Rothenburg ob der Tauber Castle

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Rothenburg ob der Tauber Castle
Reichsburg Rothenburg ob der Tauber, former palace of the rear castle (today's Blasius Chapel) from the east

Reichsburg Rothenburg ob der Tauber, former palace of the rear castle (today's Blasius Chapel) from the east

Alternative name (s): Old castle
Creation time : around 1142
Castle type : Höhenburg, spur location
Conservation status: Remains of the palace, the gate and the curtain wall
Standing position : king
Construction: Humpback cuboid
Place: Rothenburg ob der Tauber
Geographical location 49 ° 22 '31.6 "  N , 10 ° 10' 21.1"  E Coordinates: 49 ° 22 '31.6 "  N , 10 ° 10' 21.1"  E
Rothenburg ob der Tauber Castle (Bavaria)
Rothenburg ob der Tauber Castle

The Rothenburg ob der Tauber , and Old Castle called, are the remains of a medieval imperial castle on an exposed mountain ridge above the Tauber Valley west of Rothenburg ob der Tauber in the district of Ansbach in Bavaria .


The first castle complex in Rothenburg was founded around 970 and was owned by the Counts of Comburg-Rothenburg , whose line died out in 1116 in the male line with Count Heinrich von Rothenburg. In research is controversial whether the castle to the real property of the Benedictine - monastery Comburg fell or (more likely) already at this time in the hands of the Staufer arrived. The completely abandoned castle complex is located by recent research in the corridor of the Essigkrug , a mountain spur not far from today's Spitalhof.

The Staufer King Konrad III. around 1142 built a new palatinate castle on the neighboring Bergsporn to the north (today's castle garden). He exchanged the Burgberg near Detwang , exposed to the west and steeply sloping on three sides towards the Tauber, from Neumünster Abbey ; the original document of Bishop Embrichos von Würzburg is preserved. After the death of Konrad III. resided his son, Duke Friedrich († 1167), on the Rothenburg.

In 1188 the "castrum Rotenburch" is mentioned in a contract between Emperor Friedrich I Barbarossa and King Alfons VIII of Castile , in which the marriage between Friedrich's son Duke Conrad II of Swabia and Alfons' daughter Berengaria was agreed. The castle and 29 other Hohenstaufen goods were part of the bride's morning gift. However, this marriage was never consummated.

In the early 13th century, the imperial castle hardly played a role as a royal residence; only the last Staufer king, Konrad IV , stayed in Rothenburg seven times between 1238 and 1251.

In the post-Hohenstaufen period, the Rothenburg was hardly used by the monarchy, while the civil settlement to the east was elevated to a free imperial city in 1274 . During the rint meat pogrom in July 1298, around 400 Jews sought protection in the old imperial castle, but had to surrender after a three-day siege; all were killed. Friedrich III. pledged the castle in 1314 to Kraft II von Hohenlohe .

In 1356 Rothenburg was damaged by the Basel earthquake ; The extent of this destruction or the extent to which the castle had already fallen into disrepair is disputed in research. Emperor Karl IV. Allowed the citizens of Rothenburg to use the stones to build city buildings, but the Burgmanns seats remained partially inhabited until they were successively sold to the imperial city in the 1380s. In 1407, in a feud with the burgraviate of Nuremberg , the city leaders had the former imperial castle completely deconsolidated in order to use it as a siege castle against the city by Friedrich VI. to prevent. For this purpose, leaving the deposed king Wenzel of under imperial ban city asked "to was knowing tower in the vesten (...) with its umfengen", ie the eastern keep and the adjoining walls that were deposited thereupon; the donation was confirmed in 1425 by King Sigismund . The square keep on the western tip ("Pharamundsturm") remained part of the city fortifications and was only demolished in 1803.

A Staufer stele in the Burggarten has been a reminder of the Reichsburg since 2010 .


The approximately 250 meters long and between 30 and 40 meters wide Spornburg complex with two mountain trees that have now disappeared was divided into Vorderburg , Mittelburg and Hinterburg . The buildings of the royal court were concentrated in the Vorderburg on the western tip of the Bergsporn, first and foremost the three-storey hall building, according to a map of the area from 1537 . The residences of the royal ministerials were divided between the central and rear castle, where the regional court arbor was also located. The castle was separated from the settlement and later town to the east by a shield wall and a neck ditch , which was filled in by the 15th century at the latest.

Blaise Chapel

Late Romanesque biforias in the south wall of the Blasius Chapel

On the freely accessible castle site, significant parts of the Romanesque palace of the rear castle are still preserved in today's Blasius Chapel . The prestigious residential building with chapel was most likely the office of the Reich Vogts , since the 13th century the imperial master chef . It originally stood in the southeast corner of the Bering and was integrated into the ring and shield wall, which were clad with humpback ashlars - a design that Konrad III. in Rothenburg for the first time influenced German castle building. In the late Romanesque- early Gothic period, probably at the instigation of Conrad IV, the stone house was raised by a third floor; Four biforias originate from this construction phase , of which the window above the chapel niche in the east wall with a central column and bud capital is the most elaborately designed. From 1397 to 1400, Mayor Heinrich Toppler had the building converted into a sacred space and decorated with wall paintings . Wooden galleries were built in in the 17th and early 20th centuries . Today the Blasius Chapel serves as a memorial for the fallen of the two world wars .

Ring wall and castle gate

The former Hohenstaufen castle gate (today's “gardener's house”), east side

The extensive surrounding wall has been preserved on three sides of the Bering, large parts of which are still in the original humpback cuboid. Remains of the destroyed hall building can still be seen on the northern wall. In a setback of the southern wall line is the Romanesque gate system , which has served as the substructure of the “gardener's house” (also “citizen shooting house”; private property) since the 17th century; it was first researched archaeologically in 2007.


  • Thomas Biller: The Blasius Chapel of the Staufer Reichsburg Rothenburg ob der Tauber. In: Maria-Letizia Heyer-Boscardin (Hrsg.): Against the "sinister Middle Ages". Festschrift for Werner Meyer on the occasion of his 65th birthday (= Swiss contributions to the cultural history and archeology of the Middle Ages . Vol. 29). Schweizerischer Burgenverein, Basel 2002, ISBN 3-908182-13-1 , pp. 41–50 ( PDF; 5 MB ).
  • Karl Borchardt: Castle and town of Rothenburg under the Staufers. In: Horst F. Rupp, Karl Borchardt (Hrsg.): Rothenburg ob der Tauber. History of the city and its surroundings. Theiss, Darmstadt 2016, ISBN 3-8062-2962-7 , pp. 65–81.
  • Reiner Burkard, Anke Köber: The castle gate in the "gardener's house" - a deep sleep of a Hohenstaufen gate system in Rothenburg ob der Tauber . In: The archaeological year in Bavaria 2007 . Konrad Theiss Verlag, Stuttgart 2008, ISBN 978-3-8062-2156-5 , pp. 115–117 (interior view of the exposed gate passage on the cover picture).
  • Thomas Steinmetz: The royal palace Rothenburg ob der Tauber . Verlag Ellen Schmid, Brensbach 2002, ISBN 3-931529-04-5 .

Web links

Commons : Alte Burg (Rothenburg ob der Tauber)  - Collection of pictures, videos and audio files
Reichsburg Rothenburg, general view from the south


  1. Historically, the name Alte Burg is more related to the Burgstall Essigkrug ; see. Thomas Steinmetz: The royal palace Rothenburg ob der Tauber. Brensbach 2002, p. 14.
  2. See discussion in Steinmetz, Königspfalz , p. 11 f.
  3. Steinmetz, Königspfalz , p. 14.
  4. ^ Regesta Imperii IV, 1, 2, No. 238 ( full text in RI-Opac ); Karl Friedrich Stumpf-Brentano (Ed.): The Reich Chancellors, especially the X., XI. and XII. Century , Volume 3.Acta imperii inde from Heinrico I ad Heinricum VI usque adhux inedita , Innsbruck 1865-1881, No. 109 .
  5. ^ Peter Koblank: Treaty of Seligenstadt 1188 on Retrieved April 6, 2017.
  6. See Steinmetz, Königspfalz , pp. 16-19.
  7. Steinmetz, Königspfalz , p. 20 f.
  8. Steinmetz, Königspfalz , pp. 24 f., 26 f.
  9. Steinmetz, Königspfalz , pp. 24 f., 29.
  10. Steinmetz, Königspfalz , pp. 42 and 44 f.
  11. ^ The double towers of the Reichsburg are documented in stylized form on Rothenburg seals from the early 14th century; The motif comes from the seal of the Rothenburg bailiffs and mayors from 1227 from the family of the chefs from Nordenberg .
  12. Steinmetz, Königspfalz , pp. 73 ff.
  13. See Steinmetz, Königspfalz , pp. 75, 78 f.
  14. See Steinmetz, Königspfalz , p. 65.
  15. See the detailed description in Steinmetz, Königspfalz , pp. 114–142. As a result, “Rothenburg may be considered the earliest, with certainty, dated Buckelquaderburg or -pfalz in the German-speaking area” (p. 114).
  16. See Steinmetz, Königspfalz , p. 64 f.
  17. Cf. in summary Biller, Blasiuskapelle , passim; Steinmetz, Königspfalz , pp. 50–66.
  18. See Burkard / Köber, Burgtor , passim; Steinmetz, Königspfalz , pp. 67–72.