This is a presentation on the medieval town of Rothenburg-ob-der-Tauber, the most perfectly preserved medieval German town. It lies west of Nürnberg about 40 miles, easily reached by car and also by train or bus. It is actually closer to Würzburg, SSE thereof. It is east of Heidelberg, northeast of Stuttgart and north of Ulm.

It is very special, because it has changed so little since medieval times.

Originally, two versions of this site were offered to accommodate the various speeds of downloading over slow telephone lines. The version now offered has been realized with Macromedia's Fireworks 2 to produce minimum graphic files with no visible loss on the computer screen. Large images now load as fast as the original smaller ones, and they should download in the order they are presented. Thus, as you read the text, images are downloading, hopefully faster than you read. You may need to set your internet application memory to a higher than standard value to download this entire file. I have my browsr set at 9 megs (9000K); 6500 was not enough.


This presentation originated as a paper in a PhD course at Ohio University. There, in Athens, Ohio, I discovered a collection of slides made by a colonel in the U S Army. He entered Rothenburg-ob-der-Tauber as the army moved through Germany, and made his transparencies on German Agfa film. Though somewhat faded, through computer technology these have been restored to lifelike images. The presentation uses both these historic photos, made before Rot.-o.d.t. became a tourist attraction, and photos that I made on a visit in the early sixties.

The entire presentation is supported by Lewis Mumford in his The Culture of Cities and this support is documented. Mumford is quoted in one Appendix, and Pirenne in another, for this French author, economist and historian sheds a different, though equally valid, light upon this study.

Yet it is perhaps in the graphics that the paper is most valuable, for they are the specific examples of the general statements of the presentation. The comment could be expanded in what seems to be an almost limitless fashion. If each slide were blown up to a ten foot wide picture, and studied inch by inch, there would be material enough for many a Master's thesis. It is hoped here that the depth to which this study has reached will reveal a knowledge of some of the more important aspects of medieval life and its expression in architectural forms, a knowledge held by the author, and commended to the viewer. May his enjoyment in reading equal mine in writing.

I contacted Agfa in Germany with an offer of these historic documents and they did not even honor my letter with an answer. The same rudeness was the response to a letter to the burgermeister of Rot-o.d.t. So I now make this available on the world wide web.

I have kept the images rather large, and used jpeg compression to make them usable over the all-too-slow telephone connections most viewers use. The site will download in variable ways, with some images coming up quickly, others slowly. Some near the start of the presentation will come up first, while others scattered throught he presentation will come up leaving blank spaces along the way.

Minor corrections were applied to this site 7 NOvember 2004. Copyright © MMIV WA Storrer

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