Walldürn, Germany

Walldürn, a town with a historic centre made of attractive late medieval buildings has a population of around 11,500.  It  is located in the upland region of Odenwald in an area which is called Madonnenländchen because of the amount of shrines that can be seen along the roadside.  The Romans came here and their border with the German tribes passed very close to where the town stands today.  

Walldürn was first mentioned in the year 794CE.  Monks from the nearby monastery at Amorbach converted the local people.  The name Dürn comes from the local lords and in 1291 Dürn was first mentioned as a city. Dürn later came into the possession of the Archbishop of Mainz. An alleged blood miracle occurred in Walldürn in 1330 which led to pilgrimages which continue to this day and which for many years was one of the main sources of income for the town.  The huge basilica today reminds the traveller of this event.   In 1448 a town hall was built which is still in use and is one of the oldest town halls in Europe which has continually been in use.  In 1486 the town was granted market rights. Following the collapse of the Holy Roman Empire during the Napoleonic Wars, Walldürn in 1803 was assigned to the Principality of Leiningen and 1807 to Baden.   Riots occurred during the revolutionary period of 1848 – 1849 which were put down initially with troops being sent from the then state capital of Karlsruhe and later by Prussians who secured the rule of the Grand Duke. 

Today we can admire the oldest intact town hall in Germany (built in 1448) which is still in use.  Of particular interest inside is the meeting room which is original.  It has also numerous old historic buildings including parts of the city wall from 1335.  One can follow the Roman border along hiking trails marked initially by a reconstructed border fence which also has been reconstructed in part in the forest next to the largest nearby fort.  The remains of Roman frontier forts are part of the UNESCO World Heritage Upper Romanian-Raetian Limes.  Just inside the former border there is the remains of a bathhouse located next to a spring from which people still take water today.In the forest there is also an animal park with deer and wild boar – easily accessible either on foot or on bike.  Another very interesting historical place to visit is the outdoor museum showing how people once lived in the area which is located some 10km from the town.  To the south at Buchen there is one of the largest cave systems in Germany.

I stayed at the free motorhome aire next to the Goldschmidt plant which also boasts a pleasant restaurant Goldschmidt’s which specialises in steaks.  From there, I cycled into town, a journey of some seven or eight minutes.  There is also a motorhome aire near the basilica but without electricity and water.