Rothenburg's center - Market Square and Town Hall Tower
This surprise effect worked: After walking through the narrow old quarter alleyways in Rothenburg ob der Tauber, visitors suddenly find themselves in the center of the city – the Marktplatz with its giant Town Hall. The entire ensemble expresses the pride of Rothenburg’s past residents with their city. With its grand stairs, the Renaissance façade and surrounded by the romantic timber-frame buildings, Rothenburg’s Town Hall appears all the more like a monumental castle. In Rothenburg, having a beer cellar below Town Hall was not enough – here the impressive tavern, the Ratstrinkstube, is towering above the Marktplatz.
Imposing houses, the Ratstrinkstube and much more – Rothenburg’s Marktplatz.
In Rothenburg ob der Tauber you can meet the whole world – nowhere else you may experience the lively and diverse atmosphere of Rothenburg’s old quarter more vividly than at the Market Square. On the Town Hall steps or in the cafés, Rothenburg natives chill next to guests from all over the world, watching the activities. In the summer, the Marktplatz is used as a stage for concerts by the Ambassadors of Music or as a central contact point for the History Festivals “Der Meistertrunk” and the Imperial City Festival. In the winter, Rothenburg’s Christmas market, the Reiterlesmarkt, is held in this fitting location on the Marktplatz and the Grüne Markt. At the timber-frame facades of stately houses like the Marienapotheke, Rothenburg’s special flair unfolds to its full effect. For questions, the Tourist Information center is available at the northern end of the Marktplatz in the former Ratstrinkstube.
Marktplatz fountain as a place for refreshment
Apropos drinking: One of the many fountains in Rothenburg ob der Tauber is right in front of the Marienapotheke and the Fleischhaus. Actually, you shouldn’t really drink from the Marktplatz fountain (called Georgenbrunnen or St. Georgsbrunnen), but in earlier times it was used by vendors on the market square and Herrngasse for the animals that were sold here. Many of the guided group tours start from the Marktplatz fountain through the old quarter; the guides of the public tours await their guests on the Town Hall steps. In the evenings, the Night Watchman, Executioner and Craftsman’s Widow creep up to the Town Hall steps for their entertaining themed tours.
Rothenburg’s Town Hall – here you can go really high
Of course guests can also visit the Town Hall in Rothenburg ob der Tauber. After being rebuilt in the 16th century in a Renaissance style following a fire, the front now joins the original Gothic structure as a unique ensemble that illustrates the city’s turbulent history. You can experience part of this history on Whitsun as a theater play inside Town Hall. That’s when the Historic Festival “Der Meistertrunk” takes place in several performances. Additionally – after registration – the wine-cellar master invites groups to the legendary “Master Draught” (or Meistertrunk) in Town Hall. Who can manage to empty the tankard with 3 1/4 liters of wine? One thing is certain: That person probably shouldn’t venture up to the Town Hall Tower soon after. For all others, however, a climb to the observation platform is well worth it (as long as you can walk securely). Once you get up to the Town Hall Tower, you can look towards the west along Herrngasse to the Burgtor and Tauber Valley. From up here, visitors can watch the activities at the Käthe Wohlfahrt Christmas shops and look to the Marktplatz towards the east. On the northern side, observers are very close to St. James Church. And in the south, behind the Medieval Crime and Justice Museum, the extended Spital quarter stretches into the distance. By the way: in 1893 Gothic part of Rothenburg’s Town Hall served as a blueprint for German pavilion at Columbian Exhibition in Chicago – remarkable isn’t it?
Opening hours City Hall Tower Rothenburg:
January to March / November:
Saturday and Sunday, 12pm – 3pm
April to October
daily, 9.30am – 12.30pm and 1pm – 5pm
During Christmas Market:
daily, 10.30am – 2pm and 2.30pm – 6pm (Sa./Sun. until 7pm)