Massive stone town walls studded with 42 towers; half-timbered houses with red-tiled roofs; cobblestone streets and flower-filled window boxes: That is Rothenburg ob der Tauber, the “Red Fort on the River Tauber.” Over the past 1,000 years, the narrow lanes have welcomed kings and emperors, pilgrims and, now, international visitors. All have been – and still are – bewitched by this town, where past and present live side by side.
Picturesque by day, the town is mysterious at night, when the night watchman’s tour leads visitors through picturesque lanes. Dressed in a black cape and a broad-brimmed hat, he carries a lantern. He speaks in English as well as German and his tales bring the past to life, from the Thirty Years War and the Plague to white gold (salt) and the Herrngasse, Rothenburg’s main shopping street.
Rothenburg was also important in the past as a destination for pilgrims, eager to see the precious relic at St. James’s Church: The Heilig Blut, the drop of Christ’s holy blood. This fine Gothic church is also famous for its Altarpiece of the Holy Blood. Carved in wood by the German master, Tilman Riemenschneider, its complexity and detail are as impressive now as they were five centuries ago.
ROTHENBURG OB DER TAUBER TRAVEL FACTS
Arrival Airport: Frankfurt | Transfer Time from airport: 3 hours (rail) / 1 hour 45 mins (driving) | 775km from Calais
(Information is approximate and subject to change / rail transfers are not always direct and may involve changing trains).