Bad Wimpfen sits in two parts on the banks of the Neckar. There is an upper town, the Wimpfen am Berg, that houses the current town center. The lower town, Wimpfen im Tal, sits on the banks of the Neckar and is much older.
Well, the town was the site of an epic battle in 1622, with the Holy Roman Empire (sorry, forgot to mention Bad Wimpfen was an Imperial City of the HRE) facing off against the Catholic League. The Catholics lost, and the many churches here in the spa town were then converted to the Evangelical faith.
One of the churches that became Evangelical after the fighting is the Stadtkirche, built in the 13th century with both Romanesque and Gothic features.
The oldest church in Bad Wimpfen is the St. Peter, also known as Ritterstiftskirche, dating back to the 7th century — although its cloister didn’t come along for another six to seven hundred years later.
The Middle Ages doesn’t end here. The Bürgerspital is a wonderful example of a half-timbered house, built in 1230. It’s one of the oldest in town, if not the oldest itself.
Bad Wimpfen also had a thriving Jewish community, although its synagogue from 1580 was converted into apartments during the 1930s.
The magic of the very old days seems to be forever trapped in the bones of the town. A bit of it creeps out, besides its buildings, churches and sights, along the shopping streets and in the museums. One of ’em is housed in the Steinhaus; and there’s also an Ecclesiastical History Museum, and that Bürgerspital that I mentioned is the home of the Town Museum.
Then there’s the Hexenstube, or Witches Shop. The town has long be reputed to be a witches haven, and you’ll be entertained wandering in and out of the netherworld shop(s). ;-)
Whether there is any working magic for sale there is doubtful, but another kind of magic is available in Bad Wimpfen. It’s the magic of the spas. They have been operating for nearly 180 years and do wonders on aches and pains. Even the notoriously crabby traveler Mark Twain praised them!
You can soak your bones and then go back to have a look at the other bones of Bad Wimpfen. It helps to be limbered up for this. There are at least three towers to climb…
Not many stairs are at the cute Nürnberger Türmchen, which is only about 400 years old, but you’ll know it by the red roof on the tower. Either way, this tower was a thank you gift to the city of Nuremberg for help rebuilding the walls after the Thirty Years’ War.
Don’t you just love all those ancient towers and gates? Me too. That’s why we’ll go pick two more of ’em: the Roter Turm (Red Tower) first, and then on it goes to the mighty Blaue Turm (Blue Tower), a turreted tower with a stunning view over the landscape. The work out will be worth it, especially if you have a panoramic feature on your camera. And do give proper appreciation to the Blue Tower as it’s been standing guard for more than 650 years.
Hmph, you think that’s a long time? The Talmarkt event here in Bad Wimpfen has been going on for over a thousand years. And the annual Christmas Market is a fun affair, no matter how many years that’s been going on.
After all those sports activities, spa treatments, and parties, go visit the Neckar again — the sunset over there is worth seeing.
As you’ll see, Bad Wimpfen is wonderful, and certainly deserves its “Imperial” title. So raise a toast to healing and relaxing before settling down to watch a view that has been appreciated for more than 2,000 years.