This is the pulsating heart of the town. This is where it all happens, from the weekly market to guided tours, the historic shepherd’s dance, the fireworks as part of the town festival or performances by the Ambassadors of Music.
The steps of the Town Hall are also a popular place for locals and guests from all over the world to meet and stop for a rest. From here you can enjoy the view of the splendid patrician houses that frame the market square. Every hour on the hour between 10 a.m. and 10 p.m. the clockwork figures on the clock above the Ratstrinkstube entertain the public with the key scene from the legend of the Master Draught.
According to the story, former Mayor Nusch saved the town from destruction at the hands of the troops of Imperial General Tilly by winning a wager by drinking 3 1/4 liters of Franconian wine in October 1631. What is known for certain is that the women of Rothenburg and their children assembled in the Market Square to beg Tilly to spare the town.
In 1632, the Market Square was once more the center of activity when the King of Sweden Gustav-Adolf stayed the night in Rothenburg with his army. The king himself stayed in the Town Hall.
The most horrific event in the town’s history was in June 1525, when Count Casimir von Ansbach had 17 leaders of the recently defeated Peasants’ Revolt publicly beheaded in the Market Square. Their bodies had to be left on the square until evening, “so that the blood ran down Schmiedgasse like a stream”.
Things were more peaceful at a feast in 1474, when the Emperor Friedrich III enfeoffed Holstein to King Christian of Denmark.