The small creek that runs through the town was turned into a canal and used by workshops who needed water and water power in former times.
The small building next to the bridge (photo 1) served as butchery and was used by all butchers of the town. Adjacent to it, there was the laundry where the women did their washing, hopefully not at the same time...
The narrow path along the river (photo 2) is short but quite romantic. Nowadays the water is clean. The fish who populate the creek in the warmer seasons enjoy being fed. They (themselves? LOL) have put up a sign saying that they like small crumbs of bread (photo 3).
Dörfle, the "village", is the name of the quarter outside the fortifications, as opposed to Städtle, the "town". The heart of the Dörfle is marked by this funny fountain, dated 1887.
The inscription says, "Es lebe hoch Dorf Zell a. H. und die... nebedro", Hooray to Zell am Harmersbach village and those next-door.
The old sign below forbids letting animals drink from the fountain.
The medieval steeple of the old church is preserved, the old nave has been torn down and substituted by a much larger one in the late 18th century, completed in 1792. The whole interior derives from this period. The frescoes on the ceiling show scenes from the life and martyrdom of St Symphorian, a very rare patron saint in this region.
The church has been built on a hilltop above the town with the cemetery at its back side.
Hint: Free public toilets, new and remarkably clean, can be found in the cemetery inside the small building near the church steeple.
The jester fountain shows Zell's unique Fastnacht traditions all year round. The four figures present the jester guild's four costume types: Bändlenarro, Spielkartennarro, Schneckehüslinarro, Welschkornnarro (from left to right).
See the colourful and much prettier originals in my carnival travelogue.
Since the early middle ages a picture of the Virgin Mary that had been found in a rose bush has been worshipped here. Pilgrims came from near and far. During the crusades, a blacksmith who was imprisoned in Arabia prayed to "Mary of the Rose" and was saved. When he returned he brought his chains into the church.
In the 30 year war Protestant occupants requested the chains to be turned into horseshoes to make an end to this, in their eyes, pilgrimage nonsense. However, the next miracle occurred: the chains disappeared from the anvil and were later found in the church.
Since then the church has been named "Mary to the Chains". More and more pilgrims have been coming, Assumption Day (August 15) being the highest holiday. The church had to be enlarged three times. Since 1920 Capuchin monks have been living in the monastery next to the church, they are in charge of the pilgrimage and the surrounding parish. „Maria zu den Ketten“ has become the largest pilgrimage church in Baden.
Storchenturm (stork tower) is the only one of the medieval gate towers that survived the big fires around 1900. The tower has become Zell's landmark. The crest on the outer side (photo 2), dated 1462, refers to the town's status as free imperial city: it shows the black double-headed eagle, the coat of arms of the Holy Roman Empire. The tower is older than this date, though, it was built around 1330.
Near the end of the 30 Year War, Zell was besieged by Swedish troops. Legends tell that the citizens defended their town with the help of their famous Most - strong apple wine. Unfortunately I cannot find more details. Anyway, four cannons the Swedish left in 1646 are now on display on the outer side of Storchenturm (photo 3).
Entering the old town through the gate you reach Zell's most beautiful square, Kanzleiplatz, with the baroque former administration building (Alte Kanzlei) and the late 19th century town hall.
The tower nowadays contains a historical museum. It is open from April to September, Tuesday to Sunday 14.00-17.00 - since I visited for Fastnacht I was not able to see it.
Hint: Free public toilets can be found at the small entrance on the outside underneath the cannons.
Storchenturm (Stork Tower) is the focal point of Zell am Harmersbach. Behind it sits the rail station, and infront the town square and town hall. The tower has a lot of history for this town, being built in 1330 it was an important defensive element of the town. These defenses failed during the 60 year war when Swedish invaders defeated the defenting Zell's with Apfel Most, a potent apple wine! Four of the Swedish Cannons remain on the back side of the tower.
Narrenbrunnen is a fountain on the main street of Zell am Harmersbach. The fountain is adorned with three very strange (and quite scary) figures. The figures represent the traditional costumes worn by Zell townsfolk during the annual Festival.
The little tower used to be part of the fortifications and protected the eastern corner of the town. Together with the little garden it is a romantic spot.