Discover Germanys’ Romantic Road
What’s in a name? This one, devised by travel agents in the 1950's, describes the road between Wurzburg and Fussen, Germany. An apt description given you’ll get to explore storybook German villages full of multi story plaster and timber houses crafted to fairytale perfection on what was once a trade route. The crown jewel of them all is Rotenberg ob der Tauber.
This 13th century medieval walled city is filled with narrow lanes and alleys, half-timbered houses and clock towers that chime on the hour. A fully intact city wall, 1.5 miles long, is still lined by battlements and circled by stairs and walkways; perfect for exploring. At its peak in the 15th century the city was home to around 6000 residents, at a time when Germany’s major cities had not even been settled.
Constructed at a time when security was paramount. Gates were closed nightly to prevent attack. Perched high above the valley floor the charming fountains served an added purpose. Cisterns located under the fountains would continue to provide fresh water even in the event of a prolonged siege.
Today the number of visitors dwarfs the number of residents. Annually around 2.5 million tourists include a day trip here on their itinerary, but a fractional number spend the night. With so much charm, just go ahead and plan to stay.
Every pastry shop window is full of softball shaped desserts. Constructed of shortcrust, which is similar to a piecrust. The baker splashes it with plum schnapps and winds it around the handle of a spoon to form its shape. They are covered by chocolate, confectioner’s sugar, or nuts and sometimes filled with marzipan, this treat has been served here for over 400 years. With a name like schneeball, you simply have to sample one
Climb to the top of the town hall tower located in the city’s center market square. For only 1-euro, plus the challenge of ascending the 241 steps, you are rewarded with a bird’s eye view of the city.
The city’s most famous site is the church of St Jacob. Home to a relic that purports to contain some of Jesus’ blood; it has drawn many pilgrims. Today the city’s churches are mostly Lutheran, although they were built before the time of Martin Luther. A city policy that the church will be the denomination of the city council, brought the changes, and in its time those that did not change their religion, simply lost all their property.
Not to be missed is the Medieval Crime and Punishment Museum. A glimpse at some of these diabolical horrors will leave you glad you’re a 21st century visitor.
Include a visit to the Katie Wolhlfahrt Christmas shop. Stroll through rooms chocked full of different style ornaments, trees and themes. Explore the Christmas Museum, with old Christmas cards, advent calendars, and ornaments, even Mini Christmas trees sent to World War II soldiers. Encompassing a huge display, the throng of tourists makes even moving in this winter wonderland challenging, but worthwhile.
Like many German cities, almost 40% of the city was destroyed during World War II. Partially rebuilt with private donations from all over the world after the war, it is once again historically accurate. Today this gem is the highlight of a tour of Germanys Road.
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