The Debtor's Prison and Caretaker's Lodge sits on the pond right near one of the entrances to Dinkelsbuehl. It makes a lovely sight but in it's original application would have been a house of horror for those housed there. It also forms part of the fortifications of the city or the Town Wall which still stands today and can be accessed at many different places around the town.
My pictures show various accesses to the Wall. Some of them will require a careful look on the part of the viewer.
In the Weinmarkt there can be found a number of buildings which were originally storehouses for tradesmen and merchants in medieval times. In the main photo you can see the red building which was known as the Ratsherrnstube. It served as a tavern for the city councillors, but was also where the scales for the goods being sold in the market were held. The more influential of the merchants could stay there when visiting the town as well.
The green building next door is a Patrician’s house with stepped gable. It is a guesthouse today.
The third building along from the Ratsherrnstube was known as the Deutsches Haus and is an example of the wooden design of the German Renaissance period. It was home to the counts of Drechsel-Deufstetten. Today it is a very popular hotel.
I have long been known for doing things upside down, inside out or back to front and my experience of the Kornhaus in Dinkelsbuehl is yet another example of my expertise in this field. I arrived at the Church of the Three Kings and noticed this building almost adjacent to it. My walking map of the town indicated that this was the Kornhaus but the drawing on the map didn't look like this building at all. So I took a couple of photos and went away shaking my head and thinking that I would have to do further research.
I have only recently found out that the photos I took are indeed of the Kornhaus. Only difference is that all the clever people photographed it from the front whereas I opted for the rear view. Oh well, that's me I guess. It was still quite interesting from behind albeit a little shabby. It was built in the 16th century as a grain store and has had a number of uses since then. I believe it is a hostel now.
Benninger and Hauber is a florist shop in Dinkelsbuehl which really caught my eye. It has an extremely attractive facade which is adorned with a wonderful fresco of the Holy Family over the door. From time to time in my travels I have come across shops like this that for no apparent reason apart from their obvious visual appeal, really attract my interest. Benninger & Hauber is one such establishment.
On our second visit to Dinkelsbühl, we walked around more of this walled city, one of only a few that were not destroyed in the wars and date back to medieval times. Dinkelsbühl’s wall has a collection of unique towers and gates, each one is different. Unlike other towns such as Nördlingen or Rothenburg, the wall in Dinkelsbühl is not designed with a path around it to walk on top of the wall, but rather you walk along the paths or roads on either the inside or the outside of the town. It is pleasant to meander in and out of the gates, sometimes walking on the inside and at other times walking outside.
Take care and watch for cars when walking on the inside – the narrow streets do not keep the local residents from driving a bit fast around the corners and there isn’t a lot of space to get out of the way.
I recommend you pick a starting spot and just start walking. You don’t have to walk all the way around it – when you get tired, turn in towards the center of town (look for the church in the center) and walk that way. The town is small enough that you can easily walk from one end to the other in a short time.
Enjoy the variety of towers and gates that Dinkelsbühl has to offer. Other pleasantries are ponds and gardens on the outside of the wall, as well as looking at the old homes and other structures within the walled city.
The first time we were in Dinkelsbühl, it was almost winter time and the church tower at Münster St. Georg was closed for the season. However, on our second visit to this colorful town, we arrived later in the day but managed to pop into the tower just before they closed it down.
The tower climb isn’t as formal as other church towers – there is no cashier’s cage, just a simple folding table with someone to take your fee (€1,50 per person) to the left of the church’s front door. By the time we were done with our climb and back down on the ground, the table was folded up and the same person was counting heads to be sure they didn’t lock anyone up in the tower for the night.
The tower is not very tall, but high enough to get a wonderful view of the city with its pretty red roofs and a 360˚ view of the city wall and its gates and towers. The steps are spiral and along the way you can stop and see some of the equipment used in earlier times as well as a unique display of the bell clappers from various sized bells. Be forewarned, however, that while the clappers may be on display, there are still working clappers in the bells and you don’t want to be in the bell area when it starts to ring! We had just left that room and were a flight above when the bell rang – it was plenty loud even then.
There are some unique metal drain spouts at the top of the tower – you can see them by looking over the ledge. I’m not sure if they are officially classified as gargoyles or just decorative drain spouts.
The tower climb is only open on Saturdays and Sundays (and then only on sunny days and only between May through September from 1300-1800 – 1:00 pm-6:00pm). Groups can schedule an appointment to climb the tower at any time through the church (see the website below for details).
This tower was something we passed by as we walked from the Segringer gate headed north towards the Faulturn. While we couldn’t enter it, we liked the look of it with the small ivy-covered cottage that sat beside it. It was worth a stop for some photos before we headed on our way.
This tower is located on the north-west corner of the town (west of the Rothenburg Gate/Tower) and is part of an old debtor’s prison. It currently is a garden that leads through the wall for a beautiful view of the Rothenburg Pond. We found it by chance as we walked along Obere Schmiedgasse, turning left into the garden enclosure; follow the path through to the tower which will lead to a pathway along the outside of the old medieval wall. You can follow this path alongside the pond before returning inside the walled city at the Rothenburger Tor and continuing up Martin Luther Straße back towards the Wine Market and Münster St. Georg.
As we walked from the Christoph Schmid birthplace, we turned the corner to the right and on the corner was the Schloss (palace). It wasn’t open for touring on the day we were there, but we were able to admire it from the outside. It was located here in 1390 when the town extended and rebuilt in its current Baroque style in 1764. We’ll need to go back to see the artwork in the Rococo style chapel.
As we walked around the city wall, we stopped by the Segringer Gate that is located up the hill. Once there, we turned around for a nice view of Dinkelsbühl with its city buildings and the Wörnitz Gate on the opposite side. You can walk through the gate to see the remains of a moat before continuing along the inside of the wall to the north.
The Segringer gate was rebuilt in 1655 in a Baroque style – it had been damaged in a siege in 1648 and later collapsed.
Hint: there are bathrooms on the backside of this gate.
Across the street from the Munster are five awesome gabled buildings from the 1600s that make up the “Wine Market” – the Gustav-Adolf Haus, Zur Glocke – a patrician house, the Deutsche Haus, Bacchus, and the Schranne - a barn with decorated obelisks. They are colorful and very impressive – as we turned the corner towards the church, these wine market buildings are instantly recognizable for their colors and gabled roofs.
Dinkelbühl still has many of its towers and gates intact as well as its wall. The Wörnitz Gate, located on the east side of town, is one of the oldest of the four gates, built higher in the 14th century and the addition of a bell tower in the 16th century. It displays the town coat of arms (three ears of corn on three hills) alongside the coat of arms of the Emperor.
Nearby this gate is the town fountain and the Altes Rathouse where there is Tourist Information and clean bathrooms.
As we walked around the inside of the medieval wall heading north from the Segringer Tör, we passed the old corn storehouse building that dates back to 1508. It is currently a youth hostel. As with many of the buildings in Dinkelsbühl, you can see the pulley system used to haul the storage items into the tops of the buildings.
Across the street from the corn storehouse were some rather interesting buildings. We first noticed them because they were crooked, and upon more investigation found that the doors were very, very low for the average person to walk through (since they were private houses, we did not attempt this).
Located near the Schloss on Klostergasse, you will find the home of theologian and children’s writer Christoph von Schmid. The house is now an antique shop but there is a plaque above the door that lets you know you have found the birthplace of the songwriter, famous for writing the words to “Ihr Kinderlein Kommet” in 1827.
Schmid is also honored with a statue in the city center next to the church, Münster St. Georg.
Christoph von Schmid was born in Dinkelsbühl in 1768. He is famous theologian that is better known for writing children’s stories, especially the text to the German Christmas carol “Ihr Kinderlein kommet” (“My Little Children, Come”) in 1827. The statue depicts a seated Schmid with two small children. You can find the statue outside the church, Münster St. Georg. As you look at the church, walk to the right of the front of the church and you will find the statue in the center of the platz.
Here are the lyrics in German and then in English to his famous carol:
Text: Christoph von Schmid
Ihr Kinderlein, kommet,
O kommet doch all!
Zur Krippe her kommet
In Bethlehems Stall.
Und seht was in dieser
Der Vater im Himmel
Für Freude uns macht.
O seht in der Krippe
Im nächtlichen Stall,
Seht hier bei des Lichtes
In reinliche Windeln
Das himmlische Kind,
Viel schöner und holder,
Als Engelein sind.
Da liegt es, ihr Kinder,
Auf Heu und auf Stroh,
Maria und Josef
Betrachten es froh;
Die redlichen Hirten
Knien betend davor,
Hoch oben schwebt jubelnd
Der Engelein Chor.
Literal prose translation
Ye children come
O come ye all!
Come to the cradle
in Bethlehem's stall
and see what in this
most holy night
the Father in heaven
such joy for us makes.
O see in the cradle
in the nighttime stall
see here by the light's
bright gleaming rays
in pure swaddling clothes
the heavenly child
more beautiful and beloved
than angels are.
There he lies, ye children
upon hay and on straw,
Maria and Joseph
gaze at him happily;
the honest shepherds
kneel praying before him,
high above hovers joyously
the choir of angels.