Friday, 24 April 2015

Rothenberg Ob der Tauber : A magical town that really exists

I vividly remember reading an article about this charming medieval town that had featured in a travel magazine a few years ago.  The moment I laid my eyes on its photographs, I instantly fell for this place. Indeed, it was “Love at First Sight”. I made my mind that if I ever planned a holiday to Germany I would not miss a chance to visit here and experience it in real as what I had seen in the photographs was just too beautiful to be true. I started doing my research about what to see and how to go there and I came across some really interesting facts.
One of the main streets of the town: check out the colorful buildings

This magical place was the inspiration for the village in the 1940 Walt Disney’s Movie, Pinnochio. In fact, it also served as the location for one of the scenes for the movie Harry Potter and the Deathly Hollows. So ladies and Gentleman, hold your breath!! Let me introduce you to Rothenberg Ob der Tauber, one of the prettiest places I have seen so far. If you love reading and watching fairy tales and you believe in pixies, elves, and fairies, then you have to experience this magical town.

One of the entrances to the town

We planned a day trip from Munich to Rothenberg Ob der Tauber and we drove around 2 hours along the popular Romantic Road, which is dotted with romantically beautiful villages. I believe that could be one of the reasons why it is called Romantic road. The moment I stepped inside the village, I was already lost in its tiny winding cobbled streets, brightly coloured houses built in Franconia style, clock towers, quaint cafes, and lovely souvenir shops. It seemed like time came to a standstill enamored by its awe inspiring beauty. Since it was the Easter Day, the whole town was decorated like a new bride with ornately painted Easter eggs, bunnies, etc. The town was packed with tourists who had flocked to see this wonderland from all corners of the world but that didn’t dampen my excitement at all. 

Main Square in the town

Rothenberg Ob der Tauber is one of the best preserved medieval towns in Germany, which is surrounded by a thick wall that you can walk on and enjoy the bird’s eye of the town. Since we didn’t have much time in our hands, we preferred exploring town first and learning about its interesting history. After treating ourselves to a delicious Pizza in a charming caf├ęs, we made our way towards the main square, which houses many historical buildings and one of them is City Councillors building that has now been turned in to the tourist information center. We booked a walking tour of the town however our guide was supposed to arrive within half an hour hence we preferred waiting at the tourist center. The main square was buzzing with people who were anxiously staring at the clock tower waiting for the huge mechanical clock to strike 1:00. This clock was added in the year 1910 and it re-enacts the historic “Meistertrunk” at every hour. 

Meistertrunk Clock Tower
As per a popular legend, the year 1631, Rothenberg was besieged by Catholics and the then Mayor Nusch pleaded to the Catholic General that if he were able to drink three liters of wine in one gulp, then they would leave the town. The general agreed and the mayor quaffed the wine in a go and saved Rothenberg. Nothing much happens in the clock though. Two windows on the either side of the clock open and two figurines appear one of them is Mayor holding a big glass and the other is the Catholic General who does nothing but it makes for a good show.  

As soon as this ended, a group of charming and cheerful teenage girls and boys; all clad in Bavarian costumes marched towards the main square. In the meantime, our guide had also arrived who told us that they were to perform a traditional Shepherd Dance. It seemed as if whole Rothenberg was in the main square eagerly waiting for the group to start the performance. We watched it for a couple of minutes and made our move towards the one of the tiny interior streets, which was completely deserted. It was a a very unusual sight in the day hours for a place like Rothenberg ob der Tauber.

Tourists enjoying Shepherd Dance Performance at the main square

Our guide walked us through some beautiful quarters of the town, which we would have never managed to explore, had we been walking around the town on our own. He took us to one of the famed buildings, which was once the house of Mayor Nusch of historic “Meistertrunk”. To my surprise, it was the same building where we had savoured a delicious veg Pizza. With our guide, we covered all major and some hidden attractions of the town while discovering the history of the town.

I loved these twin houses :)

 Rothenberg was partially damaged in the World War 11 hence the town requested people to make donations for the preservation of the town’s wall and in return they inscribed the name of the donors on the plaques of the city wall. As soon as our tour finished, we headed to the town hall tower which is at the main square. If you want to experience some spectacular views of the town and you are a dare devil, then you have visit this tower. We climbed to the top of the tower which I would say was scary but exhilarating experience at the same time. I must admit the view of the town and surrounding rolling meadows was absolutely breath-taking. People looked like tiny clay models and the beautiful red roofed houses appeared as matchboxes.

Looking down on the town from atop the tower

I came down all happy and contented as I had finally managed to get that perfect picture of Rothenberg that had made me go crazy about this fairy-tale town a few years ago. This place would ever so remain close to my heart. It is a dreamland where people forget about their worries and love getting lost in its narrow streets.

One of the most photographed scenes in the town
Note: there are quite a few towns in Germany named Rothenberg. So just make sure you are going to Rothenberg ob der Tauber as people end up going to some other towns with the same name.

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