One of the most popular features to see when visiting Rothenburg ob der Tauber are the medieval walls and towers that still remain around the Old City or “Altstadt.”
Protective towers were strategically built above the entrances through the wall into the city, where watchmen from high above could determine if it was safe to open the gates – and defend them if necessary.
Today instead of warding off attackers, the gates welcome locals and visitors alike into the fortified section of this medieval city center or Altstadt.
The urban planners of long ago only had to account for horse drawn wagons, villagers on foot or horseback and for livestock, and today cars are often banned from the narrow streets in many medieval city centers.
David’s attention is focused on something happening in the street beside him as we continue our stroll through Rothenburg ob der Tauber.
The sandstone steps of this building show their age from the wear of shoes over hundreds of years – yet the door of this wine shop looks recently installed – and in keeping with the Old World style and tradition.
The walls surrounding Rothenburg ob der Tauber’s Altstadt are as functional today as they were hundreds of years ago, and tourists can access them by taking any of the staircases that are available along the inner side of the walls.
The walkways along the top of the walls are covered and open to the inside towards the Altstadt, while the exterior side is more protected and defensive in nature – looking out from the city only through small window openings in the walls.
This view of one of the main city gates along with a small pedestrian gate going into the city, was taken from outside the medieval wall surrounding the Altstadt of Rothenburg ob der Tauber, note the small defensive windows along the top of the walls.
A guardhouse with a conical roof befitting a fairy tale, stands outside one of the main gates entering into the city through the medieval wall – under the protective shadow of a watch tower.
The medieval towers of this exterior gate complex rise into conical pointed roofs that resemble so many tents at a medieval jousting festival.
A horse drawn wagon awaits the next tourists that would like to take a leisurely guided tour through the streets of Rothenburg ob der Tauber.
This half-timbered building shows off many of the period details of Old World construction, including what was once a rope and pulley access over the hay loft door under the roof.
This was a clear view from the window of one of the towers overlooking the natural landscape outside of the city that descends into the Tauber River valley below.
Rothenburg on the Tauber sits on a plateau above the Tauber River, and the city’s name means, “Rothenburg on the Tauber River” in its English translation.
This is an unusual picture looking out into the Tauber River valley from the city wall, with what appears to be white blossoms on the trees in the foreground – in December yet – but it could also be snow remaining in the shadows of the valley.