Historic Travel- Medieval Times on the Main

Wednesday morning we woke up in the town of Wurzburg. As with most towns along the Main it started as a Roman town that grew and later came under the control of the Holy Roman Empire. Later the Swedes invaded and held the city for a while before it came under control of Bavaria. In 1720 the prince bishop was living in the white mansion on the hill but after hearing reports of Louis 14th palace at Versailles he decided his current mansion was too small and wanted one like Louie. You can start to see why so many revolutions happened here as well as the birth of socialism. I did not go into the new Palace, but you can see it greatly resembles Versailles. One thing the city is known for is that during WWII about 90% of the city was destroyed by allied bombs. Wurzburg was an important transportation hub as well as important city to the Nazis and so to break the peoples will, it was destroyed.

We did not spend the day at Wurzburg, however, instead we stepped back in time as we drove to what is considered the most preserved medieval town in Germany called Rothenberg. It is one of the few towns that had its medieval wall completely intact around it. You can walk on top of the wall all the way around the town, its about 1.5 miles and there are several great views of the ancient city. What set Rothenberg apart was it was known as an independent city, not having a Bishop Elector. They were the only truly Lutheran town we visited, part of this was to break away from the power of the bishops and be independent. The church pictured is St. James, the best saint, and is one of the few Lutheran Cathedrals I saw. They were also beer drinkers, something I have learned is really what separates the people, especially the Bavarians from the wine drinking Franconians.

For the darker side, it became a place where artists liked to paint. Today the picture of the gingerbread looking house and the tower is the most painted and photographed scenes in the town and is on many of the postcards. One sort of famous painter who painted that scene was a young Adolf Hitler who before trying to destroy the world tried to make it as an artist. Hitler fell in love with the city and after becoming the Fuhrer declared Rothenberg one of the most German towns in Germany. The Nazi’s embraced the town just as the town embrace them. During the war parts of the city were destroyed, but luckily the American commanders knew of its ancient history and mostly spared the town even with its Nazi connections.

The first picture is the of the two palaces in Wurzburg the rest are of Rothenberg. The Church is St. James. Most show the picturesque small town and its charm. By the way Wurzburg also has an American connection to sports. It is the home of Dirk Nowitzki, easily the best European basketball player ever. At least for now.

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