The next building on our self-guided walking tour of Alsfeld is now tailor's shop on the ground floor, but the upper levels are still half-timbered in a late Gothic style. The house, built in 1470, gets larger as the floors go up and has an interesting looking roof compared to other houses in Alsfeld – the Gothic influence. The upper corners of the building have straight hanging support brackets (you can these brackets hanging off the side of the third floor).
We have almost made a complete circle and are on our way back towards the market square, the Altes Rathaus, and the church. Continue that way, looking for Amthof 13 along the way.
This is the final stop on the self-guided walking tour of Alsfeld and the one that demonstrates the town’s commitment to its fairy tale heritage: the Märchenhaus, or Fair Tale House. It is at the end of the road just after the Miinnigerode-Haus/Regional Museum and is easy to spot with the symbols of various fairy tales in the front. It is the final half-timbered house on our tour and it was built in 1628.
The Tourist Information Center told us that within this house lies the Big Bad Wolf dressed as Grandmother in the bed waiting for the town’s fairy tale hero – Little Red Riding Hood. However, the house was closed when we were there. But the outside was fun to look at with the frog prince on the well, the Bremen Town musicians lined up on the front wall, and Rapunzel’s hair let down for her prince to climb up to her.
I hope you have enjoyed this walking tour of Alsfeld. Hubby and I had a great time (well, except for the rain) visiting these beautiful buildings and I’m glad I had the opportunity to share them with you. If you enjoyed the tour, I hope you will stop by my weekend in Alsfeld home page and let me know your thoughts.
Next to the Neurath-Haus is a rare house in Alsfeld – one made of stone. This house was built in 1687 for another patrician. It has a some very Baroque details on the bay windows and supports. The double coat of arms is symbolic for Minnigerode and Oeyenhausen. The colors of the house are beautiful greens and reds/pinks.
This is one of the few buildings on the self guided walking tour that you can enter since this house is now the home to the Regional Museum, which houses displays from the town’s history. Inside the building is a wooden spiral staircase leading to the second story. There are also meeting rooms along with the exhibits. The house, combined with the Neurath-Haus recreate one of the historic sections of Alsfeld.
We are now headed towards the final stop on the Alsfeld walking tour, a reminder of the fairy tale theme of Alsfeld and this region of Germany: Märchenhaus – Fairy Tale House .
We are coming up towards the end of our self guided walking tour of Alsfeld, but the final three buildings are all very important to the town. #37 is the Neurath House, which is a very large four story patrician’s house, another fine half-timbered home built in 1688.
The Neurath House is distinctive for several reasons – its rich carvings on the corner posts and on the very large door. If you head around the house through the street beside it, you can see the beautiful carved Thuringian style window frames.
While we were visiting this area, we noticed that two of the tour groups from earlier in the day each stopped at this house and the guide would call out to the house. After a few moments, someone dressed in fairy tale costume would answer the door and, in character, talk to the groups. One of the photos I’ve included shows the woman in costume sweeping the door steps as she talked.
Behind the Neurath-Haus is a little building you may need at some point in the day: the public bathrooms .
To the left of the Weinhaus in the market square is the beautiful and large Bückinghaus with its distinctive corner bay windows which were lined with flower boxes the day we were visiting Alsfeld. Built in 1515, it was the home of an important townsman. Today the house is home to an ice cream shop on the ground floor. This building is just stunning and a beautiful example of a half-timbered house.
Just past the Bücking-Haus follow the street that leads you past the Stumpf Haus for the final buildings in our Alsfeld walking tour, starting with the Neurath-Haus . If you are lucky enough to be near when a tour group comes to this house, try to hang around for a treat.
The Weinhaus is a beautiful stone building with steep stepped gables in the market square. It is the home of the Tourist Information Center. This building was built in 1538 to store and serve wine, thus the name of the building being the Weinhaus (Wine House). The rounded windows are unique and add some charm to the otherwise plain stone front. On the left side of the building is the former pillory for Alsfeld. We were unable to see it on the day we were there since a market stall was blocking the view.
The Tourist Information Center is open daily so there is a good chance you can go into this building – which I recommend a visit to the TI office – they are very friendly and helpful!
As promised earlier in the walking tour, we would return to the market square and here we are. After viewing the Weinhaus, the Alsfeld walking tour takes us to another building in the square, the very large and beautiful Bücking-Haus .
The church was open so we went inside – not only to see it but to get out of the rain! I was pleasantly surprised at the interior of the church – the exterior looked like so many other churches in the area. It was a Protestant church but had many paintings and sculptures throughout the nave and choir.
Historically, the town is first mentioned officially in 1069. But excavations of the church have found remains of a Roman church before that time and the Huns were in the area in the 5th century.
As we entered the church, it was a bit dark, but that could be the lack of sunshine outside. All around the sides of the nave and the choir were wonderful paintings of Biblical scenes and the founders of the Reformation. These paintings appeared old and in need of restoration and cleaning as they were rather dark with age, but you could still see the artistry quite well. There was a unique crucifix near the ceiling above the altar and the ribbed vaulted ceiling of the choir was interesting to look at.
The church bells play five times each day (0900, 1100, 1215, 1500, 1915); which we heard a couple times during our tour.
Hubby’s stomach had been telling him it was time for lunch for a little while and he has been more than patient with me about seeing all these buildings, but enough is enough and it is time to stop and have some lunch at the Kartoffelsack.
If you’ve been following the self-guided walking tour of Alsfeld and just walked through the church tower from the Kirchplatz, you will recognize where you are now – back at the Market square we started at and the Altes Rathaus.
Markt 2, the next stop on our tour is the building to the left of the Rathaus (if you are facing the front of the Rathaus from the center of the market square). It is another fine example of a half-timbered building with pillar construction. This house was built in three sections dating back to 1350. It contains two barrel shaped cellars that predate the founding of the town.
Now we are ready to go inside the Walpurgis Church , our final stop before having some lunch on a break from the walking tour.
Visible from all around the town, the tall square church tower stands high above its surrounding buildings. As we make our way from the Kirchplatz behind the church towards the Markt, we walk through the church tower, which stores several large tombstones from an earlier cemetery. An earlier Gothic tower fell centuries ago, but the tower was rebuilt in 1394 and finally completed 150 years later. However, for some reason the town removed one story of the tower in 1836. This was the residence of the keeper of the tower until the early 1900s. Today, the tower can be walked through at ground level – an easy way to get from one side of the church to the other.
As you come through the tower, take a slight detour to look at #32 on our tour, which is located on the right of the tower exit : Markt 2 before heading into the church.
After the Gothic chapel, proceed along the road to the end where it makes a left turn. The last house on the right before the turn is #28 on the walking tour. We had some difficulty finding it at first because there is not a modern tour sign on the building, but rather a very faded one from previous years with a different tour number on it. However, the wording matches up with the brochure and there were no other houses around matching the description – so this is the house.
This building is another unique half-timbered building; this one show several differences in construction styles through the centuries as it was modified. The half-timbered look of the 15th century with the protruding stories and shorter struts and brackets, followed by a 16th century upper story and gable with longer struts, and 17th century additions similar to those on the street behind the house (Kaplaneigasse).
From this point, we got a bit confused on the trail and Hubby’s stomach was telling him it was lunch time, so we didn’t get to #29, 30, or 31, which were in the opposite direction of where lunch would be. So the next tip for this self guided walking tour will be #32 on the tour after a detour to the fountain.
After viewing Kirchplatz 10, turn around and head towards the church tower; however, just before the tower take a right into a small square with a fountain in the center of it. This puts you behind the Tourist Information Center, but the fountain of the goose girl Gänseliesel , is worth a stop.
As we rounded the corner to the right and into the Kirchplatz, we entered the area behind the church. Just around this corner and on the right, across from the church, is a small late Gothic chapel that was built in 1368 and reconstructed in 1510. It used to house the skeletons from the church cemetery. It is a nice looking chapel and is in keeping with other late Gothic structures of the time. We were unable to go inside the former chapel, which today is used as the city archive. I guess the skeletons were moved out to make room for the offices.
The Kirchplatz is a pretty little area behind the church; continue to walk along the road until you reach the house on the other end at Kirchplatz 10, which is a bit hard to figure out. Hint: look for an old faded walking tour sign on the right of thehouse.
We are coming up near the church at this point in our walking tour, but there is another house to see before we get into the church area. The next house on the tour, #26, is unique for its colors – an orange-brown and white structure that is four stories that was built around 1520. The construction using long bend struts is in keeping with the style of the Altes Rathaus, which is just up the road from this house. It was still raining (as you can see in one of the pictures) so we hurried along to the church area.
From this point, you will see the church. Turn right just before the church into the Kirchplatz and look for a small chapel on your right, which is our next stop: Beinhaus.
This is a unique half-timbered house with a double front, although the TI brochures suggests that this may not be the original way it was designed. Each story as you go up is a little bigger than its story below which creates the unique exterior façade, along with the thick pillars up the center of the façade.
This is one of the oldest half-timbered buildings in Germany (not just Alsfeld), built around 1375 and only rediscovered in 1959. My guess is those new windows in the house were custom built and not a standard size from the home store!
The rain was really coming down right now so we quickly looked at the next building on our walking tour – easy to spot with the hair salon on the bottom level: Amthof 8.
The sign on this house says it is an Ackerbürgerhaus – which I believe means a house belonging to a Townsman (a city councilman?). It is another beautiful example of a half-timbered house in Alsfeld and was built at the end of the 15th century. There are four stories to this house and, as with many of these half-timbered buildings, lots of windows! But that helped bring in the light during an age when electricity didn’t exist and candles were expensive to use. Only the front appears to be the half-timbered style with the side (seen in one of the photos) being the shingles that are also prevalent in Alsfeld.
Nearby this building, look on the ground for a small bronze stone memorial – these “stumble stones” are known as Stolperstein.
This next building on our self guided walking tour of Alsfeld was a beautifully maintained red and white half-timbered house from the 17th century. The door frame and corners were richly carved wood, although the door frame is not original to the house.
Our next house on the walking tour was a large half-timbered house with lots of windows found at Hersfelder Gasse 15.