It’s hard to imagine that this Bavarian city is over a thousand years old, and its history includes most of fairy and medieval clichés. Founded by a medieval nobleman in 970, it passed under the government of another dynasty after the testament unapproved by the emperor, then became an independent city, was the venue of the Union of “fürst” (princes), an union of Christian cities. The city lost its independence during the Napoleonic wars in 1802, passing under the government of Bavaria. It was severely subjected to destructions during the Second World War, but was rebuilt.
We didn’t have a special purpose to visit this city – it’s just that the Munich surroundings had already been examinated for a long time, and for new impressions we headed for a small “fairy town” with a complex name. In local guidebooks, it was presented as an ideal place for pre-Christmas walks – the preserved architecture with local flavor, themed city decoration, and the museum of Christmas tree decorations presented “tourist’s kit”, sufficient to make decision on a trip.
Already at the city entrance, it became clear why it’s recommended everywhere – perfectly preserved “gingerbread houses” of different colors, setting paving streets-by, almost complete absence of time markers, old street trams, shop windows are decorated in the old style. This city really managed to preserve the spirit of the age.
Among the sights mention may be made of the 60 meter high town hall tower from which surroundings open up. On the evening of our arrival, there was a kind of a concert in the town hall – music was playing throughout the city, a lot of people gathered in the square, the nearest cafes offered takeaway drinks to walkers. In sum, it was a quite authentic performance. Especially, at night.
At all, Rothenburg at night is a sight in itself – with a well-placed delicate illumination, it allows the imagination to run wild, pulling out of memory childhood memories of Grimms’ fairy tales. I have to say that the memories of childhood experiences are much different from what was actually written in these tales. Once we re-read some of it in adulthood – it’s just medieval nasty: cannibalism, torture, cruelty. Nothing to it, of course, comes into head during a walk – only fairies, princesses, magic 🙂
Another sight rightly is the Church of St. James, built at the beginning of the 14th century. Legend has it that three drops of Christ’s blood are kept in a crystal capsule sealed in a gilded cross, are located in this church. It itself is a very tall building, towering over surrounding houses, it’s impossible to miss it.
The most lively impressions were left by the Christmas Museum and its shop. It’s simply impossible to come away from there without shopping: intricate wooden Christmas tree decorations made according to old models will not leave anyone unfazed. It’s simply impossible to choose one thing (two, three…) – you want to take half of the shop with you. We spent a lot of time there – familiarization with the fantasy of medieval craftsmen in field of Christmas tree decorations really allures. And it’s so bright! So neatly done!
Eating “snowballs” is an important element of local pastime schneeballen tradition. It’s served in any cafe, and there are also specialized shops. It look like shortbread cookies, but more impressions, as it’s beautifully served with a hint of the historical context.
The Gerlach smithy is another building attracting tourists. It’s a classic example of the “half-timbered style” – the so-called “box work”, the frame construction of the walls, typical for the peasant architecture of many countries of Central and Northern Europe.
One of the tourist attractions can be considered a walk along the city wall – the wooden passage on the top is conveniently arranged, there is space to diverge for tourists, and views of the city are fairy. But in general, in this city it would be nice to book a guided tour for a couple of hours, so that a walk is not just picturesque, but also informative. It’s very convenient to order such a tour through the resource Excurzilla, it’s possible to book even right to the very day.
Despite this, I would like to mention our hotel – Gastehaus am Plonlein, located in the very center of the city. It’s in an old building, the earliest part of which dates back to the 16th century. In 2017, it was successfully renewed and obtained the national award for historical heritage preservation. There are few rooms in this hotel, and it has kept the spirit of the times (as much as possible according to modern hotel standards). If you’re lucky with a room on the other side of the entrance, windows offer a stunning view of the city and the valley nearby, it simply casts a spell. Service is also excellent – the cutest German “Frau” friendly tells the history of the hotel and helps to solve all everyday issues.
A visit to the city left the most pleasant impressions, and it’s worth it to rent a car at bookingauto and drive, making sure of it personally. And, most likely, the most successful time of the year for this will be December – I’m sure that before Christmas it will look very magical.
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