Wednesday, August 2, 2017

Photos and Words, Rothenburg ob der Tauber

Here's my version of a pithy travel article based on my time in Rothenburg ob der Tauber....

Rothenburg ob der Tauber has a fascinating history for sure, and if you are a fan of Rick Steve's as-seen-on-PBS travels, you know that he is a fan of this completely walled medieval city located on Germany's so-called Romantic Road in the Franconia region of German Bavaria. However, you won't find it on many of the "best-most-whatever-walled city" lists populating the web.


Why?

I have no idea, but maybe because its history is checkered with one really glaring modern sin: it expelled all it's Jewish citizens in 1938 and became used as a propaganda tool for the Nazis as a kind of "perfect German town."

It was also famously saved because of the intervention of U.S. Assistant Secretary of War John J. McCloy, whose mother had visited as a tourist and had a depiction of the town hanging in their home during his childhood (according to the Night Watchman, Hans Georg Baumgartner, on his entertaining tour).
He personally called US Army General Jacob L. Devers and halted further bombing. An offer to spare the town in return for a peaceful exit by the Nazi soldiers was accepted and the significant damage was repaired in part because of the international donations that flowed in to this well-established tourist destination.


Indeed, that is the only reason I can imagine it being excluded from any "best-of" lists, as it is lovely. The cobbled streets, tiny alleys, shops, buildings and museums are as charming as one could hope for, and Rothenburg hosts many tourists and visitors each day. Every turn takes you onto a quaint street filled with shops and restaurants, private homes, and a museum or two.


Fantastic views can be had from above.





The wall can be walked via a rampart on the inside for nearly the entire circumference, and the layers of rooftops, mostly terracotta red, lead your eyes to the towers and steeples of Rothenburg's historic buildings.


The inside of the wall is home to many personalized bricks that commemorate the donations from all over the world that financed the post-war repairs, and the walkway is, while in great condition, not designed for people with mobility issues. If you can manage the stairs up to it, you will be rewarded with some truly marvelous views.









Outside the walls is a typical German town as well, but a modern rather than medieval one. if you turn you camera outside the walls, you may see a factory or a swingset, or just the wooded surroundings of the Tauber River.


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