The phoenix is a beautiful, legendary firebird of red and gold. Every five hundred years it is consumed by the flames and reduced to ashes. From these ashes, a new phoenix is reborn, continuing the cycle of life.
The town of Crailsheim is very much like this mythical beast. It has had a long, sad history of destruction. But Crailsheim is very proud of its ability to withstand these hardships and renew itself.
The first tale of destruction begins in 1379 when the city was under attack by not one, but three different imperial cities. Schwäbisch Hall, Dinkelsbühl, and Rothenburg ob der Tauber had all decided to lay siege to Crailsheim. How did one city withstand such an aggressive assault? The answer is through trickery of course! ;-)
After several months, the townswomen used up all of the flour for traditional baked goods, which they threw over the city walls at their attackers. Then the town’s heaviest woman climbed up the city walls to flaunt her full figure in front of the town’s invaders.
At the sight of such opulence and abundance, the attackers decided that they could never wait for these people to starve and surrender so they gave up the attack. Since that time Crailsheim has celebrated the anniversary of their victory. They make Horaffen, the same crescent-shaped bread baked by their ancestors and give it out to the children.
The town came under fire again during World War Two, but the town was not so lucky this time. Only one building survived the heavy bombardment, the Johanneskirche, or Saint John’s Church.
This church is one of the tourist highlights of the modern Crailsheim. There’s also the city museum, housed in a hospital, a medieval bath house and nature walks.
Crailsheim’s biggest party is its Frankish Folk Festival. Each September, townsfolk and 200,000 guests visit for the food, entertainment and fun of this annual event.