Home Page > Travelogues
> Germany > Bayern >
Rothenburg o.d. Tauber
> City Wall
Other Chapters in the Rothenburg
[ Obere Schmiedgasse ] [ Festive Rothenburg ] [ City Wall ]
This third and final chapter of the Rothenburg ob der Tauber travelogue
presents one of the city's greatest features, its extraordinarily well-preserved
city wall. This is presented as a photo gallery that covers the Burggarten
and most of the eastern and southern gates. Visitors are able to traverse
a catwalk inside most of the wall on the eastern side, giving an idea of what
the city's defense forces would have seen as they tried to repel invaders.
The defenses were built in two rings, an inner ring of gates and an outer ring.
The inner ring protected the beautiful old town. The outer ring protected
the newer parts of the city north and east as it expanded in medieval times.
Meanwhile, the Burgturm stood high over the steep Tauber River valley that
provided defense to the west. These photos are a composite of several
visits to Rothenburg, each covering a different part of the wall.
|This chapter begins at
the Burgturm, shown above. The Burgturm sat at the western end of
Herrngasse, described in the
Obere Schmiedgasse chapter.
This gate provided a multiple layer of defense -- with the very tall
observation tower and inner and outer gates with a sure-fire kill zone
in between to prevent invaders from making it into the city.
||The Burgturm faces a
small park, the Burggarten, that juts out over a sharp bend in the
Tauber River. The Burggarten had several flower gardens and was
protected with a low wall providing great views over the Tauber River,
and to other parts of the city.
|This view was from the
Burggarten's observation wall facing southeast to the Sieberturm at left
and a round tower upon the outer city wall beyond Untere Schmiedgasse at
right. Partly obscured by the trees was the southwestern
fortifications below the town.
||This is the same
tower, located at the southern end of town and facing out to
Rothenburg's parking lots (numbers P1 and P2). Based on the person
below the tower, the wall stood about thirty feet tall, and it was
uniform all around the north, east, and southern sides of the city.
Numerous entrances have been carved into the wall for modern visitors.
|Moving to the south,
this was the Sieberturm from the 'outside' -- at Untere Schmiedgasse
facing toward the city. The yellow and brown half-timbered
building at right was a common old-style structure that had a beautiful
house on top of a tall concrete wall.
||This is the Markus
Tower and the Roeder Arch, located due east of the center market by
following Roedelstrasse. Like the Sieberturm, the Markus Tower was
part of the inner fortifications. West of the tower was in the
tourist zone, but east of the tower was a number of souvenir and
specialty shops that were less expensive and had pretty good stuff.
|The next two photos
show the Roederturm at the far eastern end of Roedergasse. The
tower here was at the inside, providing observations to the east.
||Beyond the tower was
this outer defensive position, a semi-circular structure that protected
a walkway crossing a moat. In a way, it was akin to a larger
version of the Burgturm, with an outer and inner fortification that
allowed defenders to channel any invaders that managed to breach the
first line of defense.
indicated, large parts of the city wall were traversable. This
rickety catwalk followed along the southeastern part of the wall,
overlooking Rothenburg's residential zone. The walk was about
twenty feet above ground and barely one-person wide. The
Jakobkirche can be seen in the distance.
||The next two photos
show the Spitalturm and Spitalbastei, which was the southernmost
fortification. This followed the two-layer form of the Burgturm
and Roedelturm, but perhaps this gave a clearer view of the full
structure. The bastion opened to a bridge over the city moat, and
led the visitor to a round plaza watched on all sides before he entered
the city via the Spitalturm.
|The bastion's interior
was huge, and visitors could climb up to the cannon deck where cannon
replicas, like those shown, stood ready to engage invaders. About
four to six cannons were in place.
||This final photo was
taken from the top of the Imperial Tower on the Town Hall. It was
pointed north to northeast, giving a clear view of the outer
fortifications in the distance. Parts of the city wall could be
seen in the back left. It shows how dense the city was and how
beautiful it was.
No matter where one came to Rothenburg, the city wall was there, towering
over the scene. The lovely medieval gates helped set the mood, and as one
passed through the stone arches, there was the colorful city beckoning.
What a terrific way to begin a visit, we thought. Now, if there was a way
to set up American malls this way...
Seven trips between 1999 and 2006 -- Page
last updated 01 September 2006
-- (C) 2006 Tom Galvin