Imperial forces of Count Tilly. On a lark, Count Tilly told the city that he would spare them if anyone could drink a tankard containing about one gallon of wine in one draught. Mayor Nusch took the challenge and was successful, and the city was saved. The clock re-enacts the event hourly from 11:00 to 15:00 and 8:00 to 22:00.
To the left of the picture forming the west side of the town hall square is the Rathaus or town hall. The rear Gothic part of the building dates from 1250, and the attached front Renaissance building was started in 1572. This building served as the seat of government for the city-state during the medieval ages and for the city of Rothenburg since the formation of the federalist government. The town hall tower is open for ascent to view the city from high above. Underneath the tower is the entrance to a museum celebrating the Thirty Years War and also the Imperial Entrance into the Rathaus.
Rothenburg ob der Tauber is one of the cities on the Romantische Straße (Romantic Road) that has preserved vestiges of its medieval importance into the 21st century.
While buildings within the walled city reflect the city's medieval history, this part of the city is in many ways a normal, modern German town with some concession to the tourist trade. In addition to many stores and hotels aimed at tourists, residences and shops also reflect the daily life of modern Germany. Most of the tourist shops cluster around the Town Hall Square and along several major thoroughfares (Herrngasse, Schmiedgasse).
Along the Tauber River below the west town walls and the castle gardens lies the original settlement of Detwang, dating from the year 960. Its St. Peter and Paul church was built in 968 and is the only Romanesque church in the region.
The mayor of Rothenburg was Herbert Hachtel (SPD) from 1988 until March 2006, he was followed by Walter Hartl.(no party)
* Rothenburg was the film location for the Vulgarian village scenes in Chitty Chitty Bang Bang in 1968.
* The town in the Japanese manga and anime series A Little Snow Fairy Sugar was inspired by Rothenburg.
* Rothenburg featured as the location in the Belgian comic book La Frontière de la vie (The Frontier of Life).
* Rothenburg was also the inspiration for the village in the Walt Disney movie Pinocchio.
* Sometimes mistaken as the town at the end of Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory (1971). The actual town is Nördlingen, Germany
* Rothenburg's famous street Koboldzellersteig and Spitalgasse is depicted on the cover of two Blackmore's Night albums. 1999's Under a Violet Moon and their 2006 festive album Winter Carols.