You might keep hearing time and time again about how the town of Zell am Harmersbach in the Ortenau was once the “smallest imperial city” in the Holy Roman Empire. It seems almost appropriate since the entire town was founded by the Imperial Abbey of Gengenbach.
Get it? Holy Empire? Monastery? Oh, never mind. ;-)
Zell might be old (sorry to say many of its framework houses were destroyed by a fire in the early years of the 20th century), but its Storchenturm, built in 1330, is still around. It’s the only piece of the town’s defense wall still remaining; and it’s now a wonderful history and crafts museum.
Another museum that you need to see in Zell is the Fürstenberger Hof, also called the Fürstenberger Farm Museum. Whatever its name, it’s a thatched roofed building built in the 1660s that’s now a museum on the history of farming. The Fürstenberger Hof is open from April to October and visited by thousands of visitors from all over the world.
It’s time to go from the historical to the contemporary over at the Villa Haiss. And when I say contemporary, I mean from the mid-1940s onward. The entire museum is filled with sculpture and paintings from both American and European artists.
Each of these museums does have an entrance fee; however Zell offers a special 3-museum pass for only around five Euro. How nice of them to save everyone some money, right?
Nothing’s cheaper than free, so luckily every Tuesday from April to October the town offers a guided tour of the town.
As if walking some of the 3000 kilometers of hiking trails found around the Black Forest Nature Reserve isn’t enough exercise? That’s not even adding in even more kilometers of cycling paths.
Don’t look at it like it’s insurmountable; just think about all the mineral springs you can soak your bones in afterwards.
I prefer to think about all the Black Forest food, but that’s another Web page, isn’t it?