Rothenburg ob der Tauber 1

The Rödertor, one of several gates to the old town.


Click on the thumbnail picture for a bigger view and more information. For more great photos, visit Rothenburg o.d. Tauber 2.

Weisser Turm
Weisser Turm. August 1986.

Klingentor. August 1986.

Old wall. August 1986.

Herrngasse. August 1986.

Tour group. June 1992.

Burgtor. August 1986.

Buskers in front of the city hall. August 1986.

Plönlein. June 2000.

Rödertor. June 1991.

Rödertor Blick
View to the south from the Rödertor. June 1991.

Rödertor Blick
View to the west from the Rödertor. June 1991.

Rödertor Blick
View to the north from the Rödertor. June 1991.

Introduction (Part 1)

My visit to Germany in 1986 was a trip of discovery. Apart from a few specific destinations, like Nürnberg, Heidelberg, and the Mosel, I had no itinerary. I just planned on seeing what I encountered on the way.

After seeing the Fränkische Schweiz, I wanted to go next to Heidelberg, but not right away. I looked at the map, and picked a town roughly halfway between Bayreuth and Heidelberg - Rothenburg - and found something that became one of the big highlights of the trip.

Rothenburg is an old walled town that seems like it hasn't changed a bit during the past few centuries. Part of the reason is that the town just wasn't very important for much of its history, and languished during the 17th and 18th Centuries. During the 19th Century, tourism started to become an important business, and the old character of Rothenburg meant that the town could become a tourist trap.

Unfortunately, Rothenburg sustained much damage during the second World War. It looked like the town might survive the war unscathed. After all, the only industry of any significance was tourism. But just two weeks before the end of the war, the town suffered a bomb attack, which destroyed about 40% of the buildings. The only reason you now don't see any signs of damage is because a lot of money and effort has been spent in restoring the town. Rebuilding even continued well into the 1990's.

It should be noted that Rothenburg is not a popular tourist destination for most Germans. Most visitors are foreigners. Rothenburg, and the rest of the Romantic Road, are especially popular with Japanese tourists. During one visit, the German newspapers had photos of the wedding of a Japanese prince. I watched as a group of young Japanese women swooped upon one shop and bought up all the papers on display outside!

(Continued on ROT 2.)