Rothenburg ot Rothenburg ob der Tauber

History about Rothenburg ob der Tauber

History of Rothenburg ~ 950 AD

Weir system in today’s castle garden – Earl of Comburg-Rothenburg

~ 1070

The Earls of Comburg-Rothenburg, who also own the village „Gebsattel“, built Rothenburg castle on the mountain top high above the river Tauber.


The Earls of Comburg-Rothenburg dynasty dies out. Earl Heinrich wills all his belongings, including Gebsattel and Rothenburg to the Comburg convent. But Emperor Heinrich V. appoints his nephew Konrad von Hohenstaufen to be the successor.

Konrad III 1142

Konrad von Hohenstaufen, who became Konrad III. (1138-52) the Roman-German King, trades a part of the monastery Neumünster in Würzburg above the village Detwang and builds the Stauffer-Castle Rothenburg on this cheaper land. He holds court there and appoints reeves as caretaker.

Friedrich I
Friedrich I., called Barbarossa

A son of Rothenburg dies of an illness. He accompanied his guardian Friedrich I. (Barbarossa) to Rome.

Alte Karte Rothenburg ~ 1170

The city of Rothenburg is founded at the time of the building of Staufer castle. The centre is the market place and the Jakobs-Church. The development of the oldest fortification can be seen: Old cellar / old moat and the milk market. Walls and towers were built in the 13th century. Preserved are the “White Tower” and the Markus-Tower with the Röder-Arch.


The representatives of the Staufer dynasty govern the area around Rothenburg. The St. John order and other orders are founded near the Jakobs-Church and the monastery of the Dominikan order.

Image Romantic Road Rothenburg ~ 1250

The so called Staufer street leads from Augsburg, passes Rothenburg up to Würzburg, today’s Romantic Road.


The Staufische Empire Tax statistics names the Jews in Rothenburg. Rabbi Meir ben Baruch of Rothenburg (died 1293, buried 1307 in Worms) had a great reputation as a jurist in Europe.

Rothenburg ot 1274

Rothenburg is accorded privileges by King Rudolf of Habsburg as an imperial city. Three famous fairs are established in the city. In the following centuries the city expands. The citizens of the city and the knights of the hinterland build the Franziskaner-Monastery and the Holy-Ghost-Hospital (1376/78 incorporated into the city walls). The German Order begins the building of the Jakobs-Church, which the citizens have used since 1336. The Heilig-Blut-pilgrimage attracts many pilgrims to Rothenburg.

~ 1330

Completion of the Franziskaner-Church. Preachers and pastors arrive.


The city is accorded the right to collect taxes and customs duties and is protected by the emperor.


The city of Rothenburg is now considered a free Imperial City ("Freie Reichsstadt").


Earthquake: the „Old Castle“is totally destroyed, today the St. Balsius chapel is still standing there.


Council and citizens decide to build the house of the Jakobs-Church. As agreed in a contract with the German Order in 1398 the city takes over construction costs. St. Jakob becomes the official City-Church. At the same time the building of the gothic City-Hall starts.


Rothenburg enters the Swabian league of cities under the lead of Ulm.

Heinrich Toppler Rothenburg 1373-1408

Heinrich Toppler becomes the mayor of Rothenburg and due to his diplomatic and warring skills the city prospers.

~ 1400

After Nürnberg, Rotheburg is the city with the largest population in the region (Franken). Until 1802 it is the 8th biggest city in Franken.


The construction of St. Jakobs-Church is completed after a period of 170 years and is well preserved today.


Rothenburg takes part in the peasant wars and tries to introduce the Reformation. In the end the Burgrave Kasimir has to surrender. Johann Teuschlein and other insurgents are executed.


Rothenburg finally establishes the Reformation in the time of Mayor Johann Hornburg. In 1559 a Protestant Church Order (Kirchenordnung) is released. The affairs of the church are conducted by three councilmen and three clerks. Only the Knights of St. John (until 1809) and the German Order (bought by the city in 1672) remain Catholic, even though both orders of Knights have to abandon their rights to their churches - St. John ánd St. Johannis.

Image Rothenburg around 1590
around 1590

The rebuilding of the Eastwing of the city hall, burnt down in 1501 begins. In the following centuries – until the outbreak of the Thirty Years’ War – the city prospers. Council and citizens erect magnificent new buildings in the Renaissance-Style, among others the so called „Baumeisterhaus“, the „Schranne” which was used as a granary, the school near the Jakobs-Church and the new building of the Holy-Ghost-Hospital (Heilig-Geist-Spitals).

Image Rothenburg around 1643
around 1643

During the Thirty Years’ War the city has to share the costs of the war, house passing troops and provide accommodation during the winter . In 1631, 1634 and 1645 there are battles in and around Rothenburg. The imperial city allies with Sweden in 1632-34 and is occupied by French troops in 1645. Ransacking troops and diseases continue to dramatically diminish the population in the city and its surrounds. Rothenburg is forced by its debt to sell and pawn its valuables and properties.


During the Palatine War of Succession a French invasion causes severe damage to the Landwehr, but the city remains unoccupied. The rebuilding carries on into the 18th century.


In 1793 the war against revolutionary France leads to many civil commotions. Prussia, which has taken over the Ansbach and Bayreuth, signs a contract with Rothenburg agreeing on a settlement of the borders with the Landwehr. The small imperial city state therefore is still recognized as viable.


Due to the decision of the Great European Powers and the German Diet of the Holy Roman Empire to reimburse the sovereigns who had ceded territories on the left bank of the Rhine to France, the imperial city of Rothenburg is now assigned property in Bavaria. Due to imperial debt, Bavaria sells many public buildings and land (i.e. the Marienkapelle at the milk market, now the chapel plaza, the large tower at the Stauferburg, the land preservation). The dynastic families that used to be represented in the parliament lose lands and migrate in the subsequent years – with the exception of the house of von Staudt.


Due to pressure from Napoleon Bavaria assigns the Western part of the Landwehr that formerly belonging to Rothenburg. The new marginality aggravates the economic crisis within the city and its boundaries. The economy improves after the foundation of the German Empire in 1871 due to tourism (Spitzweg) and industrialization (a factory for baby carriages for example).

Train  Rothenburg 1873

Rothenburg obtains access to the train system: first a feeder line from Steinach to the main Ansbach-Würzburg line, later on to Dombühl and the main Ansbach-Stuttgart line. An expansion of the road and train networks is achieved during the times of the mayors Karl Mann (1886-1908) and Ludwig Siebert (1908-1919). The population increases from 5382 (in 1871) to 8612 (in 1910).


Debut performance of the historical festival "Der Meistertrunk". Rothenburg is rediscovered by tourists.

Town Hall is destroyed 1945

The town is partially destroyed by a bomb attack. Due to the decisive intervention of an American general total destruction is avoided. In the following years, the old part of the town is rehabilitated. Financial support, both at home and abroad, enables the total reconstruction of the demolished weir system. Because of refugees, the population increases from 8939 (in 1939) to 11924 (as of 1971).

ab 1945

Rothenburg is now a tourist centre and receives a few millions visitors each year.

External links

Verein Alt-Rothenburg

Verein Alt-Rothenburg

Description: Erforschung der Stadtgeschichte, Förderung der lokalen sowie der fränkischen Geschichtsschreibung and much more zu diesem Thema

Language: german
Mittelalterliche Jüdische Viertel und Synagogen in Rothenburg

Mittelalterliche Jüdische Viertel und Synagogen

Description: Zur Geschichte der mittelalterlichen jüdischen Gemeinde und ihrer Synagogen

Language: german, english
Heinrich Toppler 1408 - 2008 Bürgermeister Rothenburg

Heinrich Toppler 1408 - 2008

Description: Wer war Heinrich Toppler?
Wie hat er gelebt, was hat er getan, was ist passiert, das 600 Jahre nach seinem Tod eine Internetseite erstellt wird und viele Gruppen, Vereine und Einzelpersonen, ja sogar eine Stadt ganz offiziell diesem Mann ein Gedenkjahr widmet?

Language: german
Bahnstrecke Dombühl - Rothenburg

Bahnstrecke Dombühl - Rothenburg

Description: Die Geschichte einer fränkischen Nebenbahn 1900 bis 1972 mit vielen Bildern

Language: german
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