Hesse’s town of Großkrotzenburg has a history that’s intriguing, romantic, and sinister. Ha, didn’t see that last one coming, did ya?
What Großkrotzenburg also is, is fun. I like history as much as the next person, but I do like to let my hair down once in a while. ;-)
You might never have found yourself visiting Großkrotzenburg if you hadn’t been traveling on the German Limes Road or the Limes Cycle Trail yet. They’re one and the same German scenic routes, just the latter’s done by bicycle highlighting the very best of Roman history through a number of German states.
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Whoa, Ho! That means Großkrotzenburg’s got itself some Roman ruins. I’ll be more specific, the ruins of a Roman Fort (known as Kastell Großkrotzenburg & was used as a prison for more than a century). Scattered over 2 hectares, you’ll see the fort, the Roman Bridge, and a museum detailing the life of the Romans in the area.
We didn’t get to the sinister part yet, BTW.
Which we’ll do now, since we’re talking about museums. Großkrotzenburg’s Local History Museum has an entire exhibit on the Hexenverfolgung (Witch Hunt) that took place here in 1628 under the orders of the Mainz’s Archbishop.
Sixty-four years before America’s Salem Witch Trials, they were going on right here in Germany. The tree (known as the Hexeneiche) planted in honor of the 90 people killed by the Archbishop was hit by lightning in the early 1970’s. A new one, as well as a memorial plaque, was planted and erected in their honor.
Another museum is the former Synagogue (there’s an old Jewish cemetery too). Großkrotzenburg had a Jewish community for at least a century before its house of worship was destroyed on Kristallnacht in November 1938. The old building was then converted to a church until the 1970’s, when it was then turned into a museum on Jewish life and a community center.
If you’re not knocked out from all the museum visits, walking, and general sightseeing — you might want to see the Spessart countryside where Großkrotzenburg has three swimming islands.
Say what you will, but this is the perfect place to sit discussing Großkrotzenburg’s sinister (and remarkably long) history. Or, at least I think so.