Dinkelsbuehl, living town from and in the Middle Ages

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another good travel guide from Bavaria from my friend Helmut in Canada

If you really want make a time trip like in the movies "back to future" then you should visit the town Dinkelsbuehl in Bavaria. The center is from and still in the Middle Ages but people and life are modern also. In this town you have the rare chance to see and, that is important, to feel how people lived in the year 1632, time of a thirty years long war in Europe.

In the south of Germany we have one road called the "romantical street". She starts at Wuerzburg (at the river Main), leads over Augsburg at the river Lech up to the town Fuessen near the Alpes. This street connects a lot a marvellous towns and villages, where you can find a lot of hidden jewels of architecture, arts and history. Munich is about three hours far away from Dinkelsbuehl, reachable over either over the higways A 8 und A 7 or several Federal roads. A one-day-trip must be started very early in the morning otherwise you will have not time enough to discover all the beauties of that town ( for males: I don't mean the nice girls there, ok?)

The roots of that town based on trade and handy-crafts. That is still dominating in Dinkelsbuehl. But the town offers also for visitors and citizens all the necessary things they need and a little bit more, Dinkelsbuehl is also a home for arts. You can find a school for painting there for example and a lot of ancient art documentation. The 500 years old minster of St. Georg shows a lot of arts, it is one of the most beautiful hall-churches in Southern Germany.

If you normally don't like museums because every thing is one on hand old and nice but on the other hand "dead" so you will be astonished to see how a museum can live. Dinkelbuehl is really a museum with living people and a pulsing heart. The town was so lucky be not destroyed by several wars, not even damaged by the World Wars. So you will see an original Middle Ages town with a complete wall including 18 towers and a lot of famous citizens.

It would be great to have some days time for vacation in Dinkelsbuehl. You can walk in the near area, visit some nice towns in the neighbourhood, recreation and discovery is very easy at the Romantic Street. But the days between 14th and 23rd of july in year, these are the gate in the Middle Ages. Stay on these days in Dinkelsbuehl, see, fear and hope with the inhabitants - it would be better than a Steven Spielberg movie.

Dinkelsbuehl - saved by the own children

Let me tell you the story:

"We have the year 1631. In the German empire are fighting two parties, the catholic union in the name of German emperor and a protestantic union leaded by the Swedish king Gustav Adolf. Big names like Wallenstein or Tilly, famous generals today, will be kept in memory for all centuries. But war is always a very bad time especially to the small people and you can believe me, if the rumour tells " soldiers are coming" everybody really cry for fear. It doesn't matter which soldiers are coming, they all kill what they can catch.

In december 1631 the imperial general Tilly was hard beaten by protestantic troups, we have heard. So he is going back and the army of Gustav Adolf from Sweden is on the way invading the south of Germany.

Springtime is now starting, sun gets warmer, suddenly couriers appear telling that the Swedish soldiers are coming. That means for us in Dinkelsbuehl, the death would be here soon. Why?

You must know, our town has a curious situation. Most people are protestants, normally no enemies for the Swedish. But the town itself is as an 'free imperial town' the own of the catholic emperor of Germany and ruled by catholic town mayors, so it is a target from the catholic party. Our mayors have no choice, they must obay the German emperor.

The dust in the air tells each tower guard the enemies coming nearer and nearer. So the town mayor let close the gates, the imperial soldiers and town guards are ready to defend. The walls are full of fighters and weapons.

The Swedish general, a man with great experience in war, let stop his army. He sees our big walls, the fighters, the area around the town and then he decides not to attack. It will cost him a lost of his soldiers. So he offers us to surrender without fighting. But you know, we have to obey our emperor and so the town mayors refuse. The enemies block all roads and we have to live from our supply. Every day we hope that imperial troups will come to free us but nobody appears.

Each week the Swedish general send a messenger to ask for surrender but our town mayors always send him back with a "No". But now, several weeks after, we run out of supply. The death of starvation is waiting in our middle, no other chance, we have to surrender. What a decision! Opening the gates will mean, the soldiers kill, rob and rape. And after that, as a revenge for the long waiting in front of our walls, they will burn down our nice town. We know that from some refugees reaching our town in former times more death than alive. God save our souls.

The town mayor decides death by sword is quicker and not so painful than by starvation. His order comes to the guards: "Open the gates". Everybody is in fear of death, the females are crying silent, their husbands are weak and desperate because not more able to save them. The first troups of the enemy are marching in our direction.

Suddenly, what's that? A young girl, the daughter of one tower guard, everybody calls her "Kinderlore" because she takes care of little kids always, is marching with a small group of children just straight out of a side street and through the open gate. They are walking directly against the front of the Swedish soldiers and they are singing. Yes, by the Lord, they are singing! What will happens now ?"

The legend told that the Swedish general, which had seen so much trouble in his life and perhaps in his own family, was so touched, that he did not allow his soldiers to kill, rob and destroy the town. So Dinkelsbuehl was saved by the town children.

The citizens of Dinkelsbuehl keep this in memory till today and in the festival time between 14th and 23rd of july you could have a very great vacation if you can stay there. You will see that event named "Kinderzeche" , you can feel the fear as the town surrenders and you can live by visit in middle of the Swedish army camp. Dinkelsbuehl also has till now a original nightguard, you can walk with him through the streets.

If you've not planned you vacation put this event in calculation. Some other cultural events are also for offer, you can check either on the town homepage of Dinkelsbuehl or you look here Touristik Service Dinkelsbuehl.

Pick-up from/to the airport Munich and one-day-trips we can organize for you, you should have your cameras ready, the way to Dinkelsbuehl has a lot of nice places to stop and shoot (only pictures, please).

Script by J.W.Lohfink, for any mistakes in spell or grammar I apologize as a precaution, corrections, questions or comments please mail to me.

Thanks for your visit

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