Top sights in Ansbach other than the Baroque Residenz palace include the St Gumbertus church with its Schwanenritterkapelle and the Lichtenau Fortress.
The top sight in Ansbach is the Markgräfliches Residenz (Margrave Palace) with the Hofgarten (Court Garden) but it is rewarding to stroll through the romantic old town with its faux-Baroque buildings. A brief walk through the old town is rewarding.
Top Sights to See in Old Town Ansbach, Bavaria
From the Ansbacher Residenz, stroll into the old town along Johann-Sebastian-Bach-Platz. Note the Behringershof with an impressive courtyard and staircase tower from the 16th century. Many of the Baroque houses in Ansbach actually have half-timbered cores but received Baroque facades during the 18th century when the medieval look was decidedly out of fashion.
St. Gumbertus, Johann-Sebastian-Bach-Platz, tel 0981-13-890, is the oldest building in town. Its crypt dates from the 11th century. It has an interesting façade with a large tower flanked by two smaller ones. The Gothic choir has the impressive Schwanenritterkapelle (Swan Knights Chapel), while the nave is a more sober 18th-century work clearly reminding that this church is Lutheran. Since 1975, the St. Gumbertus church has housed the Fürstengruft with the tombs of 25 margraves. The church is open daily during daylight hours while the Fürstengruft is open from May to September on Friday and Saturday from 3 to 5 pm, and Sunday from 11 am to noon and 3 to 5 pm.
On the opposite side of the Markt, behind the 1532 Stadthaus (Town House) with the tourist office, is St. Johannis (St John’s), Martin-Luther-Platz, a 15th-century triple nave church. Behind the church is a small section of the surviving town walls.
The Markgrafen-Museum (Local History), Kaspar-Hauser-Platz, tel 0981-977-5056, has a modern display on the history of the margraviate including a large collection of porcelain. Particularly popular with German tourists is the section on Kaspar Hauser (see Ansbach Culture for more on Kaspar Hauser). Opening hours are from 10 am to 5 pm, daily from May to September, and Tuesday to Sunday from October to April. Admission is €2.50.
At the south of Ansbach’s old town is a rare mid-18th-century Baroque Synagogue (Synagogue), Rosenbadstraße. It is one of the best-preserved examples in southern Germany. The interior can only be seen while on the tourist office’s town walk.
The nearby Herrieder Tor (Town Gate) has a 15th-century base but the upper levels are not surprisingly Baroque from the mid-18th century. Late Baroque and neo-Classical buildings line the Promenade that leads back to the palace and Hofgarten.
Festung Lichtenau near Ansbach
Around 10 km/6 miles from Ansbach is the small town Lichtenau. The main sight here is Festung Lichtenau (fortress), tel 09827-1235. Visitors familiar with Nürnberg will instantly notice how this fortress resembles the Kaisersburg in Nürnberg. This is no coincidence. In 1406, the Free Imperial City of Nürnberg purposely bought Lichtenau to be a thorn in the flesh of the burgrave (and later margrave) of Nürnberg, who earlier bought nearby Ansbach.
In both Margrave Wars, the Lichtenau fortress fell without being defended and was completely destroyed by Margrave Albrecht Alchibiades in 1552. Nürnberg rebuilt it in 1558 as a mighty citadel but Lichtenau never again suffered an attack from the margraves of Brandenburg-Ansbach.
Festung Lichtenau fortress is used by the Nürnberg State Archives and is not open to the public. However, the exterior is worth seeing, as is the courtyard that is open for free from 8 am to 8 pm, 6 pm in winter.
More on Romantic Franconia:
- Cultural Events in Ansbach & Kaspar Hauser
- Ansbach’s Baroque Residence and the Hohenzollern Connection
- Romanesque Church in Heilsbronn
- Colmberg Castle with Cheap Hotel & Restaurant
- Bad Windsheim – Open Air Museum, Spa, and Model Trains
- Open-Air Adventures in Romantic Franconia
- Hotels and Restaurants in Romantische Franken Towns
- Romantic Franconia Overview