The central location in town is the market square with the town hall, which has a viewing platform 52 meters above ground, from where a sweeping view of the Tauber valley can be had. In addition to the historic trade buildings around market square and the fortification structures, Rothenburg boasts several notable churches. Most notably, Lutheran St. James Church stands out. The church was built from 1311 on and contains the famous “Holy Blood” sculpture by woodcarver Tilman Riemenschneider. Also worth seeing is the former Franciscan Friary, which today serves as a Lutheran church.
According to town lore, the Catholic Count of Tilly was on the verge of capturing Rothenburg in the Thirty Years’ War in the 17th century, threatening to burn it down entirely, The city leaders then offered the commander a large bottle of wine, containing more than three liters. The gift softened Tilly and he offered to save the town from destruction if anyone could empty the bottle in one draw. Rothenburg’s former mayor volunteered, mastered the bottle and thus saved the city. This episode is replayed by figurines at the Councillor’s Tavern (Ratstrinkstube) at the full hour between 10 am and 10 pm.
In addition to all the historic buildings, Rothenburg ob der Tauber has a number of museums including the Medieval Crime Museum, documenting a thousand years of criminal history and the History Museum which preserves the town’s storied past. Most visitors however are magically drawn to the Christmas Museum, open year round, located in the annex of a large Christmas-themed store which is a main draw for many overseas tourists (Herrngasse 1).