Bretten Travel Guide

  • Bretten
    by Kathrin_E
  • Things to Do
    by Kathrin_E
  • Local Customs
    by Kathrin_E

Bretten Things to Do

  • Gerberhaus, Museum of Local Culture

    The tanner’s house is located on the edge of the town by the stream, a typical location because this craft requires a lot of water and causes a lot of bad smell. The timberframe house is the oldest preserved residential house in town, built around 1585. Thanks to its location on the edge and next to running water, it survived the big fire of 1689....

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  • Simmelturm

    The tower has a crooked and worn-out look which tells of how much it has been through in its history. In former times it protected the Southeastern corner of the town. A stretch of town wall is still attached to it. A little park around the tower invites to sit down and rest.Finding your way there through the alleys of the old town can be a bit...

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  • Towers and Fortifications

    Once upon a time Bretten was surrounded by walls, gate and watch towers. Most of them are gone. Along the creek on the Southern side and in the Southeastern corner parts of the wall are preserved, Three towers of the town’s medieval fortifications are still there. Two of them are complete and appear in the town’s silhouette, the third is a torso....

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  • Amtshaus

    This real estate between the two churches has been the seat of the bailiff, the representative of the Palatinate government, since the middle ages. The first building was a medieval stone house, then extended and refurbished over the centuries, which was then destroyed in the fire of 1689. Rebuilding it took some time. Finally, in the 1780s, the...

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  • Catholic Church of St Laurentius

    After sharing Stiftskirche with the Calvinist and then United Protestant parish community for centuries, the Catholics were finally able to build their own parish church from 1936-1938 on a patch of land by the Northern edge of the old town. The architecture is an example of the “retro” style which was popular in times of the NS regime. The facades...

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  • Kreuzkirche

    The former Lutheran church, the smaller of the two churches, was built around 1700. Since Lutherans and Calvinists united to one protestant parish in 1821, the community has taken the larger Stiftskirche as their main church and this one is hardly in use any more. It is said to have a beautiful baroque interior, but I wonder whether it is ever open...

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  • Stiftskirche

    The oldest and largest church in town is one of the few buildings that survived the big fire of 1689. Its oldest part is the bottom of the steeple, originally the keep of an early medieval castle. The gothic nave and choir were separated by a jube as befits the church of a convent of canons.The first and second reformation in the 16th century...

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  • Altes Rathaus – Old Town Hall

    Bretten’s “old” town hall in market square is not as old as it may seem. The town must have had a splendid medieval town hall, but it was destroyed in the fire of 1689 together with most of the town. A provisory was built soon after, but a real town hall was only erected almost a century later, in 1787. This building soon became too small, so it...

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  • Marktbrunnen

    The sandstone fountain in market square is crowned by a column with the statue of a knight in full armour. His shield depicts the Palatinate crest. The statue represents the governors of the town, the Electorate of Palatine. The date 1555 is inscribed on the column.There were a couple of goldfish in the fountain – I have no idea whether they are...

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  • Market Square

    Marktplatz is the heart of the old town. It is surrounded by a number of interesting buildings (see separate tips). The largest and most striking is the neogothic Melanchthonhaus. Next to it there is the town hall. The opposite side has a group of pretty timberframe houses from the era around 1700. The market still has its original triangular...

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  • Timberframe Houses

    Bretten has quite a lot of half-timbered houses everywhere in the old town. The most impressive ensemble is probably the Northern side of market square, all built around 1700. Others can, for example, be found in Melanchthonstraße and in the alleys further downhill around the two churches. The cutest ones are IMHO the little houses in...

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  • Old Town

    Bretten’s old town is a maze of small alleys. Walk on and explore – the town is small enough so you won’t get lost altogether. You will find picturesque pretty street views with pretty old houses, a bit of timberframe, and one or two towers showing up in the distance, so have the camera ready.

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  • Melanchthonhaus

    The largest and most striking building in market square is Melanchthonhaus. The huge sandstone gable dominates the square. This is the place where Philipp Melanchthon was born in 1497. The building is, as the neogothic architecture betrays, a lot younger and has nothing to do with his original birthplace. The original house of the Schwartzerdt...

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  • The Town’s Most Famous Son

    Bretten’s most famous son was a certain Philipp Schwartzerdt, who was born in a house in market square on February 16, 1497. Young Philipp was a talented boy. He received a good education at the Latin School in Pforzheim where he studied all classical subjects including ancient Greek. His teacher translated his last name (which means „black soil“)...

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  • Melanchthonhaus

    In its place stood Melanchthon’s birth house which belonged to his grandfather. Melanchthon was born in 1497. On his 400th birthday the present buildung was started. It took 6 years to finish it and was inaugurated in 1903. Unfortunately, we didn’t have time to visit this building. So there is a reason to return to Bretten one day.On the front...

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  • Simmelturm

    The Simmel tower got its name from the old word sinwel which means round. The tower is part of the city wall defence system and was built between 1350 and 1400. The tower was used as a prison. On the façade there heads that are pulling faces, they are supposed to put you off invading. This tower and the Gerberhaus were probably my favourite sights...

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  • Pfeiferturm

    The Pfeifer tower is the biggest element of the medival defense system of Bretten. The tower dates back to the mid 13th century. The tower changed its appearance several times especially on the roof. When our VT bunch was visiting the tower was unfortunately covered in scaffolding displaying adverts. When it’s not under renovation then it can be...

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  • Kreuzkirche

    The Kreuzkirche dates back to 1687 when the Lutherans and the Prothestants were two separate religions. This Lutheran church only survived for 2 years before it burned down. Eventually it was rebuilt. Unfortunately, it was closed when we visited.

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  • Stiftskirche

    We couldn’t find an open door when we visited. The tower is older than the church itself. For a long time it was home to both the catholic and protestant religion. On the square by the church (Kirchplatz) you will find a statue of Philipp Melanchthon from 1860.

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  • Marktbrunnen

    The market fountain is the oldest still existing fountain in Bretten. It goes back to around 1400. The pole with the sand stone figure which represents elector Friedrich II of Palantine dates back to 1555. The sand stone figure has been replaced and the original one is to be found in the foyer of the new town hall.

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  • Altes Rathaus

    The old town hall was rebuilt after the big fire of 1689. Today’s building dates back in part to 1787, further extensions were added and the building as we see it today was only finished in 1888. In 1982 the administration moved to a new building.Many coat of arms on the front of the building tell us that Bretten changed countries several times....

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Bretten Hotels

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Bretten Transportation

  • Stadtbahn S4 and S9

    Bretten is a train, or rather tram, hub for the Kraichgau region. The tram line S4 between Karlsruhe and Heilbronn crosses the line S9 between Bruchsal and Mühlacker at Bretten Bahnhof (train station). From Karlsruhe centre, the S4 takes you to Bretten in about 35-40 minutes depending where you board. Eilzüge (express trams) are faster. KVV tariff...

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  • S4 train from Karlsruhe to Bretten

    Well, the S4 isn't exactly a train because it runs through the streets of Karlsruhe on the tram tracks. But it isn't exactly a tram because it switches over to normal railroad tracks when it gets out into the countryside.This is a brilliant system which Karlsruhe pioneered and numerous other cities and regions have started to copy. (Ironically, the...

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  • By tram to Bretten

    The fastest way of getting to Bretten from Karlsruhe is by S4 the tram that goes to Heilbronn as fast train. Don’t get off at Bretten Hauptbahnhof but at the next stop called "Bretten Stadtmitte". From there it’s only a 8 – 10 minutes walk to the market square. We travelled on Regiotickets.

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Bretten Local Customs

  • Peter-und-Paul-Fest

    Every year on one long weekend Bretten turns back time for more than 500 years, back to those days when the town was still named “Brettheim”, back to the glorious and victorious battle of 1504. The festival takes place on the weekend after St Peter and Paul’s Day (June 29) from Friday to Monday. The events of 1504 are re-enacted, with a big parade...

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  • Christmas market

    The Christmas market on the market square and the Melanchthonstrasse takes usually place from 2nd advent until around 22nd December. Please check the internet for the exact dates.Apart from various market stalls you will also find an ice rink which is very popular with the local kids.

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  • Bretten Hotels

    4 Hotels in Bretten

Bretten What to Pack

  • yumyum's Profile Photo

    by yumyum Updated Jan 5, 2010

    3.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Miscellaneous: On Melanchthonstrasse 3 you will find the tourist office where you can grab a map/brochure (in German only). Here you may also book your tours of the Gerberhaus etc.

    Opening times: Monday-Friday 9.30 - 17.00, Saturday 9.30 - 12.30

    look out for this sign free broschures

    Was this review helpful?

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Bretten Off The Beaten Path

  • Monument to the Revolution of 1848

    This monument to the abortive revolution of 1848 was created by Willi Gilli, a sculptor who was born in Slovenia but has been a resident of Bretten for many years.The monument is on the Friedrichstraße in a block of nondescript modern buildings, on a spot where local revolutionaries once set up a "freedom tree".1848 was a year of revolutions in...

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  • Hebelschule

    This school is named after Johann-Peter Hebel. The old tract is from 1852 and the newer one from 1910. In 1864 a monument of Philipp Melanchthon was inaugurated. It’s a copy of the same statue in Lutherstadt Wittenberg which is a twin city to Bretten.You can find the school on Sporgasse/Weisshofer Strasse.

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  • Amtshaus

    This building looks almost like a palace. The original building dates back to 1783/84 and was extended in 1888. Today it houses the court and the notary’s office whereas in the past it was home to the administration of Baden government.

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Bretten Favorites

  • Brettener Hundle: The Doggie of Bretten

    The little dog is the hero of an old legend which has no historical background but is very popular in town. Once upon a time, it tells, Bretten was besieged by a large army. The situation was desperate, food was scarce and military powers were not sufficient to drive the enemies away. Only a clever trick could save the town. One of the city...

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  • Town Crest: Are we in Bavaria?

    The town crest of Bretten will look oddly familiar to anyone who has ever visited Munich or other places in Bavaria. However, Bretten is not in Bavaria and has never been ruled by Bavaria. The lozenge pattern in blue and white originates from the crest of the Wittelsbach dynasty. One branch of this dynasty ruled Bavaria, the other governed...

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  • VTers in Bretten

    VirtualTourist members from England, Germany, the Netherlands, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland and the USA went to Bretten together on an excursion from Karlsruhe as part of the 6th Annual International VT Glühwein Meeting in December 2009.Thanks to Bernd_L for organizing and leading the tour, as he has done on several previous occasions. Photos:1....

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Explore Deeper into Bretten
Frauentürmchen
Off The Beaten Path
Beyle Hof
Off The Beaten Path
Stadtbücherei (Library)
Off The Beaten Path
St. Laurentius Church
Off The Beaten Path
Revolutionsdenkmal
Off The Beaten Path
Gerberhaus
Things to Do
Schweizer Hof
Things to Do
Hundlesbrunnen (fountain)
Things to Do
Gerberhaus
Off The Beaten Path
Simmelturm, Bretten's leaning tower
Off The Beaten Path
Little Dog's Fountain
Off The Beaten Path
Market Fountain
Off The Beaten Path
Map of Bretten

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