Rothenburg ob der Tauber – A city of towers

A city of towers - Rothenburg ob der Tauber

Starting in the 16th century, Rothenburg was often called the “Franconian Jerusalem” because of its skyline – and for good reason, since the town is marked by numerous towers. The old quarter of Rothenburg ob der Tauber is surrounded by a town wall. Six gates and several doors for pedestrians lead through this city wall into the old quarter (or out of it). Visitors can explore the city wall on Rothenburg’s Tower Trail, which leads around the old quarter for four kilometers in about 2.5 hours. On info panels and in the brochure texts (as recommended by Rick Steves) for the Tower Trail, the authors describe the history of Rothenburg ob der Tauber in line with the 42 towers in the city. Rothenburg ob der Tauber – thus a city of towers. But which towers can visitors actually climb to get an overview?

Tower Trail Rothenburg ob der Tauber

The Röderturm – a unique view of the old city of Rothenburg ob der Tauber

Rödertor of Rothenburg ob der Tauber

In the east of Rothenburg’s old city, you can walk through the town wall into the medieval alleyways via the Galgentor (also called Würzburger Tor) or Rödertor. At the Rödertor is the Röderturm, which is open to visitors regularly. From here you get a wonderful view of the old quarter, from Markusturm with its stork’s nest to – the also accessible – City Hall tower. The Röderturm is also a central starting point for Rothenburg’s Tower Trail, which leads around the old quarter.

Stroll on Rothenburg’s town wall to the Wolfgang’s Church

Many sections of the town wall in Rothenburg ob der Tauber are walkable around the clock. The stroll on the town wall leads from Rödertor to the north, passing the Würzburger Tor and up to the Kummereck. From here you get to the city’s eastern section, passing Schrannenplatz. Before you briefly leave the town wall at the St. Wolfgang’s Church, you’ll find many eye-catching sights, such as the St. James Church and picturesquely situated gardens. The Wolfgang’s Church (or Schäferskirche) is worth a look inside. From the outside, the church is part of the city’s defense system and here you can enter into Rothenburg’s casemates.

Stroll on Rothenburg’s town wall to the Wolfgang’s Church

After visiting Wolfgang’s Church, the Tower Trail turns towards the Castle Garden. You’ll pass the Strafturm and RothenburgMuseum before getting to the Burgtor and Castle Garden. Time for a small break while strolling along the Tower Trail? Then the shaded Castle Garden is the perfect place. You can follow the Tower Trail further along the Burggasse. Here the eye is inevitably drawn to the Tauber Valley and thus also passes over Rothenburg’s An der Eich vineyard.

Past the Plönlein into the Spital quarter

At the Medieval Crime and Justice Museum, the Tower Trail heads south, past the world-famous Plönlein and Kobolzeller Tor into the Spital quarter of Rothenburg ob der Tauber. In the south of the old town, the Spital gate bastion is the most recent part of the city’s fortifications – it was completed in 1537. The lettering on the gate’s arch says “Pax intrantibus – salus exeuntibus”, meaning “Peace to those who enter and health to those who leave” – a pleasant motto for a hospitable and cosmopolitan city like Rothenburg ob der Tauber. The Japanese airport Haneda in Tokyo adopted this motto for its mission statement.

Inside the Spital Bastion of Rothenburg ob der Tauber

Don’t miss: the towers of the old town wall

Before you move on as a guest with the promise of salvation in your luggage, make sure your tour around the town doesn’t skip the towers in the old city’s center! The Markusturm and Weisser Turm were the gateways of the first fortification of Rothenburg ob der Tauber around 1200.

Opening times Rothenburg City Wall:

Rothenburg’s City Wall is open all day on every day.

We recommend taking it during daylight, especially during the first sunrays in the morning.