BLAUER TURM - BLUE TOWER
Favorite thing: Built around 1200 as the keep on the West side of the Staufen Imperial Palace, the BLAUER TURM or BLUE TOWER ( because of its blue tiled roof ), is a symbolic landmark of the town of Bad Wimpfen. The Tower with its four turrets, was well used into the 19th century as a watch-tower. From the top, there is a wonderful view of the Old Town and the Neckar Valley
BURGERMEISTER ELSASSER HAUS - 1717
Favorite thing: The 16th century half-timbered building BURGERMEISTER ELSASSER HAUS is located at Obere (Upper) Turmgasse 1. This is a fabulous building with a Baroque Bay Window (circa 1717). The detailing in the front is wonderful to see.
Favorite thing: After parking our little Panda in a lot, we walked across the street and the first thing we saw was a wonderful pond with lovely white swans. The CAFE' BIRKENSEE is located here and is supposed to be one of the most popular and best known restaurants in Bad Wimpfen. It is located on Neutorstrasse 10, 74208 Bad Wimpfen.
GASTEHAUS SONNE - HOTEL SONNE
Favorite thing: The GASTEHAUS SONNE is a half-timbered house from the 16th century and is the home of the Family Schachtsiek-Feyerabend.
Situated opposite the Heiliggeistspital at Langgasse 3.
The Hotel offers 9 double and 2 single rooms.
Favorite thing: The Evangelical Church EVAN. KIRCHENGEMEINDE was built between the 13th and 16th century as a Parish Church. Highlights include a highly decorative interior including late Medieval side-winged altars. mural paintings, Lutheran confessional and a 14th century Pieta.
Favorite thing: The old town is still almost completely surrounded by its medieval town wall. Some towers are also still there. Along the southern side the moat can still be recognized, too. The former gates have been demolished in the late 18th century, though, to open up the streets into the old town for increasing traffic.
The Kaiserpfalz (see separate tips) had its own fortification.
Fondest memory: Photo 1: Wall and moat on the southern side of the old town, seen from Neutor. The upper row of houses in the background and the tower (Roter Turm) belong to the Kaiserpfalz area.
Photo 2: Fortifications of the Kaiserpfalz towards the lower town seen from the eastern part of Hauptstraße.
Photo 3: Looking down from the terrace next to the Red Tower onto the town wall along the eastern side of the old town
- Historical Travel
"Alemannic" and "Franconian" Half-Timbered Houses
Favorite thing: Two different styles and structures can be observed in Southern Germany’s half-timbered houses from the middle ages: alemannisch (Alemannic) and fränkisch (Franconian). Examples of both styles can be found and compared in Wimpfen.
The striking feature of the Alemannic timberframe is the relatively wide distance between the vertical beams. The structures have distinct features like the “Alemannic Man”, a vertical beam supported by symmetric short diagonal timbers at the top and bottom which can be interpreted as “arms” and “legs”.
Franconian timberwork is denser with more vertical beams and diagonal stabilizers. The rectangles in the lower part of the storeys underneath the windows are stabilized by x-shaped timbers (St Andrew’s crosses).
The Alemannic style was abandoned after the 16th century because it has less stability and also because it requires long and thick beams, which were not available any more in abundant quantity. Big trees take a long time to grow and the forests could not keep up with the needs of the builders. Franconian technique needs more wood but shorter timbers.
Fondest memory: :
Photo 1: Two neighbouring houses in Klostergasse allow comparing the styles. The left one is Franconian – note the St Andrew’s crosses and more elaborate varieties: the stars in the third floor and the diagonal grid on the oriel.
Photo 2: Another comparison in Hauptstraße: Franconian on the left, Alemannic on the right.
Photo 3: Purest Alemannic technique on the back wing of the hospital/museum. Note the “Alemannic man” structure: a vertical beam supported by symmetric short diagonal timbers at the top and bottom which can be seen as “arms” and “legs”.
Photo 4: The Alemannic house in Hauptstraße from a different angle
Photo 5: Detail of the Franconian gable in photo 1 with the star pattern
- Historical Travel
Timberframe Architecture: Some Specials
Favorite thing: The old town has a wide variety of half-timbered houses. In addition to those of historical significance, there are some which impress by peculiar shapes, size respective smallness, or other specialities. The “flat-iron house” is the best known example (see separate tip). Here are a couple more that you may encounter during your walk of the town’s side streets.
Fondest memory: Photo 1: The side wing of Hotel Sonne (Langgasse) seems to be balancing on a wall.
Photo 2: House cut in half? (Langgasse further west)
Photo 3: The largest houses in town: Hotel Sonne on the left and the so-called Riesenhaus (“Giant House”) on the right with its six-storey timberframe gable.
Photo 4: The fattest gable (Hauptstraße by the western entrance to the old town)
Photo 5: A very picturesque gable (Badgasse). Note the matching garage…
Walking the Old Town
Favorite thing: Bad Wimpfen am Berg is best explored on foot. Explore all the side streets and little lanes; they all have their shares of old houses, interesting spots, and street views. However, there is an “however”: The town is located on a hilltop above the Neckar valley. I do not remember a single smooth and even street or lane in the old town. It is all ups and downs. Due to the topography the squares are also not flat. Then add rough old cobblestone pavement on rather steep ascents and descents.
Despite the smallness of the old town and short distances this is not really a good destination for people with walking problems. You need two at least semi-healthy legs and feet, and sturdy shoes. Pushing a wheelchair or pram would be hard work.
- Hiking and Walking