Walking Tour of Rothenburg ob der Tauber, Germany
This wonderful town on the Romantic Road is considered by many to be the best-preserved Medieval town in all of Europe. It is an extremely charming walled village with cobblestone streets and well-kept homes and businesses. The only problem here is that it was discovered long ago by tourists and can get incredibly crowded, especially during the summer time. The best ways to avoid the hordes is to get to town early in the day or to spend the night since most visitors are day-trippers.
Begin the walk at the Marktplatz, market square and the central gathering place in the town. The dominant building here is the Rathaus, City Hall, part of which dates to 1240 AD. Climb the Tower for views of the walled city. From here travel south on Schmiedgasse toward Sieber’s Tower (a guard tower) where the street becomes Spitalgasse and leads to the Spital Bastion at the southernmost part of town. From here begin a walk of the city walls, heading northwest back toward the center of town. Pass Kobolzeller Gate and continue to Burg Gate at the far western end of town. Here you may continue your circuit around town along the walls or go back down to ground level to walk the streets. (This tour will do the latter).
From the Burg Gate head eastward along Herrngasse. Check out the Puppet Theater on the left and then stop at Franziskkirche, one of the town’s main churches. Continuing on Herrngasse, just before you reach the Marktplatz, stop in at Christmas Village to browse this most interesting shop. Then continue eastward past the main square to Markus Tower, another of the guard towers within the city walls and onward toward the Roder Gate. Just before the gate, take a left on Rosengasse and walk to Galgengasse. Looking to the right, you will see the Gallows Gate, but turn left and head back toward the center of town passing beneath the White Tower enroute. The street becomes Klostergasse and leads to St Jacobkirche on your right. Be sure to check out the interior of this important church whose altar was made by Tilman Riemenschneider, famed sculptor from Wurzburg.
From here, if you have not seen enough of the city gates take a right onto Klingengasse and head for the Klingen Gate. Otherwise, continue straight on Klostergasse and then turn left when you reach the city walls. Pass the Burg Gate and then continue south taking a left on Burggasse. Notice the Kriminal Museum at #3 Burggasse. If you are interested in torture and Medieval punishments, this is the only museum of its type in Europe. After your visit continue on Burggasse and then take a left on Schmiedgasse to get back to Market Square and the walk’s origin.