ROTHENBURG (ob der Tauber)
General Information

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The town of Rothenburg ob der Tauber is located in the Franconian region of northern Bavaria, 80 km from Nuremberg and 60 km from Würzburg, and lies on a plateau at the intersection of the so-called 'Romantic Route' 1,275 ft. above sea level. Below the town runs the River Tauber in its 180 ft deep valley and this is the reason why the town has the additional 'ob' or 'above' the Tauber. Not only is it a completely preserved medieval city (preservation laws have been in place since the late 1800s) with an intact city wall, it also served as inspiration for Romantic master painter Carl Spitzweg (1808-1885). Its picturesque quality make Rothenburg  (population 12.000 people ) one of the most popular stops on the Romantic Road, with more than 2 million visitors a year. Of all the reconstructions and survivals in present-day Germany, the unquestioned jewel is Rothenburg. Nestled high above the Tauber River valley in Bavaria, it boasts of being the only walled city in Germany without a single modern construction; nothing breaks the mood set by moats, half-timbered houses, and narrow winding lanes.

The city has some interesting museums (Christmas museum) as well as some unexpected ones (Crime Museum). The annual Christmas market draws hurds of people over here. Christmas is so popular here that you can do Christmas Decoration shopping all year round.

One of the many ways in which Rothenburg celebrates its past is through commemoration of the "Meistertrunk." Legend has it that the town's mayor saved Rothenburg from destruction during the Thirty Years War in the 1600s when he met the challenge of an invading general to drink a tankard full of almost a gallon of beer in one gulp. This feat is celebrated annually each October in a play reenactment, and hourly when animated figures on the clock on the main square depict town leaders drinking beer.

The history and the present tourist situation of Rothenburg bears a lot of resemblance to the history of the Belgian city of Brugge (bruges).—where a silted-up harbor caused the town to stagnate, just as the wrecking ball of the Industrial Revolution began swinging everywhere else—Rothenburg owes its architectural preservation to economic failure.After thriving in its medieval heyday along a lucrative trade route, it became a ghost town when the trade moved elsewhere; for centuries nothing was built, nothing torn down, nothing changed. Only in the 1800s, when it was rediscovered by the same forces of romance and tourism that were building stage sets in Carcassonne, did Rothenburg again begin to do business. Its product, then and today, is its past.