• Photo: Peter Guttman/Peterguttman.com

Rothenburg-ob-der-Tauber

Rothenburg-ob-der-Tauber (literally, the "red castle on the Tauber") is the kind of medieval town that even Walt Disney might have thought too picturesque to be true, with half-timber architecture galore and a wealth of fountains and flowers against a backdrop of towers and turrets. As late as the 17th century, it was a small but thriving market town that had grown up around the ruins of two 12th-century churches destroyed by an earthquake. Then it was laid low economically by the havoc of the Thirty Years' War, and with its economic base devastated, the town remained a backwater until modern tourism rediscovered it.

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