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Medieval Life: Rothenburg Ob Der Tauber

The reason why I gave this name to the article is that I really felt like living in middle age in Rothenburg if it was not for the cars or the TV we had in our flat xD Rothenburg is one of my favourite cities so far, it really amazed me: walking around the town catapults you back into the time, the cobblestone streets are crazily clean despite the great affluence of tourists everyday, the houses, as well as the historical buildings, are very well-kept and the ancient walls of the city are still there and you can even walk on them!

Some Information About Rothenburg

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Rothenburg is a town located in the south of Germany, in the historical region of Bavaria, close to the border with Baden-Württemberg. It is surrounded by a very well preserved nature and corn fields that are of a shining yellow and blinds you everytime you try to have a glimpse of them under the summer sun. The origins of the town dates back to the X century where, on the nowadays garden, we could have found the fortress belonging to the Coburg-Rothenburg noble family. Later, he had a castle be built on the top of the hill overlooking the entire Tauber valley but was destroyed by an earthquake in the 14th century. When the household of the Coburg-Rothenburg extinguished, all their properties (including Rothenburg and another village) was passed down to the abbey of Coburg, founded by the family itself. From this time on, the town went through all kinds of vicissitudes until it was partially destroyed during the war but spared thanks to the opposition of an American general, who saved a great part of the town’s treasures. Rothenburg is also famous for its Spielzeugen, that is to say toys, and Christmas ornaments, which are sold here all year long. 

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Well, it is quite hard to say what to see in Rothenburg as the whole town is an open-air museum…you just need to move around a bit and you discover picturesque corners and beautiful view over the surrounding valley. To make it short, I will just give you some tips of what to see and not get lost in this ancient town filled with places to see everywhere and use the time you have at the best.

1) Check the Marktplatz and Climb Up The Rathaus Tower

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rothenburgMarktplatz is the heart of the lovely town of Rothenburg and was theatre of many events occurred in the past, for example when the kind of Sweden stayed in Rathaus with the army, during the war women and children gathered here in order to beg the military to spare the city from the bombs and so on. On the Marktplatz, we can find the tourist office where they display maps of the town with many magazines about the history and activities that take place in Rothenburg. In the evening, from here, a march guided by a local guy wearing a mantel and ancient costumes start as well. The most outstanding building is the Rathaus (town hall) that dominates over the square with its Renaissance façades. By paying just two euros, you can reach the top of the tower but be warned! You have to climb very narrow and steep stairs in order to enjoy the panorama up there even though, believe me, it is more than worth it! You will find yourself on a small balcony that towers over the town and you will be able to spot all the colorful house that make up Rothenburg’s skyline.

2) Living The Fairytale Of Rothenburg – Plönlein

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Plönlein, mmhmh this word sounds weird right? Even that weird O with those two dots…It is german, one of the languages that sounds less cute and not everyone can understand…BUT you surely know Plönlein, I am sure of it! You find photos of this place everywhere, everytime you search for Germany! It is a lovely corner of Rothenburg that has the power to catapult you into a fairytale: colorful german-style house, balconies adorned with flowers, cobblestone streets ? only tourists ruin a bit but it is fine, I can understand them! I came here for the same purpose after all ? for all the Germans out there, German is not a ugly language, I studied it for years and I really like its sound, especially the CH ahah ?

3) Strolling Along The Ancient City Walls

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I have never seen such long and well-preserved walls as here in Rothenburg. They stretch all around the town and are accessible only at the gates that used to control the traffic at the entrance of the town in the middle-age. I do not really know whether the walls were destroyed during the war but I am pretty sure many people from all around the world (many japanese included) donated money to renew it or rebuild it as the plaques on the wall pointed out. This is the perfect place to take some impressing photos of the town’s picturesque roofs ?

4) Eating A Bayerische Frühstück And Local Bretzels

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Luckily, we found a really cute bakery shop near one of the various gates that can be found in the Old Town. The name is Brot und Zeit and bakes every kind of food: from normal bread to Bretzels, pastries and even pasta. One morning we noticed randomly that on the board, which was hanged above the counter, there was written “Bayerische Frühstück” and this triggered our curiosity. The morning after, we decided to order that…no disappointment: a big Bretzels accompanied by a soup with two thick and white wurstel! I can assure you, on that day, I have not eaten until the evening ahah it is something to taste if you are a foodie like us ?

5) Eating True Bayerisch Meals

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rothenburgAbout this, I am quite an expert now! I gladly write down some names of restaurants we ate in during our stay in Rothenburg. The first day we stopped at a cute restaurant located on the main square of the town called Ratstube with a medieval atmosphere and German-furnitured interior. We could even witness a concert performed by three men wearing Bayerisch costume playing the typical instrument of this area (South Germany, Austria and Switzerland) the Alphorn: a long trumpet. When they finished their performance, they came to eat in the same restaurant and sat down near us, such a honour! I ordered Spätzle (yeah, I have a thing for Spätzle) that came with salad and my boyfriend ordered Schweinshaxe and Knödel (in a nutshell, potatoes balls). The next restaurant we tried was the Baumesteirhaus, located just 5 minutes away from this one. The inside was beautiful, really medieval-like and the prices wrothenburgere quite fair. The last time, we ate in a restaurant that was very well hidden in a small alleyway just behind our flat; we, indeed, discovered why everytime we smelled food from our window! It is called Zur Hölle (To Hell) and if you go there, you will understand why: It is one of the oldest building in Rothenburg, very small, with thick walls, wooden tables and instead of electric lights, we had candles, which made everything even more picturesque. The quality of the food was very high, especially the meat, but the prices were quite expensive. 

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6) Visiting The Imposing Church And The Magical Garden

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Just at the end of the road that goes beyond the Marktplatz, after crossing the city gate, you find yourself in this beautiful green garden that offers a beautiful view on a side of Rothenburg. I advice you to go there during the sunset because in the morning the sun is very bright (of course, if the day is sunny) and will likely ruin your photos….then the sunset is very romanic and makes everything better 😉

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rothenburgThe church is also a must see in the old town as it is unavoidable and draws your attention if you pass by (you will surely pass by..); it is also used often for musical events, we attended a free organ concert inside the church and we really enjoyed it. From the tall spires that characterizes the church architecture, I would say it is an interesting example of gothic style, a real example of Medieval architecture. Even the inside is very imposing and huge.

7) Extra – Wandering Around In The Tauber Valley

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For those who will stay here one day, you barely have the chance to see what this town has to offer so this is just adressed to all of those who decided to stay here 3 or at least 2 days. Rothenburg does not just have the wonderfully preserved old town but can also brag about its lush greenery scenaries and vineyards. We decided to “hike” a bit around the town discovering abandoned windmills, rural houses, misterious churches devoured by the wood and elementary school trips. We had a day off from our tourist life (not that it is bad) and enjoy the nature. We also found a big complex that still not now we know what it was…I suppose it is a spa as the name could suggest: wild bad.

How To Reach:

It is not difficult at all for those who are staying in Wurzburg, for those who are in other bigger german cities, like Frankfurt, it might be a bit longer.

  • Just go to the central station and buy a ticket for Rothenburg: there are enough trains all day long until evening.
  • You need to change at Steinach and get on another train. You usually have enough time to get off, searching for the platform and get on the other train so don’t worry.
  • The other train only stops a few times in very tiny villages and et voila, you have arrived.
  • For those who are staying in bigger cities like Frankfurt, you need to reach Würzburg by train (ICE or a normal train) and following the steps I listed before.

Where to Stay:

When we came to Rothenburg, we decided to book a flat inside of a hotel as we wanted to experience the true local life. We found this lovely Gästehaus Liebler just located in the heart of Rothenburg: 5 minutes away from the Marktplatz and 5 minutes away from the restaurant Zur Hölle. The area is very peaceful, despite being in the centre, as it is located in a side alleway where only some random tourists or locals pass by 3 or 4 times per day.

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First of all, let me state clearly that I am a human: two legs, two arms, brown hair etc (yep, everything is at its place) and then, I am Federica from the corrupted and mainly-famous-for-pasta-and-mafia country, otherwise known as Italy. I am a temple geek, I totally love temples, every kind: from Buddhist, to Taoist, to Shinto ones ? Other thing I am fixated on are anime (my God, I watched so many that I lost the count), pasta (of course, I am italian), ramen ? and travelling.I am really interested in travelling and discovering the world, I can say, it is my greatest passion and I try to persue it, everytime I am not busy with studying or attending some lessons at university

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