Fünfknopfturm on the western side of the old town got its name because of its five peaks ending in five golden knobs. It is perhaps the prettiest of the five preserved towers and also the youngest, built in the second half of the 15th century.
Rinderbacher Torturm, another of the five preserved medieval towers, served as gate tower for the road leaving the town to the east. Like Königsturm it is also fortified towards the outside and open towards the inner side, i.e. the interior of the town.
Five towers of the town's medieval fortification are preserved. Königsturm in the south is the largest of them. Due to its position on the hillside it overlooks the whole old town.
All those towers are only halves - the inner side towards the town is open so that any enemy who conquered a tower was unable to use it as fortification against the citizens, intruders would have been unprotected.
A funny detail... The Italian restaurant below the tower has put up a little model of it as their sign (photos 3 and 4).
The huge, six-storey half-timbered house was originally part of Heilig-Geist-Spital (hospital of the Holy Spirit). After the independent city of Schwäbisch Gmünd became part of Württemberg in 1802/03 it was used as Amtshaus (seat of the local administrator). The impressive house is now used by the town library.
The church of the former Augustine monastery was built in the 15th century and redecorated in the 18th century by town architect Johann Michael Keller. The convent buildings were renewed in 1732 while the older church remained.
The church is now used by the protestant community of the town.
The former Dominican monastery was closed down and secularized in 1802/03. After several other uses and damages to the buildings, the baroque complex was restored and transformed into the cultural centre "Prediger" which contains the city museum of history and art, rooms for events etc.
Johanniskirche is a remarkable example of late Romanesque architecture and sculpture. Note the portals and the figures sitting in the windows and in the frieze.
The church once had a gothic choir which has been rebuilt in neo-Romanesque style in the 19th century. In those times the interior and the facades have also been refurbished. Unfortunately I could not get in because of the festival that was going on around the church.
The new town hall (left in the photo, now half-hidden behind the festival stage) substituted the Grät as seat of the town administration in the 18th century. It was designed by town architect Johann Michael Keller and erected between 1760 and 1785.
The crests on the facade refer to the town's status as imperial city. Next to the town's crest, the red and white unicorn, we see the black double-headed eagle of the Holy Roman Empire.
The large 14th/16th century half-timbered house in the southwestern corner of market square served as town hall until the new baroque town hall was built next to it.
In the 19th century the house underwent further changes, during which also the old relief showing the Three Magi was installed in the middle of the facade.
The long street market is the heart of the town and indicates its planning in times of the Staufer dynasty in the 12th century. The southern end is occupied by the town hall, the northern end by the former hospital, now the town library. The square is surrounded by a few medieval and mostly baroque houses.
The steeples of Münster church collapsed in 1497 and have never been rebuilt. Instead, a separate bell tower has been erected in the northeastern corner of the churchyard, now Münsterplatz. Unfortunately the building is behind scaffolding right now.
The Münster Church of the Holy Cross is a masterpiece of late gothic architecture. The Parler family, father Heinrich and son Peter, are involved with the construction of nave and choir in the 14th century. The stellar and reticulated vaults were added in the late 15th century.
A capital mistake in construction works caused the collapse of the two steeples in 1497. They have never been rebuilt, so the church has remained without steeples.
The interior has been redecorated in the 19th century. Most of the stained glass windows also derive from this period of historism. The modern windows in the choir were created by the Ulm artist Wilhelm Beyer between 1952 and 1967.
The church is open in the daytime.
In the centre of the Löwenbrunnen is an ornate fountain column, probably dating from the 16th century. The lion with the town coat-of-arms (unicorn) is central, and the cast-iron fountain bears the coats-of-arms of Gmünd families.
Rebuilt in 1763 as a simple gabled house in the Baroque style. Rich wall paintings, originally from the year 1765, were re-placed by the current paintings in 1901 and at the end of the 50's.
The Renaissance fountain column is crowned by the diptych of the Madonna with halo (dated 1686). One side shows Mary with the baby Jesus, while on the other side, Mary prays as the Immaculate. The fountain trough (1776) shows the coats-of-arms of ten Gmünd families.