As in a concave mirror the turmoils of the Reformation are focused in Rothenburg ob der Tauber as well as outstanding achievements of German late Gothic and Renaissance. Ideas of reformation emerged early among inhabitants of Rothenburg and its surrounds in the Tauber valley. The aftermath of the Peasants’ War in 1525 delayed the introduction of Martin Luther’s doctrine till 1544. A widely influential iconoclast like Andreas Karlstadt as well as the reformer of modern Slovenian language, Primus Truber, did operate in Rothenburg. Tilman Riemenschneider’s famous masterpieces of wood carved altars are alike Renaissance fountains and buildings visual testimonials of times of cultural change and social tensions. Guided tours bring the upheaval of the 16th century back to life before your eyes, two major exhibitions in the Imperial City Museum and the Medieval Crime and Justice Museum accompany this main topic from 2016 – 2018 as part of Germany’s Jubilee of the Reformation Age.
Why may Rothenburg be closely associated with the Reformation? Rothenburg was located at the node of large trade routes and pilgrimage trials. Also significant representatives of the new belief (protagonists) arrived at Rothenburg during the period of Reformation. New communication channels, especially output of the printing press, enabled a quick spreading of information. Many leaflets (eg. a graphic of Dürer) and pamphlets from this period are preserved in the local archive and can be admired in the exhibition about the Reformation in the Reichsstadtmuseum. Rothenburg was at the beginning fairly open minded towards those new ideas and tendencies. Young men from Rothenburg studied in Wittenberg with Luther and Melanchthon. They brought their ideas and some propagators for Reformation into town. But the troubled times of the Peasant’s War of 1525 put a temporary end to Reformation efforts. Almost twenty years later, the Reformation succeeded and the city council urged a fundamental change of the church system. A new church constitution was introduced. The local convents rapidly lost their influence. With boundless self-confidence man at the dawn of a new era started off to new horizons and revolutionized art, culture and economy. Cultural elites provided a unique thrust to modernization. As a sign of consciousness large buildings were built in Rothenburg in Renaissance style as e.g. the new front part of the town hall. The magnificent New Latin School demonstrates the importance of humanistic education in Rothenburg.
Also in St James (St Jacob), a church of vivid pilgrimage, traces of the Reformation are still visible. Two stained glass windows show Luther and Melanchthon next to each other. Riemenschneider's fate is portrayed in the turmoil in the Peasant’s War.
We’d like to invite you to our tour, discover impressive manifestations of Renaissance and Reformation in Rothenburg and join us in retracing this eventful period of Rothenburg’s rich history.
Duration: about 2 hours
Languages: English, German, Italian
Price: € 120.00 including all entrance fees
Attendance: max. 20 people
The Ansbach Chancellor Georg Vogler left behind a huge collection of Reformation pamphlets to the city of Rothenburg after his death in 1550. This fund dramatically shows the bitterly fought religious and cultural battle that raged during the Reformation. The Imperial City Museum will resurge these conflicts in an exhibition, for these conflicts are reflected very strongly in the early print media of modern history. The effects can still be traced nowadays in frightening prevailing parallels: Iconoclasm, destroyed buildings – radical preachers of religious hate are not only phenomena of our times, but were already a reality in early modern Europe.
Reichsstadtmuseum - Imperial City Museum
Duration of the exhibition: October 2nd 2016 – December 31th 2017
Opening hours: Apr. – Oct. 9.30 a.m. – 5.30 p.m.; Nov. – Mar. 1 p.m. – 4 p.m.
D-91541 Rothenburg ob der Tauber
Phone +49 (0)9861 939043
A large special exhibition in the Medieval Crime and Justice Museum dedicates itself to Martin Luther and his attitude towards sorcery and witchcraft. The exhibition casts light on the great Reformer, the Reformation and the history of witchcraft from its beginning until the end of the large European witch-hunts based on plenty of contemporary exhibits.
This special exhibition is located in the “Johanniterscheune” (i.e. the “barn of the order of St John”).
Mittelalterliches Kriminalmuseum - Medieval Crime and Justice Museum
Duration of the exhibition: April 30th 2016 – Dec 31st 2018
Opening hours: Easter – Oct. 31st: Tue. – Thur., Sat. and Sun.: 1 p.m. – 6 p.m.;
December: Tue. – Thur., Sat. and Sun.: 1 p.m. – 4 p.m.;
Nov. and January till Easter: the “barn of the order of St John” is closed
91541 Rothenburg ob der Tauber
Phone +49 (0)9861 5359