Historic Travels

On Thursday we docked at Bamberg but even though it was an important medieval city and at one point capital of the Holy Roman Empire, we did not spend any time in the city. Instead, we were put on buses and driven out to the German countryside and stopped at the city of Zeil am Main. It is an 11 Century town that was located on the main trade route between Bamberg and Nuremberg. Its history is similar to the other towns we visited along the way but one building stood out. The square tower with the dome on top in the pictures was a witch prison. The building did not have any doors or windows and suspected witches had to be lowered down from the top but the trap door sealed up so they could not fly out. They became so good at killing witches that the local princes from towns like Bamberg would send their possible witches to them for the trial and almost certain death.

We also stopped at an even smaller town or more a crossroad of Limbach to visit the church. It was plain on the outside but amazingly decorated on the inside. It is a major pilgrimage site as the story goes a blind shepherd girl was granted the miracle of site for her faith. Others started to travel to the site for miracles of their own and the local prince had health issues and so built this elaborate church. The reason for the pictures is what I learned about German cemeteries. First, the grave sites are rented, never owned. Even if you are dead and buried you only have the grave for about 30 years. After that someone in your family must rent the plot or it goes to someone else. If someone else rents it then the grave is dug up and the bones are left but the coffin is taken out and new coffins can be put in. Also, by law you must take care of your plot if you are renting it, or you can be fined. You can see how nice all the grave plots are.

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