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How to Book a Hotel in Rothenburg ob der Tauber
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Hotels of Rothenburg ob der Tauber
A hotel in Rothenburg ob der Tauber is an establishment that provides lodging paid on a short-term basis. Facilities provided may range from a basic bed and storage for clothing, to luxury features like en-suite bathrooms. Larger in Rothenburg ob der Tauber hotels may provide additional guest facilities such as a swimming pool, business centre, childcare, conference facilities and social function services. Hotel rooms in Rothenburg ob der Tauber are usually numbered (or named in some smaller hotels and B&Bs) to allow guests to identify their room. Some Rothenburg ob der Tauber hotels offer meals as part of a room and board arrangement. Hotel operations vary in size, function, and cost. Most Rothenburg ob der Tauber hotels and major hospitality companies that operate hotels in Rothenburg ob der Tauber have set widely accepted industry standards to classify hotel types. General categories include the following:
Upscale luxury hotels in Rothenburg ob der Tauber
An upscale full service hotel facility in Rothenburg ob der Tauber that offers luxury amenities, full service accommodations, on-site full service restaurant(s), and the highest level of personalized and professional service. Luxury Rothenburg ob der Tauber hotels are normally classified with at least a Four Diamond or Five Diamond status or a Four or Five Star rating depending on classification standards.
Full service hotels in Rothenburg ob der Tauber
Full service Rothenburg ob der Tauber hotels often contain upscale full-service facilities with a large volume of full service accommodations, on-site full service restaurant(s), and a variety of on-site amenities such as swimming pools, a health club, children's activities, ballrooms, on-site conference facilities, etc.
Historic inns and boutique hotels in Rothenburg ob der Tauber
Boutique hotels of Rothenburg ob der Tauber are smaller independent non-branded hotels that often contain upscale facilities of varying size in unique or intimate settings with full service accommodations. Rothenburg ob der Tauber boutique hotels are generally 100 rooms or less. Some historic inns and boutique hotels in Rothenburg ob der Tauber may be classified as luxury hotels.
Focused or select service hotels in Rothenburg ob der Tauber
Small to medium-sized hotel establishments that offer a limited amount of on-site amenities that only cater and market to a specific demographic of Rothenburg ob der Tauber travelers, such as the single business traveler. Most Rothenburg ob der Tauber focused or select service hotels may still offer full service accommodations but may lack leisure amenities such as an on-site restaurant or a swimming pool.
Economy and limited service hotels in Rothenburg ob der Tauber
Small to medium-sized Rothenburg ob der Tauber hotel establishments that offer a very limited amount of on-site amenities and often only offer basic accommodations with little to no services, these facilities normally only cater and market to a specific demographic of travelers, such as the budget-minded Rothenburg ob der Tauber traveler seeking a "no frills" accommodation. Limited service Rothenburg ob der Tauber hotels often lack an on-site restaurant but in return may offer a limited complimentary food and beverage amenity such as on-site continental breakfast service.
Guest houses and B&Bs in Rothenburg ob der Tauber
A bed and breakfast in Rothenburg ob der Tauber is a small lodging establishment that offers overnight accommodation and inclusive breakfast. Usually, Rothenburg ob der Tauber bed and breakfasts are private homes or family homes offering accommodations. The typical Rothenburg ob der Tauber B&B has between 4 and 11 rooms, with 6 being the average. Generally, guests are accommodated in private bedrooms with private bathrooms, or in a suite of rooms including an en suite bathroom. Some homes have private bedrooms with a bathroom which is shared with other guests. Breakfast is served in the bedroom, a dining room, or the host's kitchen. Often the owners of guest house themselves prepare the breakfast and clean the rooms.
Hostels in Rothenburg ob der Tauber
Rothenburg ob der Tauber hostels provide budget-oriented, sociable accommodation where guests can rent a bed, usually a bunk bed, in a dormitory and share a bathroom, lounge, and sometimes a kitchen. Rooms can be mixed or single-sex, although private rooms may also be available. Hostels are often cheaper for both the operator and occupants; many Rothenburg ob der Tauber hostels have long-term residents whom they employ as desk agents or housekeeping staff in exchange for experience or discounted accommodation.
Apartment hotels, extended stay hotels in Rothenburg ob der Tauber
Extended stay hotels are small to medium-sized Rothenburg ob der Tauber hotels that offer longer term full service accommodations compared to a traditional hotel. Extended stay hotels may offer non-traditional pricing methods such as a weekly rate that cater towards travelers in need of short-term accommodations for an extended period of time. Similar to limited and select service hotels, on-site amenities are normally limited and most extended stay hotels in Rothenburg ob der Tauber lack an on-site restaurant.
Timeshare and destination clubs in Rothenburg ob der Tauber
Rothenburg ob der Tauber timeshare and destination clubs are a form of property ownership also referred to as a vacation ownership involving the purchase and ownership of an individual unit of accommodation for seasonal usage during a specified period of time. Timeshare resorts in Rothenburg ob der Tauber often offer amenities similar that of a Full service hotel with on-site restaurant(s), swimming pools, recreation grounds, and other leisure-oriented amenities. Destination clubs of Rothenburg ob der Tauber on the other hand may offer more exclusive private accommodations such as private houses in a neighborhood-style setting.
Motels in Rothenburg ob der Tauber
A Rothenburg ob der Tauber motel is a small-sized low-rise lodging establishment similar to that of a limited service hotel, but with direct access to individual rooms from the car park. Common during the 1950s and 1960s, motels were often located adjacent to a major road, where they were built on inexpensive land at the edge of towns or along stretches of highways. They are still useful in less populated areas of Rothenburg ob der Tauber for driving travelers, but the more populated an area becomes the more hotels fill the need. Many of Rothenburg ob der Tauber motels which remain in operation have joined national franchise chains, rebranding themselves as hotels, inns or lodges.
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Travelling and vacation in Rothenburg ob der Tauber
Rothenburg ob der Tauber
Plönlein with Kobolzeller Steige and Spitalgasse
Coat of arms
Rothenburg ob der Tauber
Location of Rothenburg ob der Tauber within Ansbach district
Coordinates: / 49.383; 10.183 / 49.383; 10.183
Walter Hartl (Für Rothenburg)
41.68 km (16.09 sq mi)
430 m (1,410 ft)
260/km (690/sq mi)
AN, DKB, FEU, ROT
Rothenburg ob der Tauber (German pronunciation:[ˈʁoːtn̩bʊɐ̯k ɔp deːɐ̯ ˈtaʊbɐ] (listen)) is a town in the district of Ansbach of Mittelfranken (Middle Franconia), the Franconia region of Bavaria, Germany. It is well known for its well-preserved medieval old town, a destination for tourists from around the world. It is part of the popular Romantic Road through southern Germany.
Rothenburg was a Free Imperial City from the late Middle Ages to 1803.
Rothenburg ob der Tauber: Name
Town Hall of Rothenburg
Medieval town wall and Klingentorturm, a defensive tower
Southern view of Rothenburg from the castle garden
The name "Rothenburg ob der Tauber" means, in German, "Red fortress above the Tauber". This is so because the town is located on a plateau overlooking the Tauber River. As to the name "Rothenburg", some say it comes from the German words rot (red) and burg (burgh, medieval fortified settlement), referring to the red colour of the roofs of the houses which overlook the river. The name may also refer to the process of retting ("rotten" in German) flax for linen production.
Rothenburg ob der Tauber: History
Rothenburg ob der Tauber: Middle Ages
Imperial City of Rothenburg
Free Imperial City of the Holy Roman Empire
Granted Reichsfreiheit by Rudolph I
Sieged by Tilly in the Thirty Years' War
Mediatised to Bavaria
Duchy of Swabia
Electorate of Bavaria
In 950, the weir system in today’s castle garden was constructed by the Count of Comburg-Rothenburg.
In 1070, the counts of Comburg-Rothenburg, who also owned the village of Gebsattel, built Rothenburg castle on the mountain top high above the River Tauber.
The counts of the Comburg-Rothenburg dynasty died out in 1116. The last count, Count Heinrich, Emperor Heinrich V appointed instead his nephew Konrad von Hohenstaufen as successor to the Comburg-Rothenburg properties.
In 1142, Konrad von Hohenstaufen, who became Konrad III (1138–52), the self-styled King of the Romans, traded a part of the monastery of Neumünster in Würzburg above the village Detwang and built the Stauffer-Castle Rothenburg on this cheaper land. He held court there and appointed officials called 'reeves' to act as caretakers.
In 1170, the city of Rothenburg was founded at the time of the building of Staufer Castle. The centre was the marketplace and St. James' Church (in German: the St. Jakob). The development of the oldest fortification can be seen, the old cellar/old moat and the milk market. Walls and towers were built in the 13th century. Preserved are the “White Tower” and the Markus Tower with the Röder Arch.
From 1194 to 1254, the representatives of the Staufer dynasty governed the area around Rothenburg. Around this time, the Order of St. John and other orders were founded near St. James' Church and a Dominican nunnery (1258).
From 1241 to 1242, the Staufer Imperial tax statistics recorded the names of the Jews in Rothenburg. Rabbi Meir Ben Baruch of Rothenburg (died 1293, buried 1307 in Worms) had a great reputation as a jurist in Europe. His descendants include members of the dynastic family von Rothberg, noteworthy in that they were accorded noble status in the 19th century, becoming the hereditary counts of Rothenburg (Rothberg). The family is survived by its last living descendant, Andrew Sandilands Graf von Rothberg, 9th Count of Rothenburg (born 1972), who resides in the United States.
In 1274, Rothenburg was accorded privileges by King Rudolf of Habsburg as a Free Imperial City. Three famous fairs were established in the city and in the following centuries, the city expanded. The citizens of the city and the Knights of the Hinterland build the Franziskaner (Franciscan) Monastery and the Holy Ghost Hospital (1376/78 incorporated into the city walls). The German Order began the building of St. James' Church, which the citizens have used since 1336. The Heilig Blut (Holy Blood) pilgrimage attracted many pilgrims to Rothenburg, at the time one of the 20 largest cities of the Holy Roman Empire. The population was around 5,500 people within the city walls and another 14,000 in the 150 square miles (390 km) of surrounding territory.
The Staufer Castle was destroyed by an earthquake in 1356, the St. Blaise chapel is the last remnant today.
Rothenburg ob der Tauber: The Thirty Years' War
In October 1631, during the Thirty Years' War, the Catholic Johann Tserclaes, Count of Tilly, wanted to quarter his 40,000 troops in Protestant Lutheran Rothenburg. Rather than allow entrance, the town defended itself and intended to withstand a siege. However, Tilly's troops quickly defeated Rothenburg, losing only 300 soldiers. After the winter, they left the town poor and nearly empty, and in 1634 a bubonic plague outbreak killed many more townsfolk. Without any money or power, Rothenburg stopped growing, thus preserving its 17th-century state.
Rothenburg ob der Tauber: 19th century
Since 1803, the town has been a part of Bavaria. The famous German landscape painter Eugen Bracht visited Rothenburg in 1877; although he stayed only two days, he was clearly impressed. Some years later, especially artists of Romanticism, such as Hans Thoma and Carl Spitzweg, visited Rothenburg, too, followed by the first tourists. Laws were created to prevent major changes to the town.
Rothenburg ob der Tauber: Modern era
Rothenburg held a special significance for Nazi ideologists. For them, it was the epitome of the German 'Home Town', representing all that was quintessentially German. Throughout the 1930s, the Nazi organisation KDF (Kraft durch Freude) "Strength through Joy" organized regular day trips to Rothenburg from all across the reich. This initiative was staunchly supported by Rothenburg's citizenry – many of whom were sympathetic to National Socialism – both for its perceived economic benefits and because Rothenburg was hailed as "the most German of German towns". In October 1938, Rothenburg expelled its Jewish citizens, much to the approval of Nazis and their supporters across Germany.
The creation of an ideal Nazi community reminded the peoples of Germany of the way the Nazis wanted them to live as a family and as a community; Rothenburg simply exemplified this Nazi ideology as an idealised family life. Additionally, other German towns followed the 'example' set by Rothenburg for the Nazis, this began a trend of Nazi German Nationalism which led to the creation of an "ideal" Nazi community in Rothenburg. This then grew to reveal the ideal Nazi family, as illustrated in propaganda of the time. This ideal lifestyle was taken further when an approved upbringing for the sons of Nazi Germany was introduced, first growing up in a Nazi or Hitler Youth organization, then protecting the ideals of both Nazi Germany and the Fuhrer Adolf Hitler as a civilian or as military personnel, thus forming the core idea of Nazi patriotism, protecting their own beliefs. In many ways, Rothenburg demonstrated key elements of Nazi ideology and epitomised their desire to expand National Socialist thinking throughout Germany and in all areas with German-speaking people across Europe.
Rothenburg following Allied bombing raid, 1945
In March 1945 in World War II, German soldiers were stationed in Rothenburg to defend it. On March 31, bombs were dropped over Rothenburg by 16 planes, killing 37 people and destroying 306 houses, six public buildings, nine watchtowers, and over 2,000 feet (610 m) of the wall. The U.S. Assistant Secretary of War John J. McCloy knew about the historic importance and beauty of Rothenburg, so he ordered US Army General Jacob L. Devers not to use artillery in taking Rothenburg. Battalion commander Frank Burke (Medal of Honor) ordered six soldiers of the 12th Infantry Regiment, 4th Division to march into Rothenburg on a three-hour mission and negotiate the surrender of the town. First Lieutenant Noble V. Borders of Louisville, Kentucky, First Lieutenant Edmund E. Austingen of Hammond, Indiana, Private William M. Dwyer of Trenton, New Jersey, Private Herman Lichey of Glendale, California, Private Robert S. Grimm of Tower City, Pennsylvania, and Private Peter Kick of Lansing, Illinois were sent on the mission. When stopped by a German soldier, Private Lichey, who spoke fluent German and served as the group’s translator, held up a white flag and explained, “We are representatives of our division commander. We bring you his offer to spare the city of Rothenburg from shelling and bombing if you agree not to defend it. We have been given three hours to get this message to you. If we haven’t returned to our lines by 1800 hours, the town will be bombed and shelled to the ground.” The local military commander Major Thömmes gave up the town, ignoring the order of Hitler for all towns to fight to the end and thereby saving it from total destruction by artillery. American troops of the 12th Infantry Regiment, 4th Division occupied the town on April 17, 1945, and in November 1948, McCloy was named Honorable Protector (German: Ehrenbürger) of Rothenburg. After the war, the residents of the city quickly repaired the bombing damage. Donations for the rebuilding were received from all over the world. The rebuilt walls feature commemorative bricks with donor names. Traffic-reducing measures were put in place in a significant portion of Rothenburg to increase safety and accommodate tourism.
Rothenburg ob der Tauber: Lord Mayors
1945–1952: Friedrich Hörner, SPD
1952–1964: Dr. Erich Lauterbach (1879–1966), independent
1964–1976: Alfred Ledertheil, SPD
1976–1988: Oskar Schubert
1988–2006: Herbert Hachtel (born 1941), SPD
since 2006: Walter Hartl (born 1956), independent
Rothenburg ob der Tauber: Town
The western town gate
The Rathaus (town hall) is a notable renaissance building. The rear Gothic part of the building dates from 1250, and the attached front Renaissance building was started in 1572. This building served as the seat of government for the city-state during the medieval ages and for the city of Rothenburg since the formation of the federalist government. The town hall tower of Rothenburg ob der Tauber is one of the only accessible towers in the town of Rothenburg. The other is the Roedertor tower at the east end of the city, and is open daily for visitors to climb. It is almost 61 meters (200 feet) tall. At the top of the tower, an admission fee of 2 euros is charged to enter the room with a scenic view of almost the entire town. The room also contains manuscripts providing the visitor with historical information about the construction and relevant history of the city wall.
Rothenburg city as seen from the top of the Roeder tower
Garden in Rothenburg (2005)
While buildings within the walled city reflect the city's medieval history, this part of the city is in many ways a normal, modern German town with some concession to the tourist trade. Many stores and hotels catering to tourists are clustered around the Town Hall Square and along several major streets (such as Herrngasse, Schmiedgasse). Also in the town is a Criminal Museum, containing various punishment and torture devices used during the Middle Ages. For authentic Rothenburg ob der Tauber fare, one should have a Schneeball, deep-fried dough shaped like a snowball and covered in either confectioner's sugar or chocolate.
From 1988 until March 2006, Herbert Hachtel (SPD) was the mayor of Rothenburg. He was succeeded by Walter Hartl.
Rothenburg ob der Tauber: Main sights
Rothenburg ob der Tauber: Museums
Ducking stool at the medieval Criminal Museum
The Criminal Museum (Kriminalmuseum) gives an insight into judicial punishment over the last 1000 years. Exhibits include instruments of torture, shrew's fiddles, scold's bridles, medieval legal texts, and guidance on witch trials.
Imperial City Museum (Reichsstadtmuseum) with the municipal collections and a weapon collection
Doll and Toy Museum (Puppen- und Spielzeugmuseum)
Shepherds' Dance Museum (Schäfertanz Museum)
Christmas Museum (Weihnachtsmuseum "Käthe Wohlfahrt")
Craft House (Handwerkerhaus) 11 rooms showing the everyday life of craftsmen's families in Rothenburg
Historical vaulting and state dungeon
Rothenburg ob der Tauber: Buildings
The Holy Blood reredos in the town church of St. James, made from 1500 to 1505
St. James' Church with its Holy Blood reredos by Tilman Riemenschneider, another Riemenschneider altar (Altar of the Holy Cross) is in the Detwang church.
Spital bastion (Spitalbastei), a barbican with an abwurfdach built by Rothenburg architect and stonemason, Leonhard Weidmann
St. Wolfgang's Church by the Klingentor gate (fortified church)
Great hall of the castle (St. Blasius' Chapel)
Toppler Castle in the Tauber valley
Double bridge over the Tauber
The Wildbad Rothenburg was built between 1898 and 1903 by Friedrich Hessing as a spa hotel. Since 1982 it has been used as an Evangelical conference centre.
Historic town hall with clock tower and Meistertrunk clock
View from the Castle Gate (Burgtor).
Old Town Hall
Rothenburg ob der Tauber: Cultural references
Rothenburg has appeared in several films, notably fantasies. It was the inspiration for the village in the 1940 Walt Disney movie Pinocchio. It was the location for the Vulgarian village scenes in the 1968 family movie, Chitty Chitty Bang Bang. It is sometimes mistaken as the town at the end of Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory (1971); that town was Nördlingen. The town served as a loose basis for the fictional town of Lebensbaum ("life tree") in the video game Shadow of Memories (Shadow of Destiny in American market). Pictures of the town were used in some parts of The Wonderful World of the Brothers Grimm, and in the trailer for the film the camera flies over the town from the direction of the valley towards the Town Hall. A plaque exists on the rebuilt town wall to commemorate this. Filming was done in Rothenburg for Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part 1 (2010) and Part 2 (2011).
Robert Shackleton's Unvisited Places of Old Europe contains a chapter, "The Old Red City of Rothenburg", about the city and its history. Rothenburg is the primary location for Elizabeth Peters's mystery novel, Borrower of the Night (1973) about the search for a missing Tilman Riemenschneider sculpture. The town featured as the location in the Belgian comic book La Frontière de la vie (The Frontier of Life, 1977) and it inspired the look of the town in the Japanese manga and anime series A Little Snow Fairy Sugar (2001).
Rothenburg's famous street Kobolzeller Steige and Spitalgasse is depicted on the cover of two Blackmore's Night albums, 1999's Under a Violet Moon and their 2006 album Winter Carols. The same image was also used as the town center of Mêlée Island in the 1990 point-and-click graphic adventure game The Secret of Monkey Island.
The video game Team Fortress 2 features a map titled Rottenburg, a play on the original's namesake along with visually similar architecture.
The southern part of the marketplace is prominently featured in the video game Gabriel Knight 2 depicting the fictional town of Rittersberg.
Rothenburg ob der Tauber: Gallery
Old town: timber framed houses, Markusturm and Röderbogen
The town wall
The farmers' market next to the town hall
View of one of Rothenburg's lanes
Monument to former mayor Heinrich Toppler, in the Castle garden (Burggarten)
Rothenburg ob der Tauber: Twin Towns
Rothenburg ob der Tauber: Notable people
Georg Falck (1630–1689), organist at the St. James' Church, composer and music theorist
Franz Boll (1867–1924), science historian and librarian
Wilhelm Borkholder (1886–1945), jurist and Lord Mayor of Ansbach
Friedrich Uebelhoer (1893–1945), politician (NSDAP)
Wilhelm Heer (1894–1961), politician (NSDAP), Member of Reichstag
Christof Stählin (1942–2015), author
Otto A. Böhmer (born 1949), author
Christian Mittermeier (born 1965), cook
1SG David Norris (1974 - ) U.S. Army
Rothenburg ob der Tauber: See also
Rothenburg ob der Tauber: References
"Fortschreibung des Bevölkerungsstandes". Bayerisches Landesamt für Statistik und Datenverarbeitung (in German). June 2016.
Joshua Hagen: Preservation, Tourism and Nationalism: The Jewel of the German Past, p. 80
Joshua Hagen, "The Most German of Towns: Creating an Ideal Nazi Community in Rothenburg ob der Tauber", Annals of the Association of American Geographers 94:1 (2004), pp. 207–227, passim.
William M. Dwyer, “So Long for Now: A World War II Memoir," Xlibris Corporation (2009), pp 118-131