Esslingen Things to Do

  • Esslingen on the Neckar
    Esslingen on the Neckar
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  • Marktplatz, Esslingen
    Marktplatz, Esslingen
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  • Rathaus, Esslingen
    Rathaus, Esslingen
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Most Recent Things to Do in Esslingen

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    Spreyer Zehnthof

    by antistar Updated Jul 1, 2013

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    Spreyer Zehnthof, Esslingen

    Just to the left of the Stadtkirche, as you look at it from the Marktplatz, is a tight road that leads behind it. Here you can find the Spreyer Zehnthof, a seventeenth century tithe barn, that was converted in the following century into the headquarters of the Sektkellerei Kessler, which is apparently the oldest in Germany.

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    Gelbes Haus

    by antistar Updated Jul 1, 2013

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    Gelbes Haus, Esslingen

    In the Hafenmarkt is the big yellow building of Gelbes Haus, literally Yellow House. This is believed to be Germany's oldest whore house, and certainly it must be the most architecturally impressive. Unfortunately for those expecting to find a little medieval Reeperbahn in Esslingen's ancient Hafenmarkt, you'll be disheartened to learn it hasn't operated as a brothel since a fire burned down much of the town in 1701.

    Today the building houses the town's museum. This hosts an exhibition of local artifacts charting the town's past from pre-history to the First World War. The museum also includes a model of the town as it would have looked in the 1700s. The place is open from Tuesday to Saturday, 2-6pm, and Sunday from 11am-6pm. Like most museums in Germany it is closed on a Monday.

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    Altes Rathaus

    by antistar Updated Jul 1, 2013

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    Altes Rathaus, Esslingen
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    After Esslingen's two main draws of the Stadtkirche and the Burg, this wonderfully pink fifteenth century building is the next big thing in town. Upstaging the Baroque Neues Rathaus that took over from it, this Dutch styled pink town hall stands out wherever you are viewing it from in town. It is also huge, stretching around the back all the way to Halfenmarkt, and capped on top with an astronomical clock.

    The building was first mentioned in 1420, and was built sometime at the beginning of the 15th century. It was first used as a civic house for trading and tax raising, and was only used as a town hall between 1803 and 1840. After its demise, in 1845, there were even plans afoot to demolish it, but thankfully nobody every followed through with these.

    Although the building has served a number of purposes in its life, like a school, it is back to being used as a meeting house for the local council.

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    The Burg

    by antistar Updated Oct 23, 2011

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    Burg, Esslingen
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    Unmissably placed high above the town centre, the Burg and its accompanying buildings of the Dicker Turm and Hochwacht offer a slightly surreal sight. The wood roofed walls ramp up to the Burg at the top at almost exactly 45 degrees, before leveling off between the Hochwacht and Dicker Turm. The Burg itself is a 13th century defensive system, which offers gardens to walk in and views to marvel at. You can see all the sights of the town, as well as all the way to the Schwabian Jura over the Neckar Valley, making it a great place to chart your tour of the town.

    The Burg was never really a fortress, but more of a fortified outpost on the city wall. Its construction began during the reign of II of Hohenstaufen, and was extended by Rudolf of Habsburg in 1286 during his battles with Eberhard, Earl of W├╝rttemberg. It was more of a glorified defence system and fire watch, than a proper castle. Today it is a place for local events, held in the Innerer Burghof, the gardens within the walls. There are also a couple of restaurants too.

    You can reach the Burg by two routes, one is the steep climb up the stairs in the 45 degree wall that leads up the left hand side to the Hochwacht, the other is a dusty track that winds more sedately up the right hand side of the vineyards and pig pens to the Dicker Turm. Both routes are potentially exhausting for those that aren't used to it, or, like I was, already worn out from days of walking, so be prepared.

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    Church of St. Dionys

    by katis Updated Oct 16, 2010
    Church of St. Dionys
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    Nowadays' look is the 3rd reconstruction of this church, original bulding stood here already in the 8th century.
    The bridge between the towers is there mainly for static purposes. In the 17th century, when the south tower started to lean, they simply connected it to the other.

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    Schelztorturm

    by katis Updated Oct 16, 2010
    Schelztorturm
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    First thing that catches your eye is most probably the mysterious figure walking in the air ... then you discover it actually belongs to the tower - Schelztorturm, which is a part of former walls that were protecting the city of Esslingen.

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    Esslinger Burg - the castle

    by katis Written Oct 8, 2010
    Esslingen castle
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    Located on a hill above the town, it can be a struggle to climb up there (but there are worse ;) ). And all that is certainly worth it! Already during the way up, that has vineyards along, one can admire the view of Esslingen from above (amazing!).

    It is not a castle as one would imagine, it is more like a fort, it includes strong walls and a tower, court in a form of a green park where also nice old cannons are placed.

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    The New Town Hall

    by Kathrin_E Written Sep 25, 2010

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    New Town Hall

    The noble family von Palm built this palace as their new residential home in the most beautiful location of the town, right opposite the renaissance facade of the old town hall, in the mid-18th century. Since 1840 it has been the town hall of Esslingen, seat of mayor and magistrate.

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    Pfleghöfe

    by Kathrin_E Updated Sep 25, 2010

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    Pfleghof of the Bishopric of Speyer
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    A Pfleghof - I cannot find an English translation - is an estate in a town that belonged to a clerical institution (monastery, convent, bishopric) and served for their economy, as store for wine and other tithe and for trade of agricultural products. Most monasteries had these in towns near and far. Several are preserved in Esslingen's old town; my guidebook lists all in all ten. Even after the reformation had been introduced in Esslingen these stayed in the hands of their catholic owners and in operation. Most are impressive stone buildings of medieval origins.

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    Schelztor Tower

    by Kathrin_E Written Sep 25, 2010

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    Schelztor
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    The gate tower in the west of the old town is now standing free. Of course it used to be connected with the town walls. It protected a town gate and the spot where the Neckar branch entered the boundaries of the town - a vulnerable spot in case of a siege.

    The tower is a 'shell tower', i.e. only the three walls that face the outside are made from solid stone. Towards the interior of the town the tower was open, this side was then closed with a light half-timbered wall.

    The timberframe work shows the elegant construction system of the "Alemannic Man".

    The horizontal metal pole with the balancing person is a recent acquisition, a funny artwork.

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    Frauenkirche - Church of Our Lady

    by Kathrin_E Updated Sep 25, 2010

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    Frauenkirche
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    The late Gothic Church of Our Lady is the earliest 'hall church' with three naves of equal height in the Southwest of Germany. However, the appearance of facades and interior tell of thorough refurbishing in the 19th century.

    Currently (summer 2010) parts of the facades and the steeple are under restoration and behind scaffolding. These works are limited to the outside, though. The interior is entirely free of any signs of construction works. The church is open in the daytime.

    The choir has three medieval stained glass windows with the life of Christ, the life of Mary, and a series of saints.

    At the end of the northern side nave, a modern stained glass window has been installed which adapts the medieval style rather well at first sight, though at a closer look you'll see it is a modern work of art. The "Window of the Women" shows women from the bible and allegories. The figures are explained (in German) on the lectern in the middle of the side nave.

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    Hafenmarkt Square: Oldest Houses in Town

    by Kathrin_E Written Sep 25, 2010

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    Gelbes Haus
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    Hafenmarkt is an interesting location for architecture fans. Among the surrounding buildings you find some of the oldest houses of Esslingen.

    Gelbes Haus (the "yellow house") hosts the historical museum of the town. Its oldest part is the only preserved medieval tower house in town. A patrician family built it in the 13th century. The adjacent wing was added after the big fire of 1701.

    On the opposite side of the square, behind the fountain, there is a half-timbered house that should not be overlooked, the one with the irregular timberwork painted in dark grey (photo 2, on the left). Note the vertical timbers that extend over two storeys. These indicate the house's age. It belongs to a row of houses that were built around 1330.

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    View from the Town Wall

    by Kathrin_E Updated Sep 25, 2010

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    Wall, vineyard and old town
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    The town wall along the "castle" can be climbed. Entry is free and access is on a wooden staircase from within the Burg area. You can walk a part of the parapet. This is the best photo option for a view over Esslingen, the Neckar valley and the surrounding landscape over to the Swabian Alb.
    The Fat Tower hosts a cafe but it wasn't open when we visited. They have tables and chairs on the parapet walk, must be pleasant to sit there.

    If you are into planes you can watch them flying into Stuttgart airport. In case of western winds they fly low above the ridge on the opposite side of the valley. I actually caught (without noticing! I only realized when I checked my photos at home) Lufthansa's shiny new A380 (photo 4).

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    Burg - The "Castle"

    by Kathrin_E Updated Sep 25, 2010

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    Wall and Fat Tower
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    Esslingen's so-called Burg is not really a castle. It is a part of the city fortifications on top of the hill above the city. This strategic point is especially fortified as a stronghold - whowver controls this hilltop can do whatever he likes with the city, so the citizens were of course interested in holding and protecting it.

    The town wall includes this hill and the vineyards on its slope. Clever Esslingers, in case of a siege the basic wine supply is secured. Unfortunately those skint Swabians (ha, ha) installed a fence and planted the vines at a safe distance from the path so there is no chance for a quick "wine tasting" along the way.

    The view is worth the steep climb. There are two ways up to the castle - the stairway along the wall and the path through the vineyards. We chose the latter. Watch your steps because of the rough cobblestones. This pavement is to give hold for horses' hooves - human feet need to take care.

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    The Water Wheels

    by Kathrin_E Updated Sep 24, 2010

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    Three water wheels
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    The Neckar canals have provided the power to drive mill wheels and tools in artisans' workshops for centuries. In the times of early industrialization the canals were walled and more wheels installed to use the water power for machines in the factories. Some water wheels are preserved and still running, a technical monument just a few steps from the "Little Venice" viewpoint.

    Nowadays they produce electricity. A display panel behind the window shows how much, how many households in town have sufficient power for 24 hours from this wheel (here: 23.6), and how much CO2 is saved.

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Esslingen Things to Do

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