Wednesday, April 29, 2015

2014 Germany Trip - Rathaus und Turm @ Rothenburg ob der Tauber

Location: Rothenburg ob der Tauber, Germany

Itinerary and full experience of my visit to Germany can be accessed through the link below:

As shared in my previous post, Marktplatz is but a crossroads and navigation point to gain one's bearing in Rothenburg ob der Tauber. Unless visitors are blind the renaissance mud brown facade of its town hall, the Rathaus, would not miss anyone's attention. Since I visited on a weekend, the halls were not opened for visits but another section of the same building, the tower, was still accessible for those in search of a magnificent view.

Rathaus (town hall) of Rothenburg ob der Tauber

The Rathaus' architecture is a combination of 2 eras - the Gothic part was at the rear, dating back to 1250, while the more prominent front was of Renaissance style, added in 1572. Since the medieval ages it has been the seat of government of this city, serving an important role within the historic city. Most visitors, like me, would be much more interested in an entrance to a side of the building which leads to the tower.

Is this the Gothic part of the Rathaus?



Phi ratio

After climbing a spiraling staircase, I entered into a dark space which seemed like a gathering area. And a gathering area it was, as the number of persons allowed into the tower proper at any one time was limited, for reasons that were soon obvious. If a crowd like a bus full of tourists climbed and waited for their turns, such a large gathering area would be required.

When the light turned green on the gantry, I entered with just less than 5 other visitors. Even so the winding ascent past narrow stairs and claustrophobic landings just reinforced the necessity of the limit in numbers. The climb was not exhaustive as it was broken into several different sections but it certainly was dangerously steep. Anyone with a slightly heavier build would find fitting through the openings of the floor challenging to say the least.

Temporary landing

Unmanned gate - this gate limits the number of people entering to the tower top. With the light lit green, visitors can go past the gantry, if it is red then the gantry won't rotate. The limit in numbers has a reason as you will see...

Every corridors and landings past the gantry is superbly constrained in space. The ladders are so tight that only a person can be on it at a time, so if someone is climbing, the descending must wait. Climbing up...

After a few climbs and turns which I chose not to bore readers with, I reached the final landing that is situated right under the top. You can see how tight the space is - this is the stairs which I climbed through and it fits my frame just right. Imagine how difficult it is for people of larger size. No kidding.

Rooftop can only be accessed after paying the counter that is on the right of this picture (not included in the photo). The ladder is sturdy but even tighter, and the opening at the top is not better, as this lady's struggle shows. She is of average build, which again shows for comparison how much of a premium space is on top. This landing in itself could only accommodate 4 persons at any one time. This is why there is a limit in the number of people entering past the gantry at any one time.

The climb led me to the highest covered floor, which is just a staircase away from the top. I hesitantly paid an entrance fee, hoping that I would not be disappointed. My predecessors ascended the last flight with difficulty, their build larger than mine and snuggling through the small opening proved to be more challenging than those at the lower levels. Finally it was my turn and I was blown away by the view, as well as the wind.

It was terribly windy at such a height, and yet the mesmerizing vista of the whole town of Rothenburg easily made me felt like at the top of the world. The horizon towards the furthest hills was visible under the clear weather and one could see where human civilization ends and where nature picked up. For exhilarating views, this could easily be one of the best.

The view is marvelous and unparalleled. One could see as far as the hills. The tower at the middle marks the medieval walls' distance to the tower. The Markplatz is the space directly below in this photo.

Since the tower is not situated in the epicenter of Rothenburg, this direction is closer to the wall's perimeter. The rolling hills extend as far as the eyes can see, showing a face of nature compared to the advancement of civilization.

The view of Marktplatz from above is truly vertigo inducing. People are like ants and vehicles like toys.

Another view of Rothenburg before climbing down. It was much more difficult to climb down than up.


Was the entry worth the fee? For me it was but not everyone would share my sentiments, especially if the weather is not as beautiful and time is not so sparing. If you are willing to spend the time and dime however, the ascent and the view may prove just to be one of your most memorable experience.

Environment:         A historic townhall and a tall tower
Suitable for:            For orienting oneself to another spot, and to test your altophobia
Visit worthiness:   6.5/10 (good for a panorama, only if you wish for it)
Historical value:        0.0/5.0 
Architectural value:  3.0/5.0
Photographic value:  5.0/5.0
Landmark value:       5.0/5.0

Entrance Fee:                 €2 (general), €0.50 (students)
Opening Hours:             publicly available anytime
Best Moment to Visit: Anytime
Length of Visit:              <1 hour

Website:                   Tourism center provided webcam

Contact:                    -
E-mail:                      -
Address:                   Marktplatz, 91541 Rothenburg ob der Tauber, Germany.

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