In the very center of Germany, in the state of Hesse, is the medieval fairy tale town of Alsfeld. In the northern Vogelsberg Mountains — which feeds the Schwalm river on which it sits — it is surrounded by an extensive network of farmland.
At an important geographic location between some of central Germany’s big cities, this delightful city developed into a busy trading hub. The Old Town is packed full of old timber-framed homes and stores — over 400 of them to be precise!
Some of these buildings are like none you have seen before! There are tiny houses, wonky houses, overly tall houses and enormous and ornate houses. There are even some buildings that get wider and wider the higher they get — seeming to defy gravity! ;-) Check out the Gothic Town Hall in the central market place for one such property (see the webcam!).
In Alsfeld you can also find architecture from all the major periods in history covering the past 700 years. The ancient wine house which has a metal ring fastened through the corner wall for the town pillory and there are some vaulted cellars beneath the streets from here.
The stone Walpurgis Church behind the main square has its beginnings in the 14th century. It has collapsed, been rebuilt and been extended over the following 600 years to its present form! It also a resounding bell collection — 7 in total — and the music from its tower is a delight at any time of day.
There are network of cobbled roads and alleyways ranging from wide shopping streets down to narrow paths where the buildings almost meet overhead! These large areas of the Fussgängerzone (pedestrianized areas) are the perfect place to wander in and out of antique and artisan stores. And after a bit of shopping, why not sit yourself down in a streetside cafe for a spot of local lunch!
The streets of Alsfeld are also slightly curved around the edges of the Old Town due to the limits of the old city walls. This causes the light to move across the face of the buildings throughout the day — changing the way the colors and shapes appear.
A good reason to stay longer, I find!