R. (Rudolf) Albrecht.

A guide to Rothenburg o. T. .. online

. (page 1 of 2)
Online LibraryR. (Rudolf) AlbrechtA guide to Rothenburg o. T. .. → online text (page 1 of 2)
Font size
QR-code for this ebook



B M ISS fiD7



A Guide to the Town.

Published and printed by Rud. Albrecht '
Roihenburg o Tbr.








A Guide








by Rudolf Albredit.

With Illustrations, a View,
and a Plan of the Town.




Translated from the German

by »|

Dr. Karl Wertheim, Professor of Modern Languages *^^
and Sworn Translator, Niirnberg.




Printed and puplished by Rud. Albredit,
==^ Rothenburg ob der Tauber. ==










A Guide






by Rudolf Albredit.

With Illustrations, a View,
and a Plan of the Town.

Translated from the German

"^ Dr. Karl Wertheim, Professor of Modern Languages
and Sworn Translator, Niirnberg.

Printed and puplished by Rud. Albredit,
== Rothenburg ob der Tauber. =


m ^ ^ ^ ©





i A Walk through the Town i

from the Station to the
Roderthor (Roder Gate)
Rodergasse (Roder Lane) with
Markusturm (St. Mark's Tower)
Marktplatz (Market Plaze)
Herteridibrunnen (Herteridi*s Fountain)
Marienapotheke (Dispensing Chemist's Shop)
Fleisdi=formerly Tanzhaus (Meat=house, formerly

Rathaus (Town Hall)
Kapellenplatz (Chapel Place)
Sdiragi:Patrizierhaus (Sdirag's Mansion)
Weisser Turm (White Tower)
Gymnasium (Grammar Sdiool)
Messnerhdusdien (Sacristan's Cottage)
Jakobskirdie (St. James's Churdi)
Blutkapelle (Chapel of the Holy Blood)
Franziskanerkirdie (Churdi of the Franciscans)
Burgthor (Castle Gate)
Former Bettelvogtswohnung (House of the Beadle)

with Torture Chamber
Burggarten (Castle Garden)
Klingenbastei (Klingen Bastion)
St. Wolfgangskirdie (St. Wolfgang's Churdi)
Strafturm (Prison Tower)

Klingenturm (Klingen Tower)

Dominikanerkloster (Dominican Nunnery)

Marktplatz (Market Place)

Sdimiedgasse (Smith Lane)

Baumeisterhaus (Architect's House)


St. Johanniskirdie (St. John's Church)



Koboldzellertor (Kobolzell Gate)




Hospital=Gebdude (Hospital)


Hospitalkirche (Hospital Church)

Rossmiihle (Horse Mill)


Spitalstrasse, or



Rothenburg o, Tbn,


the old East Franconian stronghold, the residence of
Salian dynasts and of the Hohenstaufen — up to
1802 a free Town of the Empire — is very picturesquely
situated on the margin of a shell=limestone plateau
descending about 200 feet to the deep valley of
the Tauber. This river, whidi has its source
about 3^2 hours to the South, flows through the
Taubergrund (valley of the T.), and empties into
the Main near Wertheim.

Rothenburg has a population of about 9000,
mostly Protestants.

The mills and bakeries of the town enjoyed a
good reputation at all times, and there was a proverb

In Rothenburg uff der Tauber

1st das Miihl= und Beckenwerk sauben

(In Rothenburg on the Tauber

Mills and Bakeries are in good order).

The name of Rothenburg has been said to
mean „rothe Burg" (red castle) or „Burg innerhalb
der Waldungen", (castle within the woodlands).

000000000000000000000000000000000000 000000000000000000000000

DO a o


§ •:• § History. § •:• §

o D ' a a


[f we wish to narrate the history of the town,
we must begin with that of the former castle, for
this no doubt, stood first, and, as elsewhere, the
inhabitants may have settled round the fastness.

Tradition will have it that the Duke of the
Franconians, Pharamund, built the strong. „Phara=
mundsturm" (Pharamund Tower), on the west end of
the plateau, whidi was not broken off till the be=
ginning of the 19. century. The remains of the
wall show that the castle was of considerable ex=
tent. It was separated from the ground behind by a
moat, and formed at the same time an asylum for
the neighbouring country people. As the seat of
the burggraves of Rothenburg, it is for the first
time mentioned in a document of the year 804.

The castle was divided into the Hinterburg
(Badi Castle) with the above=mentioned Pharamund
Tower. As the proprietors of this Hinterburg appear
since 1144, the Nordenbergers, who became later on
the „Kitdien Masters" of the Holy Roman Empire.
The principal entrance of the Hinterburg was cer=
tainly on the south side of the projecting hill, for
a walled=up gate is still to be seen hidden behind
the trees of a garden, — The fundation=walls of
the Thorbau (South) were covered, in the sixteenth
century, by the Shooting House of the Steel=bow
Ardiers. The town that was to come was faced
by the Vorderburg (Front Castle), also called

Reidisfefle (Imperial Castle). The so=called „hohe
Haus der Herzoge" (high House of the Dukes), whidi
still exists, is the only remaining building of this
part of the Castle. Its most interesting sights are
Romanesque window=bays and a pearl=frieze (south
side), as well as a Gothic Madonna with Child
(west side.)

To the right of the high House at the north
corner of the castle was the site of the imperial
Landgeridit (Court of lustice). At prst the sittings
of the lay assessors presided over by an imperial
Landvogt were held here in the open air, later on
under a stone dais.

In the power of attorney whidi the Emperor
Ludwig gave to the Reidissdiultheiss Durwang, this
functionary was called upon „to judge according
to the law every hurtful! man.**

This building was pulled down in 1808.

After the land, once the property of the Thu=
ringians, had been conquered by the Franks, the
counts of Rothenburg that appear prst are the
Holy Gumpertus about 786, then Rudolf, Mengingaud,
Arno. They were rulers over several districts, as
Rothenburg had already become an important
centre. Duke Conrad the Red resided in the Ro=
thenburg Castle up to his proclamation as German
King (911). There is documentary evidence up to
1108 that members of the Salian dynasty called
themselves after Rothenburg. In the Usts of the
Bishops of Wiirzburg we find the following Counts
of Rothenburg : Mengingaud, 752—785, Gottwale,


841-855, Rudolph I, 892-908, Theodo, 908—932,
Burkhard II, 932-941, Hugo, 984—989, Bernhard,
989-955, Heinridi 1, 995-1018, Menginhard I, 1018-
1033,MenginhardII, 1085- 1088, Ay nhard, 1088-1104.

After the death of the last Salian Count, Hein-
ridi (1108), the succession passed to the kindred
Hohenflaufen. Duke Friedridi, called the Rothen=
burger, or the Ridi, kept a splendid court atRothen=
burg. He died of the plague, in a campaign againfl
Italy, whidi was led by the Emperor Barbaroffa.

Then the adminifbration of the Caflle came
into the hands of imperial burggraves. The firfl
imperial burggrave who resided here was — as
proved by documents — in the year 1172 Arnold,
a son of the Emperor Friedridi I. He was succeeded
in 1182 by his son, jwho (lyled himfelf Conradus
Dapifer de Rothenburg. The third was Count of
Limpurg, Gualtherus ;^ the fourth, who in a document
of 1280 is called ReidisdiultheifS, was Knight Herr=
mann of Hornburg, a^flepbrother of the Kiidien=
meister (Mafler of the Kitdien) Leupold ofNorden=
berg; the fifth was Leupold of Wailtingen, who died
1292. His successors were : a Count of Hohenlohe,
then (1315) Friedridi of Drixdingen, etc., till at last
in 1383 Lupoid and^Hanns of Nordenberg sold their
faflness, called thefHinterburg, together with the
vineyard situate below Coboldzeller Steig to te

By this act the town came into the poffefjion
of the cafUe, but none the less the Imperial Town
had to submit to the judicial adminiftration of im=

perial landnditers till the year 1409/ Seven houses
in the present Burggasse are said to form the first
beginning of the town in the shadow of the castle.
Later on, especially under the Hohenstaufen, Fran=
conian nobles, Sudi as the Hohenlohes, Sediendorfs,
Gebsattels, etc., settled here, and so the town gra=
dually extended along the border of the valley.
The Emperor Barbarossa granted it a diarter of
incorporation. The oldest town had its boundaries
from the Burgtor (Castle Gate) to the Johonnis=
kirdie (St. John*s Churdi), along the old town=moat
to the Biittelhaus (Beadle*s House) near the Mar=
kusturm (St. Mark*s Tower), then to the former
Deutfdie Haus in the Klinggasse, Klosterweth and
badt again to the Burgtor.

In the centre stood the oldest Town Hall, whose
fundation=walls still carry the building of the so=
called Gewerbehalle (Industrial Hall), behind the
Herteridibrunnen (Herteridi fountain). It was co=
sumed by jire in 1240. To the nord=west of it stood
the oldest parodiial diurdi. It dates from the time
of the dukes, and was dedicated to St. Kilian.
Nothing remains of it. Within the town there was
room foor traffic, as, for instance in the cattle
market (to day Herrengasse), wood market (the
present Sdimiedgasse), green market, etc. On these
spots stood the former mansions of the patricians.
A number of them are still preserved, and, by their
extent, bear witness to the waste of space of former
noblemen*s seats. A striking contrast formed the
cottages of the artisans, as we see them still in the


Holle (Burggasse), Kublergdssdien, old Stadtgraben
(town moat), etc. When, in 1204, the town was for
the first time extended, the Moat was filled up, and
houses were erected alongside the Stadtgraben, Pfei=
fersgdssdien. Pfarrgasseandjudengasse. Later on was
built the street from the Johannitertor to the pre=
sent Siebersturm, then those from theRoderbogen
(Markusturm) tho te present Rodertor, from the
Weisse Turm to the Wiirzburgertor, from the Klo=
sterweth to the Klingentor. Up to the present day
some alleys have preserved the names of those
medianics for whom they were destined, for in=
stance Sdimiedgasse (Smith lane), Hafengasse (Potter
lane) etc. The extended town was also fortified
later on by rampart and moat, but not by wall and
towers ; only the communications with the old town
were strongly fortified.

The most important building of that time was
the alte „Rathaus" (old town=hall), built in 1250.
Part of this building is still extant, while the front
part was destroyed by fire in 1501. On its spot
arose in 1572 — 1578 the present Renaissance building.

The Jews quarter in the n^th=eastern part of
the town was at first accessible only by a narrow
alley near the Withe Tower.

The south end, with the hospital founded in
1280, the so=called Kappenzipfel (Cap*s Corner), was
not drawn within the readi of the town walls until
the end of the fourteenth century. Thus the town
at that time had alread y receired its present shape
and extent, for a third extension, whidi was planned


by Toppler, was not carried out because of the
death of this mighty burgomafler.

The town has witneffed divers important events:
in May 1377, the Diet, when King Wenzel was the
guefl of Burgomafler Toppler. In order to preserve
what it had won, Rothenburg joined the Swabian
Confederation of Towns, and not a year pa(fed
without its feud^ and quarrels. Its diief adversaries,
the burggraves of Nuremberg and the bishops of
Wixrzburg, were envious of the prominent position
whidi the town had acquired under the great
Toppler. Later times also found brave warriors
in the men of Rothenburg ; even the country people
received a military education and many flrongholds
of the robber=barons could not in the end withfland
the (lorm of the Rothenburg ers. After these ex=
ternal flruggles, the democratic element arose in
Rothenburg; the guilds demanded and obtained,
though only for a short time, a seat and vote in
the goverment. About this time many patrician
families emigrated, as, for inftance, the Holzsdiuhers,
Behaims, Lojfelholzes. Mo(l of them moved to
Nuremberg On February 14, 1474, Emperor Frie=
dridi III, in the Marktplatz, invefled King Chriflian
of Denmark with Holflein, Stormarn und Ditmarsen.

But for Rothenburg the mo(l important event
of the sixteenth century was the revolt of the
peasants on the Tauber. Dr. Karlsfladt set a great
agitation on foot, aided by Alderman Menzingen
and others, and on Mardi 27, 1525, the Outer Council
was di(folved. People joined the „EvangeUcal Broth=

White Tower

erhood" ; disorder and diffatisfaction increased ;
diurdies were broken open, the holy vessels were
broken, pictures and figures of saints burned.
Even the women were seized by the general frenzy ;
they penetrated, armed, into the houses of the
priests, and carried away what they could lay
hold on. The bladi band led by Geyer was drea=
ded in the whole south. Bui dreadful was the
end. The princes at lafl took heart again. A
terrible fight ensued, in which the peasants could
not hold their ground against the superior enemy;
4000 of their numbers fell in a single hour near
Ingolfladt. After the unhappy battle of Tauber=
Konigshofen in June, 1525, Margrave Kasimir took
poffeffion of the town of Rothenburg, whidi he en=
tered June 28. The thirtieth saw, in the Market=
place, the fpectacle of retribution. About sixty heads
fell under the flroke of the executioner, and flill
today people tell with horror that the blood of the
executed ran down the Sdimiedgasse.

Citizens and peasants were disarmed, eadi
house had to pay a contribution of seven florins.
The patricians re entered the town hall.

After this terrible time, the Reformation was
not joined until 1545.

Another and a heavier trial the town had to
pass through in consequence of the Sdimalkaldic
War. In the month of December, 1546, Emperor
Charles the Fifth, who considered himself victor
over the Proteflants, came to Rothenburg Murder
and manslaughter were the order of the day.

The passages of the electors Johann Friedridi
and Philip of Hesse with their whole armies, as well
as the sojourn for several days of Emperor Char=
les V, brought the horrors of the Thirty Years War
upon the town, whidi was situadet on the line
of Communication. There were passages of troops
and occupations almost daily. For the sake of its
evangelical faith Rothenburg joined the Union.
About this time (the beginning of the Seventeenth
century), it saw many princes within its walls.
Neither did the town like to lose the favour of
both Emperor and Empire, but this double=dealing
could not be carried on long, for nobody can serve
two masters. Every year brought wilder and more
disorderly bands, extortions had no end, and fear=
fully great were the sums whidi had to be levied
for the masses of the enemy. Although the town
had many Imperial diarters, nobody carred for
them. Among the citizens themselves, morality
and order declined rapidly. None the less the faith=
fulness and steatiness with whidi the citizens clung
to their religion, is greadly to be admired.

Forsaken and betrayed by everybody, the town
could expect help from only one source. — Gusta=
vus Adolphus and his Swedes. In this expectation
they were not dissappointed. Like other towns,
Rothenburg gave its adhesion to the Leipzig League,
and although it was soon disarmed by the Emperor*s
troops, and was to be brought by force to return
to the old foith, it soon got in toudi again with
the Swedes. Guflavus Adolphus on his victorious

mardi from Breitenfeld, had occupied Erfurt,
Sdiweinfurt, and also Wiirzburg. When Guftavus
Adolphus had arrived at withhold Wiirzburg, there
came messengers from Rothenburg, praying him not
to withhold his assistance from this town. The
king, full of sympathy, promised his help, and or=
dered a small garrison to Rothenburg.

But Tilly, who after his junction with Aldringer
was once more in command of 30000 men, besieged
the town, whidi defended itself heroically, at the
end of October 1631, and succeeded in taking it.
Horrible scenes followed the capitulation, and only
the famous mighty draught of Burgomaster Nusdi
saved the councillors from certain death. (The
deed of Burgomaster Nusdi has provided Mr. H6r=
ber with the subject for the festival drama ,.Der
Meistertrunk, or Tilly at Rothenburg", whidi is
played every Whitmonday. Further particulars see
at the end.)

In the following year, Rotlienburg saw the
Swedish king twice within its walls. In 1634 the
attadi of Joh. Werth was repelled, but Octavio
Piccolomini captured the town, and so did Marshal
Turenne in 1645. The plague, famine, and war=
contributions devastated the distrikt.

In the Palatine War of Succession, the spirit
of the brave inhabitants stirs again, for the storm
of the Frendi general Feuquieres in 1688 was un

It requires no explanation that these dreadful
times not did raise civic life; the energy and the

confidence of the citizens sank deeper aud deeper,
so that a Httle band of Kleift*s corps easily succeeded
in exacting from the thown the sum of 10000
porins, at the end of the Seven Years, War.

The Frendi Revolution, as well as the wars,
of 1792—1801, did not leave Rothenburg untoudied.
One burden after another was laid upon it, so
that at last there was a pubUc debt of 700 000

In 1800, Seventeen Frendi diaffeurs penetrated
into the town, but the medianics and peasants
had the courage to diase them out of the gates.

When the peace of Luneville was concluded,
Rothenburg was annexed to Bavaria in September,
1802. Since that time business has become bris=
ker, although this advantage had to be paid for
heavily, for half of its territory fell to Wurttem=
berg ; diaritable foundations were seized ; many an
edifice simply puUee down, or sold as old materials;
and so many a beautiful thing of our forefathers*
days was deflroyed without necessity.

A book on Rothenburg *s Hiflory has lately
been published by J. D. von Winterbadi in a new
edition (price 3 Marks,) in whidi those interested
will find further information about the great paft
of the Free Imperial Town of Rothenburg.




I A Walk round the Town. §


/\fter leaving the railway=flation, we proceed
to the town. Truly, the firft impreflion of it is not
very favourable; you think you have come to a
factory town, judging by the induflrial works that
meet your sight.

After about a hundred (leps we behold to the
left the diurdiyard with and old diurdi, a little
farther, close to the town=gate, that now lies before
us, the new Amtsgeridit (County Court).
Here, at lafl, at the

Roedertor /

we are sure that we are on the right way, for
here begins the medieval flamp of the old free
town of the Empire.

The bastion in front of us (1615), together
with the two little gate=houses to the right and
left, the double moat (the left one is unfortunately
filled up), and the mighty gate=tower, bear witness
to the flrength of the fortification. In the moat
to the left there is a picturespue jutting of the wall.

We pall under the tower, and notice that the
view is continually dianging. As a relic of the
former townwall we see here the interior Rodertor
with the Markusturm, and, leaning againfl it, the
former Bixttelhaus. Now through the Hafengafje

to the Marktplatz. We turn round the corner,
and behold before all the imposing


on rising ground. It consists of a newer Renaissance
structure, and an older part in the Gothic style.
The latter was begun in 1240, when the original
building on the place opposite, behind the Herte=
ridibrunnen (now a local museum), had burned
down. First there were two long Gothic edifices
with gables to the south, the western (still ex=
tant) with a high steeple. But the front part
was not long to exist for on Sunday Oculi 1501
it was completely destroyed by fire, whidi also
did great damage to the numerous records that
were kept there. On January 20, 1572, the front
part was pulled down, avid the new still existing
Renaissance building was begun. The builder
was the Nuremberg City Ardiitect Wolf Lofdier
of Plauen, and the costs of the whole amounted
to 19, 197 fl.

The old Rathaus, with a tower 165 feet high,
having stone figures atop, originally had a flat
roof, a parapet, and a carved steeple=pyramid;
after the fire, it was replaced by the Renaissance
dome. It is worth while to ascend the tower.

The new Rathaus has oriels, portals, and a
rustic portico, the latter not built before 1681.
Remarkable are the spiral staircase and the south
diief portal.

The Herteridibrunnen to the left of the Rathaus,

built in 1446, together with the Marienapotheke
(diemist*s shop) behind it, look very picturesque.

The Fleisdihaus, formerly Tanzhaus, beside
the Marienapotheke, contains a collection of Ro=
thenburg antiquities. A visit will certainly pay.

Quite recently the ground floor of the former
Brodhaus (bread=house), that was originally connec=
ted with the old Rathaus by a gangway across
the street, was laid bare again, so that the former
sale=rooms have become visible.

On the north side of the Marktplatz is a
building with bell=turrets andclodts: since 1406 the
drinking hall of the council (now the post=office).
In 1474 the Danish King Christian was solemnly
enfeoffed by Emperor Friedridi III before this house,
and in 1525 Margrave Kasimir held a bloody assise
here, at the close of the insurrection of the Ger=
man peasantry.

In the year 1910 the clodi was fitted out
with a show=piece. Every day at noon, the windows
at either side of the clodt will open and exhibit
the figures of Tilly and Altbiirgermeister Nusdi, who
adiieves the „Meistertrunk", while Tilly expresses
his amazement by qestures.

The Interior of the Rathaus.

The entrance is in the middle of the portico.
The inspection begins with the vestibule on the
first floor. On the walls coats=of=arms of the bur=
gomasters and consuls since 1230; in the corner
to the left, a timber partition with carved work.

The custodian shows the

Large Court Room, the scene of the annual
Whitsuntide festival, der Meistertrunk. (For des=
cription of this play see Appendix.)

On the walls of the hall opposite the door,
are, among other things, some flags of the old im=
perial town. The wall opposite is covered with
pictures from the Sdileisheim gallery .The sculpture on
the same wall, representing Doomsday, dates from
the early Gothic time and is painted over.

On the south side of the room there are or=
namented stone bars, surm.ounted by a stone bendi
for the judge and jury.

A stone staircase leads down into the yard,
whidihasan interesting portal, unfortunately seriously
damaged. Then we proceed to the ardiives; un=
derneath are the torture=diambers and dungeons
with some instruments of torture. Here Heinridi
Toppler, the greatest burgomaster that Rothenburg
ever had, is said to have died of poison in 1408.
The upper story of the Rathaus likewise contains
a vestibule and a hall with interesting pictures of
the f estival play.

From the Rathaus, our way lies between the
„Lamm" (inn) and the Lowenapotheke (diemist's
shop) across the Kapellenplatz.

At the upper corner of the place, to the left
of the fountain, we behold a timber=framed buil=
ding, that has but lately been restored with great
skill. In the interior there is an old German wine=
room, remarkable for its furnishings.

Close to it is the

Weisse Turm (White Tower),

a gate of the former fortification with annexed
timber framed building and oriel, the former ,Juden=
tanzhaus** (Jewish dancing=house).

From here, through the Georgengasse badtto
the Kirdiplatz, the former diurdi=yard.

The Gymnasium (grammar=sdiool), built 1589
— 91, with staircase=turret and three portals.

To the left is the Stadtkirdinerswohnung with
a picturesque stone staircase.

In the coffee garden close to it stood formerly
St. Midiael's Chapel, whidi was sold as old mate=
rials, when the town was annexed to Bavaria, in
spite of the protest of the municipality.

The sacristan leads us into the

. St. Jakobskirdie (Curdi of St. James),

built in 1373, a Gothic building with three naves.
The east dioir, with fine glass paintings and splen=
did high altar, was presented by Burgomaster
Toppler. To the left the tabernacle (ciborium), of
1448. In the south aisle the Altar of the Holy Blood,
made, in 1478, by Tillmann Riemensdmeider.


Online LibraryR. (Rudolf) AlbrechtA guide to Rothenburg o. T. .. → online text (page 1 of 2)