Old town of Weißenburg (Weissenburg)

Stadtführung Südliche Ringstraße 16, 91781 Weissenburg, DE

Nice city tour through the old town of Weißenburg, Bavaria

Autor: Thomas Krummer

19 Stationen

1 Ellinger Tor

Ellinger Straße, 91781 Weißenburg in Bayern, DE

The Ellinger Tor is one of the most beautiful city gates in southern Germany and is therefor mentioned in the Bavarian Monument List.
Of all former city gates, only the Ellinger Tor and the Spitaltor have been preserved.

Located in the north of the old town of Weißenburg, this quarter was originally part of the 13th century city wall. The gate tower was built in the 14th century, its upper floor in the 17th century. Around 1510 the front section and battlements were completed.
A piece of this town‘s history can be read off at the front section of Ellinger Tor:
The oldest coat of arms (1241) is imprinted on the right tower.
The second coat of arms, which is from the year 1481, is on the left tower.
The coat of arms from 1241 shows half of a white castle as well as half of an imperial eagle.
The left coat of arms was given by Frederick III and is this city‘s symbol. Between the two turrets, the imperial coat of arms can been seen.
This city‘s historic library is located in the Ellinger Tor.

2 Fünfeckturm

Schulhausstraße, 91781 Weißenburg in Bayern, DE

The Fünfeckturm, a pentagonal tower, is located near the Ellinger Tor and opposite the Doerflervilla (Schulhausstraße), on the northern wall of the city fortifications.
The tower was built in 1469 and, like the entirety of the old town of Weißenburg, is listed as a historic building.
The pentagonal tower was part of the prison of Weißenburg and is one of the 38 well-preserved towers of the city wall.
This tower is also called the Pulverturm.

3 Sankt Andreaskirche

Weißenburg in Bayern, 91781 Weißenburg-Gunzenhausen, DE

St. Andreaskirches is a late Gothic hall church.
Constuction started c.1300 and the church was inaugurated in 1327.
The hall choir was built in 1425. A bending of the longitudinal axis in a southern direction was necessary. The “bend“ in the axis was the result of the probably unplanned need to connect the nave with the newly built hall.
At the entrance to the “Bridal Portal“, Tympanon‘s Death, Ascension and Coronation of Mary can be spoted. The high altar, that displaying a figure of
St. Andrew, probably comes from the school of Michael Wohlgemut (Nuremberg). The Sebaldusaltar came from the school of Veit Stoß. The “Marien“ altar was created around 1500, the denomination
dates back to 1606 and shows lords of Weißenburg accepting the Confessio Augustana
on November 15, 1530.
The original sacristy is now home to a treasure-trove full of artifacts, open to the public
between Pentecost and Thanksgiving on weekdays from 11:00 to 12:00. A glass door allows a look at the exhibits any time of the day. There you can also find a bronze Romanesque
altar, processional cross and the Eight-Crowned Apostle from Franconia.

The Andreasturm:

Outside, the east tower is an especially imposing novelty.
It was added as an almost independent component to the east side of the church. It houses impressive-sounding bells like the prayer bell, the measuring bell, the 12 o‘clock bell and the storm bell. The Stadttürmers apartment on the top floor was inhabited until 1925. This part is still owned by the city.
Those who are not afraid of climbing the spiral staircase will be rewarded with a breathtaking view of the old town of Weißenburg from the upper parapet -- a real insider tip for all photo enthusiasts and romantics.
The key to the tower is available at the tourist information office in the Reichsstadt-Museum.

Construction history:

1182: The first church was probably build on the foundations of a chapel formaly belonging to the royal court.
1290: The church was partly pulled down to make room for a new building.
1294: Plans for a church begun. It was completed and consecrated in 1327.
1400: At the turn of the century, citizens of Weißenburg began to plan a new building, based this time on the model of St. Sebald in
1425: The late Gothic part is finished and consecrated. However, the city ran out of money and therefore only the new choir was connected with the old nave. Thus, St. Andreas gots its bend form.
1459: The first stone for the tower was laid.
1465: The baptistry was consecrated.
1520: After over sixty years of construction, the tower was completed.
1850: In the course of a “delayed iconoclasm“, valuable furnishings from pre-Reformation and later times were destroyed.
1891: The central part was raised and received the „Hochgaden“.
1958: The last renovation was done. The church was largely restored to its original Gothic form.
1994: The sacristy was rebuilt as a “treasury“ to exhibit the remaining works of art appropriately exhibited.
1999: Renovation of the hall part
2001: Re-inauguration of St. Andrew‘s Church on 16 September

4 Old Latin School

Doktor-Martin-Luther-Platz, 91781 Weißenburg in Bayern, DE

The present Mesnerhaus was built in 1580/81 and was used as a Latin school until 1806.
Previously a St. Catherine‘s chapel stood at this point.
This school was founded after the Reformation in 1536.
It‘s most famous rector was the university graduate Johann
Alexander Döderlein (1675-1745).
In the middle of the square stands the 800 kg Luther statue by the Munich artist
Martin Mayer to remind people of Martin Luther‘s famous words “Here I stand, I can do no other. God help me“.

5 Scheibleinsturn

Schanzmauer, 91781 Weißenburg in Bayern, DE

The Scheibleinsturm, also called Scheibler, was built from the 14th to the 15th century and is located in the old town of
Weißenburg near the moat, which is almost completely preserved along with the Schanzmauer. The three-level building is 16 m high and 8.5 m wide.
It is the only round tower of the city wall still standing.
For a long time it was one of the prisons of the city. Today it is a residential building.
In 1989 and 1996 the Scheibleinsturm was renovated.

6 Spitaltor

Friedrich-Ebert-Straße, 91781 Weißenburg in Bayern, DE

A civic hospital was established in 1447. Instead of demolishing the old city walls and the old gate, which had been inside the old town in the 14th century, the city walls were built into the church, and the former city gate became the church tower.
After a delay due to war from 1449 to 1451, the roof was competed in 1458 and the choir in 1493.
The hospital was a great source of money for the city and church, which is why the Small Hospital - in this picture to the left of the tower - was built 1586 next to the church. In 1729, the baroque Spitalkirche was rebuilt along side with the Small Hospital in 1729 by Gabriel de Gabrieli.
Due to winter storms in the 1990s, the building was heavily damaged, which is why the church had to be completely renovated from 1993 until 2003.

7 Augustinerkloster

Friedrich-Ebert-Straße, 91781 Weißenburg in Bayern, DE

Emperor Frederick II donated the former Augustinian monastery in 1237, but it was already repealed in 1296.
From 1331 onward it was used as a hospital to the monastery of Wülzburg and regarded as property of the Margraves of Brandenburg-Ansbach.
Since the Ansbacher time,
beginning from 1528, the building has been the official residence of different authorities. Today, it is a part of the district office Weißenburg-Gunzenhausen.

8 Sankt Willibaldskirche

Holzgasse, 91781 Weißenburg in Bayern, DE

More and more Catholics moved to the city of Weißenburg in the 19th century, which had been purely Protestant since the Reformation. In 1869 the construction of the neo-gothic Willibalds church began.
The architect was Wilhelm Langenfaß, who took inspiration from the St. Mary‘s Church in Göppingen. The Eichstätt Bishop Franz Leopold of Leonrod consecrated the church on a September 1871. From 1938 to 1940 extensive renovations took place, which eventually covered the original murals.
Further renovations and restorations were conducted in 1961 and 1978 until 1980.
The main portal is flanked by balanchine-crowned statues of the apostles Peter and Paul.
Two 16th-century paintings from Ingolstadt are placed in the side altars. In 1937, the Parish acquired a late-Gothic winged altar from Nuremberg, which was put in the church in 1939 as a high altar. The art on the altar shows the crucifixion of Christ.
In the front of the north wall are the statues of Willibald and a Walburga. The Stations of the Cross on the left and right walls are from the 18th century. The organ was built in 1940 by Bishop Michael Rackl.
The neo-Gothic hall church has a stone-faced facade and a choir flank tower, which is crowned by a pointed roof.
The garden dates back to 1894.

9 Schießgraben

Schießgrabenmauer, 91781 Weißenburg in Bayern, DE

The city wall section with its towers between Frauentorstraße and Oberer Stadtmühlgasse, also called “ Knebberlesbuck “, dates from the 14./15. Century.
To wall the southern suburb was granted by Emperor Charles IV, in 1376 .
The financing was assisted by newly-introduced beverage tax, the so-called “Ungeld“.
The lane itself lies behind the wall on the banked wall. Numerous picturesque small houses were added and inserted in the 18th and 19th centuries.
The section lying before the wall , the „shooting ditch“, was until 1878, the historic target practice site for Weißenburg marksmen documented since 1250.

10 Seeweihermauer

Seeweihermauer, 91781 Weißenburg in Bayern, DE

The Seeweihermauer is an historic city wall with permanently flooded moat.
In front of the eastern city wall area, between the Obertor which was demolished in 1874 and the upper Stadtmühlgasse, the moat is still preserved.
Old maps of Weißenburg show that other ditch areas in the west were constantly filled with water, all the others areas only in case of war.
The narrow lane on the inside runs partly next to the bulkhead wall.
No. 2 shows the so-called “Rebdorfer box“, a granary of the Rebdorf monastery and No. 19-21 shows the “barracks“, a soldiers‘ quarters from the year 1705/07.

11 Schranne

An der Schranne, 91781 Weißenburg in Bayern, DE

The place „An der Schranne“ was built around the original parish of St. Martin and was created around 700.
Profaned in the Reformation in 1524, it served as a storage and sales point for cereals and flour, until it was demolished in 1863 and replaced by a new building according to plans by the architect Eduard Bürklein.
The Schranne was used since 1925 as a fire station. In the years 1990/91 the Schranne was restored.
In the winter months weekly Saturday markets offer a variety of vegetables and other goods.
In addition, the “Kunst-Schranne“ is also a popular exhibition venue for all kinds of art, where Artists find a suitable setting to present their work.

12 Holzmarkt / Koenig-Ludwig-Brunnen

Luitpoldstraße, 91781 Weißenburg in Bayern, DE

The former wood market on the Luitpoldstraße is a place surrounded by houses from the late Gothic to Baroque eras.
In the past, firewood and lumber for crafts were stacked and sold at this market.
The stately facades of the town houses frame the square.
Particularly noteworthy are the taverns which display family crests, as well as the Kaiser Ludwig fountain, in honor of the Emperor Ludwig.
In 1338, Emperor Ludwig the Bavarian gave the city a large part of the surrounding forest, and in gratitude, the citizens of Weißenburg built the monumental fountain in 1903.

13 Karmeliterkirche and monastery garden

Luitpoldstraße, 91781 Weißenburg in Bayern, DE

The Karmeliterkirche is a former monastery church of the Eichstätt Carmelites.
Together with the other monasteries it serves today as a cultural center.
The monastery was built in 1325 by Henry, Lord zu Heideck, with the help of Count Gebhard III., Bishop of Eichstätt and donated by King Ludwig the Bavarian.
In 1544, after the Reformation, the monastery buildings came into the possession of the imperial city of Weißenburg.
The choir and nave of the hall church were built after 1325. Later, the northern aisle was extended. Renovations took place in 1670 amd 1729, when the church was converted to a more baroque style.
The nave was further altered during the 18th century. The sacristy is from the 15th century. In the choir on the north side is a famous Volto Santo painting from the early 15th century, while the organ prospectus dates from 1712.
The east wing of the monastery is a two-level steep roof construction from the 14th century with rear, two-level annex from 1470/1471.
The transformation into a cultural center took place from 1981 to 1983.
The former garden of the monastery is now a public park having been bought by the city in 1991.
The statue on the top right is a work of Ernst Steinacker.

14 Old City Hall

Marktplatz, 91781 Weißenburg in Bayern, DE

The Old or Imperial City Hall is located in the center the old town near the market square.
The building was constructed from 1470 to 1476, at the height of Weißenburg‘s heyday, as the town hall of the imperial city. The Söller was built in 1545.
The annex of the archive tower took place in 1567.
The three-storey steep-roofed building consists of sandstone blocks and is decorated in the Gothic style. On the second floor is the historic boardroom for the interior and exterior council of the city.
On the first floor, there is a reconstructed Renaissance-style stone cross-section painting in the feast and reception hall (Söller).
The richly structured east gable is elaborately designed. At the level of the ground floor there is a ugly head as well as a figure in the form of a mythical animal.
The central axis is reinforced by a beveled, flat pillar, which ends in an octagonal turret.

15 Schweppermannsbrunnen

Marktplatz, 91781 Weißenburg in Bayern, DE

The Schweppermannsbrunnen on the market square is in the immediate vicinity of the Old Town Hall.
Built in 1548/49 and renovated in 1685, the fountain was originally called the “Beautiful Fountain“.
It was renamed the “Schweppermannsbrunnen“ only in the 19th century.
According a legend, a squad of soldiers form Weißenburg was victorious under the command of captain Schweppermann in the Battle of Mühldorf.
The squad fought on the side of Louis of Bavaria against the troops of Friedrich von Habsburg.
On 28 September 1322, the Emperor won the battle at Mühldorf, where the timely arival of the Burgrave Friedrich von Nürnberg prived to be decisive.
Schweppermann‘s participation in this battle, however, was only noted in the 15th century, notably by the chronicle of Hans Ebran von Wildenberg which highlighted, among other things with mockery the trembling of the older knight‘s feet.
Nevertheless, Schweppermann did distinguish himself in battle through special bravery.
According to another anecdote handed down from Sigismund Meisterlin in 1488, the emperor and his entourage had only a basket of eggs to eat afterwards and Meisterlin exclaimed:
„Ja, potz laus, ietlichem ein ai, dem getrewen Swepferman zwai.“
Translated: „Each man an egg and two for the faithful Schweppermann.“
This saying was reused in the 15th century in the coat of arms and is also the grave inscription of Schweppermann.
The Emperor lent Schweppermann several castles because of his bravery:
Kunstein in Swabia and Deinschwang at Lauterhofen. The fact that the castle of Schweppermann in Pfaffenhofen near Kastl had already been a fief of Seyfried Schweppermann is an unproven conjecture; the castle bears its name after his sons Hartung and Heinrich and their descendants, who held parts of the castle as a fief.
Seyfried Schweppermann, who was married to Katharina Rindsmaul, died in 1337 on Deinschwang.
The current Schweppermann statue on the well column is only a recreation of the original.
The original can be seen in the Reichsstadt Museum.

16 Marketplace

Marktplatz, 91781 Weißenburg in Bayern, DE

Beautiful stone houses frame the market square. The style is characterized by Baroque and traditional Franconian framework houses.
One example is the „Black Bear“, one of the oldest inns in the city, built around 1528 with a matching sign.
Until 1906 beer was brewed here.
The marketplace near the Old Town Hall is actually used as a market every Saturday during the summer months.
On many days the citizens of Weißenburg celebrate festivals here.
The traditional maypole is also set up here.

17 Unicorn Pharmacy

Rosenstraße, 91781 Weißenburg in Bayern, DE

The Unicorn Pharmacy can look back on more than 350 years of tradition.
While the modern pharmacy is operated on the ground floor of the “Blue House“, a late-Baroque building, it is possible to visit the pharmacy‘s facilities from the time of the famous apothecary and Limes researcher Wilhelm Kohl (1848-1898) in the cellar below.
In addition to the sales room of the pharmacy, the laboratory is also preserved with all tools from those days such as distillation flasks, tube filling machine, tablet pressing machine.
On the first floor, in the “Historisches Kräuterkammer“, the smell of dried medicinal herbs and spices fills the air. Minerals, resins, herbals, chopper, mortar and more are there, and all of the medicinal plants can be seen.
A particularly valuable piece is a manual (recipe bundle) from the late 19th century, in which a wide variety of recipes are combined. In addition, there are also explanations on the famous unicorn powder, which allegedly helped against any disease.

18 Am Hof

Am Hof, 91781 Weißenburg in Bayern, DE

The name “Am Hof“ refers to the Frankish royal court, which was first mentioned in a document in 867.
The location of this royal court is generally assumed to have been in the area between the square “Am Hof“ and St. Andrew‘s Church.
Charlemagne presumably stayed around 793 because of the construction of the “Fossa Carolina“ at the Weißenburg royal court.
The remains of the construction experiment can be seen between Treuchtlingen-Graben and Weißenburg-Dettenheim.
In the heart of the old town of Weißenburg, cozy benches by the fountain and a café invite you to linger.

19 Reichsstadtmuseum

Weißenburg in Bayern, 91781 Weißenburg-Gunzenhausen, DE

The Imperial City Museum of Weißenburg is a thematic museum that aims to inform visitors of the history of the imperial city.
The exhibits, which are divided into different themed rooms, make history tangible.
The visitors can take a look at historic documents, everyday objects and precious treasures.
Not only the lives of upper classes, but those of ordinary people and craftsmen play a major role.
The exhibit shows, for example, the development of the wall and the weir, the history of the city library, education, health care, trade, transport and crafts of the city. The period from the Middle Ages to the end of the imperial city 1802 is the theme of the museum.
An eye-catcher is the letter from the year 1481 granting the imperial coat of arms, by which the city received the arms still used today.
The Reichsstadt Museum, which was opened in 1998 as a successor to the Heimatmuseum, consists of a museums complex together with the Römermuseum in the center of the old town.

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