See the Renaissance Castle, Baroque Palaces, Medieval Walls & Watchtowers
Weikersheim is famous for its Renaissance Schloss, Baroque structures, and the Goethe connection. Röttingen has medieval town walls and watchtowers.
Weikersheim was first mentioned in 837 when the area was given to the abbot of Fulda. During the 12th century, it came under the control of the counts of Hohenlohe, who would rule until the family died out in 1756. It became part of Württemberg in 1806.
Weikersheim Tourist Office
Verkehrsamt Weikersheim, Marktplatz 7, 97990 Weikersheim, Germany, tel 07934-1020.
Sightseeing in Weikersheim
Weikersheim shows conformity in style uncommon in most towns in the region. The Marktplatz is mostly lined by Baroque buildings although the Stadtkirche St Georg (Town Church) is Gothic and the market fountain Rococo. The outdoor cafés on the square have fantastic views of the best sights in Weikersheim.
The main reason to visit the town is to see the splendid Renaissance Schloss Weikersheim, Marktplatz 11, tel 07934-992-950. In 1586, Count Wolfgang II decided to replace a 12th-century moated castle with a Renaissance palace.
It took well over a hundred years to complete the building of Schloss Weikersheim, as wars and finances interfered, but the result is one of the most magnificent palaces in Germany. The original keep was preserved but topped by a Baroque cupola in 1680s. The most impressive wing of this triangular building is the Saalbau with its characteristic six Renaissance scroll gables.
After the Thirty Years’ War, the Baroque wings facing the market square were added to the Renaissance Schloss Weikersheim. Minor Rococo elements can also be seen especially in the interior, which is original, as the palace has not been used as residence after the family died out in the mid-18th century.
A highlight of the interior of Weikersheim Palace is the Rittersaal (Knights’ Hall) – a double-story banqueting hall with a self-supporting coffered ceiling adorned by hunting scenes. The interior can only be seen on a compulsory guided tour.
In the former palace kitchen is a small museum with the alchemy laboratory of the highly educated Count Wolfgang II. Alchemy was popular during the Middle Ages and Renaissance with many a nobleman trying to find the Philosopher’s Stone to make gold. The small museum is included in the normal palace admission.
The early 18th-century palace gardens in Weikersheim are High Baroque and sport numerous sculptures and water features. Other architectural elements typical for the period such as the Orangery, the Belvedere, and the Triumph Arc complete the Baroque ensemble.
Opening hours of Schloss Weikersheim are daily, April to October from 9 am to 6 pm and November to March from 10 am to noon and 1 pm to 5 pm. Admission is €4.50.
Weikersheim’s Goethe Connection
Many a German town (and foreign towns frequented by German tourists) is quick to point out if Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, Germany’s greatest literary figure, slept there or even just mentioned the place in passing. Weikersheim can go one better – Johann Wolfgang von Goethe got his name from here.
Count Wolfgang II was married to Magdalena, the sister of Dutch ruler Willem of Orange-Nassau. In addition to their children, he also had an illegitimate son with a lady-in-waiting, who was married off quickly to his footman to prevent a scandal. The talented son was called Wolfgang and well educated. He Latinized his name to Textor and the family started a tradition to call all first-born sons Wolfgang. Aja Textor was a descendant and her first-born son thus called Johann Wolfgang Goethe.
Sightseeing in Röttingen
Röttingen in the Tauber Valley is a small village of less than 2,000. Much of the 17th-century walls survived as did 7 of the original 14 watchtowers. Many half-timbered buildings help to enhance this medieval townscape but the most impressive building in town is the lovely 1750 Baroque Rathaus (Town Hall) on the Marktplatz.
Röttingen Tourist Office
Verkehrsamt Röttingen, Marktplatz 1, 97285 Röttingen, Germany, tel 09338-972-855.
The Top Sights to see in Röttingen, Tauber Valley
The top sights worth seeing is the Renaissance Julius Echter Stift (Charitable Foundation) erected in 1615. The Pfarrkirche St Kilian (Parish Church) has a Late Romanesque core from the 13th century but has been altered several times.
From the same period is the Hoher Bau (High Building) that belonged to the Teutonic Order – this five-story building was unusually high for the era and has an almost fortress-like base.
Burg Brattenstein dates from at least 1230 but has been altered many times. It now houses the Kleines Weinbaumuseum (Small Wine Museum) with exhibitions on viniculture in the region and serves as open-air stage for theater in summer (see Cultural Events).
Next: Creglingen is famous for its Riemenschneider Marienaltal and Thimble Museum.
Further Destinations & Information on the Taube Valley in Germany
- Wertheim – Outlet mall shopping at the confluence of the Tauber and Main Rivers.
- Tauberbischofsheim & Lauda Königshofen – Half-Timbered Townscapes
- Bad Mergentheim – Old Town, Spa & Stuppacher Madonna
- Deutschordenschloss – Teutonic Order Castle in Bad Mergentheim
- Weikersheim (Renaissance Schloss) & Röttingen
- Cultural Events & Outdoor Adventures in the Tauber Valley
- Hotels & Restaurants – Where to Sleep and Eat in the Tauber Valley