Europe is filled with beautiful medieval architecture. We sought out old towns in Germany’s Bavaria, driving west to east visiting Tuebingen (Tübingen), Nördlingen, and Dinkelsbuehl.
Tuebingen is archetypal Germany with hilly cobblestone streets, half-timbered houses, a castle, interesting shops and one of Europe’s oldest universities and …it is not a tourist trap. Narrow alleys wind their way up to its castle.
We stayed in an old hotel adjacent to the castle – charming and good food (but the 3 flights of stairs, along with the steep hills, did in my knee for the rest of the trip!).
Schloss Hohentübingen was built in 1050 and converted to a stronghold in the earliest 1500’s.
The castle has been used by the university since 1816 and in more recent years they have taken over it’s restoration. There is an archeology museum on site with prehistoric treasures from caves in the Swabian Jura (a nearby low mountain range). One of the pieces that fascinated us were carvings of animals in mammoth ivory.
In the middle of Germany’s Romantic Road is the attractive ancient town of Nördlingen. The town was built in the Ries Basin, a large impact crater formed millions of years ago by a meteorite colliding with earth. (For more and better photos go to this site: images nordlinger)
It was an important trading center back in Roman times. The fortified walls were built between the 15th and 16th centuries and still surround the city. You can walk on the covered walls and see the impressive towers and gates up close as you enjoy the views of Nördlingen.
While visiting a church we happened upon a small choir practicing. Their voices and harmonies were moving, the acoustics magnificent, so we ended up sitting in a pew for half an hour just listening.
Out-of-kilter buildings like this one are not uncommon due to settling and repairs over, in some cases, centuries.
Almost two decades ago we visited Rothenburg ob der Tauber – considered Germany’s best-preserved walled city – but we didn’t go back because its fame has brought too many crowds and overpriced souvenirs. Dinkelsbühl, on Bavaria ‘s Wörnitz River is just as colorful and authentic, but has so far maintained its small-town character.
During the Holy Roman Empire Dinkelsbühl sat at the crossroads of two major medieval trading routes — a north-south route running from the North Sea to Italy, and an east-west route starting at the Rhine and extending to Prague. Because of its strategic importance it was fortified with walls in the Middle Ages a dozen towers.
As we strolled around the village we came upon a wedding just exiting the church. Here is a photo of the lovely bride and the party’s… organ grinder. These are the moments that make traveling memorable.
These towns are remarkable in that they have survived wars and the modern age. Isn’t it interesting to be in a place where you can imagine a different life – or a living there hundreds of years ago?