If you are reading this you are likely planning on traveling with Jeff to Europe. He hopes you find this site useful in the preparations of your upcoming vacation. Part of the excitement in traveling is in the planning and the anticipation of the adventure. The more we understand about European history (that is embodied in the Roman ruins, the Medieval cathedrals and castles, the Renaissance masterpieces, and the diverse scenery), the more interesting and enjoyable our time will be in Europe. This site was created for these two reasons—to build anticipation by getting a glimpse at the various sights we will likely explore, and to enrich our first hand experiences of these sights by educating ourselves on the rich history surrounding these attractions.

How to use this site.

The links on the right are some general sites that Jeff has found to be helpful in planning his trips. The posts located in the center of the page focuses upon the sights of Jeff's upcoming trip. The words underlined will link you to other sites with further information.

Day 10 (May 19th) Rothenburg & Nurnberg


The best preserved medieval town in Germany, Rothenburg ob der Tauber fits the word romantic perfectly. Walk the wall that encircles Rothenburg to get various perspectives of architecture in the middle ages (as well as a lot of exercise). Climb to the top of the Rothenburg Town Hall Tower (circa 1250-1400) for the wide angle view of Rothenburg and surrounding, mostly pastoral countryside. To feel the excitement of a medieval traveler as he approached this then important town, view Rothenburg's incomparable silhouettes from the plateau across the Tauber River Valley (in the direction of the village of Schwarzenbronn) and from the ancient double vaulted bridge on the valley floor. The whole walled town of Rothenburg is a museum. The wall connects five medieval gates complete with guard towers that date from the thirteenth to sixteenth centuries. Just walk along Rothenburg's narrow cobblestone streets and admire the gothic, renaissance, and baroque houses and fountains. You may wish that you had lived in these prettier, quieter, slow times. A visit to the Rothenburg Crime Museum, with its extensive display of instruments of torture and execution should bring you back to reality. Besides itself, Rothenburg offers a complete card of good medieval concerts, festivals, plays from the middle ages, guided walks, historic hotels and restaurants, gothic churches, art exhibits, museums, suits of armor, and great Franken wine, to name only a few.



Built During The height Of Rothenburg's Gothic Period, The Jacobs Church Took Over 170 Years To Complete (1311-1484). The Church's Greatest Artistic Treasure Is The Holy Blood Alter Carved By Tilmann Riemenschneider Between 1499 and 1505. The Alter Gets Its Name From The Rock Crystal Capsule Mounted In The Gold Cross Set In The Alter. Since The Middle Ages, The Capsule Is Said To Contain Three Drops Of Christ's Blood. If You Like Organ Music, Recitals Are Offered Twice A Week During The Summer. Open: 9:00 AM-5:30 PM (Easter To October), 10:00-12:00 And 2:00-4:00 PM (November To Easter).

The Markus and White Towers (circa 1172) are the gates to the original twelfth century Rothenburg. Next to the White Tower, you will find the medieval Jewish Dance Hall. The small adjacent garden has ancient Jewish gravestones built into the stone wall.

The Rothenburg medieval Crime Museum features the best collection in Europe of antique objects and documents pertaining to crime and punishment from the twelfth to the nineteenth centuries. It presents, often graphiclly four floors and 2000 square meters of medieval laws, verdicts, punishment and torture devices used to keep the little people in line.

The museum nicely presents costumes, weapons, and scenes of the Thirty Years War between Protestants and Catholics (1618-1648). Explanations are in German and English. Don't miss the dungeon. Heinrich Toppler, Rothenburg's greatest mayor died in the dungeon in 1408.



The Altes Rathaus, (old city hall) next to the hauptmarket in central nuremberg was once the site of speeches by nazi party big wigs during the nurnberg party rallies. Today a visitor can take a tour of it's 14 th century dungeons.

The Ehrenhalle was built in 1929 as a military monument. During the 1930's nazi party rallies it was part of the luitpold arena were hitler addressed S.A. and S.S. storm troopers. The ehrenhalle was surrounded by stone bleachers that could accommodate 150,000. Today most of these bleachers are covered with earth and the area is now used as a public park.

The Kongresshalle, (nazi party congress hall) was designed by franz and ludwig ruff. Construction of this massive building began in 1938 but was never completed because of the out break of WWII. The design of the building was inspired by the coliseum in rome. Built to accommodate 50,000 people it was to be used for nazi party meetings. today it is used as a warehouse and is home to the dokumnetationszentrum, (documentation center), an excellent museum about the third reich and the holocaust.

The Zeppelintribune grand stand was built in 1933 for the first nazi party national rallies. These rallies where held in september in 1933 through 1938. The rallies were discontinued on the out break of WWII. during the years of the third reich the zeppelintribune underwent several changes. These additions and up grades were supervised by albert speer. On the top of the large buliding in the center of the grand stand was a huge swastika. It was blown up by american troops in 1945. Also, there was a row of columns on the top of the grand stand. they were removed in 1967.

The Frauenkirche, ( church of our lady) was built in the 14 th century. At noon each day mechanical figures act out the story of the golden bull of 1356. Inside the church is the 1440 tucher alter. This church is located on the hauptmarkt in the center of old nuremberg. During the years of the third reich the hauptmarkt was called adolf hitler platz. It was here that hitler reviewed his political organizations during the nuremberg party rallies.

The Handwerkerhof ( = court of the craftsmen) 17 lovely half-timbered houses with great shops for souvenirs, Christmas-decorations from Erzgebirge, dolls made by artists etc. It is not an ordinary shopping-mall, but made with a special atmosphere and goods you may not find easily at other places. I have seen that small village, that is totally surrounded by the old medieval towers and walls, several times and it really looks great at any time of the year. The tower in the back is also called "Dicker Turm" (fat tower) This place is also fine for a snack or meal in one of the restaurants. Nürnberger Rostbratwürste are a Must !!

The Palace of Justice, home of the 1946 nuremberg trials of nazi war criminals. located in furth on the the outskirts of nurnberg it was the only undamaged building in the nuremberg area that was large enough to hold the trial. in the main trial in 1946 the following defendents were tried, martin borman, (in absentia), karl donitz, hans frank, wilhelm frick, hans fritzsche, walter funk. hermann goring (commited suicide during the trial), rudolf hess, alfred jodl, ernst kaltenbrunner, wilhelm keital. robert ley, (committed suicide during the trial), konstantin van neurath, franz von papen, erich raeder, joachim von ribbentrop, alfred rosenberg, fritz sauckel, balder von schirach, hjalmar schacht, arthur seyss-inquart, albert speer, and julius streicher. after the main trial there were several other trials of lesser known nazis. the palace of justice is open to the public on weekends.

Mauthalle is one of the biggest medieval buildings in the centre of Nürnberg / Nuremberg and you may quickly understand how easily clever people could make money by getting toll from the merchants passing by on the road or on the river. In 1498 the building was first constructed as a storing-place for salt and wheat and later it became the toll-hall and a place to officially weigh all of the goods. Today this building is a shopping-centre with a great beer-hall and restaurant in the cellar - see my restaurant tip about "Barfüsser"