Hello, Zwingenberg (Bergstraße), you medieval wonder — you are the oldest town on the Hessian Bergstrasse. And what a treat you are.
Most people immediately notice the Aul, which was part of the town’s original wall (measuring almost 2 meters thick); built in the 14th century and standing two stories high.
Also from the Middle Ages is Zwingenberg’s Bergkirche, a church built in 1258 that’s now of the Evangelical denomination. And the remains of a mid-13th century moated castle.
And you’re a cheeky devil, Zwingenberg. You’ve got not only the medieval sites, but more “modern” ones as well. Yeah, that’s right I say modern in the sense of Das Schlösschen that was built in 1520 and is now the Town Hall, and the old Hotel zum Löwen that was built in 1595.
The latter of which is said to be the oldest building in Zwingenberg built outside the original walls.
You see, Zwingenberg is a layer-cake of history, for which we can see other 16th century buildings in the County Court that was once some aristocrat’s hunting lodge; 18th century architecture can be seen at the Old Pharmacy, and the 19th/20th centuries gives us the former synagogue.
I got so excited I almost forgot to tell you about all the half-timbered houses all over the place.
A Night Watchman tour is most definitely a great way to see it all. Yet no one can live by this alone, so thankfully we’ve got some cultural events to attend too.
The Wine Festival takes place every September, while the Christmas Market is held in December. May is a busy month with the Farmers & Crafts Market, the Spring Festival, Vineyard Tours, and Wine Market going on.
OK, so I mentioned them a little out of order — blame the wine. ;-)
As pretty a picture as you’ll find the town of Zwingenberg, the countryside is equally wonderful. Get a map, some good shoes, and take off into the Geopark Bergstraße-Odenwald. Take a guided tour to get the most out of your experience in this UNESCO region.
Last, but certainly not least, is the Melibokus — a mountaintop area with an observation tower and the ruins of the medieval Alsbach Castle.
This is hard work, so I’m gonna settle down for a bite of Zwingenberg’s strawberries and one of its Rieslings. Here’s a toast to the oldest town on the Hessian Bergstrasse, our gracious Zwingenberg!